My Mother is Betty White

As we approach Mother’ Day 2020, I am dedicating my weekly post to honor the woman who was not only my mother but also my entrepreneurial muse.  About 18 months ago, after 89 years of a full and productive life, my mother succumbed to a long illness.  When she died someone gave me a beautiful poem that reminded me that even though she is not physically with me every day, she still lives on in the lessons she taught me through the life she lived. 

My mother enjoyed life immensely as a mother, artist, creator and entrepreneur. She was a gentle and sweet soul, a spirited fighter who staunchly defended her family and loved ones, and a true innovator – always ahead of her time.  She not only pursued her own passions throughout her life, but she was also my greatest cheerleader and supporter while I was pursing my own entrepreneurial dreams.  Several years prior to her death, I published the blog below outlining the entrepreneurial mindset that she taught me through her actions and her words.

Today, I am sharing it again in honor of not only her amazing influence and entrepreneurial life, but in dedication to all the remarkable moms out there who have loved us and taught us how to live our own incredible lives.  For more inspiration on entrepreneurial moms, also check out my conversation this week on Enfactor with entrepreneurial mom, Ira Kaganovsky Green, where we discuss how she is building a product company with 3 beautiful daughters.


My mother is Betty White. Yes, she is really cool! No, she is not the Betty White of TV fame but she is Betty White – an amazing woman who has spent 86 years living an entrepreneurial life as an artist/business owner/cool mom.  At a time when few women chose a career and family, she raised two children and owned and ran a successful business venture.  In a small rural town in West Virginia, where most women did not call attention to themselves, she was a business owner, an artist who was painting nudes and a jogger before anyone else knew what that meant (she would frequently get the offer of a ride by people passing by).  She was a mom who spoke her mind, baked her own bread, made yogurt and grew bean sprouts.  Mostly my mom was interested in the world and lived with gusto.  Seeing her age and lose her independence has been difficult – she was always my inspiration and now I am the caretaker. 

Today my children don’t often get to see that spunky risk-taking person.  But they have observed and even lived the lessons I learned as I live my own entrepreneurial life as an entrepreneur/educator/mom.  Outlined below are 8 of the important teachings I received from my mom.  I hope that in some small way, these lessons can be a positive influence in your life as well.   

·         Surround yourself with people who have positive energy.  We are magnets and we will either attract negative or positive influences in our life depending upon our own energy.  Our thinking will be influenced by the energy of others upon whom we focus our own attention. 

·         Make friends with your fears because they have the power to shape your life.  We tend to think of everything in terms of love or fear.  If we avoid our fears they are empowered.  Face and name your fears regularly – by facing your fears they will then lose the power to control your life.

·         If you want to be happy, be grateful and express appreciation.   Even in the darkest of days, gratitude will remind you of the blessings in your life.

·         You have not lived if you have not failed or made a mistake.  Embrace your mistakes and learn from them.   Someday you will even be grateful for them because they shape us into human beings who can have empathy and compassion for others and their mistakes and failures.  Failures are all part of the path to success.

·         The need to control is based in fear Once you realize what you can control (your actions and reactions) and what your can’t control (most everything else) life becomes much easier.  This has been one of the hardest of life lessons to learn (and I continue to learn it daily). 

·         The obstacles in our path are our Path.  We will not be given more than we can manage. She always reminds me…”that which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  There are lessons to learn.

·         Think BIG and dream BIG.  Anything worth doing requires a cost – little dreams usually cost as much as big ones.  

·         And, whatever you do, don’t let fear or a lack of resources stop you from pursuing your dreams.  If you are on the right path, you will figure out a way. Mom loves turtles because she said they remind us that “to get anywhere in life, you have to stick your neck out.”

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