Enjoy Mother’s Day (and Learn to Say “No” Like Mom)

Image of Mother's Day RoseMother’s Day is upon us (this Sunday, in case you’ve forgotten) and I hope you have fond memories of Mom and a pleasant relationship with her.

If you’ve lost yours, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

My mother is an amazing woman. She came from nothing; hand-me-down everything complete with holes in her shoes that she wore to school.

She even had to water down her milk because it was too expensive to keep buying gallon after gallon.

She brought me into this world when she was 18 years young and made sure to discipline me. Mom taught me how to work hard and to value the dollar.

For her final 13 years of employment she worked at a thankless job. She’d wake up every day at 3am to squeeze out every ounce of overtime they’d allow. Then she’d be welcomed home by my brother and me fighting and rebelling but she would still selflessly prepare dinner and talk about our day with us.

There were nights that mom wouldn’t eat dinner just so we’d have larger servings. My brother, Alex, and I didn’t find this out until our adult lives.

Mom is now retired at only 47 years old. She’s comfortable and travels with my step-father who is also retired. They just returned from a week in Cancun; I’m jealous ;)

My mother always wanted the best for me. She always wanted me to have more than she did (most parents do). But she still knew when to say “no.”

Saying “no” is something we have to learn to do in business. Here’s the way i see it.

Say “No”

There are times when you’re firing on all 12 cylinders and tearing up the track. You feel unstoppable as your weeks pass by in a blur. But you continue to take on more work and stress yourself out.

Your relationships wither.

Your health wanes.

Say “No”

Sometimes you get so caught up in “yes” and “sure, I can do that” that you become blind. You become blind to other opportunities and blind to things you could be improving.

You don’t see the disservice you’re doing your clients or your own business as your creativity dries up and overwhelm takes over.

You’re even blind to the relationships in your life that should be top priority.


Because you’re watching one foot step in front of the other. You aren’t looking up or leaving yourself enough time to prevent walking right into a wall.

Saying “no” allows you the opportunity to see what’s coming ahead (so you avoid hitting those walls)!

Learn to say, “no,” like Mom did years ago.

Enjoy the holiday (say “yes”)

If giving Mom a card and spending time with her isn’t going to happen at least set aside time for yourself. Say “no” to over-working and show someone, anyone, appreciation this weekend.

Life shouldn’t be exclusively about work.

Photo: emerson12

32 Responses to Enjoy Mother’s Day (and Learn to Say “No” Like Mom)
  1. Sarah Russell
    May 6, 2011 | 10:43 am

    My mom is one of the coolest women out there, and although I won’t get to spend time with her this weekend (she’s a few states away), I’ll absolutely be setting aside time for a long call or Skype chat :)

    Thanks for the reminder on how important it is to maintain the relationships that matter most to us :)

    • Jon
      May 6, 2011 | 10:52 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Great to hear that about your mom! Time is precious so it’s wonderful to see that you’ll be making the effort to talk for a while. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it. I’m fortunate to have mom living only 45 minutes away.

      Enjoy your holiday. Thanks for sharing and you’re welcome :)

  2. Adrienne
    May 6, 2011 | 11:05 am

    My Mom is a really awesome lady too Jon. She was raised in the depression and is the most frugal woman I know. Irritating at times too! I will be spending this weekend with her, enjoying her company. She’s 85 years young, turning 86 in a couple of weeks. She’s my hero!!!

    I’m learning to say no more now. Wish I would have done it sooner but better late than never right.

    Thank you for this wonderful tip and for acknowledging this beautiful day which is a celebration for all mothers.


    • Jon
      May 6, 2011 | 10:55 pm


      Hey there. At 85 years young with the g.depression in her past I’m sure she knows a thing or two about saving a buck. They were better about that sort of thing than generations following. But I know you’re a saver ;)

      Learning to say “no” is key. I’ve had to hit the brakes more than a few times but it always winds up being for the best.

  3. William Tha Great
    May 6, 2011 | 1:53 pm

    Hey Jon,

    My mother is an awesome woman too! She came from nothin in a family of large family of 16. I love my mother to death, and if anything happened to her idk what I would do. I just bought my mother’s day gift yesterday! ( :

    I hope she loves it!

    In life I believe we must learn and know when to say “no”. If you don’t then, you will get yourself in a lot of bad situations. I didn’t always know how to say no, but everyday I’m teaching myself a little more.

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Jon
      May 6, 2011 | 10:57 pm

      Hi William,

      Good to see you again. Wow, your mother has mine beat. My mom is one of 12 kids; I can’t imagine being one of 16! Whatever you bought or do for Mother’s Day I’m sure she’ll appreciate it. Spending time with mom is often a gift in itself (though, like you, I buy a gift to take it up a notch).

      Thank you for sharing a bit about your family, William. Enjoy “mom time” and we’ll see you again soon.

  4. Danny @ Firepole Marketing
    May 6, 2011 | 2:04 pm

    Your mom sounds like a really special lady, Jon – I think that having a parent like that is about as lucky as a person can get.

    I think I’m going to take your advice and wind work down in the next couple of hours (say “no” to more for the day) and enjoy the time with my loved ones.

    Very timely reminder, my friend. :)

    • Jon
      May 6, 2011 | 10:59 pm


      Thank you, sir. She really is special. It’s important to know when to say “no” and when to say “enough for the day.” The workload will still be there when you get back and you’ll return refreshed and inspired. Enjoy your time with the ones who matter most, D.

  5. Oliver Tausend
    May 7, 2011 | 9:28 am

    Hi Jon,

    thank you for sharing your story of gratitude regarding your mother, that’s awesome.

    I agree that saying NO is one of the most important abilities when we want to own our lives. Most people have lost theirs, to themselves and to others.

    A great reminder !

    Enjoy the holiday as well.

    Take care


    • Jon
      May 7, 2011 | 1:19 pm

      Hey Oliver,

      Saying no is key at times. There is only so much of us to go around, right?!

  6. Marcus Baker
    May 7, 2011 | 10:30 am

    Hi Jon,

    Awesome to read your post affirming the love and value you have for your Mom.

    I love my Mom too and I think she is a very remarkable woman.

    She is 85 too and believe it or not still manages an after school care center.

    Whenever I ask her when she is going to finally retire she tells me that she loves what she does,is appreciated and loved by everybody at work, feels as if she contributing value to others and the reason why she is healthy and feels as young as she does is because she is still so active.

    In effect Jon she said NO to sitting at home and waiting to die which unfortunately happens to many older people.

    I have however convinced her to go part time from next year. :)

    Enjoy the holiday with your Mom.


    • Jon
      May 7, 2011 | 1:21 pm


      Wow, your mom is still a go-getter eh? How great. Being active like that keeps us young.

      I like how you pointed out that working is her way of saying “no” to a sedentary and deadly lifestyle. Good for you and enjoy your weekend and holiday with Mom.

  7. Samuel
    May 7, 2011 | 4:35 pm

    You must always cherish your momma like no other :) Entrepreneurs must learn how to live by the power of No. It helps a lot :) Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Jon
      May 7, 2011 | 6:42 pm


      Right on. The power of “no” sometimes gets you farther than “yes.” Thank you, Samuel.

  8. Tosin
    May 7, 2011 | 6:14 pm

    Hey Jon,

    Those are some wonderful words about your mom. I really admire her.

    My mom is probably the most hardworking woman I ever know. She exhibits thoughtfulness that I just cant describe and every remembrance of her evokes gratitude for what she has done and is doing.

    Moms are truly gifts to our lives and as we celebrate Mother’s day, we all should remember that alot of sacrifice has been made by others to be what we are right now, whether we choose to accept it or not. Therefore we should always start with the end in focus.

    Happy Mother’s day everyone. Eventhough sometimes our ego gets in the way of our gratitude, your contribution to our existence cannot be sneezed at. Thanks!

    Great job, Jon!

    • Jon
      May 7, 2011 | 6:41 pm

      Hi Tosin,

      Thanks, man. Yep – mom is pretty great.

      I’m happy to see that you hold your mom in high regard as well. It’s important to be thankful for the lessons mom has taught and the “no” we had to endure from time to time.

      Your input is appreciated here, enjoy your Mother’s Day celebration :)

  9. Jane | SEO Blogs
    May 8, 2011 | 12:05 pm

    Hi Jon,

    My mother is wonderful too. As always, moms do give a lot and don’t expect anything. But kids (everyone’s a kid, I mean, to a mother) don’t bother about it until they become mothers (or fathers).

    I loved your insight to saying no on business. I am so far good at it, but there are some strange times when I’d hope that things are ok and say yes, when everything will go terribly wrong. I should learn to anticipate :)


    • Jon
      May 12, 2011 | 10:46 pm

      haha trust me I know what you mean about saying yes and then watching everything burn to the ground. We all miss the mark sometimes.

      I’m glad you treasure your Mom. That’s key. So few people we encounter in life will be as selfless and generous with us as our Mothers. Good luck anticipating your “better say no” moments :)

  10. Ilka Flood
    May 8, 2011 | 12:45 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks for sharing your personal story! What a wondeful message!

    I lost my mom when I was 21, but in the few short years I got to spend with her she taught me the values that stayed with me my whole life. She was a remarkable woman and I sorely miss her.

    Saying “no” is still something I will have to work on. Good advice!

    All the best,


    • Jon
      May 12, 2011 | 10:44 pm

      Ilka, my heart and prayers were with you this past Sunday. I’m happy that your mother impressed upon you lasting and quality values. It requires strength to continue on after such a loss.

      Good luck drawing your line in the sand this week!

  11. Janet @ The Natural Networker
    May 8, 2011 | 4:05 pm

    Jon, aloha. What a wonderful gift your post is. Thank you so much.

    Jon, I already knew that someone taught you well so I was delighted to hear your mother is now enjoying a wonderful life. How thrilled you must be.

    For Mother’s Day I flew to the mainland to be with my 94 year old mother who is amazing. She still runs around in her 3″ spike heels. We went out to breakfast this morning and this evening we will be having dinner with two of my brothers and their families. She is someone to celebrate.

    Jon, you are so right on the importance of NO. Learning to say NO as the right time, goes a long way to improving the quality of one’s life.

    Thx again for this beautiful post, Jon. Best wishes to you for a fantastic week. Aloha, Janet

    • Jon
      May 12, 2011 | 10:42 pm

      Hey Janet! Thank you, yes I am thrilled with how happy she is and the freedom she’s experiencing. She earned it.

      Well, I’m betting you had a fantastic time here on the mainland with Mom. Yours sounds like she still has some spice at 94 years young, how fun! I appreciate the praise and thank you for the well-wishes :)

  12. Samantha Bangayan
    May 8, 2011 | 10:06 pm

    Wow, Jon! What a beautiful tribute to your mother! I loved “getting to know” her through your post. She sounds like such a strong lady who sacrificed for what and who were important to her. That’s a value that I really admire in others.

    I also loved your powerful lesson of learning to say “No.” This is one of the most important lessons I’m learning at this very moment. I’m starting to get sick during these past few days as I haven’t been taking care of myself very well. I feel like I’m able to when I don’t have to headache, even if I have a runny nose and incessantly sore throat. I guess it had to come to this, so I’d learn. =P

    Thanks for this personal post, Jon! =)

    • Jon
      May 12, 2011 | 10:40 pm


      Thanks so much. She impresses me everyday and I’m proud to call her “Mom.” Ah, health issues. We run ourselves ragged sometimes, Samantha. You can only give so much and you’re no use to others when you’re sick or bed ridden.

      Best of luck saying “no.”

  13. Mavis Nong @ Online Business Tools
    May 9, 2011 | 1:54 am

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks for sharing your personal story and gratitude for your mum.

    You’re so right about the importance of saying NO at the right time – this is something which many people struggle with.

    All the best,

    • Jon
      May 12, 2011 | 10:36 pm

      My pleasure, Mavis. It feels good to openly share. I know that I’ve struggled with turning people and business away when the demands have overcome my ability to supply.

  14. Rowena Bolo
    May 9, 2011 | 2:56 am

    Hi Jon,

    Okay, I won’t hide it – this post brought tears to my eyes. We have truly been blessed with amazing moms. Janet’s visit to her 94-yr old mom to celebrate Mother’s Day also made me smile! Our moms deserve the best in this world.

    Thank you for injecting a business lesson on this post, which is to learn to say NO. “Life shouldn’t be exclusively about work.” Funny you said this – I was just having a discussion with my husband about work ‘patterns’ and ‘programming’. As ironic as it may sound, sadly, simply saying NO is really hard for some people to do, as ‘workaholism’ is definitely a habit to unlearn.

    Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s celebration with your mom! Glad that we were able to call them as we miss them so much too.

    - Rowena

    • Jon
      May 12, 2011 | 10:35 pm

      Rowena – well, that’s a wonderful response to get to an article :) Any raw emotion that my work can elicit is a major plus. Moms deserve the best.

      This does take practice. Most times we just want to say yes to every new client, every request made, and give away all our free time. We can’t. We’re not robots. It’s okay to say “no!” I hope your week is going well.

  15. Jk Allen
    May 9, 2011 | 6:50 am

    This was great Jon – and congrats to your mom, on retiring to early!

    You know, this past weekend I took your very advice and just said no. As a result I did very little blogging work – and it was actually pretty nice.

    No – doesn’t mean never; it can mean many things…we all have the power to say it – and I think many of us should say it more.

    Have a great week Jon!

    • Jon
      May 12, 2011 | 10:32 pm

      Thanks man! I’m happy for Mom about that as well :)

      Saying “no” can be an empowering action. I’m glad you were able to slip into neutral for the weekend and recharge your batteries. I hope your week is going well and thanks mine has been great!

  16. Hi Jon,

    My mother is also an amazing women. Without her I would not have gotten anywhere in this life and I am grateful for everything she has done for me.

    Let your mothers know how much you appreciate them, not just on mothers day, but every chance you get. They deserve it!

    Thanks for sharing Jon and have a great day!

    • Jon
      May 11, 2011 | 8:15 pm

      Good man! You’re right – Mother’s Day isn’t the only day to show our appreciation. I know I value Mom all year long. You take care as well, thanks.

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