Something my mother taught me a long time ago is finally making sense to me. I also suspect, it is the same thing you learned from your mother, to BE KIND. My mom’s message had a bit of twist from most. Yes, she instilled in me the importance of being kind to others, to treat others with respect. Yet she also stressed, sometimes subtly and other times more emphatically, the importance of being kind to myself. In my young and youthful days, like most, I thought I could do it all, be it all. My mother was always supportive, yet never pushed me to be in the school play, be on 3 school sport teams, run a school committee and take on a part-time job. (BTW, there was one year where I did all of those things at once!). She would though sit me down and ask if I really needed to do all those things at the same time. It was her way of saying, “Rita, Be Kind to yourself”. Today, my mother is more brazen in her message, and reminds me – correction, tells me – often and out right, to Be Kind to myself. She tells me, things do not need to be perfect, I do not need to do it all, and it is okay to not do it all. To find my space and play in it – play hard in that space, enjoy it and let someone else worry about the other things I am not as passionate about.

So why is my mom’s message finally making sense to me you may ask? As I sit here, with a daughter of my own, who has the same youthful, I can do anything and everything attitude, I too have at times subtly cautioned her about dipping her toe in many waters versus diving into one or two pools. Like my mother, I want my daughter to explore the world around her, take on new experiences, take risks, yet I also want her to find her passion and live it. I want her to know, striving for excellence is the key – not perfection. Finding your passion and that thing, the je ne sai quoi – the fire in your belly, is where it is at – not having a CV that is 4 pages long. In order to learn these things, to live these things, you do need to Be Kind to yourself. You do need to give yourself permission to let things go. Being kind to oneself – it seems so simple, yet, my own personal experiences tell me it is likely one of the hardest things to do. Giving yourself permission to acknowledge your passions and to stay the course is not always an easy thing to do.

I share this message constantly with my peers, colleagues and mentees. I find myself using my mom’s exact words at times and it brings a smile to my face. That realization that after so many years of her guiding and directing me I am finally getting it and paying it forward! Now as I say this, I have just accepted the opportunity to lead another project and I can hear my mother’s voice, “Rita (she actually calls me Ritella) you need to take care of yourself, Be Kind – learn from me, my daughter”.

As I close off, here are a few final thoughts:

  1. When you are striving for perfection, Be Kind to yourself and strive for excellence instead,
  2. Go ahead and keep that youthful spirit and attitude that you can do it all, be it all, just Be Kind and pick the spaces that fit you best! And
  3. That new project – well, it is right up my alley, it is in my space, and I feel great about it!

Until next time,

Just Breathe and Be Kind

Rita

Rita Mizzi-Gago picAbout the Author

Rita Mizzi-Gago
Rita Mizzi-Gago, VP Human Resources, works with all of our offices across North America on talent management, strategic development and policies and procedures, just to name a few. She is a positive, energetic person who loves making connections and being involved in all aspects of human resources while working with management to facilitate organizational improvements. In her spare time, Rita enjoys yoga, travel and spending time with her family.

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