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12 Maxims from My Mother


In my keynote presentation The Prism Effect, I speak about the importance of being acutely aware of what is present — of those elements that we might readily dismiss or those we might simply overlook.

This applies to how we see our business…and it applies to how we see people. In The Prism Effect paradigm, it is symbolized by the hidden colors that reside in the white light.

In life, we tend to look at the individuals closest to us — our parents, spouses, children — and wish they were different than they are.

“How come they’re not…?”  “He always…” “She never….”   Phrases such as these spill out of our mouths and of our minds. We focus only on certain colors.

But the day you find out you’re going to lose someone, all you can see is everything that person is,
and everything you’re about to lose.

I lost my own mother in 2002 to pancreatic cancer and while there many things she wasn’t, there was an inordinate number of things she was.

Among her many great qualities: her exceptional wisdom.

Recently, I found myself quoting a number of her phrases and so the other night, I took out a pad and pen to see if I could record 12 of her best maxims. Not surprisingly, once I focused, they came pouring out.

I’ve shown the list to a few close friends who said, “Those are great. Can I have a copy?” and so I thought this week, I’d share them on The Sunday V.

Here they are:

from Patricia H. Labalme…

1. Do the best with what you have
2. Things should not be perfect
3. The beginning is more than half of the whole
4. Do one small thing well
5. It’s not enough to make a list; you also have to look at it
6. All good things must come to an end
7. It doesn’t happen by itself
8. Keep your own counsel
9. I never had a 5-year plan; I always just did my best with what was next
10. Find joy in small things
11. Let things unfold
12. Your gifts will bring you home

I hope that in these phrases and philosophies, you find value and meaning.

More importantly, I hope that you will look at the people closest to you and see them not for who’re they aren’t, but for who they are.

Look for the colors that lie shining before you. You will sorely miss them once they are gone.


2 thoughts on “12 Maxims from My Mother”

  1. Chelsea

    Very wise. I have always liked the “I never have had a 5 year plan” one – especially in this time of economic and political uncertainty (and in my case, possible immigration limitations) it’s so important to live every day to the fullest and not plan too far ahead.

  2. Victoria Labalme

    I like that one, too. This philosophy is so freeing…focusing on doing one’s best work and seeing where the PRESENT leads. I think we live our best life through a combination of having a vision AND also focusing on the present. Though those may seem at odds, I think they’re very close. Vision is present. Future is now. We fuse the two through our best work.

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