Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of my Mom passing away from cancer. Definitely a day of mixed emotions, and if you’ve lost someone close to you, you know that it doesn’t necessarily get “easier” per se; you just adjust better to the new normal and keep moving forward.

I’ve spent some time this week thinking, reflecting, looking through old photos. One of the things we do as leaders is to take the lessons we’ve learned from others (parents, teachers, coaches, managers, etc.) and use them to the best of our abilities.

THAT is how we carry on the legacy of the people who have impacted us.

THAT is also how we create our own legacy.

When I think about some of the greatest lessons my Mother taught me, I always come back to these three:

1. Just Try Your Best

Sounds simple enough, right?

Growing up as an athlete, I was always fixated on winning and what others were doing. Right before some of my biggest golf tournaments, my Mom’s last piece of advice to me would be to “just try your best.”

Of course I didn’t listen – I went back to thinking about winning 🙂

But now I get it.

Playing to win is more important than winning itself.

Focus on giving your own individual best effort and the results take care of themselves.

2. Do What Makes You Happy

I can say with 100% certainty that I would not be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for my Mom.

When I left my last corporate job about 6 years ago, my Dad said, “Why would you want to leave a stable job where you’re making good money and have good benefits?” It was a fair question.

But my Mom understood. She told me:

I ALWAYS want you to do what makes you happy. Life is too short not to.

3. Treat Others With Respect

When I go back to Albany and see people in the community from which I grew up learning, they always want me to refer to them by their first name. I can’t. I refer to them as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” [insert last name] because I was raised to respect my elders. It is something my Mom ingrained in me at a young age.

Beyond this, I do my very best to say “please,” “thank you,” smile at strangers, hold doors for others and to treat them how I would like to be treated: with respect.

Thanks for these lessons, Mom. You’ve made me a better person because of them.

If you’ve lost someone close to you, I’m sure you are as well.

Keep Outperforming,


Quick video from Club Entrepreneur in 2017, the first speech I did after my Mom passed.