Mother knows best. At least it's true for a pile of successful founders and CEOs who point to their mothers for steering them in the right directions. Check out the stellar advice they say they'll never forget.
1. Always remember where you came from.
"My mom was tough with me on my academic achievements and always expected the best from me and my siblings. But she led by example, graduating at the top of her class from med school, getting a master's while we were in elementary school, and a PhD she finished just two years ago. She did all of this while working full time. Her continuous striving for knowledge and personal growth is inspiring to me as a woman. One of the most memorable pieces of advice she gave me was 'Never forget where you came from.' This is a sentence I have never forgotten, living now so far from where I grew up--Tijuana--and in such a different reality. I remind myself constantly of the blessings I've received and now to be where I am. Remembering where you came from is also remembering who has been with you all along."
--Alexandra Zatarain, co-founder of Eight, a nonwearable sleep tracker that senses and analyzes more than 15 factors from a person's sleep patterns and bedroom environment, to determine the conditions that encourage optimal rest
2. Don't go to jail.
"Our mother always told us that confidence is what will make or break whatever you do, whether it comes to relationships or work. Be confident in your decisions but still take ownership of your mistakes. [Doing so] makes you more credible in the long term. That, and don't go to jail."
--Emily Motayed and Lee Mayer, sisters and co-founders of the online interior design platform Havenly
3. Never take shortcuts.
"My mother and I are close, and one of the best pieces of advice she has given was that throughout life's journey, never take shortcuts and always trust your employees by showing them respect. This always shows integrity, and helps empower and encourage everyone to work together and do their best."
--Constantin Bisanz, founder and CEO of on-the-go wellness company Aloha
4. Wake up with a smile or change something.
"Work hard and have fun. The more hours you invest, the more you get things done. But it is also key to remember that if you don't wake up with a smile, do something else. Simple as that."
--Magnus Larsson, CEO of Rebtel, a mobile communications company offering unlimited international calling to mobile phones and landlines for a nominal monthly rate
5. Build something you love.
"I grew up an only child, raised by a single mother. My mother worked her ass off to raise me, and it wasn't easy. She taught me to work hard to cultivate and build something you love, and something special: In her case, it was me. In my case--right now--it's [my app], Overnight. I'm lucky that I got to see this kind of work ethic, and it's the most impactful example that has shaped me into who I am today. No matter how hard it could be, just keep climbing, and something great will come out of it. That's your only choice when you have something special you're bringing up."
--Asher Hunt, co-founder and CEO of Overnight, an app for booking last-minute spaces with local hosts
6. Always stay active.
"My mother has always represented persistence, confidence, and a can-do attitude. She regularly woke up at 4:30 a.m. to drive me to crew practice and then jump in a boat herself to learn to row and race in the master's program. Next, she took on golf and at 60-plus years old is regularly ranked in the top women at PGA National and Jonathan's Landing clubs in Florida. My parents supported my brother and me in any undertaking we embarked on, as long as we agreed to give it our all."
--Erin Sykes, founder and CEO of Mission 360, a curated community dedicated to empowering people seeking a stronger body, enriched spirit, and expanded mind
7. Stay exactly the way you are.
"My mum is a true fighter ... She always motivated me to push my limits and elevate to excellence in any space that I was in. I have a Christmas card that I still carry with me in my wallet every day. It must have been more than 10 years ago that I got it and it translates to: 'Dear Pia, Stay exactly the way you are--headstrong, determined, with your heart in the right place.'"
--Pia Poppenreiter, co-founder and CEO of Ohlala, a paid dating app that connects people to instant dates on demand
8. Everything is possible.
"My mother is an amazing woman who is a little eccentric and has the strongest momentum. I think the best advice she's ever given me is that everything is possible and the world is yours, and to remember that everything is created by people who are no smarter than you."
--Michael Cassau, founder and CEO of ByeBuy, a startup that grants unlimited access to gadgets via a subscription program.
9. Know which pocket to reach into.
"My mom is a fascinating woman. Beautiful as she is brilliant, she could've spent her life immersed in academic or professional pursuits had she not birthed me and my sisters. Instead, this highly educated, accomplished woman chose to focus all her efforts on raising us and caring for our every need. She would always say that in one pocket you keep a note that says 'the whole world was built for me' and in the other pocket a note that says 'my only purpose is to serve others.' All of life is knowing when to reach into which pocket. As I grow older, I keep discovering new layers of depth to this saying."
--Asher Weinberger, co-founder and CEO of Twillory, a New York City-based startup that provides quality dress shirts at a fair price
10. Take risks and go on adventures.
"My mom has taught me how to be independent, while always putting family first. When I broke both knees while kite surfing, she took care of me and still encouraged me to get back out there once I was healed. Starting when I was 4 years old, she would send me to Argentina alone to spend the summer with my grandparents and cousins. At first, this was a terrifying experience, but over time I become quite the little world traveler. When it comes to work-life balance, my mom is a total rock star. She has always had her own successful business, while juggling family and lots of overseas adventures."
--Eric Sanchez, founder and CEO of the smart action camera company REVL