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“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes and 3 Lessons for Entrepreneurs

“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes and three lessons for entrepreneurs.

During the month of February each year all across the United States, people celebrate Black History Month. This blog was created to encourage, inspire, and motivate people to be their best at work and at home. During the month of February each year, we share poems from my favorite author, Langston Hughes. Each poem is analyzed to show why Hughes’ words, written so long ago has three lessons for entrepreneurs.

So, sit back read the beautiful words, enjoy my video presentation of the poetry, then check out the analysis. Stay with us for the entire month and feel free to share your own video interpretation in the comments. Today’s poem is my favorite of all the Langston Hughes poems, “Mother to Son.”

 

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare.

But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now—

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

 

 

I first read this poem when I was a young girl, a long way from the entrepreneur I would become.  My view of the poem has changed over the course of time as I have grown and matured. The saying goes, when I was a child, I viewed the poem as a child. When I became an entrepreneur, I put away childish thoughts. Now that I am an entrepreneur, I look at the poem and I see things from a different perspective. I see more than a mother talking to her son. There are three lessons for entrepreneurs. Those lessons are:

  1. Sometimes entrepreneurship is hard
  2. Business life is full of are unseen dangers
  3. There is always a reason to continue on

 

Sometimes entrepreneurship is hard.

 

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare.

 

 

The poem, like business life, is full of imagery of hard times, struggles, and problems. Often people who work for others dream of having their own businesses. They think that if they had their own businesses, life at work would be a breeze. Then, when they get their own businesses up and running they realize how wrong they were. Entrepreneurship is hard. There are taxes to be paid. Clients must be satisfied. There are employees to pay. Entrepreneurship is not a crystal stair.

 

Business life is full of are unseen dangers.

 

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

 

When one is an entrepreneur, one must get used to dealing with surprises. No matter what type of business you have, there will be surprises. As it does in your personal life, Murphy’s Law will raise its ugly head. There will be things that go wrong. If you are an entrepreneur you learn to put out fires with only a moments’ notice. Smart entrepreneurs will learn to keep fire extinguishers ready and in working order.

 

There will always be things in the business that make you want to pull your hair out or bang your head on your desk. Laws will change. Competitors will open up shop next door. Bad social media reviews will cost you business. If something can go wrong, it will. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you must learn to accept that fact. Once you accept the fact, you can do something about it. You can succeed in your business.

 

There is always a reason to continue on.

 

 

Even when everything goes wrong, smart entrepreneurs find a way to continue on. Sometimes in business, everything an entrepreneur touches turns to rust. No matter what the entrepreneur tries, she is met with failure after failure. When this happens the entrepreneur is faced with two choices:

  • She can turn and run
  • She can find a way to continue on

 

 

 

“Madam’s Calling Cards” and 3 Lessons for Entrepreneurs – This poem has three lessons for entrepreneurs. These lessons are: quality may cost more, a little ego stroking is fine. ask for what you want. Click here to read more.

 

When an entrepreneur turns and runs she shuts down, puts her head in the sand, and ignores the problem. On the other hand,  a smart entrepreneur finds a way to continue. She knows that there are options available to her:

 

  • Continue in business
  • Change policies and practices
  • Close this business and open another
  • Learn how to do things better

 

This poem has three lessons for entrepreneurs. This is great because smart entrepreneurs know that they should always be learning. Tune in tomorrow when we will highlight the poem,  “Madam’s Past History.”

Janeane Davis

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Janeane Davis

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