Career & Resources, Family

A Career Mom Turns Her College Gig into a Calling

This Mother’s Day my mom will be visiting. She used to visit me every year for Mother’s Day, but next year I will have to share her with my sister who is expecting her first baby in August (but I can’t wait for that!).

Being a mom can be one of the most difficult jobs, and I hope your Mother’s Day celebration, either with your mom, as a mom, or for another mom in your life let it be a wonderful celebration of love and merriment.

Today Cherisse Hixson, mom and resident of Tennessee, is sharing all about how she honors moms and got inspiration from her own mom. I chose her to share her story because she exudes an aura of overall cheerfulness in her community and she’s always taking care of other women and lifting them up. She has a way of shining light on her friends and generally everyone she meets.

She carries goody bags in her car and distributes them to strangers she interacts with that may be having a wicked day or season in life. As a Mary Kay consultant she volunteers at local elementary school career fairs to inspire young women by sharing the Mary Kay philosophy. She conducted a make-over challenge in March where she treated 100 women in her community to a make-over that she organized over wine, coffee, in the back of Panera’s and at her home. Her life is a testament to taking care of others. I hope you have a friend like Cherisse; someone that inspires you to live life shining light onto others.

Where are you from? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Park Rapids, Minnesota and we moved to Naperville, Illinois when I was in Kindergarten and lived there until I was in 6th grade. That’s when we finally moved to Memphis and have been here since (or at least within a one hour radius).

Tell me something unique about your upbringing.

From about the time I can remember (starting at around 5 years old until I was about 11 years old) I spent the summers at my grandparent’s lake resort. They owned Big McDonald Resort in Dent, Minnesotta, with eight cabins right on the water, and a lodge for people to come play cards, games and watch TV and it was attached to my grandparents’ home. My parents would bring me up in May and I came back home right before school started in August and I learned at a very young age how to serve others and make them feel important; that was what my grandparents did.

Tell me a little bit about your philosophy on interacting with others and how you find a way to spread joy.

I think it is just something that is inside my soul or in my blood. My mom has raised us to recognize that everyone we come in contact with has a sign around their neck that says “make me feel important”. Not only did she teach us those values but she SHOWED us by example, whether we were at Walmart, checking out at the grocery store or if it was a friend or neighbor, my mother knows no stranger. Even though I rolled my eyes as a teenager, I came to find that more is CAUGHT than TAUGHT.
It is simply the Golden Rule and what we deeply believe inside our hearts exudes out of us and unto others. I am also religious and I truly believe through my faith that we may be the only Jesus that anyone knows. I MESS UP all the time but as a general rule I really do intentionally try and get out of my own head and make someone that I’m interacting with feel special on a daily basis.

Where does your positive attitude stem from?

My mom started her Mary Kay business when I was 5 years old; a business model that adopts the Golden Rule and prioritizes faith first, family second, and career third. My mom also had positive affirmations and scripture all over our home, leadership training tapes playing during our rides to and from school, and goal posters up on her office/laundry room door. This played a huge role in how I learned to have a great attitude.
I remember one time in particular, during a cold winter day, my mom drove me and a friend to middle school, and she had finally heard enough of our bad attitudes. She rolled down all four of the car windows and said, “Girls negativity out the window! Until you girls change your attitude, these windows stay down!” I don’t think my friend ever said another negative word around my mom again; she knew there was no room for that in our home.

Now I’m the one enforcing positivity towards my own son these days.

I know that you interact with your community quite a bit. How are you intentional in sharing your joyful philosophy?

I wish I could take credit for my community involvement, but to be honest it I am not that intentional about making it happen. I stand in awe of the friends, women, relationships and interactions that the Lord puts in my path daily. Honestly, my biggest prayer lately is, “Lord just let me slow down, be still, and be aware of your presence, and walk in obedience. Let me steward these sweet relationships you place in front of me well”. I hope to be known as the woman who loves others really well, encourages them, and when they leave my space, they in turn can pour back into someone else what they have received.

Tell me a little bit about your career and how that came about.

I really started my own business with Mary Kay unintentionally. I called home as a scared, broke and very lonely 18-year-old, living in a new city and reporting to a college campus, complaining about all of the above to my mother. I mentioned to her that I had looked everywhere for a part-time job that would work around my school schedule and I kept coming up short and frustrated.
Of course, my mother being who she is, saw an opportunity for me to meet friends, learn business skills, people skills and Mary Kay values, all while earning the extra income I needed in college. Unbeknownst to me, my mom filled out my MK paperwork and gifted me a MK starter kit and business! At the time I was not very grateful, scared out of my mind, and feeling inadequate, but she believed in me and never let me quit on myself.
I am forever grateful that she always told me “you can do it” and “just keep going”. It was her encouragement along with the other women I had the opportunity to interact with through the MK business, that have mentored me for over eighteen years, why I have been forever changed. My son Drew, and husband Matt, have also been impacted by thousands of woman I have been able to meet and come into contact with over the years. They have influenced and inspired all of us.

Mother’s day is a special holiday and you’re a mom. What are you especially thankful for this year on Mother’s Day?

This year on Mothers Day I am thankful all of the blessings I have been graced with! I feel so many prayers I have prayed about over the last decade have come true: closing on a home of our own in a neighborhood we have aspired to live in, having a community of friends who gather at our home weekly and encourage us in our marriage, as parents and as individuals, and a church family that surrounds us and helps us grow. As I go through this list of things I am most grateful for, I could sum it up by saying that I am most grateful for the relationships we have an opportunity to experience.

What does your Mother’s Day usually look like?

This is so funny to think about, but if my mom were in town she would say all she wants for Mother’s Day is to be with her kids, but she would also say she wants some KFC! I have no idea why she thinks that is so incredible but that is what she has always wanted on Mother’s Day.

How do you honor other moms on mother’s day through your business?

Honoring moms should be something all of us do more than just one day of the year because being a mom is seriously one of the hardest things we as woman do. The best way I know how to love on moms all year long is to invite them over, allow them to slow down, brew them a cup of tea or coffee and place it on a girlie cup and saucer, and serve them well. I allow them time to share their hearts with me and just listen. Sometimes I even share their story and encourage other moms! What a gift to allow women a break from serving someone else for even just an hour and allow them time to share their heart.

I truly believe the Lord lays friends on our heart that could use some extra prayer or even just an invitation to have coffee and spend time around a table visiting and sharing life. I am so guilty of being on my phone or computer and I intentionally work on being more present by getting off of social media and reaching out to a friend by saying: “Hey would you like to come over for coffee. It would be so nice to just have time with you”. I heard the best quote from a man named Soup Campbell (really that’s his name) and he was teaching that “we are known by the feet who are gathered around our tables”. I love that!!

Anything else to share?

I heard a great piece of wisdom from business coach, Bob Williumsun, who is an Executive Coach for many CEO’s here in my city and also a dynamic marriage coach. He said that two things to focus on daily that can have a compound effect on our lives immensely are these:
1. Make it a goal daily to grow in a personal relationship with Jesus and get to know him more through spending time in His word.
2. Ask yourself daily: Have I added value to someone else’s life?
If those are my ONLY two goals each day, I can lay my head on the pillow at night and know that I had a win for today and over the entire course of my life!

Thank you Cherisse! I am so inspired by your positive attitude and positive influence over others! Have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend everyone!

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