This gritty, positive phrase may help you and your kids climb mountains

While watching the Golden Globes a few weeks ago, my daughter curled up by my side, I came across a little nugget of inspiration in one of the winner’s acceptance speeches. Actress Gina Rodriquez, star of Jane the Virgin, thanked her parents while saying her dad taught her to say every morning “I can. I will and today is going to be a great day.” Tearfully, grasping her statue above her head in triumph she concluded by saying “Dad, today is a great day.  I can and I did.”

While I’ve never heard of her (or the show for that matter. See my blog post “I need to watch more TV”) I loved the moment. Her breathless, overwhelming OMG joy was awesome, totally heart-warming and was a fabulous reminder of the huge emotional pay-off that comes from working hard, reaching high and achieving a coveted goal.

But what I really loved was that simple, gritty, can-do, my glass-is-half-full phrase and the role it played in helping her to attain a dream.  While her accomplishments can’t be chalked up to one simple mantra, those few sentences clearly influenced her and – more importantly – reflect a strong positive culture within the home.

As the professionals tell us, grit isn’t a dirty word.  In fact, according to some experts it’s not just important, it’s the make or break factor in goal accomplishment and big picture success.  Gina’s parents apparently recognized its importance and focused on cultivating a determined approach in their kids.

Kudos to them because not only is Gina’s success impressive but her sisters are pretty accomplished too; one is a doctor (and paid for Gina’s post-secondary education) and the other is an investment banker. The three girls grew up in Chicago with Puerto Rican parents – her father was a boxing referee – and without the advantages that can be so important to attaining success. Not bad at all.

For more on grit, check out my blog post on “grit” expert Angela Lee Duckworth and her Ted Talk.

Gina’s story is a great reminder of the massive impact parents can have on shaping their children’s perspective and approach to challenges.  Efforts as small as providing a simple mantra can help equip them to weather life’s storms and climb mountains on the way to achieving dreams.

And, as I’m thinking of climbing what seems to be Mount Kilimanjaro by leaving my uber comfortable world to return to the working world full-time, it’s my new mantra… replacing “as if.” Joking!- kind of.

And you know what? Today really is a great day.

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