The Piece of Dad Advice That Changed My Life


 Growing up, you always hear little bits and pieces of advice that parents, teachers, coaches, and even older kids give you about life, love, growing up… on and on. And everyone has the little bits that stick out to them the most. For some, it was relationship advice, for others, it was how to work hard in school. But me? I had a little nugget of advice that I could apply to literally any situation in life. When I was younger, it of course didn’t mean nearly as much. The context of the first time I heard it had to do with math homework, while now it applies to nearly every hard decision in my life. In any situation where I might wonder, “Is it worth it? Can I do this?” the answer is always yes, and I am able to take risks to pursue my passions. Today I am stronger, more passionate, and more driven because of this one phrase:

You can do anything if you put your mind to it. 

This was first instilled in me at a very young age, I’d say maybe 9 or so. Math had never been my strong subject, but suddenly I was having a really hard time with it around 4th or 5th grade. Part of the problem was that I knew I wasn’t very good at math, so I started to believe that I would simply never be able to get an A, and it wasn’t even worth the effort. Then my dad said these very powerful words to me, “Alyssa, you can do anything if you put your mind to it.” Of course I challenged him in the way that little kids do, with “Even go to the moon?” to which he calmly replied, “If you put your mind to it.” This follows along with what my parents had told me about being dedicating to whatever it is I choose (at the time it was whether I was into soccer, gymnastics, cheerleading, etc.), and is a little nugget of advice that I find myself holding onto more and more dearly as I grow up. Though becoming a postpartum doula is different from what I’ve done before, although it’s not practical to stop pursuing my education degree, although it will be a challenge to become certified, I know that at the end of the day all I need to do is put my mind 100% towards pursuing what I want, and it will happen. This one little phrase has completely changed how I view goal-making and setting steps towards making it happen.

‘You can do anything’ is a phrase we love to tell little kids when they dream, but somewhere along the road we’re expecting to take a hard look in the reality mirror and realize what our limits our. Every single person has had one time in their life where they realize they couldn’t do something, and it’s incredibly heartbreaking. Now, we can’t get past the physical limitations. I will probably never play in the NBA, not because I don’t possess the ability to work and train and be good enough, but because no team in their right mind would draft a 4’11” player. I would have to be literally the most amazing player ever in the history of ever in order to combat that physical limitation. But hey, there is no limit to what hard work can do for you, right? Say it with me, right! The point here is that if you have a dream, you need to look at not what keeps you from it, but why haven’t you taken steps to make it happen already? ‘I want to be a nurse, but I can’t go to school right now because I work full-time and can’t afford to work less hours and make less money, because then I won’t be able to afford food, rent, insurance, etc.’ This is a super common and real problem. It’s hard. It’s so frustrating when you want to get up and do better for yourself, work a job that can get you more money, but can’t afford to not work in order to go to school and achieve that goal. Realize that you are not stuck, as much as it feels like you are. Take the smallest steps you can in order to get to your goal, even if it means only taking one online class a semester, because that’s all you can afford and all you can fit into your busy days. The biggest significance of this part of the phrase is not to water down your dreams to make them easier, but to realize that goal achievement is not a jump, it’s a very long and very tall staircase. You can do anything.

The phrase ‘put your mind to it’ acknowledges that you will have to work for what you want. Nothing worth it ever comes easy, and there’s no sugar-coating it. My parents always raised me to understand that they both worked hard for what we had, and that it took time and effort for both of them to get to where they are now. It took years of school, living in apartments, and working different jobs to get my parents to the comfortable suburban lifestyle we live now, and that wasn’t something that my brother and I should take for granted. By the same token, they assured us that we could have it all, as long as we worked for it. By ‘putting your mind to it’ you take your ideal, for me, becoming a postpartum doula, and put your thoughts towards how you will make it happen. For me, it’s training, reading, taking classes, that will lead to certification. To get there, what needs to get done? The first (and often hardest) part of realizing a goal is finding where to start. Luckily my goal included just some basic internet research, and signing up for the classes and seminars I needed to take, but it’s not always that simple? Want to get better at math? Practice. How to practice more? Sit down and set up times to work practice problems, and stick to it. To me, using the phrase, ‘put your mind to it’ rather than ‘work hard’ puts into the mindset that its not just action, but thoughtful planning that gets you to where you need to be.

So there you have it. One little phrase that can completely change the way you think about almost anything in your life. Change your thinking today friends, and realize that you are capable of so much more than you realize. Know that no matter what, the fact that you have even made to smallest effort towards reaching your goal shows a tremendous amount of strength that should never be forgotten. You are strong. You are thoughtful and creative. You are powerful. You can do anything you put your mind to.

Tell me, what is the latest goal you’ve taken steps to achieve? Doesn’t it feel great to take even the smallest of steps to achieve your biggest dreams? As always, I love reading your comments, so feel free to leave them below! Have a wonderful rest of your day friends, and I hope to see you here again soon.


6 thoughts on “The Piece of Dad Advice That Changed My Life

  1. Love this piece of advice and it’s what we tell our 3 kids all the time. About a year ago I told myself I was going to turn this blogging “thing” into a full time gig for my family. With a lot of hours, hard work, days of tears and frustration, followed by the most amazing days ever….my husband was able to quit his job last week. You CAN absolutely do anything you put your mind too! You have to be willing to take risks and when you fail, pick yourself up, dust off the failures and keep moving forward. :)

  2. It’s so easy for people to see the good life, but it’s hard for anyone to understand and respect that the same person struggled, never gave up and built their success. It cannot happen overnight, or it’ll never last. It’s progress and it demands to be earned, so there can be respect. I love this post. My dad taught me the same things. I grew up in a nice suburban area as well, but after their divorce and living/working on my own, it taught me a lot I’d never know otherwise. To be able to change your life and empower yourself to survive from your mind and own two hands is a blessing. Working hard may not be easy, but the journey to success is worth the results. Understanding where we come from and who we are is the best gift to ourselves. Thanks for the post!

  3. Pingback: 5 Things I Know to be True | alyssa racquel

  4. I dream of writing and publishing best seller books; I hope to get at least one out before the end of this year. I wish I had heard that kind of stuff when I was growing up. I almost got crippled by negative feedback. But thank God for His healing grace.

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