As a parent (and also as a boss) you can become remarkably comfortable dishing out wisdom, regardless of your actual qualifications for doing so. I do this so much with my daughters that I am in danger of turning into a walking Pinterest board of inspirational but essentially meaningless quotes.
My mantra on repeat at the moment, whilst tackling increasingly harder year five spelling tests, guitar lessons and the endless pursuit of mastering a cartwheel (my daughter not me!), has been "perfect comes from perseverance!"
My motivation with this seemingly trite message is to try to instil a sense of grit in my girls. To develop an attitude where focussed effort can reap more rewards than talent on its own. Bruce Lee probably expressed this best, saying: "I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times".
I do believe that tenacity could be the one trait above all others that shapes the kind of future you will have. Yes, talent is undoubtedly helpful, but grit is the fuel in the engine that will push you towards - and across - the finishing line. Grit determines whether merely passable or good becomes brilliant.
This past week, however, my ability to live up to my own easily proffered pearls of wisdom has been well and truly tested. It has been an irrefutably bad week: one of those that kicks you in the teeth, leaving you flat, demotivated and as grumpy as a cat off the internet.
All I have wanted to do is to flounce off in a huff, sulk miserably and pull the drawbridge on myself while muttering under my breath. Perseverance? Much?
The irony of pushing my nine-year-old daughter to stick it out with her spelling homework, whilst the only thing I've wanted to put effort into is un-corking a large bottle of wine whilst complaining to my friends, has not escaped me. In fact, it has made me laugh out loud at my own childishness and lack of tenacity.
And this week, as downright awful as it has been, has given me a gift - a timely reminder that sometimes we have to stop dishing out the advice and take a spoonful of our own medicine.
So instead of sulking, I am going to force myself to take more heed of the gems I've been merrily doling out. I am going to demonstrate some grit of my own, to try and turn something that may feel like a stone in my shoe into the pearl I believe it can be. Grit is demonstrated in the doing, not in the saying nor the 'pinning'. Watch this space for cartwheels.Suggest a correction