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The best advice

You know how families have stories they tell over and over again throughout the years? In my family, my birth is one of those stories. Or rather, the fact that I took my sweet time being born. And once I was finally out in the world, my dad was the first one to hold me. My mom could barely keep her eyes open. She had been awake for so long. Sorry, Mom.

In those first moments of my life my dad said something to me he’s repeated countless times since:

“You can do anything you want to do.”

I know this sounds like the kind of life advice that has infamously steered millennials in the wrong direction. Allowing your child to do whatever she wants isn’t a popular parenting strategy. But there was an unspoken under current to this advice, and although it’s not as simple to capture as the phrase itself, I think it’s where the “good advice” part happens.

You see, throughout my life when my dad has said to me, “You can do anything you want to do,” he’s saying so much more.

You can do anything you want to do if you are willing to do the work.

My dad has always been my biggest cheerleader, and part of being a cheerleader means giving a boost through the tough times. Whenever I’m feeling like I should just give up, I hear my dad reminding me of his advice. It’s then that I always remember that I can do this, it’s just going to take a lot of hard work and determination. No one can do anything they want to do without putting forth the effort.

You can do anything you want to do, but you can’t do everything you want to do.

Sometimes accomplishing Goal A means you can’t also accomplish Goal B, and that’s okay. My dad is a big believer in being fully present to everything you commit to, which means a lot of times you have to make choices about what your priorities are. It took me until recently to grasp the full gravity of this truth. I can’t do everything all at once. And although sometimes the choice is hard, it’s always better to do something than do nothing, and I’m always happier when I’m giving something my all instead of half-heartedly doing too much.

You can do anything you want to do. I believe in you.

I feel so blessed that I always knew I had someone in my corner who would support me no matter how crazy my idea. It’s a privilege to know I have people in my life who will remind me to work hard, focus, and try something new. Sometimes I think my dad believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and that’s a powerful thing. I hope I can be that person to those I love.

This spring, what do you want to accomplish? Whatever it is, I hope you’ll take this advice. You can do anything you want to do.

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