The 2016 Summer Olympics define what happens when people labor for what they love.

Watching US athletes like Michael Phelps defy age and wing span and Simone Biles break records and land impossible dismounts, proves that if we work hard enough, we can achieve our goals. It won’t be easy. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be messy, we will be uncomfortable, but the pot of gold at the end always makes our labor worth it.

Our goals may not be as lofty as winning an Olympic gold medal, but a goal is a goal and it should be celebrated. So what if we aren’t standing on a podium receiving a stadium applause? We should give ourselves a hand anyway!

When was the last time you thought about what your gold was? What are you working for? Is it a new job, financial stability, weight loss, affording your child a college education, a faster mile or a little more flexibility in yoga? Whoops, I think I just wrote my list! Whatever your list is, I encourage you to write it, and most importantly, to clap your ass off, and ask others to clap with you, when you reach your goal!

I had what I would call a true “gold” moment this summer. It was a mom moment and we all know we need more of them. No one is out there telling us we are doing an excellent job. In fact, we are mostly told we suck! So when this happened, I paused and smiled and I said to myself out loud “Great job, Sally Lou, they were listening.”

“I paused and smiled and I said to myself out loud “Great job, Sally Lou, they were listening.”

If you have heard me speak or have read any of my blogs, you know that I give thanks to my mom for my TV career. My mom invited me to The Mike Douglas Show when I was 14 and as I sat in the studio audience, I spotted a girl on the set with a clipboard. Immediately, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

“I spotted a girl on the set with a clipboard. Immediately, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Now, try growing up with that story being told to you on repeat! My kids would run out of the room when they heard me start. My girls had no idea what they wanted to be when they grew up, and when they passed the age of 14, they began to worry that there was something wrong with them!   My son is a different story.   At age four he told me, “I want to be the guy who pushes the buttons to make TV shows.” That’s a Technical Director. Who even speaks like that at four? Billy is now 17 and wants to be a Film Director. Love spoke to him very early on, but not so much for my girls.

All of my kids were lucky to have had multiple opportunities to be on a television set and watch how shows were made. So I guess my girls were listening even when I wasn’t talking. Environments speak so much louder than moms!

“Environments speak so much louder than moms!”

My “gold” came via text. My daughter Carly sent me a photo of her in a studio at ABC’s WLS-TV and she was holding a clipboard! What makes the story even better is that it’s the same exact studio where I started at The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1987. She had just completed her summer internship at ABC 7’s Windy City Live and her gift to me was that photo. A few months prior to this text, my daughter Marin sent me a photo of her on The Today Show set holding a clipboard! Marin just completed her NBC Page Program.

Both of my girls are working in TV, holding clipboards, and figuring out what they want to be because of an environment their mom invited them into at a young age. We talk “TV” and audience logistics. I can see myself in all of their stories. It is so much fun sharing this connection with them.

My son is blazing his own trail on the stage and in film production. He recently declined my invitation to see Garry Marshall speak at Northwestern University this past May. Two months later, Garry Marshall died and Billy realized saying no was a lost opportunity for him. The moral of the story – accept all invitations from your mom if you want to find your gold. Don’t wait on your dreams. And if you want a good cry – watch this 2016 Olympics ad for Proctor & Gamble and then call your mom!

“Call your mom!”

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