How to Talk to Kids about Grit and Passion

This podcast will focus on how to inspire grit and perseverance through listening to the story of one woman’s success, who took 500 no’s in 5 years and made them into a yes! Jodi Bondi Norgaard, creator of Go! Go! Sports Dolls, talks to us about how she advises young people; “when one door closes, another door opens but YOU have to be the one who opens it! Perseverance creates change—so keep going after your passion even when it’s difficult!

Special guest: Jodi Bondi Norgaard .

How do we keep going, hammering away at our dreams, when we find ourselves faced with disappointment, frustration, failure and a big fat NO from those who can help make these dreams happen? It comes down to perseverance. Persistence. Determination and grit. We keep on going because there is a fire in us that tells us we must try yet another time. How does this play out in real life? Just recently, one of my very best friends posted a video of her daughter playing a song on the piano. A year ago, she had committed to learning “Piano Man” by Billy Joel—a very challenging goal for the then, 9-year-old. But she was adamant about doing it—and she persevered. She hit bumps in the road, valleys on tough days, fumbling fingers and wrong notes. But she kept going. Today, she debuted the song—and it was delightful. A full year of dedication to a goal from a child—that’s a huge part of her life. But she will always know that when she sticks to something—when she sets a goal and perseveres—she can make what seems monumentally challenging—an achieved reality.

Today we are going to talk to someone who also made her goal a reality despite facing frustration, failure and disapproval. She, too, persevered—and so we will devote today’s special podcast to how she reached down deep to keep going and what words of advice she has for our children who must learn to do this too, in their own way. How do we help kids find their passion? And how do we help them go after it when they find it—despite the fact that success doesn’t happen in a straight line?

Jodi Bondi Norgaard is the creator of the award-winning Go! Go! Sports Girls line of dolls and books for girls encouraging healthy and active play over fashion and body image. Jodi is a consultant, activist, and keynote speaker, inspiring and empowering women and girls throughout the world.

She has been featured on national media including The Today Show, Forbes, and Upworthy. In 2016, Jodi was invited by the Obama-era White House to participate in conferences on breaking down gender stereotypes in media and toys. The Go! Go! Sports Girls brand was recently acquired by Jazz-wears (Jazwares), an established cutting-edge toy company.

The podcast provides:

  • The landscape of the toy market for girls today
  • How to look at small opportunities as a way to move forward
  • How to fuel your child’s interest/passion
  • Dealing with “no.”
  • The importance of leaning on your team.
  • The story of one woman’s success and what she learned from the journey.

Important Messages:

  • At ages 7, 8, 9, you see a discrepancy in what toys are marketed towards boys and what toys are marketed towards girls. Toys for boys push aggression and violence and toys for girls push appearance and attractiveness.
  • Even when the small opportunities don’t pan out the way you want them to—they help you learn, they give you courage and they move you forward.
  • When your child has fear, you feel it in your gut. But everything they try makes it easier for the next step.
  • The majority of women would not rate “fashion” as their top 3 interests. Why would we continue to pigeon-hole girls into this one thing?
  • Passion can take a lot of different routes.
  • Sometimes the path that looks unlikely or absurd becomes the thing that you do!
  • There are other ways to go with our passions—allow them to come to fruition by looking at what’s done but also listening to your heart and seeing what hasn’t been done yet. What needs need to be filled?
  • There are different kinds of “no”. No, not right now and no, never. When a child faces rejection, it’s tough on kids and it’s tough on the parents.
  • When you get a bunch of “no’s”, look for the positive. Remember to lean on your team.
  • If it’s truly not doing to work out—know when to say “enough is enough.”
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And continue to ask- if someone doesn’t know the answer- go further and ask “who might know?” Who can they connect you with next? It’s like a big puzzle.
  • After 500 “no’s” after 5 years, there was a hard stop. Was it going to work? Should she keep going?
  • Allow your children to fail- it creates hard-working people.

Notable Quotables:

  • “After seeing that line of sexualized dolls at the toy store that day, I told my husband that ‘I’m sick and tired of the negative messages marketed towards girls. I think I can do something about it and create a positive-image product for girls that encourages them to be healthy—physically, mentally and socially through sports and physical activity.’ That’s what started the Go-Go Sports Girls!”
  • “Recognize those small opportunities and make sure you take advantage of them because it’s these little moments that keep moving you forward.”
  • “The anticipation of fear is worse than the fear itself.”
  • “When our children have fear, we feel it in our gut. It’s hard to watch them struggle. But everything they try makes it easier for the next step—for the bigger step—to move forward.”
  • It’s like women and girls in a game of ‘wack-a-mole.’ We start to rise and then are knocked down. I was sick of it. I knew I was 100% right. Whenever someone challenges me, I ask them, ‘what’s the downside?’”
  • “When it comes to a child’s passion, let them venture out and explore.”
  • “Girls play sports—and so should their dolls.”
  • “We must tell our kids; ‘when one door closes, another one opens…but YOU have to be the one who opens it!”
  • “Persistence, above all, is what creates change.”
  • “You can’t do it alone. Ask questions. Ask as many questions as possible—and have an open mind. Sometimes other people’s ideas are better than yours.”
  • “You don’t need to have a big team, huge resources or be overly talented to create change. What you need is to take your best idea, step over fear, find courage, find your passion and persist when things get difficult.”


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