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Molly Grantham: Bet on Yourself and Be Great in Small Ways

By: Ashley Citron Youtsas and Casey Ardoin 

Active Members 


Molly Grantham wants you to bet on yourself.  


That was the echoing message as she spoke to Junior League of Lafayette Members about juggling careers and personal lives, making lasting connections, and being great in small ways. 



Grantham, an award-winning anchor, author, speaker, and mom, brought an authentic and fun vibe to the League’s March General Membership Meeting. 


Grantham has written three books about real life, imperfection and how to love your career while raising children. She spent the past 20 years as a top news anchor in Charlotte, North Carolina, and recently decided to not renew her contract - she truly practices what she preaches when she says to “bet on yourself.” 


Grantham encouraged us to use our words more carefully to be more connected with others.  


“People surmise things about the words you tell them,” she said. “Use the words that you give more carefully to give descriptions and you will immediately be more connected.”  


Grantham focused on three major things – work/life balance, effective communication, and rejecting the idea of perfection.   


There is no such thing as work/life balance, she said, and we don’t need it. No one is ever truly balanced; it’s impossible to achieve. Instead, we should embrace the concept of juggling. 


“The best lesson on how to have work/life balance is to not have balance at all,” she said. “It's to juggle what you’ve got. You control what you’re picking up, what you’re putting down, and what you keep up in the air.”  


And dropping balls isn’t failing, it's controlling your choice. In fact, part of juggling is also saying “no” which can create a protective boundary around you, Grantham said. Women, especially, feel pressured to take on more work, and when we do say “no,” we usually start by saying “I’m sorry.” 


“How many times do we start a sentence by apologizing for creating a boundary? Don’t say you’re sorry, you’re choosing to drop that ball, to walk away, so don’t start sentences by apologizing for creating limits,” she said. 


Grantham’s second point was something she calls the “priceless paperweight message.” A phrase so impactful it would be perfect to put on a paperweight that you keep visible at all times.  


The message? Respond, don’t react.  


“The words you use matter, and effective communication is still the best currency,” she said. “Every word has weight. Reactive words as responses just create more messiness and more balls to juggle in the air because now you have to clean up the mess you created.” 


She encouraged us to not respond emotionally – wait 24 hours to think before responding. Your gut reaction helps to define you, they can be good. But they’re reactions, not responses. 


Grantham’s final advice to Junior League Members – learn to shed perfection.  


“Perfection is boring. Our flaws create who we are and make us interesting characters,” she said. 


As a TV journalist, there were times she went on air with spaghetti sauce on her shirt that her son spilled on her, or with her hair slightly out of place. But to her, those things didn’t matter – what mattered were the important stories and crucial information she was delivering to her community.   


That never stopped people from sending in unsolicited feedback on her appearance. Over time, she learned to ignore the criticism. 


“If you’re working at your best, and you’re putting people first, and someone wants to criticize you for how you look, that has nothing to do with the value of the job you’re bringing to the table,” Grantham said. “That doesn’t say anything about you, it says everything about them.” 


She said to wear their criticism like a loose t-shirt. A loose t-shirt surrounds you; you know it's there, but it doesn't own you. You don't rearrange yourself to fit into it.  


“So many problems that we let take up space in our minds are because we let them,” she said. “When you worry more about perfection and image, you forget about progress.” 


She says practice makes progress and there is no perfect.  In fact, it’s the title of her third book, “Practice Makes Progress.”  


“We are so busy wishing for better resources and more time that we often don’t take advantage of the time and resources we have,” she said.  

 

“Be great in small ways, and you might be surprised at what you achieve.” 

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