For My Mother on Her Birthday “Be Your Own Boss…”

You are the expert on your own life. No situation, no past history, no label, or person can define you or what you can do in this life.


Today I celebrate my mother’s 56th birthday and I honor everything she has taught me in life. She truly showed me how to live up to the words of being my “own boss and to hustle hard.” My mother was a single parent at the age of 17 whom raised 3 daughters on her own. She worked in the factory, the fields, and the office and hustled her butt off to make ends meet. At the age of 55 she went back to high school and graduated with her diploma because she was laid off from her job when the Michigan economy tanked. Did she make excuses? No. She hustled and knew she could still make a way. To this day she still works in a factory, long hours, doing hard work to making a living. My mother has never asked for sympathy but was also never too proud to accept help and support. She kept it real and showed me that she was not perfect; she was my superwoman, she was strong, determined, and faithful. My mom never failed to show me that she always loved me and supported the things I did. She never failed to let me know that I always had a home to go with her. She never failed to tell me, “Things are going to be alright mija, no matter what.” I trusted her. I always trusted her because she showed me how to own the decisions in my life by her actions, not just her words. I credit my mother for teaching me how to get to where I am in life. I credit her with teaching me how to hustle and work hard- which resulted in me being the first person in my family to go to college, to earn a doctorate, to be published in scientific journals, to race a Ironman and triathlons, to never stop working hard for my dreams and the things I want in life.


However, the most important thing I credit her with is teaching me how to love others and to try to never judge someone because of their circumstances. Because we have been there, she has been there, at the bottom trying to work our way up, emotionally, economically, and financially. As a family she taught us how to make our own way and never stop “hustling.” Never stop trying to find a way. Never stop believing. Because as you can see “we started from bottom, now we here.” And if you don’t know, now you know.”

I challenge you today to own your story but also take ownership that you are your own boss! So do what you want to do, be who you want to be, have what you want, but be willing to put in the work to get it. In other words, “Be Your Own Boss, Hustle Hard.”

My mother and I at her graduation ceremony. May 2012.
My mother and I at her graduation ceremony. May 2012.

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Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is a clinical sport psychologist, triathlete, and certified mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California. She works with elite athletes and sports teams across the country. She is a competitive athlete and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family, and traveling.

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