I used to feel weighed down by my past. Feel like I didn’t deserve success – I wasn’t pretty enough, clever enough, talented enough, confident enough…. The list goes on. I saw the negative experiences of my early life as a limiting factor and stopped trying, believing that I wasn’t destined for success. I’m not alone in this. Psychology shows strong links between a difficult start in life to a lack of success as an adult, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs came from very difficult backgrounds, think of J.K. Rowling and the domestic abuse she had to endure, Oprah and the sexual abuse she experienced or 50 Cent who was born to a teenage mother who was murdered when he was just eight years old. They all share one thing in common – they used their experiences to springboard them to success. Read on to see how your difficult start can be one of your biggest assests.

Is there any stronger motivation for turning your life around than living in those dark places? When you’ve been there, you know deep down in every fibre of your being that you do not want to be there again and pull together all the strength and will you have to turn things around permanently. For other people, a desire for a thing is not enough, because they’ve never been to the same place as you and they have to work longer and harder to motivate themselves. Use this motivation. Work with it and watch your life change around you.

When you’ve had a difficult start in life you already know that things don’t always go your way. That sometimes you have to work long and hard to reach your goals and you’ve learnt how to do this. Negative experiences in your past can make you resilient to this effort because no matter how hard you have to work towards success, compared to your past, it’s a doddle. When others fall at the first hurdle, you keep pushing forward, no matter how many obstacles are thrown your way and this persistence will eventually lead to your success. Not only this, but reliance is needed when faced with failure, and when you look at some of the most successful people in the world like Bill Gates and even Einstein, you’ll see they had failures too before they made it. Its that resilience that will get you back up and working towards your success, and you have that in spades.

The challenges we face in life help us to learn a lot about our self; how quickly we bounce back, when and where we need support, what we’re really good at etc. This self-awareness is an excellent tool to have when focusing on success as you can work to your strengths and improve on your weaknesses which makes your journey all the easier and more enjoyable.

Asking for help
Many people struggle when it comes to admitting they need help with something, but when you come from a difficult background it is likely that at some point or another you will have had to reach out or accept help or support from someone else. You know the benefits of this and you know how much it can hep you to overcome challenges and will find it easier than others to seek help, advice or support when you need it and there’s very few people who have made it without the help of others.

When you’ve struggled with life yourself, you open yourself up to a higher level of understanding. One that you use to help other people with. If you see someone struggling, you want to help and have the experience and compassion to be able to do so. Not only does this help you to build confidence in yourself and feel good about helping others, but they’re more likely to remember you too and remember the support you offered them in their time of need. Who knows where that colleague you consoled at the photocopier could end up down the line, and next time you need a little leg up they might be the one pushing you up the ladder.

When you’ve achieved phenomenal success against all the odds, others are going to want to know how. You’ll be in a position to share your knowledge and inspire others with your personal story and be able to back it up with tips and tricks that have worked for you. It doesn’t matter who you inspire; a friend, a relative or society at large, the fact that you have made it, you have pushed on through, climbed the mountains, leapt the hurdles and threw a superhuman fist through all of those brick walls, will be enough to help others believe they can do it too. For more top tips on enhancing your own self belief, read my Belief Buster guide which provides some simple, effective methods to challenge your limiting beliefs.

So there you have it. Your biggest challenges can actually turn into your biggest assets. The next time you hop on the negative thought train, remember these tips. Remember that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of successful people out there who have their own tragic stories to tell and remember that you, like them, have been gifted with all the skills you could ever need to live the life you dream of. Go out there, take that one first step and reach for the stars!

You got this!