If you had told me 20 years ago that I’d be where I am today, I’d probably have been in a state of utter disbelief. By no means am I a world-class athlete or entertainer. But despite having the odds stacked against me, I’ve accomplished so much in my time here on Earth. Let me explain.

I was born to two hard-working parents. They both went above and beyond to meet my and my sister’s needs. But things took a turn for the worse when my father passed away unexpectedly and my mother was left to pick up the pieces. Overnight, she’d become a single mom tasked with raising two young daughters while making ends meet off of a very modest income.

Life without dad was tough. Not because my mom couldn’t give us the world, but because we sorely missed him and realized how much of a burden his death placed on our mom. My sister and I were involved in tons of extracurricular activities. My mom did whatever it took to make sure we didn’t miss out, even if it meant working odd jobs.

The Turning Point

During the spring semester of my freshman year in college, my mother passed away. It took a week or so to actually process the fact that she was gone. Once reality set in, I wanted to quit. I simply couldn't imangine going through life without my favorite girl.

But then I had an epiphany: I had a flashback to a conversation I had with my mother in which she communicated how proud she was of me. She was particularly impressed with my willingness to pursue my dreams, despite the obstacles stacked against me.

No, we didn’t grow up with money trees growing in the back yard. But I never let that stop me from achieving anything I put my mind to. In fact, I used it as motivation to work harder in an effort to make my dreams a reality.

I also remembered all the dreams that my mom once had, but gave up in order to ensure that my sister and I had the best lives possible. So from that moment on, I decided that I was going to focus on all that the future had in store, and not on my past.

What I Have Accomplished So Far

Today, I’m an accomplished financial writer. My work has appeared on some of the largest media outlets in the nation, including the Wall Street Journal. I also travel around the nation teaching financial literacy to people from all walks of life. And when time permits, I also serve as a business consultant to mompreneurs.

A Few Tips To Help You Beat The Odds

  • Shift your mindset. Life happens, and sometimes it can really take a toll on you. You can’t change the past. But you do have the ability to shift your perspective and start focusing on the future and all the positives that could lie ahead when you reach the finish line.
  • Get a mentor. Don’t go it alone. Solicit the help of others on your journey towards self-sufficiency. You never know what doors of opportunity may arise from your connections.
  • Get your financial house in order. Even if you don’t have much cash at your disposal, responsibly manage the little you do have so you’ll know what to do as you climb the income ladder.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have envisioned my life turning out this way. But despite all of the challenges that I’ve faced, I continue to wake up each morning and put my best foot forward in the hope that I’ll inspire someone else who’s been riddled with obstacles.

I have to admit that there are times when it feels like I’m living in a fantasy world. While I’m nowhere near where I want to be, I’m living proof that you don’t have to let your past shape your future.