For Inspiration, Read About Those Worse off Than you who got to Where You Want to Be

By Katie Corbett

When I’m looking to achieve a goal, one of the first questions I ask myself is: Has anyone else done this? After getting the training wheels taken off my bike when I was in elementary school, I knew I would be okay because my younger sister had gotten hers taken off a few moments earlier. I can still hear her voice exclaiming, “You can do it, Katie! It’s easy!” She showed me how to keep my balance and repeatedly shouted words of encouragement as I rode my bike down the street. My little sister has done a lot of things first; things I sometimes didn’t even want to do until I witnessed her doing them.

When I made the decision to work towards becoming a millionaire, I knew I would benefit from finding evidence it was possible through the story of someone starting off with fewer advantages than I had, who got their anyway. So I picked up “The One-Minute Millionaire,” by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen, and set about reading the fictional story of a woman named Michelle. Like me, Michelle was broke and trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Unlike me, however, Michelle was a widow, and her two children had been taken from her by her former in-laws. She needed the money to prove to her in-laws, and to the court system, that she was capable of financially providing for her children. I have not gone through the devastating loss of a spouse, and I wasn’t racing against the clock to get my children out of someone else’s custody. In my mind, I thought: “Wow! If this lady could become a millionaire, in spite of those odds, I can, too.” (And yes, I realize Michelle’s story is fictional, but it was easy enough for me to suspect that real people who are now millionaires started in Michelle’s position.)

What goals do you want to achieve in your life? Is there someone who has achieved that goal who started off worse than you, is less intelligent than you, or did not have the chances and opportunities you have? Going back to my sister, while we were growing up, she was shorter than me. In my kid brain, I figured that if shorty could do it, why couldn’t I? I know that my sister has gifts, talents and opportunities different than me. I know that I’m not better than her. I know that in some ways, she’s smarter than me. But I was born first, and when you’re the oldest, there can be this idea that you’re more capable than your younger siblings, or are more responsible or something. I have no idea where this silly superiority complex comes from, but hey, as long as I don’t lord it over my sibs and use it to help me achieve my goals, that should be okay. So, in what ways are you more attractive, more intelligent, or taller – hey, whatever works – than those who have achieved what you want to achieve? Do you have access to information about how they accomplished this goal? Do they encourage and cheer you on, as my sister did for me? If so, what are you waiting for?

If you don’t know anyone in your personal circle who has achieved your goal, do what I did and find a story about such a person. Many people are more than happy to share how they got to where they are. Believe in yourself. You can do it!

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