Julia Olayanju

As a little girl, I loved watching award ceremonies like the closing ceremonies for national or even international games. I shared the joys of the winners and listened carefully, hoping to learn how these athletes ended up so successful at what they do.

Every single time I listened intently as awardees thanked their families, mentors, organizations, and others, but I never heard any of them describe how they became successful. My young mind came to a simple conclusion: People are successful because they were either lucky or were born with some special talent.

As I grew older, learning from life experiences and research, I realized that my assumption was wrong. Highly successful people believe in themselves and their abilities to bring to reality what seems impossible.

They are people who work harder than anyone else to hone their skills and bring their dreams to life. Many already believed they were the best in the world even before anyone knew their names. They kept dreaming, believing, and working hard until that which they believed became a reality.

This simple principle works for top-notch athletes in some of the most developed countries of the world and works equally for people in the most remote parts of the world. It is a principle that works with no regard for country, socioeconomic status, or race.

I remember my grandmother sharing her story with me several years ago. She was an orphan who grew up in a very small town in a developing country. She didn’t have much education and if you had known her then you would describe her future as bleak. She was raised by different family members and while people thought her future was not promising, my grandmother thought differently.

She believed strongly the future ahead of her was very bright. She worked hard every day and created the future she desired.  She was married to my grandfather for more than 40 years, together they raised 5 children who graduated college and led responsible lives.  

She built several successful businesses, leaving an inheritance for her children and future generations Looking back at my grandmother’s life you will never have guessed she had such a disadvantaged upbringing. I still remember how surprised I was the first time I heard her share her story.

She told me that when the odds were stacked against her she believed in herself. Her strong belief in herself inspired her to work hard… Her belief in God helped her to stand strong, when going was rough…. When I look at our world today I see people at different stages in their journey. While some are excited about their accomplishments, some are frustrated at the many roadblocks they have to overcome on their way, others think if only they had things easier.

What odds do you have stacked up against you?

…You grew up without a parent or in a poor neighborhood? 

…You made mistakes in the past?

…You chose the wrong profession?

… You specialized in a field too early?

…You wished you knew some things you know now earlier?

It does not matter what happened in the past or the roadblocks that lie ahead.  What matters is having a strong belief in yourself, your dreams, and most importantly your God. Once you believe in your heart you can accomplish a goal a path can be forged to make it happen. You may need to acquire more training

… You may need to get a coach

… You may need to brainstorm with people who can help you.

You may need to take someone who has accomplished what you are looking to accomplish out for coffee and Q & A or get their book or their training. My point is that it does not matter how many setbacks you have faced, if you BELIEVE  you are meant for more, then exciting days lie ahead.

None of us can go back to change the past but all of us can shape the future… making it whatever we want it to be. Remember this quote by Henry Ford “If you believe you can, or you believe you can’t you are right.”

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