Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, though not a millionaire, is typical of most successful women, as well as men. In my surveys, about 80% of both reported having a nurturing and loving home environment while growing up. In fact, 89% reported that their parents were never divorced. This does not mean that you cannot succeed as an adult if your childhood was different. What I find fascinating are the comments of adults in their 40s and even 50s who hold their parents accountable for their lack of success. Instead of focusing upon achieving, these people focus on the past. They use their emotional energy in reliving the shortcomings of their family environment. Those who contact me with their “bad parents” excuse receive a copy of the following case study of Faith, the multimillionaire owner of a chain of fast food restaurants.
Faith’s parents were so abusive to her that, at the age of 16, she quit school, left home and began working full time as a waitress to support herself. This is what she told me. Instead of filling her mind with hatred for her parents and her horrible childhood, Faith redirected her enormous emotional energy, extraordinary courage, and strength of spirit to build a career as a business owner. This is what she tells young men and women who come from similar backgrounds as she did:
“Do not accept your future as when you were young. Every statistic was against me! I should be on welfare. I should be part of the state correctional system!
Don’t use [the past] as your excuse. It’s so easy just to say, “I was born poor, . . . . I had bad abusive parents, or I lack education . . . . I could not finish school. If you do, you will lose . . . . You are a quitter.
If you fail, try again. . . . Never accept less of yourself. Never!
No one is better than you. They might have it easier than you because they had a better start.
Never accept what has happened in the past as your fate. Keep telling yourself . . . you will do something, and do it well.
Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. Use this value [of yourself] like an anchor. Dwelling on the past is a waste of time and energy.
You are the loom that weaves the tapestry.
You will feel deprived only if you convince yourself that you are deprived. And for those who keep reminding themselves about that: Get over it!”