When I was a young teen — about 14 years old — I read about a study that found that poverty, much like wealth, was generational, and for the majority of people would be passed down through families from generation to generation.

The researchers said they were able to predict with high probability that most people’s modern-day socio-economic status could be predicted by what their ancestors’ economic class was 100 years or more ago.

That came as a devasting shock to my young system because as long as I could remember, I dreamed of a day when I would be old enough to get an education and a good job so that I could work my way out of the extreme poverty I was born into. If this study were true, then everything I’d ever hoped for was over even before it had started. 

For a while, I felt defeated as the study results continued to haunt my thoughts. “You were born a nobody and you’ll die a nobody,” a voice kept telling me. I thought about quitting. Why even bother making good grades in school so I could be the first in my family to attend college? The science said I wouldn’t make it to graduation anyway.

But then, something shifted and I regained my determination to live a life that would make me more than a poverty-ridden statistic. Exactly what that shift was, I can’t say, but one thing was for sure: I changed my mind about the power I would let that study have over my life and over my ability to live a life of abundance instead of lack.

For the most part, I’ve been able to do just that — not because it’s ever been easy because it hasn’t, but because I decided to change my mind about what would and would not be acceptable outcomes in my life.

What I learned from that experience is that there is real power in changing your mind because when you do, the old things and old ways you used to even slightly entertain become so unacceptable that they have no choice but to disappear forever.

When a woman allows herself to be abused, it doesn’t matter how many times and ways people who care about her tell her she needs to leave. Time and time again, she will most often stay with her abuser — no matter how bad he hurts her. But when she makes up her mind to change her mind and decides she’s done with that abuse, that’s when her life begins to change too.

I’m a business owner today because I changed my mind about how and who I would allow to decide if and when I could feed myself and my family. It’s not an easy life, but it’s a life I have chosen, and that makes all the difference.

If you’re thinking about owning your own business too I encourage you to first change your mind about any notions, fears or misconceptions you might have going in about your ability to succeed. Because until you do, you have NO CHANCE of making it. But once you do, great things can and will happen. ♠