At my first sales job, there were two girls from very different backgrounds who didn't get along. Same age, same job, only difference was that one grew up more privileged than the other. The less-privileged girl would mockingly call the the other "silver spoon."
"Silver spoon" got in early every day to work, sought advice from higher-ups, and made more calls than anyone on her team. A year later she's still at the same job, with potential for promotion. Meanwhile, the other girl put in average work ethic, argued with the higher-ups, and quit a couple months after starting. Moral of the story is that hard work will always prevail, and you should not downplay someone else's success just because they might have had a more privileged upbringing. That doesn't mean they didn't have to work hard to get to where they are today. Money can't buy work ethic. However, growing up with successful parents can help foster a good work ethic. As a result, you have the confidence to believe that you can be just as successful. On the contrary, for some people growing up privileged can lead to dependency and laziness, since they know they always have their parents to fall back on. At the end of the day, growing up privileged will only take you so far, if not paired with hard work.
Too often people create mental barriers for themselves and provide excuses as to why they are not where they want to be in life. They chalk it up to not having enough money, support, or skills; when in actuality it comes down to the limitations they put on themselves.There are so many stories like Chris Gardner, a man that went from homeless to multimillionaire. His story demonstrates that the limits of your income or success are set by your own internal beliefs. If you want to earn more, then you have to start by seeing yourself as worthy, deserving, and capable. It's a good thing that confidence isn't for sale, and that it's for the taking of whoever wants it.
Here are four ways you can level the playing field:
1. Surround yourself with the right people
If you don't have a great family or support system, create one. You can't choose your family but you can certainly choose your friends.
2. Have a vision
What's your end game? If you don't have a vision, and a "why" that justifies working hard, then you won't.
3. Outwork everyone
Nothing, not even brains or wealth, can trump hard work.
4. Stop making excuses
The problem with excuses is that nobody cares other than you. Excuses are what we tell ourselves to make us feel better about underperforming.
This is not meant to minimize any setbacks you've gone through but to encourage you not to dwell on the past. Life doesn't care about your excuses. Your boss, coworkers, or investors have no idea what background you came from. To them you are just another resume, colleague, or startup. You don't have a stamp on your forehead that says "grew up less fortunate." All people see is the effort you put forth. In this day and age, no matter what walk of life you come from, success is achievable to those who really want it.
Alicia T. Glenn is the founder of Astounding Pursuits, a blog in which she shares her experiences and advice on how to accomplish cool things, and live a more fulfilled life by discovering and pursuing your passion. Join her free newsletter to get business ideas, life hacks, and strategies on how to live a more astounding life.