9 Inspirational Stories of Success And Overcoming Great Obstacles

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Life is challenging for so many of us right now, so we put together some inspirational stories of success to give you encouragement and hope. We selected stories that will give you the courage to push past challenges and overcome obstacles. Be encouraged if you are in a tough spot. Struggle is a part of every good story.

Your story can be one of overcoming too. And we’d love to hear from you about how you overcame obstacles, who helped you along the way, and what it feels like to be on the other side.

Inspirational Stories About Famous People Overcoming Failure and Struggle

Looking at famous success stories can make it hard for you to imagine that they ever experienced failure. But the truth is that every success story involves failure. In fact, most successful people attribute their success to failure.

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The Sports Hero

If there’s one name you would not associate with failure, it’s probably Michael Jordan. But Michael Jordan’s story is one of overcoming, too. His path to success wasn’t easy and straightforward.

He Didn’t Make The Team

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan

When Michael Jordan’s high school cut him from the basketball team his sophomore year. He worked hard and moved his way up over the years, but he stayed humble. In fact, he attributes his success to failure.

Read more about Michael Jordan’s life, from the perspective of his friends, coaches, family, and Michael Jordan himself.

An Emmy Award-Winning Comedian

Tiffany Haddish, the hilariously gifted comedian and actress, has overcome great obstacles on her rise to success. You may know her from Girls Trip or perhaps you’ve seen one of her uproarious stand-up shows.

She Was Living In A Car

This Emmy Award Winner and published author spent years in foster care, separated from her siblings. She experienced assault, homelessness, and divorce. Even as she performed her stand-up, she was living in her car.

Despite all this Tiffany has risen to the top and is giving back. Now she’s giving back and has started her own charity helping foster youth in need.

Learn more shocking details about Tiffany Haddish in her own words.

Tiffany is especially close to our hearts, following the same mission to take action to care for foster youth.

The Most Famous Mom On Facebook

Kristina Kuzmic is arguably the most famous, inspiring, and funny mom on Facebook. Her videos have more than one billion views. Kristina is on a mission to get us to be honest with each other and to encourage us along the way.

Her Home Was Bombed

Kristina’s overcome great obstacles and multiple failures which she attributes to helping shape her path to success today. Kristina immigrated from Croatia as a kid during the war. She experienced the devastation of bombings and loss. As a young mom, she experienced divorce, poverty, and depression.

In 2011 Kristina won “Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” and was on her way to having a successful cooking show when it fell apart. Kristina was disappointed but brushed herself off and found a new way to authentically connect with and inspire others that launched her to where she is today.

Learn more about Kristina’s journey to gain hard-won wisdom and success through resilience and self-acceptance.

True Motivational Stories From People Like You And Me

Some of the most powerful stories of overcoming come from people who aren’t household names. Their battles and successes are just as inspiring and motivational if not more.

She Went From Teenage Homelessness to MD

Sheryl Recinos struggled through her dysfunctional upbringing in foster care, detention, and eventually to the streets of Hollywood. She even made an appearance on the Jerry Springer show, sharing her experiences as a homeless teen.

Today Dr. Sheryl is a mom, writer, physician, and activist. She advocates for youth in need through her writings and philanthropy. Read more about her honest and compelling coming of age story.

She Escaped Human Trafficking and Got A PhD

Katarina Rosenblatt was lonely, abused, and neglected as a young girl. At 13 she was targeted by a child trafficking ring. She escaped trafficking, her attempted murder, and poverty.

Dr. Kat went on to get a law degree and Ph.D. As an advocate and national speaker, she became the First and Only known US Survivor of Sex Trafficking to be included in the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum in Atlanta, GA.

Read Dr. Kat’s story of faith and escape in her own words.

He Went From Foster Care to Football Star

Michael Oher grew up as one of 13 children, in a rough neighborhood in Tennessee. As a teenager, he bounced around between foster care and life on the streets.

Through the support of an adoptive family, Ohr broke out of the cycle of poverty, addiction, and hopelessness that trapped his family.

Michael’s story is the basis for the 2000 movie starring Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side. But you can also get his story in his own words here.

Want more motivation to succeed in life? Destress with these inspirational quote coloring pages for teens and adults! Click on this link to get 50% OFF from our entire Etsy shop now! (Coupon Code = SUCCESS50)

success coloring book

More Foster Youth Success Stories

You may have noticed more than one of our inspiring stories has a history in foster care. We like to share those stories in particular since helping foster youth succeed is our mission.

There are so many amazing stories of overcoming from youth who came from foster care. We just had to share a few more that came to our attention.

image of stories of hope to inspire and motivate you - incredible true stories

Hope’s Boy

Andrew Bridge made himself into a gateway of hope for foster children. A former foster youth himself, Andrew spent 11 years in the foster system, While in foster care, he was confined to the MacLaren Children’s Center in Los Angeles County, a facility criticized for its harsh treatment of children and ultimately closed by order of the court.

Harvard Law School and even cancer could not keep this man from becoming everything he was created to be. Andrew Bridge is a New York Times Bestselling author, lawyer, and executive director of the California-based Alliance for Children’s Rights.

Cinder Girl

In 2013, she won the Miss California pageant. She is known for her tireless work to advocate on behalf of abused children and foster care reform. But life wasn’t always a fairy tale for Christina Meredith, that’s why she calls herself Cinder Girl.

Abuse, foster care, and homelessness are painful parts of her past. Despite enduring the worst this world has to offer, her faith in Christ has brought her into honorable service in the Lord’s army. And she also serves in the U.S. Army.

She founded the Christina Meredith Foundation to advocate for foster care reform and meet the needs of at-risk children.

Destined For More

Destini’s case file began when she was only seven months old. She experienced child abuse, kinship care, foster care, and struggled through childhood. Destini was adopted at 17.

Destini McAlister is now an author, wife, and homeschooling mother of 3. And now, Destini shares her story of hope for trauma survivors… hope that through consistent love, support, and faith in Christ, we all can be set free.

What Makes A Success Story

While these inspirational stories of success are exceptional, it’s important to remember that success is subjective. Just because someone hasn’t written a book (or been written about) doesn’t mean they aren’t a success.

Here at Finally Family Homes, we don’t measure success by degrees, titles, fortune, or fame. We believe success in life starts with achieving your goals, whatever they may be. Maybe you want to write poetry, become an accountant, or learn how to garden. Each of these goals has its barriers and challenges to overcome. It’s in pushing past barriers, persevering, and growing personally and in helping others that you will achieve true success.

Celebrate the small victories. Own your failures. Keep going. It’s when you don’t give up that you win.

Want to be a part of our story of hope and success?

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  1. I enjoy reading stories of those who have overcome and then reached back to help others.

    1. Right? It really is impressive to me. It has to be so hard to look directly back at the circumstances that caused you so much pain, and then to choose to bless someone else and help them get through it too. Love it.

  2. LOVE this! My son struggles soooo much with school due to dyslexia and other reading disabilities and I am always looking for “underdog” stories to share with him of people who overcame hardships and went on to do great things!

    1. Oh – so glad to provide a few more stories of overcoming! There are some really talented and successful people in this world with dyslexia too. Thanks for sharing Meghan!

  3. Reading the stories of how others overcame struggles is always a source of encouragement. Thank you for compiling them so beautifully.

    1. Thanks Evangeline. We tried to get a good variety. Appreciate the encouragement 🙂

  4. This post is so inspiring and encouraging! Thank you so much for doing this! God bless you and your loved ones!

    1. So happy to hear it Sheryl! God bless you and your family too 🙂

  5. What beautiful inspiration! As we face such darkness and uncertainty in our world, this post is a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing inspirational stories of success and pointing your readers toward hope!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Cathy… this year has surely been a strange one and one in need of more hope and light.

  6. Your post is truly inspiring. Thank you for putting together such a compelling collection. I’m going to place a few on hold at the library. The books all look like winners!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I think we can all use as many inspirational stories as we can get right now 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  7. So neat reading these stories of people overcoming. It helps us keep hope alive and keep going when life is hard.

    1. Hi Collene,

      Absolutely! Knowing that it can be done.. seeing that others have overcome great difficulties can really help us keep motivated to press on and believe we can overcome too 🙂

  8. There are so many amazing stories and books in your post that have certainly inspired me to expand my reading list this autumn! Thanks for encouraging us with this post today!

    1. You’re welcome, Ava! Hope you get lots of encouragement and inspiration from the books. Enjoy! 🙂

  9. Great stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Betty! So happy to spread hope 🙂

  10. I LOVE this post! Saving it to come back often. Thanks so much for putting together such an inspirational list of stories!

    1. Thanks so much Kari! We could all use some more stories of hope right now right?

  11. I liked that you pointed out that success stories all include obstacles and challenges. You said, “Be encouraged if you are in a tough spot. Struggle is a part of every good story.” Our struggles can be turned into something that glorifies God and helps others! Such an inspiring post!

    1. Thanks Teresa 🙂

      It’s easy to forget that successful people almost never have had an easy road. I can’t think of a single one anyway. 🙂 We shouldn’t give up hope in our struggles!

      1. they are so good…. is it possible to put mine too .. am a ugandan and still a student

        1. Possibly – please share more about your story of success & overcoming 🙂

  12. I have personally come to believe that genuine success in life is not only meeting our goals. It is living according to our true values, sense of worth, and living with meaning and purpose.

    1. Timothy – totally agree with that. What do you gain if you meet your goals, but lose your soul along the way?

  13. Such inspirational stories to show us anything is possible no matter where we’ve come from! Love this point at the end to really remind us how much control we have over our outcome, “Celebrate the small victories. Own your failures. Keep going. It’s when you don’t give up that you win.”. Beautiful!

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Yes, they do. And thanks for the encouraging words. Perseverance is so key to a successful story!

  14. These stories are so inspiring, especially for those who are experiencing challenging circumstances in life. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks Erin. Yes, I think right now we all have some challenges.. its a good time to focus on hope 🙂

  15. Great stories!!! My friend has a great story. From being kidnapped as a child to overcoming drug addiction she has found the Lord and she amazes me.

    1. Alice, That’s incredible! Has she written about it? How inspiring!

  16. Thank you for these book suggestions. I will check them out. It is good to remember that people can rise up out of the ashes and turn their lives around.

    1. Hi Karen,

      You’re welcome. Yes it is! Sometimes we think we can’t rise up out of our circumstances, but these stories of hope tell us otherwise!

  17. This is such an amazing post! Thank you for sharing these stories about how these courageous people turned their lives around. It gives me hope. Blessings, Joni

    1. Thanks Joni.

      I’m so glad to hear it gives you hope .. that’s the idea 🙂

      Blessings to you!

  18. These stories inspire me a lot especially for Michael Jordan for not giving up at all. How he becomes the legend, it truly inspirational.

    1. So glad to hear it! Yes – Michael Jordan is so inspirational in so many ways!

  19. Well my passion started with football or as its referred to as soccer in US, yes i actually mean it, i exploit to spend most of my time in the field playing football and therefore the dream.

    That I had at that point is to become a player in Manchester united and for years i used to be hooked in to it.

    Defiantly i used to be shy to inform to people aboutit because i assumed they might ridicule of me,

    1. It’s a great dream Abhi. And all dreamers need to overcome barriers to see success. I wish you the best!

  20. Truly very Inspiring. Great stories collection. Thanks for sharing.

    1. So happy to hear you found it inspiring – it’s what we were aiming for and building hope is our mission. 🙂

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