Inspirational stories of success

9 Inspirational Stories of Success and Overcoming Great Obstacles

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. Overcoming struggle is a part of every good story.

Your story can be one of overcoming too. And we hope you are inspired by these stories of others who overcame obstacles and rose to success.

Inspirational Stories About Famous People Overcoming Failure and Struggle

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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. You can read in more detail in each of their own words or biographies as referenced below.

This Sports Icon Didn’t Make the Team

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.

“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.

This Emmy Award-Winning Comedian Was Living in Her Car

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.

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 Had a Bomb Dropped on Her Home

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.

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. Check out their inspirational stories of success!

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 real and inspiring 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 a 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 well-reviewed inspirational movie starring Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side. But you can also read his story in his own words here.

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 transition age 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 incredible stories of hope.

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.

inspiring stories of success and hope

Cinder Girl

Winner of the 2013 Miss California pageant. Christina Meredith is best 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, that’s why she calls herself Cinder Girl.

Despite enduring the worst this world has to offer, including abuse, foster care, and homelessness, her faith in Christ 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 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 story.

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 helping others that you will achieve true success.

Celebrate the small victories. Own your failures. Keep going. Those who don’t give up win.

Start Your Inspirational Story of Success

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    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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

    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 🙂

  4. 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! 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

  7. 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!

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

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

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