I was twenty-two, driving to my nanny job and passing through a subdivision of average homes. At the time I worked as a teacher and my husband was a small business owner, and I remember thinking, "How are we ever going to be able to afford a nice home?"

I wanted to be home with my children someday, and would often dream of ways my husband might expand his business and provide additional income for our family. I didn't realize my own self-worth and the contribution that I could make to achieving our goals and realizing our dreams.

I began working odd jobs to make ends meet, and one of these jobs led to an opportunity to help the company I was working for transition from retail to direct sales. As I considered the opportunity to become its master distributor, a mindset of limits, lack, and lies set in: "Who am I to be successful? I am young and live in one of the most depressed economies in the nation!" Thankfully, I had no other options, so I decided to give it a try.

As a young entrepreneur, I faced many challenges and experienced disappointment and feelings of defeat. Our company's president would lovingly joke that I had quit more times than anyone else.

Soon after I began the business a friend asked me, "What is your why?" and I shared my vision of starting a foundation for helping women and children. When she asked, "What will it cost?" I replied, "Millions!" Through that conversation I realized that my huge dream was creating roadblocks in my mind—because I couldn't imagine achieving it.

A defining moment came when I made the decision to be successful, and then broke my dream down into achievable goals. I decided to put aside a portion of my check to support one family per month that I would bless in a significant way. Now, instead of being driven by my disappointments and defeat, I was driven by my dreams.

My husband and I began using our earnings to change lives: sending boys to camp, sponsoring families for the holidays, paying medical bills, surprising countless people with random acts of kindness. This elevated my belief in what I was doing—and also in myself. Instead of saying "How will I ever succeed?" I began saying "I will make it to the top of our company!"

Women often have a lot of self-talk going on in our minds. It's important to realize that we create our lives with our words. Our words can be like fertilizer to our growing dreams—or like weed killer. As I began a journey of monitoring my self-talk and growing my belief, I watched my life radically change. At twenty-nine, thanks to the efforts of my amazing team, I became the top earner in my company. And the best part has been seeing countless lives changed through our opportunity and the lives we change daily by giving back.

You become what you believe.

A former educator, SARAH FAIRLESS ROBBINS uses her
passion for teaching to help people build successful businesses.