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From Foster Care to Yale University—Overcoming the Past to Create a Better Future

How do you come back from some big obstacles or major trauma as a young person? What happens when no one believes in you, they underestimate you, all the while you’re constantly put in harm’s way.

Tough circumstances for anyone to overcome.

But what happens when someone finally believes in you, challenges you, and causes you to challenge the core of everything you once believed—a mentor. This mentor also tells you that you have to embrace your past and not run from it, you have to go back and acknowledge when life changed for you, and you have to forgive the perpetrators in your life—not for them but for you—and you have to become curious and learn as much as you can about yourself and the world every day.

I interviewed my friend and colleague, Rodney Walker, who talks about all this—his traumatic upbringing in the Chicago foster care system, his abuse, his first mentor at the end of high school, and how he went from nearly dropping out of school to making his way to Yale and then Harvard, and how he uses his past to help young people.

This one is incredibly powerful and challenged me to rethink some of how I viewed the world and interact with the people in it.

I share this episode (embedded, also downloadable, also available on iTunes) because embracing our past isn’t something we typically, willingly embrace—but when we do, it can have life changing effects. Rodney is a great interview and has some big thoughts and ideas when it comes to mentorship and self development. I hope you enjoy!

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