9 years ago today I was admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court but statistically the odds were against me.

My mum had me at 19. Young love didn’t last and my parents separated shortly after.

My well meaning parents and step parents did the best they could amid a complex concoction of family violence, alcoholism and mental illness.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. And my village was housing commission. I was quickly exposed to people from all weird and wonderful walks of life. Neighbours with “ankle bracelets”. Single mums doing their best and an army of fellow “houso” kids. We rallied together making the best of what we had, forming incredible bonds and memories in the process.

No-one in my family finished high school. University was something “other” people did. I was more likely to see a lawyer for help than be a lawyer.

But I did finish high school. I got a job. I worked full time and studied part time. I chipped away at each subject and the rest is history…

I tell this story in the hope there is just one child, teenager, woman or man out there who has a big goal (or a small goal) or who thinks that the odds are stacked against them and who needs that encouragement. You have got this!

It won’t be easy. It won’t be without tears, failures and self doubt. But take that first step. Fall down, rest and pause when you need too but don’t give up. Because one day you will look back at what you have achieved and be proud you kept going.