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Bust the Barriers to YOUR Success

By now I think you probably know my background: I wasn’t born wealthy. I dropped out of college. I was fired from a job I thought I could have forever. I married for love, not money. And I’ve spent 11 challenging, but exceptionally rewarding, years building my own multi-million dollar business. I’m proud of it.

But along the way, I admit that I’ve often envied many other women entrepreneurs – especially ones who’ve seemed to have all of the right connections, access, money and answers. They’ve seemed to just breeze into big success. Sometimes I’ve even told myself: “Yeah, of course it’s easy for them to succeed, especially with that kind of backing.” (I’m sure we’ve all thought that about someone at some point.)

So I was relieved to discover that some of those women struggle like the rest of us, that nothing is handed to them and that building a business is very hard work for them, too.

All this from the mouth of drop-dead gorgeous Laila Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, a former professional boxer and Dancing with the Stars alum who is launching a brand of cosmetic and hair products under her name in drug stores around the country.

During a small business session I hosted at Maria Shriver’s conference, Laila told me that her father’s superstardom might have opened some doors, but just barely. Whether getting her cosmetology license to open a nail salon at 18 where she’d pamper clients with manicures and massages, to earning a championship women’s boxing title, to her newest endeavor, she said she’s faced naysayers every step of the way. Now she’s hustling hard to launch and promote her line. Nothing about the entire process has been easy — that silver spoon didn’t bring magical success.

Humor helps, too. When I asked her to share some advice for women interested in launching a beauty line without a famous name, Laila deadpanned, “I’d tell them to call you!”

I’m a big believer that we all face challenges getting where we want to go – and, more importantly, each of us has the power within us to bust the barriers that stand in our way of achieving our goals. What’s the one thing you could do today to put yourself on that path?


  1. Nell Lennon

    Great comments. We do all face challenges and having a good solid network of other business women that we can lean on and learn from is very important. And, you got to have heart and a great sense of humor because we can’t take it all too seriously knowing we will make many mistakes to grow.

  2. JL

    Tory,I have watched you on GMA and you are really helpful.

    I have a question. As you inspire woman to motivate themselves to strive, some take it to an extreme. They forget about their personal lives and those in it to be on top. There is no balance because they are dead set on being the best they could for whatever their goal is set to. The problem is those of us that are left behind in the dust get hurt by their ambitions.
    Is there anything you can do to spread the word that there has to be balance in your life and you need to be aware that you have a family, partner and children that could pay for you wanting your goals. Sometimes it could be too late and you have lost those of you that love you only to find out that your passion has isolated you from reality. Love and Happiness.

  3. 2gether We Build

    First of all Tory, I appreciate what you are doing for yourself as well as other’s.
    Your comments from this article just proves to me how human we all are along with needing the help from a greater power.
    I myself have chosen God as my assistant.
    Thanks for always doing the right thing.

    Love Yah,
    Frieda/2gether We Build

  4. Generally speaking, most people think the grass is always greener! The fact is… IT’S NOT! In order to succeed, an individual’s development of Leaderhip Skills, allows one to discover a part of themselves they haven’r met …yet! Barriers would even include the “fear of success”! Developing one’s mind will encourage a change in behavior to achieve the unthinkable! Everyone has a different definition of success…Just stay ethical and moral and never compromise your values to just get a contract…Blessings to all that continue to persevere…You are going to be O.K….

  5. Margaret

    My comment is, take a minute at the beginning of the day and thank the Lord for giving you the opportunity to see another blessed day and ask for the strength to deal with the obstacle that may be put in your way.You will there will be obstacles. People just dont want you to acheive especially if you dont look like them.

    Laila and Tory god bless you and yout family. Keep up the good work. Tory, hope your husband is doing better and when are you coming to Arizona.

  6. Angie

    IMy name is Angie (Washington DC)
    The biggest barriers I face is lack of money and connections. I have started meeting people through various business conferences but I haven’t made any solid commitments. People agree that what I am trying to do is a great idea and greatly needed, but that is the far as it’s gone. All I want to do is help women like myself who are living in the area shelters who are business and career minded acquire supportive housing while being mentored by area business owners and obtaining higher education. I’ve had this vision for six years. I will not and cannot give up on this. It is a part of me. The acronym for my e-mail is NINTA ( no is not the answer) [email protected]. Is there someone who can help me?

  7. Dorothy Tannahill-Moran

    It’s refreshing to be reminded that we all face challenges no matter what our roots or origins are. The main thing to remember is that it’s all up to you to put one foot in front of the other to move forward. No one ever said success was easy!

  8. Cynthia

    As a previous business owner and soon to be owner again, I learned that one of the most valuable qualities you can possess is PESEVERANCE as it is difficult to keep moving ahead; particularly when you meet the many obstacles that most of us encounter. Another factor is a belief in yourself – even when those around you do not. And finally, get everything in writing as that is the way to clarify and define your valuable business relationships, and protect yourself and your assets.

  9. Karen

    Thank you Tori for your inspiration! I would say to have tremendous faith in what you do. All of us are facing enomorous struggles today and I know when i feel that I cannot find the strength ( and my friends tell me that I am a strong person),I know that it is sheer faith. If I didn’t have that, I would simply stop and cry!! But I don’t! I keep moving on!

  10. Reese Evans

    Thank you very much for sharing this. I really enjoy reading the article. I really enjoyed it. I appreciate your thoughts and ideas. Well done.

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