Broken Families Can Bring Out Self-Made Entrepreneurs




This is when entrepreneurs are at their best – their golden period. There hasn’t been a more fruitful time for freelancers, businessmen, founders, and startup hopefuls wanting to find success from all their hard work. Just look around you. You will realize that there is no shortage of reputable figures that are leading the path. They are the great dreamers, and this includes self-made men and women who have made history in creating power brands with their own creativity, guts, and confidence. Arianna Huffington and Sara Blakely are only a few of them, smart women who found big and successful companies that have helped modernize technology, economy, and culture itself. Zipcar, Amazon, and Uber are only some of these power companies.

But what about the roads they have traveled to get to where they are now? Are there really straight-cut skills and traits that entrepreneurs must possess in order to achieve success? What of those who come from broken families? Do they have the same chance that the others are given?

The Dysfunctional Family Concept

We all know that it doesn’t take just one big idea to start a business. But what gives the successful, intelligent entrepreneurs the edge over others?

Steve Blank, a professor at Stanford University, came up with the notion that this depends on a person’s psychological makeup. Having worked for decades at the Silicon Valley and seeing various companies fair and succeed, he concluded that big startup executives seemed to possess similar traits, which included steadfastness, passion, and amazing confidence and comfort while operating in a messy business.

Blank, together with his colleagues, observed another bizarre pattern – an inconsistent number of executives and CEOs were born and raised by broken families. In his concept of the dysfunctional family theory, Steve Blank suggests that a lot of entrepreneurs come from a not-so-good upbringing, where parents often fight or are separated and the like.

In his rather ‘unempirical’ survey, blank discovered that there are about 50% of people who struggle at working laboriously to improve their companies identified as born and raised from home environments that were filled with fighting, arguments, tough discipline, significant conflicts, drug and alcohol abuse, and little to no love and affection.


He stated that of the children that were raised in broken families, some come out from their childhood with a special ability to concentrate and perform amidst chaos and conflict. They learn to develop skills to deal with uncertainty and to thrive despite being confronted by a lot of imbalance. They have gotten resilient and headstrong because of their household environment.

Additionally, research also supports the notion that a rough upbringing leads to achieving success. The essential attribute that allows this broken child to develop into a powerful entrepreneur is that which is called resilience, or the capacity of a person to adapt amidst adversity, challenge, or trauma.

Individuals that are resilient are capable of bouncing back from tough experiences more quickly and come out unscathed. They are relatively stronger mentally, solve problems more efficiently, and are more in control of themselves and their lives. They that endure a devastating adolescence but are still capable of using that emotional strength and turning it into success could actually have a greater possibility of holding a remarkable status in the future.

Do these hit a mark on you? If you think you are one of those that belong to the broken family/professional powerhouse camp, you may identify with these attributes or circumstances.

You can perform despite the odds.

Leaders that were raised in messy home environments are not new to acts of will. Though the circumstances are not in your favor, you know you have to do it and finish it anyhow – even if you’re alone in doing this. In the workplace, despite the brimming deadlines, you maintain that confidence and work your butt off to finally deliver in the end.

You persevere.

You are so used to feeling cold and alone, which will actually serve you quite well in the work setting. You are not the type to wait for you should do or how you should do it. You simply prepare yourself for work and get it done.

You cringe at tough rules.

Raised in a broken family where things can be different every single day, you might want to be flexible on your own terms and do what you can to adapt to the situation. In this way, you become an awesome out-of-the-box genius.


You are an expert in reading people and places.

Because you are living with a broken family, you have practiced the art of going through and overcoming emotional paths. In the workplace, that emotional quotient allows you to be well-equipped for reading the mood of investors, executives, new colleagues, and other members of the entrepreneur field so you can decide which course of action to take.

Bottom Line

Whatever it is you’re dreaming to achieve for your future, it is inspiring to realize that hardships from being born and raised in a broken family could be put to meaningful use in your professional career. After all, one thing that we can predict in starting a company is its unpredictability. Just be aware of the trials and challenges that have brought you to that fruitful and happy place right now.