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The Story of My Life of Overcoming Obstacles and Doubters

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

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Why doubt me? Is it because my journey began by overcoming obstacles such as being kicked out of school, my first employment as a cleaner, or getting my first tattoo before turning 18? Perhaps I didn't speak English until I decided to work hard to represent Malta; an obstacle turned into victory.

Many doubted my potential due to these hurdles in life, and strangely enough, these doubters often created other obstacles.

Now, here I stand, having overcome the obstacle of my dismissal from school, transitioning from a cleaner to pursuing my entrepreneurial dream in real estate, and welcoming a digital nomad lifestyle, travelling the globe while I write stories.

In this blog post, I will tell you about my life progress, emphasising the importance of overcoming obstacles and dealing with doubt. While our lives may vary, my story aims to resonate with readers, inspiring them to face their doubters with optimism and navigate life's obstacles with power and strength.


Content Sections


Dealing with Doubters

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Using Doubt as Motivation

There were moments when doubts from others made me question my capabilities, provoking me to wonder, "Can I do this?" Initially, my response grew negative until I challenged myself with a new perspective – why not give it a shot and see how things unfold?

The most lessons I've learned appeared from my mistakes, shaping me into a stronger person today. In truth, many of our deep lessons are from our mistakes.

Countless times, I've been told phrases like "you won't get anywhere in life" or "you won't reach success." In those instances, my response used to be silence. However, today, I find satisfaction in proving those disbelievers wrong.

I can't count the number of people I've assisted with, from little things to organising their trips. Furthermore, I've developed my support to random individuals worldwide seeking help with their flights, accommodations, transport, or budgeting. This has transformed me into a stronger individual, fighting doubts and welcoming the potential within every individual.

Recognising Doubters

I will forever remember the key role that recognising my doubters played in my life journey, completely impacting my personal growth. Along this path, obstacles were displayed in various forms, each contributing to my character development and grit to face every obstacle life throws me.

Today, as I remember, I express appreciation to everyone who played a role because they have shaped my personality, infusing the confidence to prove wrong to those who doubted me.

Simultaneously, I've made it a personal mission never to quit chasing my dreams, understanding that it is never too late to learn something new or to accomplish what one desires.

When I encounter these doubters today, I walk with my head held high, not out of pride, but to show that everyone can accomplish their dreams, regardless of the situation.

Identifying Obstacles

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Photo by Sydney Rae on Unsplash

Above all, it is essential to believe in your capability to overcome obstacles rather than staying on what others may say. Prove to yourself, "I can do it, you can do it, and undoubtedly, we all can do it." If I hadn't held faith in my ability to overcome obstacles, I shiver to think where I might be today.

Obstacles are a natural part of life, and when people should ideally encourage you to overcome them, some may do the opposite, throwing doubt on your capacity to tackle problems. Adopt the mindset that you are capable, give yourself a boost of confidence, and push forward, turning every obstacle into a stepping stone for personal growth.

Turning Work Obstacles Into Challenges

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Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

How Did I Overcome Obstacles At Work?

In our professional journeys, we've all fronted obstacles, often accompanied by fears of taking decisive action to overcome them. Whether to seek a change in employment happens, especially when confronted with challenges from superiors who resort to yelling to maintain power.

Born and raised not to tolerate mistreatment, I confronted such situations head-on, refusing to let anyone treat me poorly. Encountering obstacles in the workplace, whether from individuals, colleagues, or companies, is a part of work life.

While I could dive into multiple such happenings, let me focus on one that many of us have been in the same situation, like when a false accusation has been made against you, such as being wrongly blamed for something you didn't do. Those are a few moments which still hurts till your last breath.

The most important of all is when you are wrongly blamed for something when you walk away free. Today is the answer when looking back. In Malta, a saying goes, "Malta is small, and its people are famous," emphasising that everyone knows each other. At the same time, we all get to know everything about anything. "The rest is history".

Despite the challenges faced, the ability to overcome obstacles with courage and maintain a clean conscience has proven valuable when reflecting on the journey.

The Success

Every history today is an accomplished journey in personal success, even during failures— not once or twice but a hundred times. Success has been achieved, often in silence, driven by the right mindset and a strategic approach that keeps my projects hidden.

Securing my first office employment after a decade in retail was an important milestone. Some may have questioned how someone with a background as a cleaner could transition into a banking role. Yet, proving them wrong was an outstanding achievement and showcasing the power of achieving success with the right mindset.

The Victory

The journey of my working life as an employee has been incredible, and you might wonder what victories one can achieve in a workplace. The true victory lies in the continuous willingness to learn, progress step by step, and grow toward the next ambition.

Starting my career as a cleaner, I eventually shifted to retail, dedicating about a decade to progress from a sales assistant at a Diesel store to a Shop Manager at an Adidas and Reebok store.

Transitioning from retail marked a momentous victory as I aimed to test perceptions and prove my capabilities in an office environment. Despite doubt from those who doubted me, I secured a finance position in banking, dealing with payday loans across the UK, the US, and Australia.

The ultimate victory, however, is nothing other than the abovementioned positions. Instead, it arises from the realisation that success is a matter of remembering where one started and accepting the journey to get there. This perception shift and resilience in the face of challenges are the core elements that lead to personal and professional growth.

The Business Life

three cars on the street

How Did I Face Obstacles and Hard Times While In Business?

In the entrepreneurial journey, facing obstacles and challenging times is a part of the business landscape. Admitting otherwise would be insincere, and I've navigated my fair share of challenges.

Some people could guide me to the right path in the business, but I was wrong. Still, back then, I realised that if you want to succeed, you must do it yourself. No one will do it for you, or let me put it another way; no one else will pave the way for your success to make you better than them. Hell yeah!

A challenging moment in my business journey came during the early stages when my father suffered a stroke, requiring significant attention and assistance for his speech recovery. The challenges were immense, but thank god Super Mario made it through.

My parents couldn't offer much support at first due to being unfamiliar with the business world. For them, it's always a risk. Still, their given space at home for experimentation and growth was invaluable, for which I am forever grateful.

In this challenging landscape, the only person who believed in me was my partner, who even quit her employment four months into our relationship to join me in this venture.

Despite warnings from others not to trust me, we co-owned NB Real Estate, and after ten years, I resigned in 2020. Although the company name was behind my initials, I never addressed it as my company but ours. She managed the company solo for a brief period, a testament to my belief in women's empowerment until we closed doors to achieve another dream, which you will read more about below.

Despite numerous thoughts of quitting, the strength derived from each other's support pushed us forward. We were involved in every aspect of the business – from being the painters of our office to building DIY furniture to acting as our accountants and jacks of all trades during the initial years to save funds.

When people thought about us closing down after two years, we signed our first office contract, investing around 15k in merchandising, furniture, IT, and office essentials. This financial challenge became a driving force, encouraging us to climb to the next business level.

The Success

Who would have told me that at 24, I would have accomplished running a real estate business from scratch, thriving for 11 years without any initial funds? Indeed, the entrepreneurial journey was riddled with ups and downs. Still, the true success of this venture lies not just in the company itself but in the relentless memory of its humble beginnings.

Developing as a part-time side business alongside a property developer, it began with exhaustive hours, working Monday to Sunday after my full-time employment.

The decision to abandon my banking position to follow the dream of establishing my own company faced doubt from many, who quickly passed judgment.

Driven by an enthusiasm to make things happen, the journey started when I was asked to find an apartment worth €500 monthly for someone, and then I was given €500 as a commission that turned out to be nearly two weeks' pay at my full-time job. This led to drawing up a plan, slowly calling people to advertise properties, and establishing NB Real Estate.

Beginning with a small desk in my bedroom and a few clients, a belief fueled the opening of our first real estate office two years later, with over 5,000 listed properties. The success of NB Real Estate was a testament to the person it shaped me into. Running a business differs from working for a company, requiring strict effort beyond traditional working hours. Today, the learning curve has been steep in understanding the true definition of hard work and the importance of values.

A noteworthy takeaway is that Norbert working for a company is the same as Norbert leading a company. The key success factor lies in individual achievements and the joint effort of all the people who trusted us with their properties and colleagues who trusted NB Real Estate with their employment during this venture.

Importantly, the entrepreneurial spirit succeeded, proving that even the most ambitious dreams can be achieved with strategic planning, persistent belief, and collective effort.

The Victory

Why not celebrate when my partner and I reached our goal of opening our office, even if it was half-empty? To us, it was half full, a perspective that depends on how you see the cup. We remember the significant celebration, hosting two soft launch events for family and friends and another for our clients.

Against countless odds, and trust me, there were many; we couldn't believe our success when we opened our doors to clients. From handling rentals and property sales to property management and turnkey projects, the business we diligently worked on appeared victorious.

The last victory happened in 2021 when our business journey ended. The decision to close the company was only to embark on a global travel adventure. Despite contrary opinions about closing a booming industry sector in Malta, it's funny that those who disagreed with this step were the same ones who initially opposed opening the business.

Due to the unpredictable twists brought about by COVID-19, our initial plan to travel Southeast Asia shifted into a one-way ticket, backpacking through 15 incredible European countries. This marked the onset of another remarkable life expedition – a career break, the beginning experience of full-time travel, and the most meaningful victory of transitioning from a 9-5 office job to becoming a digital nomad.

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My Life Through My Travels

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Did I Encounter Obstacles With Travels?

To overcome obstacles while travelling is part of the journey, and my passion for experiencing travel as a local would be boring if everything went smoothly. The first hiccup to our plans for our dream trip to Southeast Asia happened with the beginning of COVID-19 when we decided to move.

I will never stop saying this to everyone—what you can do today, don't leave it for tomorrow. The pandemic strengthened my belief, as it threw us a curveball, restricting us indoors instead of travelling the globe with our backpacks.

However, we transformed this obstacle into an opportunity, and leaving during the pandemic was a brilliant decision. Despite the initial doubt and the national attention, our story made it on Malta's TV and in newspapers, and it became a remarkable chapter in our lives.

When we set off for nearly two years of full-time travel, questions about the feasibility of such an extended journey were large. How could you afford to travel for so long? Contrary to what some people think that one fine day, we decided to leave; the reality is that we worked our asses off, saving every penny while our friends were going on occasional holidays and partying.

Many only highlight the positive side of this life adventure, failing to think about the extensive planning and the collection of situations faced both professionally and personally to reach that point.

The Success

Embarking on the path of travel is naturally a success, for the priceless lessons it presents are beyond measure. When we began our journey, our determination to make it unique by engaging ourselves in the local experience rendered incredible success. The successes were powerful, from hitchhiking across borders and eating local food to spending nights and sleeping with locals.

The standard of success grew in confronting fears, whether heights, sleeping at train stations, or navigating the tensions of being stranded at night. What about living out of a backpack with a few outfits and eating simple meals for an extended period? Indeed, it is a success in learning to appreciate the simplicity of life.

The numerous travel buddies we met, from hitchhiking buddies to fellow hostel backpackers, added a fantastic layer to our journey. We met hundreds of people who became the people to speak to about travel as they understood the travel bug inside us. Most significantly, success lies in enjoying the simplicity of unexpected or unplanned moments that become treasured memories.

The Victory

The victory is not just a distant goal; it's a reality that contains today, the present moment, and the future. Life, as I smell it now, is a unique opportunity to seize, and with this viewpoint, I've reshaped my aspirations. With only one shot of life, the most important is to make the most of it.

Among my various dreams, the greatest is to travel the world, and I'm actively pursuing it. With this new life, another victory has materialised in the travel blog Wandering Beyond. This platform has seamlessly blended into our daily career, offering the joy of being storytellers.

It's incredibly fulfilling to assist others in taking that crucial step, experiencing the freedom of travel, and inspiring people.

Side Career As A Model

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Overcoming Obstacles During A Side Career

Let's discuss another decisive moment that urged me to take action. Reflecting on an important time in my career as a model, I recognised the need to boost my commitment, transitioning from local to international competitions. This marked a crucial step toward realising a longstanding dream of representing my country.

The obstacle that loomed before me was the fear of being interviewed live or on TV, discouraged by my concern about expressing myself in English. In summary, I successfully navigated this challenge. What evaded me in a decade of school education was that I quickly reached within a short period.

I extend my apologies to my amazing educators for being a wild student. This experience taught me a valuable lesson about pursuing one's goals: anyone can achieve them with determination.

The Success

The success I sense in this satisfying career originates from the countless achievements accomplished through a routine, step-by-step approach. It highlights the success in patiently awaiting results and adopting the lessons from both wins and losses while keeping one's feet firmly grounded.

Achieving, in any form, marks a noteworthy success. While there was a phase of winning numerous awards, the most precious award in my eyes, one that I'll treasure throughout my life, is the Personality Award. This award, achieved multiple times, even on the international stage, brings me extraordinary happiness. It emphasises a crucial aspect – what is the point of having a good physique and being a catwalk pro without a great personality?

The Victory

Celebrating victories is a universal concept applicable to various factors of life and achievements. In my career as a model, disbelief emerged about my height, hearing that you must be tall and some people in Malta can give you many other names in a split second, trust me!

Fearless, I continued working hard and responding to the doubters, finally reaching success through continuous effort. A meaningful celebration happened in 2010 when I proudly represented Malta in the Best Male International Model at Benidorm, Spain, and the Costa Blanca Fashion Week.

A few months later, I extended my representation to a global scale, participating in Mister Universe 2011 alongside contestants from over 50 nations. These experiences marked important victories in my career.

Goals, Challenges and Opportunities

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Set goals and work towards them

The art of setting plans and goals has always been an essential part of my life, serving as a regular source of motivation that pushes me into action. I've been a dreamer from a young age, taking joy in writing my aspirations, preparing strategic plans, and working hard towards their realisation.

Embracing the mindset of focusing on one goal at a time, I've learned that despite failure, determination is required, and success is unavoidable through continuous effort. A fundamental advice I share with everyone is that unless someone is on a harmful path, allowing them to explore and supporting them with a word of wisdom is a relevant means of encouraging personal growth.

Setting goals is not just a decision; it involves knowing to prioritise and save funds, making the plan's implementation possible. A goal can only be achieved with effort if one stumble upon ready-made solutions. Even in the speculative scenario of becoming a millionaire, I would maintain a simple life, remaining dedicated to the same regular goals.

How did I reach these goals? The answer lies in the combination of hard work and the crucial role of savings. Sticking to the 50-30-20 rule, I've always focused on achieving real results through careful planning and disciplined financial management. This approach has proven to be a means of thinking that surpasses goal-setting, delivering a concrete way to overcome obstacles and proving that success can happen with the right combination of action and mindset.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

I am naturally attracted to challenges at any given time, recognising that facing fears and taking action are vital to personal growth. Admittedly, there were moments when the world was collapsing around me, and the weight was almost painful. We all encounter challenging phases in life, but self-pity has never been part of my dictionary.

Despite 100 falls, I've consistently risen 101 times, emphasising the importance of courage and the ability to overcome obstacles. This mindset reflects a commitment to dreams, showcasing that the courage to change and take action eventually leads to overcoming challenges, no matter how daunting they seem.

Learn and Never Compare

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Always be ready to learn

Experiencing daily knowledge is a unique opportunity we can all welcome, whether it involves learning to cook an egg or more complex subjects. I've prioritised growth by remaining attentive and always ready to listen whenever someone tries to teach me something new. This commitment to continuous learning is key to how we all can grow in life, and it's one of the best education one could have.

Never Compare Yourself to Others

A meaningful lesson life has taught me is the value of being true to oneself. While drawing inspiration from others and aiming to embody positive qualities is admirable, it's important not to mimic someone else's life blindly.

Importantly, following a course to impersonate another person won't lead to genuine happiness because it's not an authentic expression of yourself.

It's similar to someone wanting a luxurious lifestyle, like owning a half-million-dollar Lamborghini and considering borrowing funds to imitate that individual. Such thinking can lead to financial problems, putting unnecessary stress and burdens.

Keep the Positive Vibes

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Positive Surroundings

Never let anyone else decide your surroundings. Creating a positive ambience, improving my mental health, and achieving better results in everything I undertake have always been necessary.

Nowadays, I prioritise being surrounded by the best people who honestly wish for my success and working in an atmosphere decorated with flag badges representing the places I've been to. This intentional setting helps me deliver much better outcomes.

Whether it's a simple photo from the past capturing a victorious moment as an athlete with a team, a picture to feel the presence of someone close, or perhaps an image of a mountain summit you've conquered, these elements always contribute to better control of oneself.

Help Others and Give Back

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Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

Nothing has proven more rewarding than being capable of helping others, even raising a hand to some individuals who may consider themselves enemies. The incredible impact of offering help, whether through a simple gesture or a kind word, can make a significant difference, trust me.

Contributing to others doesn't always have to revolve around money. We often spend on material possessions when a fraction of that could help someone fulfil their children's basic needs, purchase food, or afford necessary medicine.

Nevertheless, giving back exceeds financial or material donations. The most important offerings one can give are respect and love. While finances hold importance, they cannot purchase fundamental elements such as happiness, freedom, love, or respect. To deal with the complexities of life, it is clear that these non-financial actions in the face of hardship expand the community's well-being.

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There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits. Start your journey to achieve success today, or share your story below in the comments to inspire others.


Disclosure: It is important to know that certain links within the content may be affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no additional cost when booking accommodations, cars, insurance and other purchases through these links. I solely support links to services that I sincerely trust. Your support is highly appreciated, and I express my gratitude for it.


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