THE BLOG

No More Excuses for Failure

13/08/2013 11:39 BST | Updated 12/10/2013 10:12 BST

It is time black minority ethnics take responsibility for their own lives and stop making excuses.

Growing up, I made quite a few mistakes myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a person from a minority group down. I even went far enough off the rails to find myself in life changing environments and always had an excuse for not doing the right thing.

If I had carried on down that path I might well have been unemployed on benefits or perhaps even leading a life of crime. Just thinking about that motivates me now.

What turned my life around was the intervention of my grandparents, who are my role models, mentors and life coaches. That's why I believe that family is the most important thing in anyone's life. Everything else is unfulfilled if we fail at family and although I sometimes wish my mother was not only present but involved, I realise how lucky I am to have the rest of my family unit around me.

I understand that not everyone can be as lucky as I have been to have a family unit around them to raise them up and provide support when they're at their lowest. As such, I want to dedicate my time to breaking that cycle, providing that sense of family to those who haven't got that structure. As someone from a minority background I feel a special obligation to help those less fortunate than me.

What is remarkable is how many black minority ethnics have not failed in the face of social challenges and possibly discrimination but how many men and women overcame the odds, how many were able to make a way out of no way.

However, there are still too many young people who continue to make bad choices. One of the things I have learnt over the last decade is that there is no longer any room for excuses.

I agree there are still hurdles. Indeed, the political class is not exactly representative in terms of gender, race and social economic background, and business leaders still discriminate for a variety of reasons (something I have seen first-hand at a company I have worked at). Nonetheless, we have fantastic role models such as President Obama and, more locally, leaders like Ray Lewis. Ray has spent most of his life helping young people to rise up in some of London's most deprived neighbourhoods and I know he shares my commitment to changing the odds for our at-risk young people.

The Mayor of London'sMentoring Programme led by Ray Lewis aims to steer people at risk of offending away from crime and towards education, employment and training - it will provide that sense of support that is often missing from young people's lives.

In the professional world there are also great role models as black minority ethnics are leaders in the start up community. They are often leading entrepreneurs, innovators and have shown that you can make your dreams a reality.

We are determined to help people who want to work hard and get ahead make the most of their untapped talents and realise their full potential, irrespective of their background.

The programme will be based around instilling the simple characteristic that defines many of those who have succeeded. Namely, a self-belief so strong that when everyone around them was saying "You can't do that", these people replied: "Oh yes, I can."

There may be people that have more talent than you and there might be people who have doors opened for them, but that is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do nor to dream as big as you.