Never say that you don’t have anything to give. It’s just not true. We’ve talked already about your life experience, and how you are a unique blend of your upbringing, circumstances, and choices. How nobody else has done or seen exactly what you have.

With everything you’ve been through in your life, you’ve got a lot of experience that others don’t necessarily have, especially younger people. All that life experience can be used to help others in all kinds of ways, whether you feel like you succeeded in your story or not.

Don’t be too afraid of negative experiences you’ve had. You can change people’s lives dramatically by sharing the story of how you used to be and how things worked out for you – and how you got where you are now, starting to value yourself more and make better choices. Never belittle yourself and don’t be embarrassed of your story. You can’t change it anyway.

Here’s some ways you can use your experience. Teach what you know. Write about it. Speak at schools or even prisons. Join a support group or charity that helps people who have been through what you have. Share your story with the right people, and they will get the things from you that you needed from others when you were going through it – the understanding that they are not alone, support, maybe even a way out or through.

You don’t always have to have special technical skills to contribute. Just a big desire to help. And finding others trying to do the same can give you the resources to do your part. Nobody is saying you have to do it all by yourself. Join others, and do what you can. If you help one person, that’s more than helping none. And you could change someone’s life.