From Rock Bottom to NY Times Best-Selling Author

See how Lewis Howes built his million-dollar empire.

In the world of entrepreneurs, Lewis Howes is one of the biggest players around, having created one the most popular podcasts in the country and landed on The New York Times best-sellers list for his book, “The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy.”

In his podcast, “The School of Greatness,” Howes interviews guests ranging from world-class athletes, relationship experts, health and entertainment leaders and other successful entrepreneurs. The point? To share inspiring stories about what it takes to be successful.

Keep reading to learn about what it takes to get to the top.

Despite being a successful entrepreneur, Howes’ road to success was far from easy. As a young boy, Howes was the tall and scrawny kid who had difficulty reading and writing, was constantly bullied in school and often picked last in sports. As a result, he struggled to find his self-confidence.

After struggling with insecurities his whole life, Howes desperately wanted a change.

“I wanted to create something more for myself than just constantly feeling like I wasn’t enough, but I did not know what that would be until third or fourth grade — I got picked last on a dodgeball team for my class in recess and I just said, ‘I never want to feel this again. I don’t want to have this feeling of being last so I’m going to do whatever it takes to be the best I can be as an athlete.'”

His athletic talent soon landed him a spot on an Arena Football League. But after suffering an injury his rookie season he never made it back onto the playing field. Instead, he wound up broke, living on his sister’s couch.

“It was a challenging time where I just felt like, ‘What am I going to do?'” Howes said. “My entire identity is wrapped up in this dream. This is all I cared about. This is all I was good at — was playing sports. And now I can’t do that anymore. I can’t make money doing it so, ‘What I am going to do?'”

But it was during this time that Howes developed his entrepreneurial spirit. He attended Toastmasters International — an organization dedicated to communication and leadership development — every week for a year and met with influential leaders and entrepreneurs that gave him the courage to re-invent himself.

“I started seeking out people who had achieved something and asking them questions,” Howes said. “They challenged me to take on my life in a different way. They challenged me to take on new skills. They challenged me to overcome my fears of public speaking. They challenged me to do things I’d never done.”

After moving to Los Angeles, Howes found himself in a state of self-reflection while sitting in the city’s infamous traffic.

“I remember just being in traffic over there and seeing everyone else around just unhappy — like frustrated, screaming, honking and I was just like, ‘Man, there are a lot of people who feel stuck in this world right now who are in transition, who feel like they’re in traffic, and I wonder if I can get a message to them?'”

That thought became the inspiration for “The School of Greatness,” which has aired more than 600 episodes and garnered over 40 million downloads since launching in 2013. Now with a million-dollar business, Howes hopes that his story will encourage others.

“If I were to talk to my younger self and give him some feedback or advice or words of wisdom I would say that, ‘It’s all going to OK,'” Howes said. “I would say, ‘You don’t need to be so hard on yourself. You don’t need to beat yourself up. You don’t need to wish you were dead.’ And to take it one step at a time.”

Click through to learn about powerful ways to build your entrepreneurial skill set.