pull oneself by one's bootstraps

pull oneself (up) by one's bootstraps (to become richer or more successful through one's own hard work, without anyone else’s help) — выбиться в люди благодаря собственным усилиям; самому / без посторонней помощи пробить себе дорогу; пробиться, выбиться в люди, выкарабкаться самостоятельно; быть всем обязанным самому себе; ~ вытянуть себя за волосы
Also
to bootstrap oneself

Example 1: She has pulled herself up by her own bootstraps. — Она всего в жизни достигла сама.

Example 2:
It's all very well the doctor telling me to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, but when one's really ill one needs help. — Врачу хорошо говорить, что я сам должен выкарабкиваться, но когда болеешь серьезно, необходима помощь.
(NTC)

Related vocabulary for MAKING PROGRESS /ACHIEVING sth
make progress, or to achieve something

work one's way to/through/up etc sth (to achieve something gradually by working)

Example: He had worked his way up to head of department.

a self-made man/ woman (a percon wnho has become successful without help from other people)

Example: a self-made millionaire

make strides
to make progress towards a goal

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