Posts tagged #Failure

The Biggest Failure

            January 31, 2017 marked exactly three years since I took one of the biggest leaps of faith ever in my life. With that one decision, I let go of stability, comfort, and the only career path I had known for thirteen years. I chose to walk away when many people and even myself knew that there were many more years left for me to impact the lives of students, lead teachers, and move up the educational ladder. However, in my heart, I knew there was more for me.

            Some say ambition can be lethal because it causes people to dream big, take risks, and be different from the status quo. I can agree with that assessment, but for me, ambition is more.

            Ambition is tied to a person’s passion.

            You know that desire that wakes you up in the morning ready to take on the world. Passion; that fire that can’t be quenched by mediocrity and simply living life going through the motions.

            There are many people who live life simply going through the motions, and it’s a shame, because is that truly living? Many people entered the New Year a month ago with the expectation that 2017 would be better. Why? Was it simply because we ushered in a new year and closed the book on 2016?

            A new year means nothing if you enter it with the same mentality. What is a new year going to do for you if you still think the same way and in turn act the same way? Our beliefs determine our actions. Therefore,

            If you believe your life can’t get better, it won’t.

            If you believe you can’t make a difference, you won’t.

            If you believe your students can’t learn, they won’t…and it’s not because they are incapable of doing so. Rather, it is because your negative belief in them keeps you from giving your best. You can’t control them, but you can control you. But, again, why would we give our best when nothing good is going to come out of it, right?

            I don’t want to fail, so why try?

            I don’t want to look stupid, so why give it a shot?

            I don’t want to be laughed at, so why risk?

            I must admit that I have wrestled with the same thoughts. It hasn’t been easy for me going from getting a steady paycheck to making sure I close a deal to make certain I have the necessary means to provide for my family. I don’t say that for you to feel sorry for me. I say that because I know what it is to enter a new year thinking that a new year itself is going to make things different. It doesn’t. You make things different.

            As I finished 2016, I finished it with the mindset that I will get continue to get better. I will continue to risk, dream big, work hard, and try. Why? Because my ambition, my passion drives me to make a difference. Therefore, I will continue committed to that path.

Some of the Plano Senior High School students.

Some of the Plano Senior High School students.

            See, if I had given up and not tried, I would have never had the fortune to serve the youth and youth leaders of the Western Shoshone tribe in Nevada.

            I would have never had the chance to serve the educators of Pearsall ISD and challenge them to see the greatness not only in their students, but also in themselves, because they truly matter.

            I would have never had the opportunity to serve 200 plus students at Plano High School by sharing my heart, and hearing their cries and needs for hope in a future that sometimes seems uncertain to them.

            You can make a difference today right where you are at in your job, your community, and family. Stop worrying about whether it's going to fail or not.

Do the best you with what you are given and share the light inside of you.

            If you fail, you get back up. Some would say that I’ve failed since I left my position as a school administrator because I don’t have the leadership title anymore, the income I used to have, I’m not on T.V., and social media doesn’t really know who I am yet. But that’s far from the truth because the biggest failure in life is knowing there is a longing inside of you, but never having the courage to pursue it.

The biggest failure in life is simply not trying.

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The Journey of Success, Part IV, Homecoming

Who would have thought that a kid who spent a good amount of his time in the principal’s office as a middle school student would one day return to that same school and serve as its assistant principal?

I can still remember receiving the phone call informing me that I was being appointed assistant principal at Sam Houston Middle School.  Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I was going to get the opportunity to serve as an educational leader at the same school I once attended.

I wasn’t the best of students. Neither was I one of the worst. However, if you were to ask any of the teachers during my time there who they believed would one day come back and be a principal there, their response wouldn’t have been me.

Somehow, someway providence brought me home. I experienced a lot during my six years at Sam Houston, both personally and professionally. Yet, for some reason, at the tail end of my time there, I was no longer fulfilled.

My words didn’t express my unhappiness, but my body language did. Sure, there were times when I was excited to go to work. But more often than not, I wasn’t having fun anymore. I knew there was more inside me that was caged up and needed to be set free.

Freedom came on January 31st of this year.  Was I excited? Of course. Was I scared? No doubt. However, I made a decision to pursue my dream wholeheartedly. Therefore, sink or swim, I was determined to find out what would become of my dreams and ambitions.

If you have read the first three parts of The Journey of Success, you already know that this journey hasn’t gone quite the way I planned it to go. That is why when I returned back to Sam Houston two weeks ago to speak to the FCA group and AVID students, it was bittersweet for me.

It was sweet because I had the opportunity to impact the lives of middle school students with my message and story.  But it was bitter, because things were no longer the same.

The drive to the school was the same, the halls hadn’t changed, and many familiar faces were excited to see me, but it was different. I was home, but it didn’t feel like it.

Going into business for yourself not only takes courage, but it also takes strength. Making the decision to be an entrepreneur and basically hold destiny in your own hands is easy. The determination and dedication to pursue it through all the heartache and struggles is the difficult part.

According to Bloomberg, eight out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first eighteen months.  That is why I know making the decision to go into business is easy. However, are you strong enough to bear the weight of failure, doubt, and loneliness (just a couple of things I have struggled with)?

Other questions you must ask yourself are:

Will you stay determined when nothing seems to be working in your favor?

Will you be dedicated to finding out what is working, what is not, and then make the necessary adjustments?

Being back at Sam Houston made me question my decision to leave to start my own business. There, I had a purpose, a platform where students, teachers and parents needed me. Now, I struggle with the thought, “Am I even wanted?” Because what good is my message if I don’t have the audience to share it with?

Eighty percent of people who start businesses do not make it. That’s not a comforting statistic considering how I have attempted several things in my business that have failed. Yet like a bop bag, I get back up.

 I am determined. I am dedicated. I cannot quit. Neither can you. You did the easy part making a decision to achieve a goal.  Now, I challenge you to stay dedicated and determined to achieve it. Your goal is worth it.

What do you do to stay determined and dedicated to your goal? Share your comment below.


©2014, A.C. Cristales, Cristales Leadership Group

Posted on September 24, 2014 and filed under Blogs.