Posts tagged #Journey

Don't Stop Believing

The following is an excerpt from a reflection I wrote on back in January of 2010. Almost five years have passed and for me, what I wrote then, is a reminder to keep believing. Regardless of time passed and difficult circumstances you may be facing, we must always believe that we can live out our dreams.

Someone once wrote, “In order to achieve you must believe,” which leads me to conclude that success begins in you. That statement makes it seem easy. I wake up one morning, look at myself in the mirror and say I’m going to be a wealthy man! Yet, is it really that easy?

It can be. If you truly put your mind to do something AND work at it, then you can become wealthy or whatever else you put in your mind to become. Yet, the reality is that most people either: a.) Can’t fathom believing that they can achieve or prosper or b.) Want to achieve or prosper, but are lazy and don’t want to work for it.

Don't stop believing!

Yes, there is a blessing for you.  You may have to fight to get it. You may have to work countless hours to attain it, but regardless of what you think, your “it” is out there.

One of the greatest men in the Bible is David. David is considered by many theologians to be the greatest king Israel ever had. Before David became king, he was taking care of sheep, which wasn’t a prestigious job, but he was faithful at it. In fact, David once killed a lion that was trying to harm his sheep. I would have let the lion enjoy the sheep. Who am I to deny the king of the jungle his delicacy of eating lamb? That was not David. He took his work seriously, but even with his work ethic, David was overlooked.

When the prophet Samuel was looking for a new king for Israel he went to the house of Jesse. Jesse showcased to Samuel seven of his sons, and deliberately overlooked David because he was young and thought he was not fit to be a king. Yet, David was the one Samuel was looking for.

When a giant named Goliath taunted the Israelites for forty consecutive days, David was the one who was brave enough to challenge Goliath. However, people doubted that David could take care of the giant. Goliath laughed at him, and King Saul tried to give David his armor because he didn’t think David could defeat the giant. Yet, David didn’t need the king’s armor. David slew the giant with a sling and a rock.

After slaying Goliath, David became well known, but with fame and recognition, came jealousy and betrayal. King Saul now wanted him killed. The people who followed David betrayed him and wanted him stoned because things didn’t go the way they had planned. David was not deterred though. With no one by his side, David, “encouraged himself in the Lord.”

Perhaps, you have been overlooked and that has caused you to stop believing in what you want to accomplish. Maybe people have viewed you and your dreams with doubt and that has destroyed your desire to further pursue your dreams. It could be that those whom you trusted upon have betrayed you and their betrayal has left you heartbroken. Being overlooked, doubted upon, and betrayed can kill you and your dream, but it doesn’t have to. You must do what David did. You must encourage yourself.

Understand, sometimes you have to be your greatest supporter and biggest cheerleader. You have to be the one that tells yourself, “My dream is going to happen. My vision will be fulfilled.  Nothing will stop me!”

What will you say to yourself today to provide you encouragement?

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A.C. Cristales is a motivational youth speaker, leadership consultant, and author.  He has been working with students, educators, parents and youth workers for more than 15 years. 

Posted on November 11, 2014 and filed under Blogs.

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.