Posts tagged #journey

Be Extraordinary!

I’m thinking of doing this…

I’m planning to do that…

Tomorrow, I will…

Next month, I might…

Ordinary people think about taking action and claiming brighter futures but go no further; extraordinary people go the extra mile and actually act upon those thoughts. Which type of person are you?

Do you have things you want to accomplish in your life? Do you have aspirations you know will take time and energy to see fulfilled? Do you have dreams you long to see come true? None of these things will happen on their own.

A new month is upon us. The average person will waste the hours and minutes they will be given. They’ll be content being ordinary. However, you were not destined to be average or ordinary. You were created to be extraordinary.

If you have desires that still remain unrealized, you cannot allow fear, doubt, or laziness to steal even one more second from you. Instead, set your goals, determine the steps you will need to take in order to reach them, and get to work.

Time is the only thing of value that we really own.
Treat it like the gift that it is.

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To Succeed, You Must Endure

Do you journal? I know we live in a fast-paced society, but I would encourage you to take some time to write down your thoughts. If not daily, at least three times a week. Research has shown that journaling provides several health benefits. And who doesn’t want to live healthier?

This morning, I re-read something that I wrote in 2010 about endurance. Endurance is simply the ability or strength to last. Maybe, this week you’ve been feeling weak. Perhaps, the motivation from yesterday no longer exists. Don’t give up. Whatever you want to succeed in demands your ability to endure.

Sorry to disappoint you, but life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. However, in you, is the strength to withstand anything life brings your way.

Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote. May it encourage you:

I can’t tell you when you should no longer pursue a goal or dream. I can’t tell you when it’s time to throw in the towel. I can’t do either, unless, of course, the pursuit is damaging your life, and therefore you must let it go. Other than that, though, the answer to those questions lie within you. You and only you know when it’s time to kiss good-bye your hopes, goals, and pursuits. Maybe you’re at that point right now, but before you pucker up your lips, allow me to tell you that anything worth having is worth fighting for. You’re probably thinking, “A.C., I’ve been fighting for years and still I have nothing to show for.” That maybe true, but if the desire hasn’t abandoned you yet, and it’s constantly tugging at your heart, then know it’s because it’s still there for you. Just remember though, I am writing about things you are desiring that aren’t going to destroy your life and send you into a hole you can’t get yourself out of. On that account, I urge you to use wisdom and get understanding on what is good for your life.

Why do I continue my pursuit? Maybe because I’m crazy and foolish to believe God will use me in a mighty way like He said He would. However, as Ive grown and matured, Ive realized its all about timing. That is why I continue plugging away because I know that no one who plants a seed today sees a harvest tomorrow. The harvest comes with time. How much time? Sometimes more than we’re willing to wait. Other times, more than we can take.  Anyone can start a race, but the prize goes to the one who endures to the end. Will you endure?

Whatever difficulty you are facing right now is not here to stay. It will pass. Remind yourself of that, and remember you can endure anything that comes your way.


What is your reason for enduring the hardships of life? Share your comments with me below.

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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 October 29, 2014 and filed under Blogs.

The Journey of Success, Part VII, Create Opportunity

Last week I tweeted the following:

 Opportunities don’t always knock. Sometimes you have to create them.

By now, I wish I had a calendar full of speaking engagements, but I know they’re coming. Though there have been leads that I haven’t booked, I know someone’s waiting.  When things don’t go as planned, it’s easy to lose focus and ask questions such as:

What do I do now?

What did I do wrong?

What must I work on?  

Personally, for me I ask myself, not why, but what now?

What can I do now to quench the thirst I have that knows I was chosen to share my story to touch and impact many lives?

Mark Twain wrote, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I wasn’t born just to speak, but also to empower. I wasn’t born just to entertain and make people laugh with my style of speaking; I was born to inspire. I wasn’t born to follow the crowd into mediocrity. I was born to blaze new trails and lead others to do the same.

I know the reason why I am alive! Which is why, I can have a bad day where I am knocked down. In fact, the referee may even be close to counting me out, but right before he is able to ring the bell, I am back on my feet.

I am a fighter. I know one door closing doesn’t mean another one won’t open. I have to keep knocking. I have to keep working. I have to keep believing.

The greatest enemy you will ever fight is yourself.  You will doubt yourself, question your abilities and have moments when you don’t believe in your talent.

Don’t quit. The opportunities you are waiting for may not magically appear. Some you will have to create. Others you will have to claw and fight for.

The past two weeks, I spoke to twenty groups of students.  Four days of sharing one of my keynote messages for five straight hours. It was physically draining because I made sure my delivery and enthusiasm was at its best for each group.

Last Friday, however, I was dealing with a severe head cold and my entire body ached. I didn’t think I was going to make it through five sessions, but I did. As I took the microphone and shared my message, I was strengthened. There is something invigorating about living life with purpose.

I’m not going to sit around and wait for opportunities to arrive. I will create them.

If I really believe my purpose is to empower and help people, I will find an audience and do so. It doesn’t matter if I speak to 5, 45 or 4500 people, I know my purpose and I will live like it. 

Do you know why you were born? Do you know why God created you?

You have a purpose.

If it’s to write a book, stop wasting time and write it.

If it’s to record an album, find the resources and do it.

If it’s to start a business, get your finances in order and start it.

If it’s to graduate from college, be diligent with your studies and obtain the degree.

Whatever your purpose is, create the opportunities today to help you achieve it.

Posted on October 3, 2014 and filed under Blogs.

The Journey of Success, Part III, Confirmation

Confirmation: Proof which shows that something is true.

I’ve never questioned myself the way that I question myself now. I honestly believed that after I worked my last day at Sam Houston Middle School on January 31, 2014, that many doors were going to open for me.

They didn’t, and to some degree, they still haven’t. Doors have either been slammed shut in my face or just not answered at all. Still I continue knocking, and through my relentless pursuit, some doors have opened. Yet, because the doors opening aren’t as many as I would like, I doubt.

Bills do not care that I am currently struggling with my finances. Every beginning of the month I am reminded of that. So, I doubt.

In August, I was told that I wasn’t confident enough when I speak by the president of a speaker’s bureau.  Am I not a good speaker? I doubt some more.

I don’t like doubting myself. There was a point in my life where I was always fearless and felt like I could take on the world any day of the week. Lately, the burdens of my world have left me weak and tired.

Rocky gets destroyed by Clubber Lang.

Some of my favorite movies are from the Rocky series because I can relate so much to them. I am an underdog just like Rocky was.  And just like Rocky won fights that many people doubted he could win; I too, have won several fights.

Yet now, I feel like I’m in a battle I can’t win. I’ve been beaten badly just like Rocky was by Clubber Lang, and the easy thing to do now is walk away, but I can’t.

I need a sign. I need something to tell me that although doors are being slammed in my face and my savings are depleting at a quick pace, I am on the right path.  I need a sign to remind me that no matter what my situation looks like right now, the best is just around the corner.

Last Monday I traveled to Detroit to train a group of thirty police officers from the Detroit Police Department. I enjoy training police officers, especially when they come to the trainings in uniform. They have guns. Therefore, I feel safe.

However, it can be a bit intimidating for a non-law enforcement presenter to speak to a group of police officers. Yet, if there is anything that has helped me throughout my speaking and education career, it has been my transparency and humility.

I don’t pretend to know everything, and I definitely do not think that I am better than any one person that I am speaking to. My goal is to empower my audience to use their gifts so they can be the best they are capable of being whether in the classroom, leading an organization, or educating students.

I did what I do best.  I spoke from my heart, was passionate, and engaged the class in meaningful discussions. It was a great success.

After ten hours of delivering my content to them, I felt energized. Though, I was fatigued, I was strengthened.  I didn’t need a sign at that moment, but little did I know, I was going to get one any ways.

One of the officers came to speak to me after the training was over. He shared with me how he didn’t want to come to that specific training in Detroit because he knows police officers aren’t always the best students in a training session, but then he said…

“You had us. You kept us engaged. You were funny. You were real. “

Next, and probably the best thing he could say to me, was,

“There is a great spirit inside of you. Keep at it young brother.”

Encouraging words. My sign. Confirmation that I am on the right path.

The journey continues.

The Journey of Success, Part II, Outliers


According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, his research found that success is not dependent solely on natural talent. Practice is what sets apart the elite performers from the average ones. In fact, his research shows that if you practice something for 10,000 hours, you will become a master at it.

The  “greats” know that nothing achieved easily is ever truly impactful. The ones who work diligently on their craft are the ones who experience the greatest triumphs.

We live in a world where we want things easy. We want to pick up a basketball and automatically think that we will shoot jumpers like Kevin Durant. Not going to happen. Personally, every time I walk onto a golf course and swing my driver, I think it’s going to go at least two hundred and fifty yards. Not even close.

Golf has taught me that you can’t just attempt something once and actually believe you’re going to be great at it. I’ve only played for three years, and although I’ve gotten better at it, the only reason that has happened is because of the hours I’ve spent on a driving range and golf course. However, if I didn’t invest that time, why should I expect better results?

The same is true for anyone chasing after his or her dreams. Why should you expect a reward if you’re not investing your time and efforts to pursue your dream?

You want to be a professional athlete? Do you practice above and beyond the hours mandated by your coach?

You want to own a restaurant? Have you read books on how to run a restaurant, or sought wisdom by talking to somebody in the food service industry?

You want to be a doctor? What are your study habits like?

It is easy to want a thing, but it takes dedication and determination to work for a thing.

Now that school is back in session here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I will take advantage of it by speaking in as many schools that open their doors for me.

The first school I spoke at this semester was Frankford Middle School. I spoke to five classes, each fifty minutes. That’s almost five hours added to the more than 10,000 hours I already have on my resume since I started speaking to young people at the age of fifteen.

The five hours were exhausting, but they were worth it. Many would think I am crazy for speaking for five consecutive hours, but I am committed. I am committed to being faithful to the 25 to 30 students in each class knowing that my time with them is preparing me for the day when I speak to 2500 to 3000 people.

One student, whose parents came to pick him up early, would not leave until I finished my speech. My hope is that he took something from what I said and he realizes there IS greatness inside of him. That is my hope for everyone I speak to.

Empowering people to go after their dreams…that’s the mission and the mission is alive! Therefore, the journey continues. Even if it means I have 10,000 MORE hours before the world realizes I am a master communicator.

What are you practicing or working on today that will help you fulfill your dreams?


The Journey of Success, Part I

More than three hundred and fifty brochures mailed out, yet I only received one response that did not materialize into anything tangible.

Promises were made from several people in the industry to provide me guidance and direction, yet instead all they did was take my money and left me hanging out to dry.

Countless e-mails and phone calls not returned.

Book sales not what I want them to be.

Yet, still I stand.

I stand with my head up high, even though, some days I have to force myself to keep it up. 

I stand, even through the disappointment, rejection, and the reality that my plan is not working out the way I thought it would have.

I figured eight months in and promoting myself strong, that doors would have opened. I strongly guessed that by now after speaking to over a thousand students in more than forty classes and a youth leadership conference that my audience would have grown. However, it hasn’t. Not the way I planned it would have.

That’s the thing about the journey of success: it is not always what you see. People say there are secrets of success and I, at one time, believed that to be true. However, months after walking away from a noble profession (education) that I spent thirteen years in, I no longer believe that to be true.

I don’t think there are secrets of success. I believe that there are seeds of success because what really are the secrets anyway?

Work hard. Be patient.  Don’t quit. Be consistent. Stay committed…just to name a few.

These are not secrets. Many men and women have succeeded for generations and generations because they have followed these rules. But again, these are not secrets. These are seeds. These are things that you and I do with the expectation that with nurturing and time, they will help us, and our business grow into something great.

The seed of working hard may bring forth results for somebody in three months. For you, it may take three years.

The seed of being patient may only require your peer to wait a year. For you, it may require a decade.

The seed of “don’t quit” may bring forth light afflictions to somebody else. For you, it may mean desolate valleys and painful falls.

The seed of staying consistent and committed to a dream may mean it takes your colleague doing something for a couple of months before they make it big. For you, it may mean doing something consistently and staying committed to it for years before you see any fruit.

All seeds do not grow at the same rate. Therefore, everybody’s journey of success will not be the same. Many people quit their journey of success because they don’t see their seeds producing what they envisioned them to produce. Frankly, I know the feeling. However, I am still pulled. Pulled by the greatness inside of me. Drawn by my desire to share my message of hope to a world that is hurting. Lured by my calling to empower people to go out there and fulfill their dreams no matter the cost.

Yes, there is a cost. There are no secrets. There is no magic formula. All there are are seeds that you must tend to. Maybe, this is the lesson I had to learn; that everyone’s journey of success is different, and that I mustn’t waste time comparing mine to anyone else’s. The only obligation I have is to take care of what’s mine and to keep climbing my way up to reach my mountaintop.


What's journey of success look like?

Purchase A.C.'s new book, The School of Hard Knocks.

Posted on September 16, 2014 and filed under Blogs.