Posts tagged #motivational youth speaker

Success Journey Continues in Guatemala!


I'm back! Both to Guatemala and on my blog! It's been months since I have blogged, and in the upcoming weeks I will be sharing the reasons why I took a writing sabbatical.

However, I am glad to say that I am currently in Guatemala right now. In a few hours, I will begin conducting a two day leadership workshop for police officers from Guatemala and other Central American countries.  

It's truly an honor for me to be here because my dad is from Guatemala, so this country is my roots. I arrived yesterday and one of the first things I wanted to do was eat a Guatemalan tamale. 

And you better believe I got one! There's no shame to my game...I love food. If you are ever in Guatemala City, you have to check out Kacao. Not only do they have tamales, but they also have Guatemalan enchiladas, which are totally different from Mexican enchiladas.

Day 1 here in Guatemala was my preparation day. I watched a little NFL football with Spanish announcers, which added to the excitement of the games. I met with the training staff, and then I had some school work to do, as I am currently working on attaining a Doctoral degree!

Today, the real fun starts. Today, I get to impart my wisdom and knowledge to leaders committed to working with young people and making a difference in their community. Who would have thought that I would be here? I sure didn't, but I am glad to say, I am here!

Here's my nugget of wisdom to you: Don't EVER let anyone tell you that you can't fulfill your dream. Ever.

Connect with me on social media! I'd love to hear from you!

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.