Posts tagged #success

Teacher Appreciation 2017

We are human turnstiles. People come into and out of our lives virtually every day, but only a select few remain with us for an extended period of time. And only a certain number will truly impact our lives.

As human beings, we can endure the lack of many things. But loneliness, the absence of connections with other people, can be extremely difficult to bear.

See, we were created for relationships. Our interactions with others teach, shape and guide us. We need other people in our lives because no matter how passionate we may be about our own personal goals and aspirations, there will come moments when our enthusiasm begins to dwindle, when we get tired, and when we stop dreaming.

There will be times when it will be absolutely necessary for us to have people encourage us and rekindle the fire within us. These individuals who do so are our true heroes and those we can count on through thick and thin knowing that they stand with us and join in our struggles so we do not have to fight alone.

The irony is that we are not always appreciative of the countless sacrifices and unconditional love that these people bestow upon us. Our forgetfulness is not intentional, but it definitely is good to be reminded that we are appreciated.

Perhaps as a teacher, you are the hero I have described. The one who helps students find peace in troubling times, and bolsters their faith when doubts and insecurities fall upon them. However, you may not always receive any acknowledgment or recognition.

So, today, allow me to express my appreciation to you for:

  • Helping students believe in themselves, when they could not see anything in them worth believing in.

  • Seeing potential and greatness in students, when parts of society see helpless and hopeless individuals.

  • The many acts of kindness that you do for students, not to be recognized, but simply because you deeply care about them.

  • The many hours you spend planning, preparing and coming up with creative ways to reach and teach your students.

  • Simply being there for students when others choose to walk away.

You are making a difference!

Thank you for your impact!

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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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Seize the Opportunities

As we get older, our days seem to become shorter than they once were. Our responsibilities consume so much of our time and energy that on occasion there simply are not enough hours in the day to attend to them all. If we focus too intently on these activities, we can easily miss others that do not fit into our established routines.

At other times, we may ignore things outside the realm of what we find comfortable, choosing instead to maintain the status quo because we do not want to disrupt the practices we have become accustomed to.

Still, at other times, we may fail to recognize the opportunities that arise because they do not come in the manner we expect or because, on the surface, they look far too much like work.

It is possible for us to spend so much time in expectation and preparation for what may come that we actually miss the very things we are waiting for until they have passed well beyond our grasp. The truth is that far too often we allow opportunities to remain unclaimed when they should, in fact, be fortuitously seized.

What opportunities can you seize today...will you seize today?

Sure, there are not enough hours in the day, but how can you maximize the time you have been given? What activities can you do without? Which undertakings are you working on that are not really benefitting you?

Those things that do not help you will eventually hurt you. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, but that which does not bring out the best in you will always be a hindrance to your success, both personally and professionally.

Opportunity knocks. However, if you feel like opportunity is missing your door for whatever reason, it does not mean that this is the time to complain. Rather, this is the time to create your own opportunities, and opportunities are created when you step into motion. You cannot expect opportunities to arrive if you are not putting yourself, your faith or your work into action.

Commit yourself to seize the opportunities that a new day brings.

Today, don’t get derailed. Don’t be discouraged either. Your destiny awaits. It may be delayed, but it is definitely not denied. 

Believing in your GREATNESS!

What opportunities will you seize or create today? Share them in the comments.

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Success Journey Continues in Guatemala!

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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.

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Don't Stop Believing

The following is an excerpt from a reflection I wrote on eternal3.com 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.

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.

You Matter

“The small choices and decisions we make a hundred times a day add up to determining the kind of world we live in.”—Harold Kushner

Last Tuesday my mom asked me to take her to a birthday party celebrating a friend of hers who had lived with us for a few years during my childhood. She had turned ninety years old. What a milestone!

As I sat at the party, holding my daughter as she slept in my arms, I thought about whether I would live that long, and if I did how would my life be remembered. What would I leave my daughter, family, and people who had the opportunity to meet me with?

Many people don’t struggle with the fact that they will die. Death, after all, is inevitable. Most people, however, do wrestle with the thought of having lived a life that didn’t matter.

There’s not much worse than reaching the end of your life thinking you didn’t make a difference.  For we all desire to be significant. And as one author wrote, we all want to be, “somebody’s somebody.”

How many people, young or old, just want to feel that someone cares about them? How many of us would give more effort at our job knowing that what we do is viewed as important?

We want to know that we matter. We want to hear it. We want people to tweet and instagram it. Sometimes, the recognition we crave though will never come. Does that mean we’re insignificant and don’t matter? Not at all.

We do matter.

You matter. In fact, the choices you make today matter more than you will ever know. What you do today determines the type of world you live in. The power is in you to create an atmosphere that can help or hurt not only yourself, but also others.

You are important. No matter how big or small you think something you do is, you never know what your act of kindness can do for a person and where it can lead them.

The smile you give to a person who’s hurting CAN brighten up his or her day.

The belief you have for a kid who feels they have no hope CAN change their world.

The gift you give to someone CAN make him or her feel like they’re on cloud nine.

The time you spend with your loved ones CAN let them know that they are special.

The love you express CAN make a difference.

Love and being loved is what makes life meaningful. If your heart is filled with love and you’re able to freely share it with others, that’s success. For as Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived—that is to have succeeded.”

What can you do today to let someone else know that they matter too? Share with me in the comments 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 24, 2014 and filed under Blogs.

The Journey of Success, Part X, Invest in Yourself

Warren Buffet said, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself…the best asset is your own self. You can become to an enormous degree the person you want to be.”

When it’s all said and done, your success will be determined by what you did and did not do. If you don’t succeed, placing the blame on people, your upbringing or a lack of resources will not fly. Success is dependent on you.

Do you desire to be successful? If so, are you investing in yourself? Understand that no one can take away what you do to better yourself or situation. They may take away your job, partner, or money, but they can’t take away the knowledge you gain by investing your time and energy into your purpose.

When you invest in yourself, you devote all your resources into doing whatever it takes to get better, knowing that your investment will bring forth positive results.

Think of a person with an exceptional talent who never realized their full potential.

What do you think stopped them?

Doubt. Fear. Opposition. The list goes on. I believe talented people never reach their full potential because they don’t invest in themselves. Talent will only take you so far. It is what is inside you that will help you reach the mountaintop. That is why you must invest in yourself.

For years, I’ve heard how much potential I have as a speaker, leader, and educator. I’m not going to lie; at first it flattered me. The past couple of years though, I’ve gotten sick of the word potential.

I’m tired of hearing of “my potential.” I don’t want my life defined by what could be.

He could be great.

He could be one of the top speakers.

He could be president of this organization.

All potential shows is what could be. Taking action makes it a reality. If there is a business, talent, goal or dream inside you, now is the time to invest not only in it, but also in yourself. These are three things that have worked for me and that you can do to invest in yourself:

1.     Be a good manager of your time – Time is the most precious resource you have. Wake up everyday with an agenda and stick to it. Remember, if you don’t have an aim, you’ll never hit the mark.

2.     Learn, learn, learn – If you want to be the best you can be, you must have a hunger to learn. The more you learn, the more you apply. The more you apply, the more you grow. Look for workshops, clinics, and trainings that will help unleash your potential.

3.     Block out the noise – You will have people tell you, “You’re wasting your time going to that,” “why are you reading that book”, “you don’t need to do that,” etc. You can’t expect someone who doesn’t have your vision to see what you see. Since, they’re not going where you’re heading, you can’t expect them agree with what you do either. They'll say it's foolish. You'll know it's wise. Therefore, whatever negative opinions they have, block them out!

Maybe these things aren’t what you are accustomed to doing. No one ever said investing was easy. It will cause you to leave your comfort zone, but the greater the investment, the greater the reward.  Stop living with what could be. Maximize who you are, sharpen your skills and become what you were meant to be.

What steps can you apply today to invest in yourself? Share with me in the comment 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. 

Ready, Set, GOAL!

According to a survey conducted by Gregg Harris, sixty-seven out of one hundred people have set goals for themselves. Out of those sixty-seven, only ten have a real plan to reach their goals. Of those ten, only two will act on their plan.

Did you know that up to $500 million is spent on personal development products each year?

The majority of people desire to get better. They’re not content with an area of their life. There’s a void. Something is missing.

A void will keep a person on a job that pays the bills, but doesn’t unleash their potential. A void will keep people in harmful relationships even though their hearts yearn for something more meaningful.

However, there’s always a breaking point when life challenges us to make a decision. The moment when we set goals such as:

I will graduate from college and get a good paying job.

I will find another employer that appreciates the hard work I do.

I will find a mate that will love me for me.

The types of goals that can be made are endless and dependent upon each individual. Yet, the desired outcome is the same; we want a certain area of our life to be better.

With a goal in mind, we start picturing ourselves walking across a stage receiving a college degree. We envision making a six-figure salary in a job that provides monetary and personal satisfaction. We visualize taking a vacation to St. Tropez walking along side our soul mate.

Yet for most, that’s as far as the goal will go. Why? Because there is no plan in place to achieve it.

Sixty-seven percent of people set goals, but only ten percent will have a real plan.

Realize that no matter how great your goal is, without a plan, it is simply wishful thinking.

You can’t just think and expect things to happen. I can think all day about making a million dollars, but with no plan in place, it will never happen. The plan will lead you to your promise.

Only two percent will act on their plan.

Many people will not achieve goals simply because they do not go after them. If the goal burns in your heart and a plan has been written down, what are you waiting for?

A perfect time to take the leap? There is no perfect time.

The right circumstances? There aren’t any.

The guarantee you will not fail? You will fail.

There’s a risk in pursuing your goals. However, there’s a greater risk in not pursuing them and never realizing what could be.

This past Monday, I stepped on a scale and for the first time in years, I weighed less than two hundred pounds!

It’s a great accomplishment for me because eighteen months ago, I made a goal to live healthier. It would have never happened without a plan of: eating better, exercising consistently, and believing that I could lose the pounds. However, having a plan was not enough. I had to carry it out.

Do you have a goal? If so, great.  Don’t stop there.

Get a plan. Write it down. Make it visible to you and follow it daily.

Last and most importantly, go after your goal.  It’s waiting for you.

What goal are you wanting to accomplish? What's your plan? Share with me in the comments below.

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Posted on October 16, 2014 and filed under Blogs.

The Journey of Success, Part VIII, The Shift

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”—Norman Vincent Peale

A week ago, I met up with a friend and accountability partner who reads my blogs. He told me how my blogs make it seem like I am crying and sad. Totally not what I intended and definitely not what I expected to hear, but I appreciated his honest assessment.

When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to start doubting yourself and throw in the towel on your dreams. However, that’s when “the shift” must occur.

A shift is defined as a change in position. Therefore, the shift I refer to is the shift that must occur in our mind. When we see things not functioning, automatically our minds will tell us, “It’s not going to work. You’re a failure.”  

That’s exactly what I’ve experienced lately as I’ve pursued my dream, but a reason why I have not quit is because of the shift in my thought process.

The most important person that can speak life into you is YOU. You have the power to dictate how your life will turn out. I know it’s far easier to give up than it is to go on. However, I am here to tell you to go on.

Go on after your dreams.

Go on and better yourself.

Go on and love again.

It’s not easy to think positive. Not when negative people at work surround us. Not when the majority of things we hear are negative. Yet, our success is dependent on how we think and what we speak into our life.

Here are five things you can do today to live more positively and create a shift in your mind that will help you on your journey of success.

1.     Observe and listen – Are your thoughts negative? Listen to what you are speaking in your life. If it’s negative. Stop it right there.

2.     Smile – Life is not perfect. You will experience difficulties, but even in the midst of them, find something that makes you smile.

3.     Exercise – Go for a walk, jog, or lift weights. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym. Do one of these things for thirty minutes to reduce stress and to positively affect your mood.

4.     Influences – Are the people in your life adding value to you? Or are they subtracting from you? Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and lift you up when you are down.

5.     Speak positively! – Tell yourself you are going to make it. Things may look bad now, but know they will not stay that way. Say a positive phrase everyday. It doesn’t have to be long. It can simply be: I will not quit! 

“Two men looked out from prison bars,

One saw the mud, the other saw stars.”—Dale Carnegie

What do you see?

Which one of the five things will you do today? Share with me in the comments below.

About the author:  A.C. Cristales
Youth Motivational Speaker, consultant, and future pro on the Senior PGA tour. 

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

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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.

James Brown and The School of Hard Knocks

I have to admit that I don’t know much about James Brown and his music. My greatest memory of him is his cameo in one of my favorite movies, Rocky IV, where he sang “Living in America.”

I read a quote from Pharrell this week about Mr. Brown that resonated with me. It said, “James Brown’s music never spoke to an age. It spoke to a spirit…the spirit to be free.”

That quote stuck with me because, as my brother and I get ready to release our book, The School of Hard Knocks, in the next few weeks, it is our expectation that what we labored on the past twelve months will speak to the spirit of our readers. 

We have been asked what is the book about and who is it for? The book is full of lessons we’ve lived. Some birthed out of pain. Others birthed out of joy. Yet, all of them with one purpose: to encourage the reader that regardless of what education they are receiving, whether in a classroom or in the workplace, that they would align themselves in the best position to succeed.

Who is it for? It is for the person who knows there is more to life. It is for the person who cannot understand why certain things have happened to them. It is for the person who is willing to risk everything to pursue a dream. It is for the spirit that longs to be free, whether it be from mediocrity, a toxic relationship, or the negative expectations from people who cannot see the greatness within.

I close with an excerpt from the introduction of our book, with expectation it will speak to your spirit.

Every person chases after something. So often those who are running are judged by where they are in the race or, sadly, by onlookers’ perceptions of where the finish line lies even while the contest continues. One lesson we have learned, however, is that how a person comes out of the gates when the gun goes off is less important than if he or she finishes the race. Along the way, we all will do foolish things that will cause us to stumble, and many people will want to dismiss our participation outright because of this. Life will occasionally weaken us to the point that we will want to give up on all that we have set our hearts and minds to do. Failures will humble us, perhaps so much that we will feel as though we are nobodies. But like the song we sang back in Sunday school says, “Nobody’s a nobody. Everybody is somebody.”

Especially you.

Because of faith, hope, and love we have committed ourselves to staying loyal to who we are and what we have set out to do. The lessons you are about to read are the truths we have discovered along our path toward finding success and purpose in our own lives. They have set us free. May they do the same for you.

Eternal 3.

Pre-order The School of Hard Knocks by clicking here.

Posted on August 2, 2014 and filed under Blogs.