You Want Success? Go All In!

The winter season brings forth memories for many people. For some, it’s the times spent with loved ones. For others, it’s the excitement of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, decorating a Christmas tree, and giving and receiving presents.

For me, this season takes me back to my childhood. A time where the presents given to me were necessities such as socks and underwear as opposed to wants such as a Super Nintendo or Air Jordan’s. Regardless of what material things I received, the most important part were the lessons I learned during that time.

My mother was not a college graduate, much less a high school graduate. In fact, the highest grade she completed was the fifth grade. However, what she learned in Lima, Peru was the importance of working hard. If she wanted something bad enough, the victory wasn’t attained in wishing for it. Rather, it was in working for it.

As an eight year old, I learned that first hand. My father made the decision his life would be better off with another woman and left us. This would have been the perfect time for my mother to give up and blame her ex-husband for leaving,  her upbringing for not providing more, and the world for not being perfect.

However, she didn’t. She had two boys whose lives were in her hands. To whom much is given, much is required. My mother understood that. There would be no quitting. Instead her way of thinking was:

I am single mother. 

That’s okay. That just means I have to take on two roles. I got this.

I don’t  receive financial support from my ex.

Not a problem. I’ll work a full time job from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Then I’ll pick up my boys and we’ll clean churches, office buildings, and day care centers. On the weekends, I’ll bake and sell cakes and make Guatemalan tamales. My boys will not lack anything they need.

I am divorced.

That’s definitely not what I envisioned for my life. Nevertheless, I have two boys who need my unconditional love. It’s not their fault their parents aren’t together. However, it is my responsibility to let them know that they CAN have the life they want. Regardless of the challenges that they have and will endure, it is possible for them to be successful.

For many Christmas seasons, I saw my mother labor for hours and hours to make over a thousand tamales that she would sell to churches and families around the city.

That was just another way that she went all it for my brother and I. She wasn’t ashamed of what she had to do. She just did whatever was necessary.

Sometimes we’re afraid to display our talents for fear that people won’t appreciate them. We’re afraid to take a leap, to jump, to risk for fear our plans will fail.


Our question should not be,  “what if I fail?” 

Our question should be, “what if I succeed?”

What if the video you create inspires one person?

What if the business you start makes somebody’s world a better place?

What if your efforts and love change the course of someone’s life?

There’s only one way to find out what could really be. It’s not in holding back your gifts or talents. It’s in going all in!

What’s one thing you can do today show you are going “all in” for your dream, goal or career? Please share with me in the comments below.

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

Posted on December 4, 2014 .