Posts filed under Life Success Tips

End of Year Perspective

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As we near the end of 2017, I’m sure many of you are counting down to the New Year. For many, a new year symbolizes a fresh start. For others, a new year represents another chance to do things differently.

Scroll through social media and you’ll find some posts filled with anticipation: “2018 Will Be My Best Year Ever!,” and other posts loaded with regret: “This year has been awful! I can’t wait for this year to end!”

I don’t know where you fall on that spectrum. However, I do know that waiting for a new year to do things differently won’t change a thing. Just like waiting for Christmas Break, won’t solve all your problems. Even the gift you hope to receive from your significant other won’t do the trick. 

Why? Because change begins with you, and happiness does too.

We overlook the many blessings of yesterday and today waiting and wishing for a better tomorrow.  I understand the concept of hope. However, I also comprehend the power of perspective.

Could things be better? Definitely!

Are their choices that I regret making? No doubt!

Yet, I know that if I exert all my energy on not being where I want to be, and not having what I want, I will fail to realize the great things I do have. 

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.
— Alphonse Karr

Perspective is our approach to the things that we experience in life.  My hope for you is that you don’t forsake the good because you chose to focus only on the bad.

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Do What The Great Ones Do

As a speaker and writer, I do my best to learn what makes the “great ones”—orators and authors of the world renown—great. I study their speaking and writing styles, their word choices and use of language, their presentation skills and means of grabbing and maintaining the attention of their audiences. More than anything else, however, I study their lives, specifically the obstacles and trials these men and women had to overcome on their paths to success. What I glean from my examinations I integrate into my own life because, if there is one common thread of human character that links the past, present, and future, it is our ability to persevere.

JK Rowling's most famous book series.

JK Rowling's most famous book series.

As evidence of this, consider the example of a poor, single mother who once lived on welfare. Divorced and jobless, she had been diagnosed with depression and had even contemplated suicide. Then, while taking a train trip one day, she had an idea for a novel. She worked on her book in local cafes while her baby took naps in the stroller. Once her manuscript was finished, she submitted it for publication; it was rejected countless of times before a publishing house finally accepted it. This woman’s birth name was Joanne Murray, but today people the world over know her as JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.

In a commencement speech at Harvard, Rowling mentioned something about failure that I believe is very relevant for us to truly understand and grasp what perseverance means.

She said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Rowling did not allow her difficulties to keep her mired in poverty, but rather endured them and, as a result, became the world’s first female billionaire author. She is literally living the “rags to riches” fairy tale, all because she chose to persevere rather than surrender.

Struggles in life are unavoidable. As surely as the sun will rise, they will come. Some may batter us so badly that we will want to give up on everything we have planned, but that does not mean we must allow them to steal our hope. We can instead choose to see our trials simply as steps we must take along the path to greatness.

Remember this: You always have a choice; persevere or surrender? The great ones; leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, students, artists, etc. know that greatness comes because they choose not to give up on their mission. 

What will you choose today?

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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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Keep Standing!

Challenges exist for a reason...
and that reason is not to keep you from what you want to achieve. They exist to reveal how much you want something, to determine whether or not you want it badly enough to endure whatever it takes to earn it.

I understand that this will not be easy. I have certainly had days when I woke up and, even though the sun had risen and shone through my window, I could not see it because the shadow cast by the difficulties I was facing loomed far too largely.

In those moments, life seemed bleak, and my vision for the future was blurred.  Amidst those temporary lapses, however, my belief that the grandest things lay just on the other side of my tribulations, urged me to hold on...to stand by my purpose.

What great things will you accomplish if you just hold on tight to your dreams?
Whose life will you impact today if you truly grasp the great opportunity that is in front of you?
How will you impact those around you knowing that you are here for a greater purpose? 

Don't let your mission in life be derailed by failure, criticism or discouragement.
Stand by your purpose.

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The Biggest Failure

            January 31, 2017 marked exactly three years since I took one of the biggest leaps of faith ever in my life. With that one decision, I let go of stability, comfort, and the only career path I had known for thirteen years. I chose to walk away when many people and even myself knew that there were many more years left for me to impact the lives of students, lead teachers, and move up the educational ladder. However, in my heart, I knew there was more for me.

            Some say ambition can be lethal because it causes people to dream big, take risks, and be different from the status quo. I can agree with that assessment, but for me, ambition is more.

            Ambition is tied to a person’s passion.

            You know that desire that wakes you up in the morning ready to take on the world. Passion; that fire that can’t be quenched by mediocrity and simply living life going through the motions.

            There are many people who live life simply going through the motions, and it’s a shame, because is that truly living? Many people entered the New Year a month ago with the expectation that 2017 would be better. Why? Was it simply because we ushered in a new year and closed the book on 2016?

            A new year means nothing if you enter it with the same mentality. What is a new year going to do for you if you still think the same way and in turn act the same way? Our beliefs determine our actions. Therefore,

            If you believe your life can’t get better, it won’t.

            If you believe you can’t make a difference, you won’t.

            If you believe your students can’t learn, they won’t…and it’s not because they are incapable of doing so. Rather, it is because your negative belief in them keeps you from giving your best. You can’t control them, but you can control you. But, again, why would we give our best when nothing good is going to come out of it, right?

            I don’t want to fail, so why try?

            I don’t want to look stupid, so why give it a shot?

            I don’t want to be laughed at, so why risk?

            I must admit that I have wrestled with the same thoughts. It hasn’t been easy for me going from getting a steady paycheck to making sure I close a deal to make certain I have the necessary means to provide for my family. I don’t say that for you to feel sorry for me. I say that because I know what it is to enter a new year thinking that a new year itself is going to make things different. It doesn’t. You make things different.

            As I finished 2016, I finished it with the mindset that I will get continue to get better. I will continue to risk, dream big, work hard, and try. Why? Because my ambition, my passion drives me to make a difference. Therefore, I will continue committed to that path.

Some of the Plano Senior High School students.

Some of the Plano Senior High School students.

            See, if I had given up and not tried, I would have never had the fortune to serve the youth and youth leaders of the Western Shoshone tribe in Nevada.

            I would have never had the chance to serve the educators of Pearsall ISD and challenge them to see the greatness not only in their students, but also in themselves, because they truly matter.

            I would have never had the opportunity to serve 200 plus students at Plano High School by sharing my heart, and hearing their cries and needs for hope in a future that sometimes seems uncertain to them.

            You can make a difference today right where you are at in your job, your community, and family. Stop worrying about whether it's going to fail or not.

Do the best you with what you are given and share the light inside of you.

            If you fail, you get back up. Some would say that I’ve failed since I left my position as a school administrator because I don’t have the leadership title anymore, the income I used to have, I’m not on T.V., and social media doesn’t really know who I am yet. But that’s far from the truth because the biggest failure in life is knowing there is a longing inside of you, but never having the courage to pursue it.

The biggest failure in life is simply not trying.

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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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