Five months ago I was reassigned to a different position at my job. As a result, I was unable to continue facilitating an in-custody gang diversion and mindset class that I co-developed (it’s now called the QUEST Program). At the time it seemed that I wouldn’t be able to teach the class again. That door was closed and it was completely beyond my control. But that wasn’t the end.
I am a student of some incredibly successful people and every one of them has something to say about what to do when obstacles crop up on your journey to success. You’ve heard the saying, “Anything worth having is worth working for,” right? Well, my mentors have taught me that anything worth having will take hard work, that showing up is 50% of success, and the other 50% is persistence!
So I kept at it. I kept my vision of speaking to groups of people and of introducing them to concepts and ideas that could change their lives, if only they would apply what they learned. I kept looking for opportunities to reach my goal. Those opportunities appeared. Because I set my mind right, I recognized the for what they were and took action.
A few weeks back I went to a Success symposium that was held at a local church. A short time later I had a conversation with the director of a program associated with that same church. The program is designed to help former drug addicts and prisoners get back on their feet, teach them life skills, provide spiritual guidance, and redirect their lives. I asked the director if he would consider allowing me to speak to the participants of his program. He enthusiastically accepted (he’d watched me facilitate my previous class and saw the results first hand).
Thus began the administrative process of getting my class arranged and scheduled. We settled on every other Wednesday night. The first start date (earlier this month) had to be postponed due to a scheduling conflict. The new start date would be March 20th.
So last night I taught my first class (“facilitated” might be a better word.) I was anxious and a little nervous but it went as well — if not better — than I expected. The staff and participants were receptive and open to hearing my message. It was interactive and my audience was engaged. They listened, intently watched the video I showed them (a powerful one by Eric Thomas; if you haven’t heard of him yet, you will), and they asked questions.
By the end of my hour at the program I felt a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. I had shared my vision and the ideas I’d learned from others, and I reached someone (in this case, it seems, everyone). Then I got a bonus. Every one of the men in the class came up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me for coming. One young man asked me if there was any way I could come more often, and asked if I would be willing to come out on visit day in the event his family couldn’t make it to visit him. That made a strong impression on me.
I don’t mention those things to toot my own horn. For me it was about the feeling I got knowing that I had reached those people in the audience, that perhaps they now have a little more inspiration to aim higher and accomplish more. I feel good knowing that I gave something more valuable than money — I gave my time — and it was appreciated.
I knew I was doing the right thing and for the right reasons.
Most people have written these people off, and not without reason. But the people in this program want to change their lives. Just by being in the program they have taken action, which puts them in the small percentage of people that we call “successful.”
Pastor Joel Osteen, of Lakewood Church, said in an interview,
“I like to tell people there are seeds of greatness on the inside of every person. … You can make a great difference in our world. … God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”
I want to make a difference — I am making a difference — in the lives of the people I’m reaching. On that level, I’m already a success. My long-term goal, however, is much bigger. I want to speak to prison and jail populations and reach as many “throw-aways” as possible and help as many of these people as possible find their inner potential to be successful in life.
I decided back in October that I wasn’t going to allow anyone else to define me nor to stand in the way of my dream. I have a message to share. I will make a difference in people’s lives. I know that God wouldn’t put that dream in my heart if it wasn’t meant for me to pursue. As long as I remain in faith, stay true to myself, and keep moving toward my goal, one day I will achieve it.
Yesterday proved that to me.
Originally published in JoinMeForSuccess.com