The Challenge to Succeed

By James Chase

No matter what situation we find ourselves in I believe that within each of us is the challenge to succeed. For me, I was the oldest of 9 children, which meant there were not a lot of extras, but I never lacked. Our family was poor by the world’s standards, but we were rich. What it created for me was the fertile ground necessary for the seeds of desire to grow. The problem: determining the desire. What did I want to be when I grew up? I am now a college professor and I find that most of my students are asking the same question – what is my desire?

All I knew was that I wanted to be successful. If I was successful then I would have the money I desired. I wanted money but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was told that if I got my degree I would be successful. I graduated from high school, went to college, and received two degrees, and I still wasn’t successful. I tried a number of MLM’s and still wasn’t successful financially. I even started a couple of businesses that in the end barely made ends meet.

The thing I didn’t do was define success – what did success mean to me? Obviously it meant money and it also meant a job to earn that money. The jobs I had were not the jobs I wanted. I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing. I only did it out of necessity because I was married and had three children at the time. My first marriage failed and continued to go through the cycle of working to get money and now I had the additional bill of child support amongst all the other bills I had.

Then an interesting thing happened. I found my desire just over 10 years ago. I found that I wanted to teach. I found that no matter how much money I was making I really loved to teach. In the process of finding my desire I found the desire to write and I started writing. I realized that these two loves would allow me to continue to grow financially. I found the desire to speak in public. I starting writing and teach public speaking in the college classroom.

Interestingly enough as I reflect back to my youth I realized that I wanted to teach from a young age. I had opportunities to speak until I was teased mercilessly by my fellow classmates which turned into the fear of public speaking. As I obtained by college degrees I had opportunity after opportunity to speak in my classrooms. Eventually the desire to teach and speak was rekindled.

I began teaching 10 years ago when a friend was going to college and his teacher for some unknown reason decided to not return. The subject I knew well – computers. Computers were my hobby and because I had my Masters degree it allowed me to teach. After two years of teaching computers I changed subject matter. I was asked to teach communication classes at our local community college. One of the subjects within communications was public speaking. I found that I really excelled and wrote an entry-level public speaking book for those who struggle like I did.

Over the last 10 years I not only teach about public speaking and general communication but I have expanded to the subject of interpersonal communication which teaches people how to communicate with one another. This is now bringing me to my next level of teaching people in being a public speaking and life coach.

The key is to have purpose – the desire to do something that will change the world for the better. My initial definition of success was only about the money. If we limit our definition of success to money we will only limit ourselves. There are five areas in which we need to focus in order to truly be successful: our financial lives, our relationships, our health and fitness, our personal and professional development, and our spiritual lives. We don’t have to have balance in these areas but each of them must be in harmony with one another. To get to this harmony is the challenge to success.

Dr. James B. Chase, Jr., EdD
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