It was almost this time a year ago that I entered one of the most challenging, toughest, testing seasons of my life – even though most people around me didn’t know it.

My book, Take the Limits Off Your Legacy, had just been released and I had a book launch event that was an epic fail! It was pouring raining, pretty much nobody showed up and my boyfriend ending up covering most of the cost of the venue because I made NO money off the event.  I was mortified, embarrassed and I never felt so insignificant in my life. To add insult to injury, that same week, I had to cancel the launch of my Made to Succeed Academy: Summer Institute (summer program for teen girls) because I only had ONE student apply for the program.

This is only a piece of what was going on because if I get into all the details, I’ll be writing another 30 pages but just know that everything in my life was being tested.

I had had it and decided to go into the only safe place I knew which was my prayer time. I got rid of all distractions and I started to look for guidance, clarity and understanding on why all hell was breaking loose. Why was everything I touched failing?

That’s when it hit me and I discovered something really embarrassing about myself. My desire for success was rooted in the shallowest reasons. I was still struggling with my identity, sense of meaning and self-worth and I was seeking my validation in my success. I wanted to prove to myself, my family and those who didn’t believe in me that I was indeed powerful, worthy and successful.

I wanted the benefits of success but I didn’t want the process. I wanted to stunt on Instagram and validate that my life had meaning. I had a competitive and envious spirit that wanted to be like all the other successful women we see on social media and that’s exactly why I wasn’t succeeding.

My motives sucked!

Once I discovered that, I went to work on it. I would check my motives on any and every endeavor before I decided to commit to it. If I felt that shallow, competitive, low self-worth feeling then I would walk away from the opportunity which is something that I still have remind myself of. Once I recognized that my circumstances don’t define who I am and I started pursing goals with a positive intention, then I started to actually see changes in achieving my goals!

So I ask you, what’s the real reason that you want to be successful? Are you trying to get to 500K followers on Instagram to feel validated? Do you want to be rich to over compensate the insecurity that stems in your childhood because you grew up poor? Do you want to get married and have children so you can feel that your life has meaning or so you can be like all the other women getting engaged on Facebook?

Until you recognize that you’re bad all by yourself meaning that your wholeness, identity, meaning, purpose and sense of approval stems from within yourself only – not in your circumstances then you’ll keep hitting roadblocks. Not only that, you’ll also never feel permanently secure. Those outside circumstances can be here today and gone tomorrow which is why many people can fall into depression when those challenges come. Those lies in your head tell you that something is wrong with you or that you’re not good enough.

Those are lies and far from the truth! You’re whole, complete, beautiful, and significant with meaning and purpose just as you are. Your life is an assignment that has been specifically designed for you and you alone. You have a purpose to fulfill and no matter what you’re going through, you are bad all by yourself!

Take the time this week to have a real conversation with yourself and check the intentions behind your success. Be honest and if there’s something you discover that needs to change, get to work on it! So many times we’re in such a rush to birth our dreams that we forget to work on ourselves. Talent will take you somewhere that character can’t sustain you so make sure your character is intact before you start pursuing your goals.


Maria I. Melendez