CHAPTER ONE

THE OPENING STATEMENT

This book is dedicated to all of those people who have tried and thought they failed. Life is about hurdles...the key is to keep jumping. You only fail if you stop trying. Each time you jump another hurdle, you accomplish something. You move further along in the race. Have you ever just taken a moment at the end of a hurdle to reflect on how far you have come, not to mention how many hurdles you jumped successfully? Well, I took that time not to long ago. I was amazed by what I saw.

I was asked to speak for Delta Sigma Theta's scholarship award ceremony one spring. I was honored by the invitation. However, I was troubled by the analysis the committee used to select me. My sorority sister called me on the phone to inform me I was selected to be the keynote speaker for the Minerva awards. She proceeded to tell me I was chosen because I was a young prosecuting attorney and a college professor. I was a "success." I was someone who could inspire the young people.

Interesting! When people looked at me, what they saw was someone who was "successful." My opening statement of the speech expressed my thoughts on the matter:

A wise man once said that success is a journey, not a destination. Many people see me as a black, twenty-eight year old Assistant State Attorney and an Adjunct Professor. People appear to be impressed by my credentials. When I look in the mirror, I see something very different...I see that God is a great and a merciful God. He has brought me a mighty long way. I see a person who spent nineteen years in school, a person who studied diligently. I see a person who is paying over $70,000 in student loan debt to be where she is today. When I look in the mirror, I see a person who was, and is, willing to pay the price. Young people...Nothing is free! Everything has a Price. The question I want to ask you is simple: Are you willing to pay the price for your success?

The standing ovation at the end of my presentation brought tears to my eyes. Members of the audience approached me asking why hadn't I published my story. Truthfully, I wasn't sure. There were several speaking engagements that followed. Each time, I was approached about motivating others to be willing to pay the price. Finally, I sat down at the computer and said a prayer. The result is this book.

I can not express in words the strength that overcomes me each time I look back. I realize having the strength to survive is what gives me the power to succeed. I also realize that EVERYTHING in my life has had a cost. The question has been how much was I WILLING TO PAY FOR IT!

I have chosen to share some of my hurdles with the hope that they will inspire you to pursue your happiness. I encourage you to reevaluate where you are on your journey. Are you measuring your success by material wealth or social status? I challenge you to find yourself in each chapter. Finally, I invite you apply the lesson in each chapter to your own life. Believe it or not, the same strength you depend on for survival gives you the power to succeed!

Copyright © 1999 by Veraunda I. Jackson