My Biggest Failure in Life

Kris MathisI recently spoke for a group of professionals who are all working to further their careers by serving others in the community.

At the end of my Keynote presentations I always allow time to take questions. There was a lady in the audience who stood up and she asked, “what is your biggest failure in life?”

This is a question I’ve been asked dozens of times before. But even after all these years the answer to this question still haunts me to this day.

After she asked this question the audience remained silent and all their eyes stared at me patiently waiting for me to respond. I stood in front of this audience and I answered her question with complete honesty and by sharing some of my most challenging times in life.

I looked out at her and here’s my response:

“My biggest failure in life was simply not believing that this dream I had of being a motivational speaker and author would one day happen for me. For almost 10 years, I just didn’t believe it was possible or me to do what I do now because of my circumstances at the time. As you know from my story, I was born and raised in poverty, I was once homeless, I’m a college dropout, and I failed when I attempted to start my first business. It took me a long time to gain the belief that one day this dream will come true and it will become a vehicle for me to serve others.”

The lady then thanked me for my response and sat down and I went on to the next question.


Like I mentioned earlier, this is a question that comes up at almost every event that I do. I’ve learned that dealing with fear and failure is something that we all must face, but only some of us will bounce back from.

After my first attempt at business failed, I was forced to move into my mother’s basement because I had lost just about everything I owned. At that time, all I had left to my name was a couch and a T.V. I was unemployed, I had nothing but lint in the bottom of my pockets and I had this crazy idea that one day I would tell others how to live their dreams.

Anytime I had this thought there was a little voice in the back of my mind that would remind me that this dream would never happen for me. At times, I didn’t believe anyone would ever listen to a guy who at the time had nothing of value to offer (I thought), but is going to tell them how to be successful. I was afraid of failing again. I was also afraid of succeeding as well. I didn’t believe in myself and I allowed other people’s opinions of me to influence my decisions.

Then one day I was surfing the internet and I came across a motivational speaker named Les Brown. I had never heard of this guy before, but I decided to listen to one of his videos. I remember watching his video on YouTube and I’ll never forget what he said. He said that

“in the process of working on your dreams, you are going to incur a lot of disappointment, a lot of failure, a lot of pain, a lot of setbacks, a lot of defeats. But in the process of doing that you will discover some things about yourself that you don’t know right now. What you will realize is, that you have greatness within you! What you will realize is, is that you are more powerful than you can ever begin to imagine! What you will realize is, that you’re greater than your circumstances! That you don’t have to go through life being a victim.”

When I heard him say this it sparked something in me. I went on and I watched every Les Brown video I could find! I read his books, articles, interviews, and anything that even related to him. His message really spoke to my current situation because his story was very similar to mine.

I then dove heard first into all the self-development material I could find. I read and watched any and everything that made me feel better while going through my storm!

From there, I began working on my dream! One of my goals was to not only become a motivational speaker and author, but one day meet Les Brown to thank him for his encouragement to my dream.

After a few years of working on my dream, I got the opportunity to work with Mr. Les Brown himself in Orlando, FL! This man has been changing lives for almost 50 years! The things I learned from him and the encouragement I received while there was priceless!

When the event was over and Mr. Brown was leaving, I stopped him in the hotel lobby. I told him I only wanted a minute of his time, but I had to let him know what his message had done for me, my life, and my ability to help others. He then thanked me and told me to keep helping others!

I’ve learned that to gain the belief that we need to win we must be willing to stretch ourselves! We must find the belief that we’re worthy of our goals and dreams! We must look for ways to improve ourselves and examples that remind us of what’s possible for our lives! We must be willing to fight for what we believe we deserve!

As a result of me finding belief in my dream, I now live a life that I once thought wasn’t possible for me due to my past circumstances and setbacks.

Back then, no one could have convinced me that one day I’d write and release a book titled, “From Success to Significance: The 8 Keys to Achieving any Goal or Dream.”

That one day I’d be a guest on T.V. and radio shows around the country.

That one day I’d be the Keynote speaker for organizations like Arbor Circle, Grand Valley State University, United Way, Amway World Headquarters, Barnes & Noble, Goodwill Industries, and countless high schools, colleges, corporations, non-profits, etc.!

Now, I don’t say this to brag or impress you. I say this to impress upon you that It’s Possible for YOU to live your dreams too!

I don’t know what your dream is, but I do know that It’s Possible you too can live your dreams.

Your dream can happen for you the same way mine happened for me!

If you’re still alive that means your life’s book hasn’t been completed yet! There’s still time for you to write the next chapter with a new beginning!

I say to you, don’t do what I did for so many years. It’s time that you begin to believe and begin to move forward!

You do this and you will be amazed by the rewards you will receive. All because you chose to believe.

I wish you nothing but success on your journey for a better life.