“The Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with One Step” ~Lao-Tzu


Guest post by  Gbenga Lawal, RN

Whether you are on what seems like a long journey to coming to the United States for your education, taking your NCLEX exam or have a specific goal, this one’s for you.

I was walking in the cold snow. I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands. I thought it was the proper punishment for my failure. I was out of nursing school for a whole year. It was devastating.

 Back to the beginning

I got into nursing school simply because I said I would. The excitement of a new beginning drove me. I passed my NCLEX simply because I said I would. I prayed and did everything in my power to make it happen. How could I not get in when I spent almost 20 hours of every 24 hour day doing what I could to make it happen? Even when I wanted to come to the U.S. to study, my parents didn’t have the money. I religiously studied for my SATs and TOEFL. I was never the hardworking type, but the hope of it happening enabled me to work so hard and do things I had never done before which led me get new and different results. I enjoyed every moment of it!

I spent less time on negative energy of it not happening. Even after it all worked out, I failed while I was in the program. I’ve never told anyone this, but part of the reason was, I spent my time on things not lined up with my goal.

I spent more time getting a girlfriend because I was lonely; I stayed up late at night bored and did things not related to my success. I don’t have to mention those things. You can use your imagination.

I stopped turning in my care plans and turned in my homework late. My motivation was low, and I didn’t want to study. I was not honest with myself.


“To thine own self be true” ~Polonius



I always do better when I surround myself with people who are doing better than I am.

You are the average of the 5 closest people you spend the most time with. When I resumed my nursing education, I was fortunate to make friends with a group of 5 classmates that supported each other.

Similar to soldiers in a war, we made sure no one was left behind. We called each other every day even after class and met up every week to study. The company, the camaraderie and the energy made nursing school so easy. Combined effort is better than singular effort

Imagine if you are trying to push a heavy object alone. You try and try and after an hour, you don’t get far. Now, imagine if 5 people joined you in pushing that same object. How much further will you get? This is a plain method highly successful people use. They make sure they work with people who have the same goal to ensure their success.

Looking back, failure was the best thing that could ever happen to me. It taught me that I have to be persistent and patient. Too many times, people have given up instead of persisting and being patient. The journey is long, but how many times have you failed at it? Just once? And you’re giving up? Then you don’t want it bad enough. You don’t deserve it. If you know a nurse who is in the U.S that has done what you want to do, ask them. Or you can email me at gbenga@TheSmartRN.com and I will share even more stories. If you are feeling low, you can email me too.



I started my nursing podcast, The Smart RN, to inspire nurses everywhere with stories of failure, and the successes around the corner. I wanted to continue helping nursing students, just as I had helped my classmates back in school.

I give away NCLEX eBooks monthly, so you are welcome to visit the website at TheSmartRN.com and get one, no matter where you are. I have also encountered a lot of trials in getting my podcast and website started, but the reward of the students it helps has made it all worth it.


The Journey

The journey of taking your NCLEX or even working in the U.S begins with one step.

Doubts and thoughts of it never happening are only normal. History provides us with proof of people who had a long road ahead, but they kept at it, got support from people who have done what they wanted to achieve and were deliberately persistent and patient.

Here’s to the next steps you have in achieving your goal.

Here’s to your success!

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