Guest Post Friday – Seven Principles for Failing Forward

It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the blog. This week’s post comes from Jeff Kahlden, President-Elect of SWASAP (one of my favorite organizations), director of the Weatherford College Upward Bound, and former Purple Poo. He also knows more about cattle than any person I have met. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @jkkahldenIf you would like to submit a guest post, click here

Vincent Van Gogh failed as an art dealer, flunked his entrance exam to theology school, and was fired by the church after an ill-fated attempt at missionary work. In fact, during his life, he seldom experienced anything other than failure as an artist. Although a single painting by Van Gogh would fetch in excess of $100 million today, in his lifetime Van Gogh sold only one painting, four months prior to his death. Before developing his theory of relativity, Albert Einstein encountered academic failure. One headmaster expelled Einstein from school and another teacher predicted that he would never amount to anything. Einstein even failed his entrance exam into college. Prior to dazzling the world with his athletic skill, Michael Jordan was cut from his sophomore basketball team. Even though he captured six championships, during his professional career, Jordan missed over 12,000 shots, lost nearly 400 games, and failed to make more than 25 would-be game-winning baskets.

Failure didn’t stop Van Gogh from painting, Einstein from theorizing, or Jordan from playing basketball, but it has paralyzed countless leaders and prevented them from reaching their potential. At some point, all great achievers are tempted to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. In the face of adversity, shortcomings, and rejection, they hold onto self-believe and refuse to see themselves as failures. Here are seven abilities of achievers that enable them to rebound from failure and keep moving forward.

Seven Principles for Failing Forward

Reject Rejection
Achievers who persevere do not base their self-worth on their performance. On the contrary, they have a healthy self-image that’s not dictated by external events. When they fall short, rather than labeling themselves a failure, they learn from mistakes in their judgment or behavior.

Don’t Point Fingers
When people fail, they’re often tempted to blame others. By pointing fingers, they sink into a victim mentality and cede their fate to outsiders. When playing the blame game, people rob themselves of learning from their failures and alienate others by refusing to take responsibility for mistakes.

See Failure as Temporary
People who personalize failure see a problem as a hole they’re permanently stuck in, whereas achievers see any predicament as temporary. One mindset wallows in failure, the other looks forward to success. By putting mistakes into perspective, achievers are able to see failure as a momentary event, not a symptom of a lifelong epidemic.

Set Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic goals doom people to failure. For instance, if a person hasn’t exercised for five years, then making it to a gym twice a week may be a better goal than running in next month’s marathon. Also, some people insensibly expect to be perfect. Everyone fails, so expect setbacks and emotionally prepare to deal with them.

Focus on Strengths
Don’t invest time shoring up non-character flaws at the exclusion of investing in your strengths. People operating from a position of strength enjoy a far lower rate of failure than those laboring in areas of weakness. You’re built to give your talents to the world; be diligent about finding expressions for them in your career.

Vary Approaches to Achievement
In the Psychology of Achievement, Brian Tracy writes about four millionaires who made their fortunes by age 35. On average, these achievers were involved in 17 businesses before finding the one that took them to the top. They kept trying and changing until they found something that worked.

Bounce Back
Rehashing missteps and blunders for too long sabotages concentration and eats away at self-confidence. When dealing with failure, achievers have short memories. They quickly forget the negative emotions of setbacks and press forward resiliently. While taking pause to learn from failures, achievers realize that the past cannot be altered.

I believe it’s nearly impossible for any person to believe he or she is a failure and move forward at the same time. My hope is that anyone who has suffered setbacks recently will be able to separate life’s unfortunate events from their self-worth. Failure, like death and taxes, will happen. Your response to failure holds the key to your future.


Guest Post Friday – Apps That Save You Time To Help You Chase Your Dreams

It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the blog. This week’s post comes from Win Noren, ???. ???. You can follow her blog here?? and on Twitter @mgmcdanielIf you would like to submit a guest post, click here

There are tons of tools that can help with origination with the goal of streamlining stuff so you can be more focused and achieve more. I don’t claim to be an expert about the various apps that are available but here I will share with you a few of my favorites.

Dashlane. Dashlane is a password manager and digital wallet.  Dashlane creates and stores strong passwords while at the same time automatically logging you in to web sites. This allows you to use different secure passwords for each site which is something that we should do but most of us don’t because it is too hard. Dashlane also can fill in purchase forms with credit card information and store receipts. The paid version allows you to synch all of this across any device and platform (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile). It’s easy to use and makes for a much more secure way of moving through the digital world.


Pocket.  Pocket allows you to save interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device—phone, tablet or computer and can even be viewed offline. Pocket is integrated into more than 400 apps and is available for all major devices and platforms.


World Time Buddy. This app allows you to quickly figure out what time it is anywhere in the world and makes necessary adjustments for Daylight Savings Times. It also allows you to determine best time to schedule a meeting in multiple time zones. I find this one indispensable at work as otherwise I would be guessing when I should try to schedule a meeting with my colleagues in other countries, especially if I am setting up a meeting with more than two locations involved.


Feedly. With the demise of Google Reader I discovered Feedly which allows you to organize your favorite blogs, news sites, podcasts, and YouTube channels and access them all in one place. Adding something to Feedly is supported in a number of other apps and Feedly is available across platforms and is always in sync.  The free version supports multiple layout options, auto-mark as read, tagging, and advanced sharing options.. They offer a paid “pro” version but I haven’t used it so I don’t know what else it may offer since the free version meets my needs very well.


One Note. My experience with One Note is not the app version but what comes with Office 2010. I use OneNote as a digital “Trapper Keeper” and it provides me a single place where I can gather all sorts of bits into one place – from my own notes, to clips from web sites, audio files and more. My main use of OneNote is the dumping place for all of those ideas and random things that I may want to refer to later.


What apps do you use to be productive while chasing your dreams? How do you use technology to be more efficient?

Be Audacious. Be Bold. Be Loud.

You want to be audacious.

You want to be bold.

You want to live a life of intention.

I’ve studied courageous leaders both young and old. The dreamers of dreams, the music makers. They all have one thing in common.

They speak confidently about their future. They steer their life in the direction they want to go. They don’t ask for your permission. They don’t stop to ask you for directions. They tell you where they are headed and then make it happen.

So, I have advice for you.

Tell everyone you know.

Shout it from the mountaintops.

Be bold. Be audacious. Chase your dreams and live the life you have always imagined.

Guest Post Friday – Just Be Kind

It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the blog. This week’s post comes from Anna Floit, story liver and a story teller from the rolling hills of the Southeast. She can usually be found at Jazzercise or Whole Foods.  Or both. You can follow her blog here and on Twitter @thepeacockquillIf you would like to submit a guest post, click here
Even when you don’t feel like it.
Even when the world hasn’t been kind to you.
Because maybe you’ll be on a plane one November night, bound for Chicago, and maybe it’ll be cold and rainy and dreary and you’ll be sad and lonely and lost.
And maybe you’ll just want to curl up with a book for the hour-long flight from Nashville, trying to figure out your life’s Plan B.
Because your wounds are not yet even scars.
But be kind anyway.
Because you don’t know who will make his way down that Southwest aisle and spot the empty seat next to you.
And maybe you’ll kick yourself for accidentally making eye contact because then he’ll ask if the seat is taken.
And it’s not.
But be kind. And put your book away.
Because even though he is friendly and boisterous in personality, he’s wounded too.
And maybe he’ll tell you about it.
About his twin daughters he just visited in Florida.
And about how a failed marriage is now an obstacle to his dream of motivational speaking.
So listen.
And be kind.
And in turn maybe you’ll casually tell him about your lifelong best friend who is a jazz pianist in Chicago who plays a regular Saturday night gig at the Green Mill.
And maybe when he gives you his business card you’ll toss it out when you get home
because contacting unfamiliar men isn’t your thing.
But be kind.
Because maybe down the road your lifelong best friend who is a jazz pianist in Chicago will call you to tell you a story.
A story about a guy who introduced himself at the Green Mill and told him he met you on a plane from Nashville.
And maybe your best friend will think that’s fun but forgets about it for a few weeks.
But then maybe the guy will return to the Green Mill and reintroduce himself to your best friend the jazz pianist
and hand him a letter addressed to you and ask him to please see that you get it.
And then maybe your best friend will read the letter to you over the phone.
And you’ll probably cringe
because you have no idea what to expect.
But you’ll listen.
Because maybe
your kindness and compassion and encouragement
–even on a dark day–
inspired a stranger on an airplane
emphatically, hauntingly, searingly,
that he just had to find you
and tell you
and thank you.
Because you were kind.
And maybe years later you will still read that letter.
Maybe daily even.
Because it reawakens you to the significance of kindness,
the substance of compassion,
the scope of encouragement,
and how nothing, really, is about you anyway.
So just be kind.
Without expectation.
There just may be grace in it for you too.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

You Probably Tie Your Shoes Wrong – What Does That Mean?

I am a marathoner. I am a marathoner in the sense that I have run marathons in the past. My theory is that once you run a marathon you are forever a marathoner. The fact that I have not run one in a few years doesn’t really matter. Throughout all of my marathon training I learned many valuable lessons. One lesson, however, stands above all the rest:

I have been tying my shoes wrong for most of my life. 

Chances are that you are too…regardless of age, educational background, or the amount of silver spoons that were in your mouth when you were born. I want to teach you how to tie your shoes correctly. This is what we do at, we change lives one shoelace at a time.

Once I learned this neat trick, I started thinking about all of the other things I might be wrong about. This turned my world upside down! I found out that I also open my bananas incorrectly. What??

Throughout this self-discovery process I started thinking about how my misconceptions about shoes and bananas was directly related to leadership. I want to share these with you, because of course, I know you care!

1. Ask Questions: Ask questions about things you have known your whole life.  Just because you were taught something as a child does not mean it is correct. Start to rethink the things you assume are 100% true.

2. Be Open to New Ideas. You don’t have to be a pessimist, or even a realist about the things you know. When someone provides you with a new way to look at something, try to look from their viewpoint.

3. Do Some Research. If I would have watched the video above years ago, I wouldn’t have so many untied shoes in my life. Start looking for ways to improve upon all of the things you know. Read books, watch videos, listen to seminars.

I hope these lessons help you along on your journey. What types of things have you learned that completely changed your viewpoint? Please share in the comments below!

Guest Post Friday – I Cannot Write

It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the blog. This week’s post comes from Matthew Grant McDaniel, a writer, thinker, and doer. He loves and lives for God, ideas, art, and splagchnon. You can follow his blog here and on Twitter @mgmcdanielIf you would like to submit a guest post, click here

I cannot wake up in the morning and ever again leave unrecorded the flood of ideas in my head I have been silently drowning in for years.

NO. I cannot go back. I dreamed and saw and experienced too much these last few days.

I can already feel doubt, resistance, fear creeping up to sink its teeth into me. Its breath leaves a stalking rhythm of warm, damp impressions on the back of my neck.

NO! I cannot just stand there in the dark and wait for those fangs to bite. I have to run toward what has been blindingly illuminated for me. Even if I cannot see it as clearly, now. Especially if.

It’s all in my reach, in the distance but steady right in front of me. I just need to do the work.

I cannot just write “It was sublime” or “What a sad day” or “She is beautiful.”

No. My job is to paint pictures with words and show it to you.

That taste of what is possible (of what is actual) was too real to wash away with the palette cleanser of weary mediocrity.

I cannot not write.

I am a writer.

Get Off Facebook and Get Started

I am fond of Facebook. I have been known as a Facebook connoisseur and have even given keynote addresses about the importance of Facebook as an educational tool. I have been on Facebook since the days when you needed a college email address to sign up. Back when all you could do was write on someone’s wall, message them, or poke them.

I think the order of people to sign up for Facebook are as follows:

  1. Mark Zuckerburg
  2. Matt Eaton
  3. Ryan Eller

Facebook is such a powerful tool that I couldn’t run my business without it. It is perfect for networking and promoting great ideas with like-minded individuals.

However, it has a dark side. The dark side is full of Candy Crush and invites to join a mafia family. It contains countless hours of frivolous material that doesn’t help us achieve our dreams and Live Your List. It doesn’t even have to seem frivolous on the surface to become a time-suck of wasted energy.

For example, I am part of the Start Experiment group on Facebook. It was created by Jon Acuff as an opportunity for dreamers of dreams to connect with others who were wanting to accomplish great things with their lives. And it started out that way, it truly did.

It eventually morphed into a community of people who were so focused on liking Facebook statuses and chatting with others that it consumed their time. It turned into a community talking about glitter, unicorns, and unimportant conversations. I am not a fun-hater, just a time-suck hater.

Don’t misunderstand me, this group has generated a ridiculous amount of good will and positive energy amongst its members. If you want to use Facebook as a tool for success, I would encourage it. However, when you cross the line into time-suck it drains your energy and productivity.

I met some people at the Start Conference who were also a member of the Start Experiment group. Many, if not most, of them were achieving great things. There were some however, in which it was obvious they were stalling in life doing frivolous things just like they were in the Facebook group.

In full disclosure, I know this life so well because I have previously been known as a professional Facebook time-waster. I would tell myself that what I was doing online mattered in the big scheme of things. Using Facebook as a positive tool is like cheating in golf. If you cheat in golf, pretty much only you will know. But you will know. You know if you are using Facebook in a positive manner or as a time waster.

If you find yourself in a downward spiral of Facebook time-suck, get offline. Do things that matter. Get started.