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?

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.

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.

Guest Post Friday – 25 Things To Do Before I Turn 25

It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the blog. This week’s post comes from Melissa Gutierrez. Melissa loves running errands with other people, lemon meringue pie, and the 4th of July. She is an awesome bucket lister who is striving to live a life of intention. You can follow her blog here and follow her on Twitter @mmgutzIf you would like to submit a guest post, click here


I’ve got seven short months to do a lot of little things.

1. Visit Washington, D.C. This west coast girl has never been to the city in which her grandparents first met. My friend Chloe lives there right now—better get free lodging ‘fore she leaves.

2. Visit Chicago. Since two terminals of O’Hare don’t count. My friend Katie lives there right now—free lodging, also.

3. New York. Also never been.

4. Start learning a non-romance language. You might say this is for doing missions or cultural work or something, but really, it’s just my paranoia that China is about to take over the world (not unlike the reason I drive stick shift: in case I ever get kidnapped by a person in a manual).

5. Keep my plants alive. Instead of adopting a dog, I recently bought six plants. If I can get one of them to survive winter I will be a proud and happy flora-mother.

6. Run a marathon. I am signed up for one in February and three weeks into training, I’m not super thrilled about it. Running isn’t hard, per say, it just takes a lot of time.

7. Make my T-shirt quilt. An avid sports/clubs kid all my life, I have ten trillion cotton T-shirts. I give away a lot of a regular basis but I want to turn the special-er ones into a keepsake blanket that I sew myself.

8. Be more involved with volunteerism at work. My company works with Ronald McDonald House Charities, and I love the idea of doing service alongside the random people I work with.

9. Read War and Peace. Max Perkins, who was Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s editor, read this book over and over and over and over again, and gave it as a present to everyone he knew. I’ve been 150 pages in for five months now—bring on the other 1350.

10. Read Systematic Theology. I had to buy this when I went to Biola and somehow escaped reading it. In the vein of “systematic” I would like to read it cover-to-cover; and in the vein of “theology” I would like to do so as an intellectual devotional pursuit of God.

11. Memorize a short story. Lately I have been on this kick where I think, “If the power went out and my books all burned up, what would I actually know?” So I’m big on recapturing the art of oral tradition. I have selected David Foster Wallace’s “Incarnations of Burned Children” as the first to commit to my mind-banks.

12. Memorize a book of the Bible. In the same vein as the above—I have a bunch of token verses memorized but they’re all out context. I’m thinking James, or one of the Minor Prophets.

13. Finish 25 Picasso dogs. It’s a story for another day, but I’m obsessed with these dog creatures Picasso painted in his Las Meninas series, and I have like seventy or eighty of them drafted out, and only four complete to date.

14. Establish a habit of cooking for others. This will be harder now that I don’t have roommates, but hopefully it means I can be intentional about inviting people into my place, or delivering food to people who need it.

15. Not get married. Having subconsciously and unsuccessfully tried to turn boyfriends into husbands for the past eight years, I now free myself from the oft-restricting view of young men as future spouses (or “spice” as is more fun to say) rather than present human beings.

16. Draw a portrait. I did well in Figure Studies in college and I would like to draw someone again; be in that awkward, still, uncomfortable and intimate space a while and give them something beautiful as a result.

17. Balance cash flow. Make a noticeable dent in my college debt and build a small hill of savings in addition to paying bills and things on time.

18. Go to Magic Mountain. The Magic Mountain Chevron is my favorite place to get gas and go pee on I-5, but I’ve never actually been to the park. It is worth noting that Magic Mountain actually opened on my birthday in 1971.

19. Hike Mt. Diablo. Lived 30 minutes from this mountain my whole life and never hiked the whole thing bottom to top—time to change that.

20. Publish one short story in print. I have one published online but I would like something I can hold, feel, give to my grandparents for their coffee table.

21. Have a column. I.e., write for someone officially on a regular basis.

22. Begin a serious collaboration project. Ideally in art/writing/design work.

23. Walk every block of the Sacramento grid. Moved here in May and have pipe dreams of traversing every street from 1st to 40th, A to X—the good, the bad, and the ugly of it.

24. Give a good speech. I gave three speeches this year I wish I could re-do. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great. And people deserve great. I want to learn to honor people better when I talk out loud.

25. Do 25 major random acts of kindness and catalog them. For her 20th birthday, my friend Jaclyn did 20 random acts of kindness (in one day—bad ass!). I will be happy if I can do 25 in six months. I wonder if I will be like a cop at the end of the month—speeding around forcing kindness on people in the weeks before my birthday. We’ll see. I’ll let you know.

What things do you want to do before your next birthday? Should I add anything to the list?

Guest Post Friday – An Autumn Bucket List

It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the blog. This week’s post comes from my good friend Stephanie Bolen. She is an awesome bucket lister who is striving to live a life of intention. You can follow her blog here and on Twitter @stephB_4themoon. If you would like to submit a guest post, click here

I hope those of you with summer bucket lists got to complete them before vacation time ended and the new school year began. However, a new season is now starting! The season of Autumn (or Fall). A time of scarves, piles of leaves, and pumpkin flavored everything. A time for Halloween, fall breaks, and Thanksgiving. A time for a whole new bucket list!

fall bucket list

Picture via mahlifebelikeoohahh on

Have you created your autumn bucket list yet? Well, I’ve decided to help you get started. 🙂 I’ve been searching and gathering all the autumn bucket list items on the internet. Here are a few that I’ve gathered:

  1. Fall photo shoot
  2. Pick apples at an orchard
  3. Go on a hayride
  4. Bonfire and s’mores
  5. Make a homemade apple pie
  6. Go to a pumpkin patch
  7. Carve a pumpkin
  8. Go to an actual haunted house (spend the night if you’re up for it)
  9. Go to a fun haunted house
  10. Throw a Halloween party
  11. Scary movie marathon
  12. Make/eat caramel apples
  13. Go to a football game
  14. Drink apple cider/fancy coffee drink (probably pumpkin flavored)
  15. Jump in a leaf pile
  16. Collect as many different types leaves as you can find
  17. Tail gate before a football game
  18. Bob for apples
  19. Make a Halloween costume
  20. Find your way through a corn maze
  21. Camp in the backyard
  22. Go trick or treating
  23. Learn to knit and knit a scarf
  24. Tell scary stories around a campfire
  25. Donate food to a food bank

After making this bucket list, I realized that the most important food or drink for the fall season is anything involving pumpkins or apples. lol

I hope this helps you create your own autumn bucket list. Make sure you don’t just create one though; you also need to live it. Live it and enjoy this wonderful season!

What items will you add to your autumn bucket list? Are there more fall bucket list items you can think of? What are they?


Guest Post Friday

There is greatness inside of you. You have amazing ideas and thoughts that need to be shared to the world. I want to help you reach more people and impact the followers of this blog.

Each Friday I would like to feature your best work as a guest writer on I do however, have to keep my readers in mind when posting your material, so please submit posts that fit the following qualifications:

  1. Less than 500 words (I can’t accept anything more than 500 regardless of how awesome it may be).
  2. Something unique.
  3. Content must be related to living a life of intention. (e.g. bucketlist, purpose, dreams, goals, self-development).

If you have something you want to share, please email a post to