Blog post cover art that has confetti falling with overlay text that says celebrate failure

As I sit down to review my 2021 goals, I realize all I set out to do that I didn’t accomplish … that means it’s time to celebrate failure!

Understanding Failure

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

It should come as no surprise that I set pretty lofty goals

As we look to wrap up an incredibly fast-moving 2021, I’m sitting down to review some of the goals I set for myself and my business. Blog post cover art that has confetti falling with overlay text that says celebrate failure

I attained relatively few of what I set out to accomplish, but I’m here to tell you that’s a good thing. It means I get to celebrate failure. And while not pleasant (or natural) it is what will keep me going in the new year.

And it is the best-kept secret of the ultra-successful.

Learning to Walk

What happens when a baby is learning to walk?

It falls over.

A lot.

No parent, in their right mind, would see their baby fall and just assume walking isn’t for them.

Well, sweetie, you tried walking once and failed. Clearly, you’re not meant to be a walker.

Ridiculous.

Instead, we pick them up. Celebrate that they were at least able to stand by themselves, and then make them try again.

Then we celebrate the first step.

The second.

Third.

Fourth.

And soon, they are running around and we just pray we can keep up.

But each milestone comes with a celebration, even in the midst of failure.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we stop finding that so natural. Instead, we beat ourselves up and become our own worst critic.

(Re)Learning to celebrate failure pushes us to keep reaching for our goals and makes the status of “mission accomplished” that much more enjoyable.

Celebrate Failure

So, where am I celebrating failure as we wrap up 2021?

Here are a few of my personal highlights.

1.) Books Read

I made a goal to read 70 books this year. While I have a few weeks left, the final number will be somewhere around 40. That’s down from last year and significantly short of my goal.

So what I am celebrating? First, the quality (and most of the time length) of books I read went up. The biography of Alexander Hamilton was over 800 pages. These sorts of endeavors take longer than one or two hundred page books.

Second, I’m celebrating more implementation of these ideas. My homesteading and gardening have improved significantly. The time I could have spent reading was spent outside doing. I could say the same for my speaking content, parenting, and relationship with my wife.

Action trumps knowledge.

2.) Income generated

Wait, what? You want to celebrate not making your financial targets!?!

Well no, not really. This is one of those times where I say it’s necessary but not natural. To be honest, though, I set a really lofty goal. I more than doubled any of my previous financial goals.

And while I won’t hit that number, I can say I made significant growth over 2020 (though that wasn’t hard with a worldwide pandemic and all 😬😂).

More than my business growth, I focused on filling the need in my micro-niche. I also focused on helping others grow their businesses and their dreams. I feel as though I have succeeded at those as well.

So yes, while I didn’t hit my wild-crazy number, I did make a lot of progress in my own profession and in those, I work with.

Service trump selfishness.

3.) An amazing vacation

Maybe the hardest one for me to admit I need to celebrate is that our family won’t be taking the big fancy vacation I hoped for at the start of the year. Some of it is still certainly pandemic related, but most of it is a change in our own values. Instead, my family has simplified it’s values (and living) and adjusted the way we interact with things.

One of those big differences for me is better work-life balance. Gone (mostly) are the days of working until 8-9 pm, and starting again at 4 am. Instead, over 90% of the time, I’m done working between 4 and 5 pm. 

(This also partly explains number two above).

My kids have quality time with me almost every day.

I attended my daughter’s volleyball games.

I read books to my kids (though I’m not counting those to help me get to 70). 

I spent more time snuggling, instructing, teaching, laughing, and building.

I’ve also taken my wife on more dates this year than our previous 15 combined.

So do we get a fancy two-week vacation? No. But we are gaining so much more.

Quality trumps quantity.

I’m off to celebrate and set even bigger goals for next year.

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Blog Post Cover Art: Two hands holding another in sympathy with blog overlay text "What's Your Kindness Quotient?"

 … The other day, I was listening to the radio, and the host began the segment by asking, “What’s your KQ?” After a few seconds of silence, she went on to explain that KQ is Kindness Quotient. Understanding, and cultivating kindness is a growing trend. I’m 100% in.

Understanding KQ

For years, in the business world, we’ve heard about terms about our IQ (Intelligence) and EQ (Emotional) resilience. We’ve examined grit. Studies have been done on leadership capacity. You can get a degree in change management.

But recently, I came across the idea of KQ (Kindness Quotient) while listening to the radio, and I’m 100% in favor of this.

… being kind is linked to being happy. In her research, Sonya Lyubomirsky, a University of California-Riverside psychologist, found that practicing acts of kindness (as well as expressing thankfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness ) was common among happy people. Kindness seems to have a rebound effect, creating an endless loop of positivity …

(Source) Blog Post Cover Art: Two hands holding another in sympathy with blog overlay text "What's Your Kindness Quotient?"

I’m a huge fan of gratitude and think that consciously expressing thankfulness creates and generates more to be thankful for.

Apparently, kindness works the same way.

Intentionally expressing an act of kindness to someone generates more kindness in the world.

Random Acts of Kindness

As a child, I remember the call of a well-intentioned teacher urging me to “Go RAK someone today.” That is, engage in a random act of kindness. Their belief was that if I could do that, I would feel good, someone else would benefit, and the world would be a better place.

We even kept a RAK chart so we could see who RAK’d the most people in a given week.

Maybe she was on to something …

And now more than ever, the world seems to need a little bit of kindness.

Societal unrest.

Political Turmoil

COVID Pandemic

Fear-Filled News Cycles

Natural Disasters

The world appears to be in trouble.

And while I’m not entirely sure what kindness could do to stop a hurricane, I know kindness could help solve the rest of the problems on the list … and go a long way in recovering from a hurricane.

What’s Your Kindness Quotient (KQ)

So, what’s your KQ level?

Can you tell?

I’d like to think I’m a kind person, and show generosity, compassion, grace, and positivity in the world, but do I?

How can I tell?

In coaching, we talk a lot about investing our time and energy into the right pursuits. During one activity, we look at ways to analyze our calendar and our task list to see if our values and our time are lining up.

In many ways, we can measure kindness in the same way. Can you look back on your time, and just like you scheduled time to exercise, have dinner, return emails, and attend your kid’s practice, did you schedule a time to be kind?

Did you keep it front of mind?

Do you challenge yourself to grow and expand your capabilities?

In a world focused on division, dis-unity, and discord, focus instead on being kind, generous, compassionate, and proactively positive.

So, what’s your kindness quotient?

foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

In coaching, I’m willing to do anything I can to help you reach your goals. The one thing I can’t do, however, is make you want to change. That’s why I ask all potential clients, Do you want to change?

The Origin of the Question

While walking the earth, Jesus performed lots of miracles, engaged in teaching the masses, and healed people. In one such instance, he asked the man, Do you want to get well?

It seems rather odd, that question.

Who wouldn’t want to get well?

Well, it turns out, quite a few of.

In fact, quite a few of us like being sick in one way or another.

We feel comfortable where we are stuck. In the small beliefs we hold. We see it in the minor discomforts of life, that one way or another, we are all stuck and most of us like being there.

It’s safe.

Comfortable.

It’s also killing us slowly.

Jesus asking, do you want to get better expresses the true desires of our hearts.

Do you want to let that burden go?

Are you willing release your doubt and fear?

Do you want to experience something different?

Because if you do, he offers to help. But if you like where you’re at, he’s also willing to leave you there.

In coaching, I’ve seen the same thing happen.

Do You Want To Change?

Whenever I meet with a potential client, we spend a little bit of time getting to know each other. I need them to trust me and give them space in our first session to ask anything they want about me. I’ll disclose (within reason) whatever the need to feel comfortable.

It’s also a time for me to see where they are at. It’s a chance to make sure they are willing to engage in the process with both their head and their heart.

And one question I ask everyone is, “Do you Want To Change?” foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

I can do a lot for you: provide excellent coaching, recommend books and other resources, give you extra time, and other tools at my disposal.

The one thing I can’t do for you is make you want to change.

That’s the one thing you have to bring to the relationships: you have to want to change. To get better. To experience life anew.

If you’re unwilling to do that, there’s really not a lot I can do.

But if you honestly bring that one thing to the table, everything is suddenly a possibility.

Relationships renewed and restored.

Businesses thrive.

Health improved.

Lives impacted.

All because you agreed to show up fully in the world and agreed to change.

But it all starts with the question:

Do you want to change?

Girl biting limp and thinking, wondering how she can stay curious

I may not always learn new things, but when I do, it’s because I stay curious.

My blatant rip-off of the most interesting man, may not be a quote that makes me famous, but it does provide the foundation for the growth needed in life.

Curiosity is a habit and a mindset that keeps leaders humble and gives them the ability to assess a situation, appreciate perspective, and continue towards growth.

Stay Curious

“I know how to do it!”

I’ve heard that phrase more than a few times from my kids, only to watch them struggle with tying their shoes, washing the dishes, folding their laundry, or any other number of tasks.

It’s a common problem, right?

As much as I’ve seen it in my kids, I’ve also noticed that problem in myself.

In my almost ten years of professional coaching, I’ve come across similar problems in people. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve coached who were unhappy in their jobs and looking to make a career change. Girl biting limp and thinking, wondering how she can stay curious

And when I assume I know what the answer is, I’ve always been wrong. When I’ve remained curious and allowed the client to dictate the direction of the conversation, not only do they come to a better conclusion, but I learn something new in the process as well.

My ability to stay curious benefits both me and my clients.

As leaders, staying curious benefits us, and those we lead.

Leadership Curiosity

Leadership curiosity manifests anytime we set aside our preconceived notions and explore possibilties with our teams.

In short, we stay curious when we ask questions.

  • What would that look like?
  • Who do we know that can help?
  • How can I serve you?
  • Where can we find the answers?
  • What makes this important?
  • Are we willing to fight for this?

The more questions we ask, the more curious we are, the better the end result will be.

Leadership curiosity includes our team members, equips them for the journey ahead, inspires action, and leverages critical thinking skills.

How will you stay curious this week?

Years ago, I read Eugene’ Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. To be honest, I don’t remember much of the book, but the title has long stuck with me.

It’s become a continual mantra for the daily habits, beliefs, thought patterns, and actions that I use to guide my life.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

It’s fairly typical for me to have a panic attack on Monday morning. I suffer from anxiety; from the fear of what could be.

At times, it’s overwhelming. couple hiking remote mountains with overlay text a long obedience in the same direction, blog post cover art

Debilitating.

Paralyzing.

In those moments of lost despair, I’ve trained myself to recall the phrase and title of the book, a long obedience in the same direction.

The fear comes from my desire to do it all.

To break free of that fear, I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do it all right now.

My destination is not complete today, instead, I am on the journey.

So what would obedience look like today?

That’s a much simpler proposition:

  • Network
  • Respond to emails
  • Call clients
  • Spend time with my family
  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Encourage someone
  • Get to bed on time
  • Repeat

While the specific formula to each day may look different, I guide my life by answering the question: what do I need to do today that could get me one step closer to my goal?

Once I have that figured out, I create the plan for obedience.

Create The Plan – Then Execute

One of the phrases we use throughout coaching is, to begin with the end in mind.

Where do you want to end up in life?

What do you want to accomplish?

Who do you want to be?

Then we can look at your current situation.

If you continue to make the same choices, will you end up where you want to be?

If so, great! Continue to amplify those decisions and live more purposefully.

However, if you won’t end up where you want to be by making similar choices, then it’s time to make a change.

Chart a new path.

Choose a new direction.

Create momentum that will propel you to your ideal life.

Then, practice obedience and begin a long obedience in the same direction.