Failure is Not a Bad Word

Failure

That word conjures up so many negative thoughts and images. It sounds so desolate, so hopeless, and so final.

I think many of us are afraid of failure. I know I am at times. I’m afraid of what people will think if I try something and it doesn’t work. I’m afraid of what it means about me if I fail at something, like it means that I am a failure.

Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is often a sign that we’re on the right track and can be an essential part of the road to success.

I’ve spent a lot of my life playing it safe, trying to avoid mistakes and trying to do everything right. Here’s the thing, the more I learn about the nature of going after our goals and about success, I’m starting to believe something different.

Not only is failure OK, it is essential.

By playing it safe and not risking failure we almost ensure we will not accomplish anything great. We may live more comfortably but we will never get to where we want to go. Continue reading →

Why Goals are Better than Resolutions

2016 like most years had its ups and downs for me. But as I’ve reflected on it I have to say it was overwhelmingly a good year. One of the biggest reasons was that I was more intentional than I have been in the past.

In fact for the first time ever I set specific goals for the year that helped me live with more of a sense of purpose and propelled me forward in important areas of my life more than at any time in the past. I didn’t accomplish them all to the degree that I hoped but I certainly did a lot more than I would have without setting them at all.

Setting and achieving goals gives us a huge sense of accomplishment and also helps us live with more intention and purpose. One of my other goals for 2016 was to run a half marathon. I actually ended up running two but this picture is from the finish of the first one.

At this time of year most people are talking about resolutions not goals. I’ve never been a big fan of resolutions. They seem too vague for me, like throwing something at the wall and hoping it sticks without any real plan for keeping it up there. Continue reading →

Why it Doesn’t Pay to be a Nice Guy (or Gal)

A couple of weekends ago I had a bit of a meltdown. It was late morning and I’d been cleaning out the gutters of our house and scrapping moss of the roof for a couple of hours while growing increasingly frustrated and angry.

You see, I hate home maintenance. It is pretty much at the bottom of the list of activities I would choose to do with my free time.

When Kim got home I was really worked into a froth and exclaimed to her –

“I feel smothered by responsibility!”

There’s nothing wrong with being nice and helping people. But prioritizing that over our own needs will lead to frustration and resentment.

I proceeded to go into five-minute diatribe on how frustrating it can feel to be an adult sometimes. How I feel like there’s no time to do what I want because I’m too busy with responsibilities and trying to live up to the expectations of others to do anything that I want – anything that fills me up and energizes me.

Continue reading →

My First Vlog – A Hawaii Travelogue

This week I’m trying something a little different on the blog. In my last post I shared about how I get to travel to Hawaii at least once a year to recruit students to George Fox. This fall my office started a fun activity of sending video updates to each other from the road so we could share about our travels.

One of my far-fetched dreams is to be a travel show host – last year I even sent an audition video to one of my favorite travel shows – so I was excited to contribute videos from my trip to Hawaii. During the trip I sent about one video a day to my office, creating sort of a travelogue and it gave me a chance to pretend I was a travel show host. Just for fun I thought I’d share just a few with you to give you some of the highlights. Hope you enjoy!

 

Why Was I Discontent in Hawaii?

I have a hard time being content. It seems like no matter how much I have or how great of a situation I’m in I can find a way to wish I had more or wonder if there is a way to make my circumstances even better.

I’m very privileged to get to spend a couple of weeks in Hawaii each year for work but for some reason this tendency seems to rare its ugly head while I’m there. I realize how absurd that sounds but that is the point of this post so hang with me.

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It is so easy to become discontent in any situation. Sometimes we just need to stop and take stock of our surroundings to realize just how lucky we are. This is the park I got to hang out at when I finally decided to stop driving around looking for a better place. I can’t believe I was concerned it wasn’t good enough.

It happened on a Sunday afternoon on my most recent trip. I was staying at an incredible hotel with beautiful grounds – pool, beach, etc.  – if any of my bosses are reading this we got an excellence group rate through the college fair 🙂 I had to check out at noon but my flight to the next island wasn’t until 6pm. Continue reading →

What Happens When We Pursue God

It was late in the afternoon one day on our family beach vacation this past July. As often happens when I’ve been sitting around relaxing for a while, I started to get a little antsy and needed to move.

In these situations usually I’ll take a short walk on the beach or go for a quick jog and that does the trick, but this time was different.  Not because I didn’t get the exercise I needed but because of something else entirely.

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God loves to hang out with us as much or more than we like to be with our kids. I took this picture shortly after Calum caught up to me on the beach.

Before leaving I asked if anyone wanted to go with me but everyone was engrossed in their own activities and didn’t feel like joining me. I would’ve enjoyed the company but was also fine to venture out on my own.

So I headed down the beach enjoying the fresh air and peaceful sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. About 10 min. in to the walk I heard someone shouting, “Dad, Dad!” I wasn’t sure if the shouts were directed at me but they sounded like they could be coming from one of my kids so just in case I turned around to check. Continue reading →

Why Giving is Better than Receiving

I think by nature we’re all pretty selfish beings – at least I am. It makes sense because on some level we have to be selfish to survive. We need food, water, shelter, etc. Our instincts drive us to self-protect. The problem I’m discovering is that in the long run self-interest leads to a pretty unhappy life.

I’ve posted in the past about how hard it is to be selfless and I’m compelled to write about it again because it really is that hard and it is still a day-to-day struggle for me.

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Talking the focus off ourselves and helping others is an important key to real happiness. (Seth helping me mow the lawn)

I really want to be selfless, to put others first, but more often than not I find myself slipping back into thoughts of self-interest and even self-pity. Worst of all this applies most intensely to my closest relationships. Continue reading →

Do You Need Permission Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself?

August and September are busy months in my line of work – college admissions. We’re busy wrapping up the details of our incoming class and beginning to focus in earnest on the new recruiting class already. It is a time of sort of “burning the candle at both ends” while these overlapping priorities splash against each other.

It is also a super busy time at home as the boys are starting school again and soccer and other activities are picking up full force. Needless to say, we’re running on all cylinders on both fronts.

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Do you need permission to take a break and do something to take care of yourself today? What would it take to let that happen?

Over the last few years I’ve noticed a pattern in myself. About mid-September as the busyness begins to stack up and wear on me I start to feel a little overwhelmed and anxious. Continue reading →

Why Guys Need to be More Real With Each Other

In my last post I shared about how I’ve struggled with my definition of masculinity and often not felt like a “real man.” Thankfully God is redeeming that in me. As part of that process I’m realizing that my insecurity in this area has contributed to me at times being isolated and not in real or close connection with other guys.

I’ve often believed the lie that if I opened up and shared the true parts of me and was vulnerable with other guys they would think I was weird or weak and reject me.

I’ve also often hoped that I’m not the only one who has felt this way. Through conversations with friends and some research I have discovered that I’m definitely not.

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Me with some great, longtime friends.

According to an article in Salon.com  “adult, white, heterosexual men in America have the fewest friends. Moreover, the friendships they have, if they’re with other men, provide less emotional support and involve lower levels of self-disclosure and trust than other types of friendships.” Continue reading →

Why God Wants to Heal and Use our Brokenness

If you’ve followed my blog at all you’ve probably gathered that I can be a pretty sensitive and emotional guy. At times throughout my life that has been a source of intense shame and frustration for me. Often I’ve felt like I don’t fit in the world of “real” men. I like music, art and creativity. I’m not that of an great athlete, I don’t like to talk about sports that much and I don’t hunt or fish.

I’ve blogged in the past about how God can use our areas of weakness and for the longest time I have thought that being emotional and sensitive is a huge weakness of mine.  But recently I believe God has been challenging me to both broaden my view of what it means to be a man and also to see the version of a man that he has made me to be as a strength.broken-mirror-4-1317204

John Eldredge says ““It is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves that is when we become powerful. “

This has definitely been a place of brokenness for me but it is also my “true self.” A former pastor of mine used to say, “God doesn’t make junk.” I’ve often thought that God made a mistake when making me this way and wished he made me more like “normal” guys. But today I’m claiming that I’m not junk and neither are you! God made us the way we are and wants to use all of us, even, or especially our places of brokenness to help others. Continue reading →