taking risks for a life of fulfillment

Taking Risks for a Life of Fulfillment

In our last episode, we talked with Sam Weinman about how to win at losing, how to succeed when we fail, and how to learn from defeat. I want to recap on this because the fear of losing is one of the most popular topics discussed in our Dad’s Edge Private Facebook Group. A lot of guys are afraid of taking risks and doing something new. We’re afraid of failing. We hold back because we think we’re not good enough.

But, think about it.

What would life would be like if you took no risks?

What if you always knew what exactly what would happen?

Would you be afraid?

No. You would have certainty. You would know the outcome of every situation in life. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

No, really think about it.

Absolute certainty would be a curse. You would be bored without any challenges or surprises, and life would be unfulfilling.

So start today.

Do something that scares you a little.

In order to live life to the fullest, we must take risks, get our hands dirty, and fail.


Referenced Episode: How to Teach Our Kids to Win at Losing with Sam Weinman



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win at losing

How to Teach Our Kids to Win at Losing with Sam Weinman

On today’s episode of The Good Dad Project, Sam Weinman tells us how to talk to our kids about failure and how to win at losing by using defeat as fertile ground for growth.

Sam Weinman

SAM WEINMAN is the digital editor of Golf Digest. Prior to that, he was a senior writer for The Journal News in Westchester County, New York, where he was honored with multiple national writing awards for his coverage of the PGA Tour and the National Hockey League. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf World, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN the Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, he lives with his wife and two sons in Rye, New York, where he coaches multiple youth sports teams.

Win at Losing

Win at Losing is an engaging, inspiring exploration of the surprising value of setbacks—and how we can use them to succeed. Sam Weinman wrote this book with his kids in mind. He has two boys aged 9 and 11, and watched them struggle with losing. It was a theme he found himself revisiting with them whenever they experienced disappointment in school, sports, or friends. Sam knew that there was an upside to losing and he wanted to impress that concept on his boys with tangible examples. He set out to meet people who lost and benefitted from it, and this became the foundation for win at Losing.

Sam Weinman says he was always drawn to the losing athletes more than the winners and highlights examples of people who experienced epic failure, but persevered through it and became better people as a result.

Talking to Kids About Losing

Winning Isn’t Everything – To some degree we all live vicariously through our children and we sometimes enjoy their victories as much as they do. It’s human nature to celebrate success. Because of this, when our kids lose and there is no praise or celebration, it conveys a message that they aren’t worth as much. Don’t focus on the outcomes. Praise the effort. You may not even want to attend all your kids’ events so your children will know that their value is not derived from how they perform in school or sports.

Encourage Them to Try Their Best – It’s important for kids to learn to process disappointment in a way that’s not just self-pity and feeling worthless. As dads, we must learn how to effectively have conversations with our kids so they know that it’s okay to fail and that there is huge value in giving their best.

But Use “Try Your Best” Lightly – We need our kids to understand that life is about results. They will always be accountable to a grade or score. Just saying they did their best is not enough. There is effort, and there’s real effort. There must be exertion there, and the older ours kids get, the more they will be able to tell deep down inside whether they gave it their all or not.

Don’t Push Too Hard – We want to push encourage kids to succeed, and we should be critical about them not giving their full effort, but there is a fine line to be aware of. If we push too much, we can burn them out and turn them off. Sam says he checks in with his sons and asks them if he’s too hard on them. One his sons is receptive to being pushed and tells him it’s okay, while his other son takes too much pushing as criticism. Each child is different.

Remember This Above All – In a lifetime with your child, sports will likely be a small part of your relationship. Make sure you’re not damaging the overall bond you have with your child by pushing them to hard.

Sam Weinman’s Dad Wisdom

As dads, we need to resist the urge to try to solve all our kids’ problems. When we give into this urge, we are taking away their ability to solve problems on their own. They need the skills to work through challenges and the only way they learn this by making mistakes.


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Sam Weinman’s Links





Golf Digest

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failing forward

How to Teach Your Kids Success By Failing Forward

Failing Forward is a powerful life lesson.

As adults, we know we don’t have all of the answers. We fail, we make mistakes,  and we struggle. But if we have the mindset that we can learn from these mistakes and failures, then we persevere and get better. Too many times, though, we get stuck in the pervasive idea that failure is bad, unacceptable; heck, there’s even tag lines quoting “Failure is not an option”. The problem with this thinking is, if failure is not an option, then how do we ever progress forward?


Changing our mindset to one of growth, helps us be great examples for our kids on how to tackle their failures. These 6 tips will help uou and your kids achieve your best self.

Failing Forward and Letting Kids Fail

Too many times as parents, we get so impatient with our kids’ ability to finish something in a certain amount of time. We must remember that they are kids and need to,learn. Doing things for our kids teaches them nothing; wait, it does. It teaches them dependency. If our kids can’t learn to be independent and have their own way, of thinking, then we will cripple them in their future.

Change Your View of Failure

Let’s face it, failing is not fun. It is so much more fun to win. Maybe we have been condition to avoid failure at all costs because it is seen as “bad”. What we may not realize is our fear of failure caps our children’s view of what is possible. Instead, we need to help kids learn from their failures.

Model Failing Forward

It’s time to swallow that pride. As difficult as it may be, let your kids see when you fail or share times that you have failed with them. This helps them see that even adults makes mistakes, but the important thing is learning from them. You can even give them examples of others failing forward. When kids see that failure does not occur in a vacuum, they have more freedom to make the mistakes they need to make to grow.

Not Everyone Gets a Trophy

Teach your kids that not everyone wins a trophy. This is a tough one. This Lesson helps kids appreciate the times they do win. Not only that, it helps kids set and work toward a goal. To help your child achieve, ask them questions about how they think they can improve.

Failing Forward Teaches Perseverance

Teach perseverance. Try. Try again. Then, try again. This is grit. When kids learn how to keep going even when it feels like it is impossible, they learn to reach their full potential.

Have a Sense of Humor

The power of having a sense of humor when we make mistakes. Having resiliency through humor when we fail immediately changes our perception of the situation and also shows others that we do not fear failure. Failure is a fact of life. Dealing with it with less drama and more laughter brings more positivity to a situation.

In order for kids to learn to embrace failure, we need to embrace it ourselves. It won’t be an easy road, but definitely worth the ride.  


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Thanks for checking out this week’s show on Failing Forward.

Jack Canfield

Reflections with Jack Canfield

I recently had the honor of interviewing Jack Canfield one-on-one for an hour.  I have to tell you it was one the most inspiring interviews I have done to date.  For those of you who don’t know Jack Canfield, he is one of the most successful authors and success coaches of our time.  He known world-wide for his Chicken Soup for the Soul Series and his Success Principles Series.  His books have reached the lives of over 100 million readers and his inspiration is reaching more people every day.


Before I did this interview, I only knew Jack Canfield as the successful person he is today.  I have often heard the quote: “When you see a successful person, we usually only see the tip of the iceberg.  We usually don’t see all the hardships, failures, and challenges these people have gone through in their lives to get where they are today.”  After spending an hour with Jack, I can tell you I was shocked to hear about his challenging childhood with alcoholic parents, the number of times he was rejected for “Chicken Soup for the Soul” (144 rejections), and that he earned a C+ in writing at Harvard.


Below are just few takeaways I learned from spending just 60 minutes with Jack Canfield



Jack had a very difficult childhood raised by a father who was an alcoholic. The cool thing about Jack Canfield is that he used his childhood as an example of what he didn’t want to be as an adult. The main point is we have people in or society that live in two camps.


Camp #1- Those of us who leverage challenging times to fuel our future success.


Camp #2- Those of us who use our backgrounds for excuses as to why we are not successful and never will be.


So my question to you guys is: “WHAT CAMP DO YOU LIVE IN?”


If you are in camp #2:  Congrats because you have made an awesome choice on the path to an empowering life versus a victim mentality life. If you are in camp #1:  it’s time to re-evaluate your life and ask yourself better questions. If you are in camp one…go back and listen to Episode 28 with Navy Seal Commander Mark Divine on HOW TO CREATE AN UNBEATABLE MIND. That episode will give you a solid foundation on how to forge mental toughness and become resilient.



Jack got a “C+” in writing at Harvard and was always told he was an “average writer.” Jack is now one of the most successful authors of our time. Had he listened to his professors at Harvard and didn’t move forward with his passion to tell stories, our generation would not know the Jack Canfield we know today and he would have never had such a positive impact on the world. S


So, my question to you is: “WHAT HAVE OTHER PEOPLE TOLD YOU ABOUT YOUR SKILL OR PASSION THAT YOU HAVE BOUGHT INTO?”  What if for a minute you no longer bought into those labels?  What if you decided to step into your greatness?  What would be the worst that could happen?  I grantee 2 things are certain:


  1.  If you failed you would be no worse off than you are right now.


  1. If you decided to pursue your dream, whether you failed or succeeded, you would not live a life of “I wish”. Pay Flynn has a great quote that really hits this home which is…”I would rather have a life of “oh-wells and not a life of I wish I would haves.”



Jack was rejected by 144 publishers for his first “Chicken Soup for the Soul” Book. Let that sink in for a second…144 rejections. How would you feel about your purpose/passion if you were rejected 5 times, 10 times, 50 times, or even 100 times? What if Jack Would have thrown in the towel at the 143rd rejection?  The cool thing that Jack Canfield mentioned is that he would have self-published no matter what. It’s empowering to have a backup plan and know you will move forward even if it’s on your own when no one else believes in you.  The lesson here is to fail forward and not give up. Each time we fail there is a life lesson, we learn, and we move forward.


Guys, thank you for tuning in to our new segment – Five Minute Thursday’s. The goal of this mid-week podcast is to give you the powerhouse cliff notes of the week, to kick start your weekend, and ultimately to empower your life. Guys make sure you head to to get several free resources. Also make sure you grab a copy of “The Dads Edge” on Amazon. It’s an easy read and has become a bestseller.


See you next week with a powerhouse guest!  Up next week have Jason Mackenzie with The Book of Open, we also have Joe De Sena, founder of the Spartan Races and NYT BESTSELLER of SPARTAN UP. FINALLY also have professional UFC fighter Frankie Edgar also coming up in a few weeks.


Guys have a great weekend and live your life with purpose and without regret!

Free Resources:

Check out a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

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Jack Canfield Links:

Jack Canfield Website

The 30 Day Solution

Jack Canfield Facebook Fan Page

Jack Canfield Twitter

Jim Harshaw on How to Achieve More Success Through Failure

Jim Harshaw believes failure, struggle and setbacks are not only an inevitable part of life but a necessary step on the path to success. Jim Harshaw has learned many life lessons on the wrestling mat. Having been a Division I All American and won three ACC Championships for the University of Virginia, trained at the Olympic Training Center and competed overseas for Team USA he has experienced significant triumph and devastating defeat. He relates those powerful lessons of failure, struggle and setback to empower his audiences to overcome their own challenges and achieve success despite their inevitable failures.

Fear and Failure

If you’re sensitive to harsh words, you may want to cover your eyes. Yeah, it’s a family show, but we’re going to talk about two “F” words. Ready? Here they come: Fear and Failure. Whew! That’s out of the way.

Success is Built on Failure

Jim Harshaw built his success on failures. As a matter of fact, he says each of his successes was built on failure. Early on, his failures, along with his successes, on the wrestling mat, gave him the foundation for the rest of his life. (He even goes on to say that Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley, CA want to see someone with some type of failure in their background before backing someone.) That said, the life of a successful person is a grind and it’s full of failure.

It’s all about our Mentality when it comes to Failure

So many times, we sabotage our goals and dreams because we cripple ourselves with fear (the first “F” word). We’re afraid of failing (oops, the second “F” word), embarrassment, loss of respect, you name it. Maybe we don’t think successful people fail. Maybe we firmly believe that those who “make it” are just lucky and don’t struggle. Stop it. This is negative thinking. Actually, it’s the successful people who DO fail.

Successful People View Failure Differently

Not only do successful people know that failure will eventually lead to success, they surround themselves with what Jim calls an “environment of excellence.” This would be the people who support and push you forward, give you a confidence check when you need it (yes, we’ve heard this before from so many of our GDP guests!). It’s these people who will be there even when you do fail, so they can share your joy when you succeed.

The Proper Mindset

When this mindset is engrained in your own life, it is only natural that it should carry over to others-particularly, your children. Children have an incredible, innate ability to bounce back from failure early on: they fall down as toddlers trying to walk, get back up and try again. Somehow, though, this ability seems to falter as they grow in school, in sports, and anything else that takes risk. But if you, the parent, the guide, demonstrate through your own recovery from failure, that it is ok and even necessary to fail, your children will follow your lead. What better gift could we give our children than to learn that a great secret to success is mastering how to fail? See? The two “F” words aren’t that bad. When we learn that fearing failure isn’t necessary, and approach failure in a positive way, we are more apt to succeed.

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