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.

Free Resources:

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The Dads Edge Book

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Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Jim Harshaw Links:

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Jim Miller

Jim Miller: Living life without regret

Jim Miller is so much more than just an elite athlete in the UFC.

A piece of paper. Not much to it. Just a piece of paper. It’s one-dimensional and not very exciting. We don’t judge it; it has no feelings or emotions (ok, I know at one point it was a tree and it had a life, etc.). Paper is great for writing on, drawing on, making paper air planes, but there’s really nothing more to it. Sometimes, though, this is how we look at other people.

We don’t necessarily see what’s behind their decisions or life; many times we only look at the surface. Think of a fighter in the MMA cage: we see the fight, we witness the blows, but we don’t know what else is behind that fighter.

UFC Fighter, Jim Miller, is much more than the piece of paper or just a fighter in the cage. He’s a man of integrity with a strong sense of family, trying to balance work and life just like everyone else. However, he has a unique vision for how he approaches his life:

“I’d rather come out with a broken arm than come out completely unscathed.” TWEET THAT

Jim Miller lives everyday putting all of himself into it. He would prefer to suffer injury or pain (emotional or physical) if it meant that he left everything on the mat. After all, he says, the only thing you can control is the effort you put into life. This same philosophy is what he brings to parenting. As the father of four kids, Jim wants to teach his children that every day matters and, because of this, they should do what they love.

Jim Miller talks about his childhood

This method of thinking stems from his own parents. Growing up, Jim’s parents didn’t pressure him into wrestling. However, if he or his siblings wanted to do something there was one stipulation-give it their all. Like the other fighters Larry and Shawn have interviewed, one message is constant and clear: support your kids in what they want to do, but make sure they want to do it. This is their life; let them do what they love.

Family is everything

It’s obvious this characteristic is ingrained in Jim. When he’s in the cage, he clearly brings everything to the match (hence his success) and he loves his sport. Balancing this with supporting his kids and being there for his wife as well as growing his own business is not easy. However, Jim says, he does all of this for one thing: his family. Unlike the piece of paper, we are all multi-dimensional; we juggle many different responsibilities. The key, though, in this life, is to focus on our values, remember what is important, and bring our full effort each and every day.

Free Resources:

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

The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Links Mentioned:

If you enjoyed this episode Jim Miller: Living life without regret. Leave your comments below as we would love to hear your thoughts so we can continue to provide you with content you enjoy.

Charlie Brenneman

Charlie Brenneman: How to Live a Life of Excellence

Charlie Brenneman is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, speaker, mentor and author. Following a successful high school wrestling career, Charlie took his talents to Lock Haven University where he achieved a top 12 finish at Division I Nationals and 1st Team All-Academic. After teaching Spanish for three years and winning Spike TV’s Pros vs. Joes, Charlie decided to leave his job to pursue a master’s degree and begin his professional fighting career—“The Spaniard” was born. In 2011, he was ranked as high as #7 in the world, and in 2015, he published his autobiography, Driven: My Unlikely Journey from Classroom to Cage. Charlie currently lives in PA with his wife and daughter

“I would rather be 7th best in the world and have a well-balanced life, than the best in the world and not have that balance.”

-Charlie Brenneman TWEET THAT

“When I pass away, I want my last breath to be from exhaustion from living life to the fullest.”

-Charlie Brenneman TWEET THAT

Charlie Brenneman’s Background

That’s a heavy statement coming from a pro MMA fighter. But knowing Charlie’s background sheds some light on this quote’s reasoning. Growing up, Charlie Brenneman was fortunate to have a supportive family; a mother and father who encouraged him to achieve his goals, and sacrificed their own needs for their children. This upbringing allowed him to be successful in his academic life, his own family life and his career in the MMA.

Charlie Brenneman on Youth Sports

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to be the best simply that you should strive for your own excellence and encourage that in your kids. This is especially true when it comes to kids and sports. Charlie applauds his own parents for making sports fun for him and credits this attitude with much of his athletic success. He states that there needs to be a proper amount of push and encouragement. In other words, throwing your kids to the toughest opposition doesn’t necessarily ingrain positive self-image. It may actually work against them and make kids feel defeated. Instead, help kids to have “little successes”; competing against like-ability opponents and work up the ladder as they improve in their ability. Allowing kids to have fun with sports and achieve gradual success will more than likely make them want to play and instill positive behaviors.

Teach Balance and Live Balance

Teaching children the value of balancing being the best in something with other important aspects of their life, like friends and family, gives them a strong foundation for success as adults. Let’s face it: the balancing act of life only gets more challenging. Whether you’re a pro MMA fighter or a fire-fighter, learning to develop and maintain a healthy work-life balance is critical. Charlie works to achieve this through his “Systematic Living”-a curriculum for life.

Positive Habits and Surround Yourself with the Right People

Developed from his own reflection on his past successes, Charlie created this curriculum to help others become successful in their own lives. Essentially, he “deconstructed” how he achieved each individual success and identified certain pillars: honing your positive habits, surrounding yourself with the best people, networking and avoiding negativity (Check out his links to find out more!). These pillars set you up for the greatest individual success in your own life.

Family is the First Priority

Of course, one common thread throughout the entire interview with Charlie is the importance of family. It is clear that he believes in dedicating himself to something greater than himself. In other words, keeping the needs and desires of those he loves at the forefront of his personal aspirations. By being the best version of yourself, you are providing the best example for those around you.

Free Resources:

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

The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


The Spaniard’s Links:

If you enjoyed this episode Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman . Leave your comments below as we would love to hear your thoughts so we can continue to provide you with content you enjoy.

Carlos Condit on Grit, Gratitude, and Fatherhood

Carlos Condit on Developing a Mindset of Grit and Gratitude

About Carlos Condit

Carlos Condit (born April 26, 1984) is an American mixed martial artist, competing in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Condit is a former WEC Welterweight Champion. As of May 31, 2015, he is #4 in official UFC welterweight rankings.  28 of Condit’s 30 wins have come by way of knockout or submission. He has never been knocked out or stopped due to strikes; Condit’s only TKO loss was by injury.

Carlos Condit’s background

In this knock-out interview with MMA fighter Carlos Condit, Larry and Shawn take you through this man’s incredible career along with his tips for being a champion spouse and father. Condit’s details of his illustrious fighting career along with his passion for his family will inspire you to be a champion in your own life.

In the ring, one direct hit can take a fighter down. But it’s not the takedown that’s the issue; it’s what the fighter does in response to the takedown that defines them. Sometimes as a father, those takedowns in life can be difficult to come back from. If we take a step back from the situation, however, maybe we can see that getting back up isn’t as daunting as we thought.

Carlos Condit on Grit

When facing large challenges, don’t look at the big picture. Take it in smaller pieces. Look at what is right in front of you instead of the mountains up ahead. Condit says this is how he tackles balancing his life in the ring and being a good husband and father. It is, he says, through perseverance, grit and determination that he gets through struggles in life.

Carlos Condit on Fatherhood and Life Lessons

Teaching kids these lessons can be challenging, but demonstrating how to rebound from failure teaches them a critical life skill. Giving kids goals that are a little bit out of their reach can teach them what they are actually capable of and help them reach the next level of growth. Of course, they will not always succeed the first time, but teaching them to rebound from failure will be an invaluable lesson.

Carlos Condit on Gratitude

This is easy to say, especially when we hit bumps in the road in our careers or personal life. Maybe, though, we need to look at these bumps differently. Take this scenario for instance: you didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for and now your financial picture has changed. Instead of being depressed about the situation, be grateful. Yep, grateful. That job may not have been the best fit for you and maybe not getting this job allows you to research other opportunities for career growth.

Of course, all of this is not done in a vacuum; we need a good support system. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and are like-minded and challenge you. Condit says “yes” men don’t help you; find people who support you but also give you a dose of reality. Next time you find yourself down, seek your support system, learn from your situation and find the gratitude in your fight.


Free Resources:

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

The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Carlos Condit Links:

If you enjoyed this episode Carlos Condit on Grit, Gratitude, and Fatherhood let us know. Leave your comments below as we would love to hear your thoughts so we can continue to provide you with content you enjoy.

card castles with dad

Card Castles with Dad by Ken Carfagno

Building Card Castles and building relationships…

Picture this. It’s the second grade and math class is in full swing. Each kid scratching their head or tapping their #2 pencil on the desktop as the teacher talks arithmetic. But there’s something amiss. Two kids are in the back of the room, building card castles. Are they in trouble? How could they be? They’re playing while the rest of the class is working.

Hello Dads! I was one of those kids. It wasn’t a perfect system, but what else could the teacher do? The wicked smart Chinese boy and, yours truly, literally finished ALL of the math work before the others started. So the teacher excused us to the back to build card castles.

Dadnamic Connection: Build Card Castles

Have you already perfected the art of card castle construction as a 2nd grader? I’ll pause for dramatic effect… [Jeopardy music plays…]

Okay, good. To anyone who said NO… Ouch, I’m so sorry! You’re never too old to start. It’s simple. Lean and lay. Got it, if not – Google it!

Grab your son and get cards. Now build! The winner is the master builder with the largest and tallest card castle.

Conversation Starter: The Difficulty of Fatherhood

Have you ever been given less instructions for an activity than that? It was on purpose. Dads, this is the perfect segway to a meaningful conversation with your son. That’s what Dadnamics is all about!

Great connection leads to great conversation.

Most Dads aren’t given instructions to this “fatherhood” thing, just like I did to YOU a minute ago! Let’s try the card castles again, but this time with the conversation of fatherhood.

Be Sticky!

When you lean two cards together, did you notice that they slide? As an experiment, try to build a simple triangle with two cards on a hard-surface floor, carpet, or rubber surface. As you and your son try, tell him that the “stickier” the surface, the better the castle. Explain that being a Dad is hard, but the first step is to decide to stick around.

No matter what.

The Right Base…

Now that you’re sticky, let’s build the right base. You can align your triangle pieces or construct them in a circular pattern before you start laying down the “first floor”. There are other methods too, but which will prove most durable? As you’re trying this out with your boy, explain to him…

“Son, the base is really, really important to building a STRONG castle, just like being a good Dad. It represents what you believe and what you place your trust in.”

Counting Cards?

I never told you how many cards to use. Ha! You probably got one deck and split them up. But isn’t that limiting? What if you had 10 decks each? Ask your son about the instructions.

“How many cards were we supposed to use?”

He’ll say, “I don’t know.”

Good. Use that to talk with him more about fatherhood. Being the best Dad requires lots of cards. The more cards, the bigger you can build. Share that the “cards” are resources like books, podcasts, conferences, churches, etc.

Copy That

Search “best card castles” and see what you can mimic.

“Being a Dad is difficult and we need to find those doing it well, and copy them. That’s called finding a mentor. My mentor is __________.”

Hopefully, you have one. No worries. Get one if you don’t!

More Time…

Ask your son, “What was the time limit for this activity?”

He’ll say again, “I don’t know.”

Wrap up this vital conversation on the difficulty of fatherhood like this.

“Son, the more time we invest together into our card castle, the stronger it will become. It’s the same with being a Dad. We have to spend time together.”

Now pause while your son beams back at you.

Hope you enjoyed Card Castles with Dad by Ken Carfagno.  For all his links and resources, please check them out below.

Free Resources:


The Dads Edge Book

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Connect with Ken Carfagno, Founder of Dadnamics and Author of the Arctic Land experience:

Skype: ken.carfagno
Arctic Land book:
Dadnamics Live! Blog:

Social Media

card castles with dad