Archive for Failure Posts

published in Achieving Your Dreams, Dreams/Goals, Failure, Inspiration by Maryanne | May 23, 2017 | 4 Comments

Sound Advice from the Sidelines – Winning Words from Football Coach Lou Holtz


“Choices are our game plan’s bricks and mortar. Everything that happens to us is the result of the choices we make. You choose to act or procrastinate, believe or doubt, help or hinder, succeed or fail.”

– Lou Holtz, Winning Every Day; The Game Plan for Success

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled, The Question that Took Me to Chicago. As you may recall, the question was this: “What’s Important Now?”

I first heard of that question from Brian R. Willis of Winning Mind Training Inc. Brian discovered it in Lou Holtz’s 1998 book, Winning Every Day; The Game Plan for Success.

And wouldn’t you know it but I was in a used book store recently, scanning the shelves, and inadvertently came across Lou’s book. So I bought it!

It was outstanding 😊

If you’re not familiar with Lou Holtz, he had a 27-year career as a head football coach in the States.

Here are just a few highlights from Lou’s book:

“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”

“Don’t let what you don’t have keep you from using what you do have.”

“No one is interested in excuses, only results.”

“Too many people aren’t willing to make sacrifices to help themselves, let alone others.”

“You can’t accomplish anything big without doing the little things. Fundamentals are basically doing the little things correctly.”

“Enthusiasm is contagious. If you have enthusiasm for what you do, people will want to share in it.”

“Only you can change yourself. Don’t expect your parents, spouse, colleagues, or friends to transform you. It’s not their job.”

“You can alter any aspect of your life once you accept that you are the product of your decisions. Continue to do whatever you’ve done before and the results will remain the same. Revamp your approach to life and you will produce a different outcome.”

“I believe most problems are blessings in disguise. You can transform any tragedy into a positive experience simply by altering your perspective. We often cannot tell an obstruction from an opportunity until we view it from hindsight. So be patient.”

“The person who doesn’t fail is the person who doesn’t attempt anything.”

“Understand that failure is inevitable; see it as part of your learning process.”

“If you continually ask yourself, “What’s Important Now?” you won’t waste time on the trivial.”

“Make sure you do something every day to realize one of your dreams.”

“Preparation dispels pressure because it builds confidence.”

“Discipline is not what you do to yourself, it’s what you do for yourself.”

“Opportunity is never a polite thing. It won’t stand around waiting for you while you sit trying to decide whether or not to embrace it. You must have the courage to grab it with both hands when it’s in front of you.”

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.


Gold Medal Moments – Wise Words from Adam Kreek



“Life isn’t about living a bubble-wrapped existence. Life is about living a full life…and living to tell the tale.”

– Adam Kreek, Olympic Gold Medalist & Professional Speaker

I was recently volunteering for Threads of Life at the 10th annual Make it Safe Occupational Health & Safety Conference in Richond, BC (put on by the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC) and one of the keynote speakers was Adam Kreek.

Adam won an Olympic Gold medal in Rowing in 2008. Four years later, he and three teammates orchestrated an unsupported row across the Atlantic Ocean (that doubled as a research and education project).

I must confess to being rather pleasantly surprised at being blown out of the water (couldn’t resist the pun!) by Adam’s powerful presentation – partly because I wasn’t particularly expecting to hear his messages at a safety conference.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a workplace health & safety conference is probably the BEST place to have heard what he had to say. Adam’s presentation was about passion, purpose, perseverance and performance…all of which are necessary in order for an organization to ensure their workplace is a healthy & safe environment for everyone.

I took quite a few notes during Adam’s presentation, so here are a few key messages:

On Achieving Your Goals…

“It’s actually quite simple to achieve what you want: Dream Big. Act Small. Work Hard.”

“It’s no so much about what you get. It’s about who you become on the journey.”

“Life is a game of forward motion…what are you moving towards?”

On Adversity…

“The goal remains…it’s just the path that has changed.”

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the strength to continue that matters.”

“Reflect. Learn. Grow. Let it go.”

“There is an important difference between ‘I am a failure’ and ‘I am someone who has failed.'”

“I can separate the facts of the situation from the feelings of the situation.”

“Focus on what you can control.”

On Stress…

“Your nerves exist to serve.”

“It is so important to turn stress into ACTION.”

“Life is about action…moving forward. If I’m stressed out, I need to find a way to move forward.”

“It is important to take a break before we break.”

“You need to figure out how HOW you can you take a break that is regenerative and useful…for you.”

On Perseverance…

“People ask me how I crossed the ocean. I tell them ‘one stroke at a time.'”

When it Comes to “Success,” here are Four Important Questions to Ask Yourself…

1. Are you healthy?

2. Are you self-aware?

3. Are you serving your community or making the world a better place in some way?

4. Are you building authentic relationships?

Gold Medal Moments

At one point, Adam asked the audience “What is YOUR next Gold Medal Moment?” He then explained to us what it was like to cross the finish line and realize their team had won Gold. It sounded pretty incredible. But as Adam pointed out, that actual moment of winning gold passed very quickly…so when we are striving to achieve our own Gold Medal Moments, we would be wise to enjoy – and continually learn from – the journey/process of getting there.

In closing, I would like to share one more story from Adam’s presentation – because to be honest, this is the story I have been telling people over the past few days:

Shortly after Adam had retired as an Olympic Athlete, he was asked by a local school to deliver a presentation. He said sure – but he was really nervous because public speaking wasn’t something he had done much of at all. So he showed up, did the presentation and was pretty sure he’d done a lousy job! But he hoped that maybe it wasn’t as bad as he’d thought.

Nope. After he’d finished speaking, the principal took him aside and said, “Adam: that was the worst presentation I have ever heard.”

Well, all of us at the safety conference roared with laughter! Why?

Because Adam obviously learned from his abject failure and rocky start as a professional speaker – and went on to become an outstanding presenter 🙂

“You row an ocean by taking one stroke at a time. You build a business by solving one problem at a time. Make forward progress one inch at a time. Inch by inch. Repeat.”  

– Adam Kreek

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Wise Owl Wisdom Inspirational Quote Cards – A Quote a Day Keeps Inspiration in Play

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.



published in Change, Courage, Failure, Fear, Inspiration by Maryanne | June 28, 2016 | 2 Comments

Fly or Flop – Overcoming the Fear of Failure


MA flying

“The only failure is not to try.”

– George Clooney

When I was visiting Montreal recently, the friends I was staying with, Helene and Clement, suggested I go flying at a place called SkyVenture.

“Flying?” I said.

“Yeah,” replied Helene. “In a wind tunnel. It’s kinda like skydiving only you don’t have to jump out of a plane.”

The next thing I knew we were inside said SkyVenture building, checking on availability for the day. But there wasn’t room for me to fly until 5 o’clock that evening.

“I dunno,” I said to Helene, as we were standing at the desk. “I don’t want to cut short our day of sightseeing by having to rush back here for 5. And it’s kinda expensive. And…”

Helene looked me. “And…?”

I shrugged. “And what if I don’t get it?”

She laughed. “You’ll get it. They teach you everything you need to know and an instructor is with you the whole time. It’s totally safe.”

“Why don’t you go upstairs and watch,” the girl at the desk suggested. “The instructors will be doing a demo in a few minutes.”

So we did. And let me tell you, those instructors – who were likely also professional skydivers – were flying around that wind tunnel like nobody’s business! They were doing backflips and kicking off from the sides and whipping around in circles and shooting lightning-quick from the grate at the bottom to the very top. It was awesome!

pros in wind tunnel flying

The pros in action, SkyVenture Montreal

As I was staring in awe at the airborne gymnastics inside the wind tunnel, Clement glanced over at me and thought he better clarify things. “You won’t be doing any of that, Maryanne.”

Sure enough, after the pros had done their demo of the cool tricks, they returned to the business of helping schmucks like me attempt the basics of flying, which appeared to entail lying spread-eagled on your stomach – like Superman – and trying not to drop down to the grate at the bottom where the wind was blasting up through.

But judging from the number of people who, despite the instructor’s repeated hand signals and actual hands-on assistance, kept dropping like a stone towards the grate then flopping around like a fish out of water, it actually looked quite tricky to do correctly i.e. remain in the air…to fly.

So as I stood there, watching several different people attempt – with mixed results – to fly, trying to decide whether or not I wanted to give it a go, I asked myself: “What’s the worst that could happen?”

And my answer?

That I would fail. That I would forget what the hand signals meant. That I, too, would drop to the grate and flop around like a big fat fish in a flight suit.  

But then I asked myself: so what?

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

– Wayne Gretzky

So I signed up for the 5 o’clock time slot.

And when 5 p.m. rolled around, I listened carefully to my (oh so adorable!) instructor’s detailed instructions. I studied the hand signals on the wall as if my life depended on it. Even though my life didn’t, my ego certainly did. Then I climbed into my flight suit, put in earplugs, donned my helmet and safety glasses and awaited my turn to fly…or not.

MA flying mouth closed

But I DID fly! Sure, I dropped down towards the grate a couple of times at the beginning but when my instructor gave me the signal to straighten my legs, I did so…and voila! Up I floated again.

Interestingly, the key to flying (in a wind tunnel anyway) is to expose the maximum amount of one’s body surface to the wind. The tiniest tweak in one’s position significantly impacts whether one floats or sinks…and isn’t that a metaphor for life itself?

Likewise, another trick we were taught is to keep your chin up – because that ensures your back is arched, thereby exposing more surface area on the front of your body to the wind.

MA flying MA big smile

I loved the experience of flying. I loved how I overcame my fear of forgetting and/or failing and/or looking like an idiot. I loved the sense of accomplishment that came from succeeding at something completely new to me.

Mostly, however, I loved how excited Helene and Clement were to encourage and cheer me on. It was a good reminder about the importance of having a cheering squad – regardless of what we’re doing – as well as being on the cheering squad for others in our lives 🙂

MA, Helene & Clement

Clement, Helene & MA

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.