I’m an Expert Failure

I’m an expert failure.

There’s no way around it.  I’ve failed at so many things that it’s almost depressing.

Maybe you’re like me and you just feel like you can’t ever quite seem to get over the hump.  Success is always just right within arms reach but it’s just a bit too far off, or too fuzzy to make out.

Maybe you’re even more like me and success isn’t even around the corner.  You’ve failed so hard that you aren’t even sure which way is up anymore.  Success isn’t even on the horizon.  You’d just be thrilled with survival.

Everybody likes to talk about how Thomas Edison invented some katrillion ways to not make a light bulb and then they like to tell us that success is for the people that didn’t give up.  I really want to believe them but sometimes I’m just not feeling it.

I know a lot about failure though.  I could seriously get tenure at a major university if they needed a professor of failure.  I know how to fail at blogging, business, ministry, dating, marriage, parenting,  divorce, divorced parenting, divorced dating… Shoot I even know how to fail at little stuff like making mac ‘n cheeze. (You may not have thought that was possible but I am here to tell you that it is.)

I’ve come to believe though, that everybody fails just as often, and just as hard as I do.  It’s just only us brave folks that admit how often we fail.  Too many people out there are trying to hide their failures and to be honest, I’ve tried to hide mine too but it’s just way too much work.  My goal for tomorrow is to fail abysmally at hiding my failures.  I’m going to be honest and maybe, just maybe, if I start failing at hiding my failures I can start failing at failing.

Take your time….

… And now you’ve got it.

Who’s down to join me.  Lets start failing on purpose because Edison was right.  Failure is just knowledge of how not to do something.  The more knowledge we gain about failure the closer we come to finding the nuggets of non-failure.

What are you missing when you are stressing

One of my favorite movies growing up was an indie film called Extreme Days.  It’s a corny Christian attempt at the road trip comedy genre with some extreme sports scenes scattered throughout to keep it interesting.

I loved it.  It was quotable, it was clean, and I had a huge crush on Jessie (Cassidy Rae).

I remember playing spoons with friends who hadn’t seen the movie and then showing them the spoons scene.  It was awesome.  My friends and I still quote Extreme Days almost 15 years later.

One of the best lines in the movie is a narration by Will.  As you watch their convertible Joyota drive through the mountains after a rainstorm that has left them all drenched and freezing he says this:

“We had some random things happen to us; some good, some bad, some u can’t explain, some u don’t want to, but one thing we did learn for sure…when God throws a curveball…don’t duck…u just might miss something.”

In the past two weeks I’ve had more curveballs than I know what to do with.  My Dad got an awesome promotion that is taking him to Texas which means the timeline for me to find my own place just shrunk drastically.

I thought I found a house, and got pretty stoked, only to get outbid.

My daughter, who is only 4 1/2 had to get a root canal on the day of her first ballet recital two weeks before her new dental coverage kicks in.

And that’s just been the big stuff.  It’s been crazy!

I’m doing a wedding this weekend and traveling to speak at a church in Ajo next weekend.  My schedule is filling up fast and my stress level is following suite.

All weekend I’ve been stressing out about houses and schedules and finances and my gut instinct has been to binge watch How I met your Mother on Netflix.

I sat down this morning to face the dreaded blank page, having not written anything in two weeks and realized that I’ve been ducking curveballs all weekend.

Curveballs are scary.  They start out coming right at your head and the only thing you can think is “BAIL OUT!!!!”   I tend to retreat into myself and pretend like the “stuff” that is happening, isn’t.  I binge watch netflix or zone out playing spider solitaire all in an effort to “decompress” but as soon as the episode is over or I realize that there are no longer any productive moves which means the ipad has bested me again… the stress comes back.

When you duck a curveball, that doesn’t stop you from having to stand in the box and get ready for the next pitch and to follow the metaphor all the way through, if you duck too many curveballs, chances are you strike out.

My encouragement to you, and challenge to myself, this week is to stand in there.  Duck your shoulder, pause for a split second to give that curveball time to dive into the zone and then swing for the fence and celebrate as the old time announcer screams “It’s got the distance… And YOU…. CAN…. KISS….. IT….. GOODBYE!!!!!!!!!!”


Photo by Carl Jones

Interviewing Awesome: The Ashley Frank Edition

It’s time to interview some more awesome.  This is interview #2 from the #InterviewingAwesome series.  Basically it’s a chance for me to hang out with and learn from some pretty incredible, forward thinking, driven, and just all around awesome people.

Feel free to share this and upcoming interviews using #InterviewingAwesome

Today’s gest is Ashley Frank. She is the founder and president of The Music Life Apparel, which just launched their online store today.  (Check it out)

Ashley FrankAshley was a classmate of mine in college.  She was, as she mentions in the interview, very involved in sports, but made a huge transition in her life when she quit coaching cold turkey and went to work at a local music shop.

She’s driven, passionate, and she’s thinking outside to box.  I hope that this interview will not only introduce you to an awesome clothing company, but to a pretty incredible and inspiring entrepreneur.

First of all, Thank you Ashley for allowing me to interview and learn from you.  As an entrepreneur myself, I feel like I can never learn enough so having someone that’s in the trenches at the same time as me, is really cool.

The first question that I always like to ask people is this: “What is your story?”  Who are you? Where did you come from physically but also tell us where you come from as a person. The journey that you’ve been on as an individual. 

Hi! 🙂 My name is Ashley Frank. You can call me an Arizona native, I was born and raised in Phoenix. Growing up, I was surrounded by music. My dad and I would play piano together; I’d even put on little musicals in my living room. As I got older, I strayed a bit from music and was very involved in sports. Throughout high school and college, I played/coached basketball full time. Going into my third year as a professional coach, I just realized it wasn’t for me. People said I was crazy, but I quit. Once I left the sports world, I had to discover who I was without that. I decided to go back to my roots. My dad owns a local “mom and pop” piano shop in Phoenix; it’s where I re-discovered my childhood adoration for music, and the lifestyle associated with it. I thought I might later regret that decision but it has now become the best decision I’ve made so far in life.



Switching careers like that sounds absolutely terrifying but tell us the story of your business. What led you to start your own clothing company?

As any business owner knows, business is just a lot of hard work and grinding. Ironically, the initial idea really came to me out of the blue with very little effort on my part. The name and idea really just struck my brain one day. I had been working at my dad’s music store & I wanted to start selling some of our instruments online. He had asked me to come up with a name for our online store. I was trying to come up with a name that kind of encompassed music and what it means to us musicians. That’s when I thought of the name “The Music Life”. After launching our little online store, I fell in love with the name so much that I decided I wanted to do more with it. What better way to show my passion for music than wearing it, and providing apparel for other music lovers to do the same? It doesn’t matter whether you are a Grammy award winning singer or just some kid sitting with her dad at the piano. Music is so much more than a song or instrument; it’s part of the human experience.

I couldn’t agree more.  Music shapes us. 

Now from what I understand, your passion is much bigger than just starting another clothing company.  You have a vision for a community of musicians and your hope is to connect them via what they wear which is a really cool idea.  Clothing is something that everybody has to have and so in that regard it’s an awesome business to be in but fashion is a fairly competitive market.  What sets you apart and how do you overcome the challenge of being one of the millions of options for consumers?

That is a great question! I wouldn’t even bother going into business if I wasn’t asking myself the same question every day. You put it politely, but the fashion industry really is a dog-eat-dog world. Consumers won’t care about “just another brand”. The thing that sets TMLA (The Music Life Apparel) apart from others is we are offering a specific concept, culture, and lifestyle brand that is targeted to a specific group of people: musicians.  TMLA is specifically for musicians and music lovers who love “the music life”. This could range from professional musicians, gigging musicians, or even those who just love to tink around with a guitar. By wearing TMLA, they show that they are part of an exclusive culture of people who cultivate their own lives with auditory art forms. Now, to be clear, I didn’t want to just throw out a broad target just to anyone who loves music; I believe that it would be too broad, as there are many “musical” shirts out there. One of the first steps I took was to trademark the phrase “The Music Life”. If you want to be part of the movement, you have to go through the TMLA brand.

Can you tell us about a road block that you’ve hit and how you’ve overcome it.  I’m sure there are a ton.  Starting a business from scratch brings up all kinds of complications and issues.

Haha! There are so many how can I pick only one roadblock?! Just kidding. Honestly, the biggest complication has been making sure I have all the little details that go with the paper work and government filing. It’s insane how many forms you have to fill out in order to become and maintain a legal business. There are so many i’s to dot and t’s to cross, just to make sure you are a legitimate business. So far, that’s been the biggest challenge. I’m grateful to have some great legal folks who have really helped me with all of that.

Surrounding yourself with people that can mentor you and help you through the miles of red tape is key.  Part of the business the I’m currently starting is to provide life coaching which is a fancy word for mentorship, and help people unlock the power of their own personal story. Do you have any advice for people that don’t have strong mentors about how to find them?

Mentorship is a very important part of starting a business. Without guidance, you are left to guess about things all by yourself. I’ve found that having people to bounce ideas off is huge in becoming successful. I’ve been lucky to have my dad around. He’s owned a local music store in Phoenix for over 40 years. He’s been my go-to guy in times where I have no clue what to do. I guess my advice would be to find people who have good character and integrity. Look for people who have a good standing with the community. Someone who has a good grasp on the type of business you are trying to start. Some people can give good advice, but don’t know enough about your field to really give you advice in your specific area of need. Just do your homework. Find people who have been successful in your field of business and reach out to them. You can’t be shy. I’ve been absolutely amazed at the help I’ve received just because I asked.

That is such a good point.  Sometimes asking is all it takes and I like what you said about finding people with good character too.  There are plenty of successful people out there that I don’t really want to take advice from and as a young entrepeneur I think it’s helpful to know that it’s okay to ignore those people. 🙂

With that being said, day to day business can begin to get overwhelming for entrepreneurs.  There are always a million different people trying to get you to read their e-book or try their CRM software.  There are marketing strategies, social media campaigns, conferences, networking meetings, and various other things that you could be doing.  How do you decide, which things are worth pursuing?

Well, I think that many avenues of marketing can be effective, depending on what your business is. In my initial plans, I’m focusing having all my sales 100% online. With that, most of my time marketing will be spent on social media avenues like Instagram, Pinterest, & Facebook. Networking is also a great help. Since I will be marketing to musicians, I’ll always be reaching out to musicians/musical artists to help grow my business.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Ashley.  I wish you all the luck in the world and hope that your Website launch today goes absolutely amazing. 

Thank you so much for the opportunity to answer some awesome questions, I really appreciate it.

Please take a second to check out the new Music Life Apparel online store.  

Procedes help provide insturments to kids who can’t afford them.

Follow TMLA




And if you really want to be awesome please share this interview with #InterviewingAwesome on any and all social media.

Interviewing Awesome: Joanna Frances


Welcome to the FIRST EVER Interview with pure Awesome.  Okay maybe it’s not the first ever but it’s my first ever so I’m excited about it!!!!

If you are excited to please share this interview on social media using #InterviewingAwesome  The more people that are inspired, the better.  


Today on the blog, I will be interviewing my friend Joanna Frances.  Joanna and I went to High School together and we’ve kept in touch through Facebook ever since.  She even coached my through her beachbody and shakeology businesses. (I lost 40 lbs) So when I tell you that she is awesome, it’s not just because I know her or that she’s paying me to say it cause she’s not.  It’s because I’ve seen her in action and I know that what she does works.  

So let’s start this thing off.  

Joanna, Thanks so much for doing the interview with me. 

To start off can you just introduce yourself and tell us a little about you and then a little about your business?

Hello friends! My name is Joanna Frances and I am here to commit to YOU and your fitness goals. I wanted to tell you about my journey and to encourage you that living a healthy lifestyle is a journey and one to embrace!!

It was about two and a half years ago when I was approached about being in a challenge group and was asked to state MY goals. What was it that I wanted to change about my life? What is my big WHY for changing and pursuing a healthier me? These were all things that I hadn’t really thought about.

I knew that at this point in my life I had been doing just enough to get by…

*Gym a couple of times a week

*Not eating out as often but still not eating what I needed to fuel my body

But enough was enough. Not only was I only doing “just enough” physically, but mentally and emotionally I was ready for a change. I needed something for me, something that was going to push me to new levels and challenge me to be better. Once I had {decided} that this was something I needed, {committed} to the 90-day challenge group (by the way, Turbofire was my very first wkout program, Chalene is the BEST!!), I created new habits and saw results and I {succeeded}! For once in a long time, I felt like me—full of confidence, full of energy, and completely renewed!

My passion now, is to pay it forward!! I love being a coach and find such joy in encouraging others to achieve their goals and live their life as an unspoken testimony of desire and commitment!

Setting goals and accomplishing them are what I thrive for in all areas of my life. Turbofire has become something I can’t get enough of and look forward to sweating and pushing myself beyond new limits everyday with each new workout! I am learning to listen to my body and reach new heights physically and mentally!!

Being able to feel so good is WELL worth the hard work and such a blessing. I am thankful everyday that I can work that much harder and reach new break through’s as I go!

Here’s to a FIT life and one that is beyond what I ever imagined! God Bless!!

The fitness industry is crazy! It seems like there is something new out there every time you turn on the TV or scroll through Facebook.  Why did you chose to work with beach body products and what do you do to stay ahead of the game and keep your product from becoming just a fad?

This is a great question! When I was in and out of the gym working hard to “stay fit” and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it seemed as though I was running a race I’d never win. I would go for a couple of weeks and be on this high which would eventually wear off, causing me to bounce back into old habits. Not to mention, majority of my “motivation” came from the way I was feeling that day or at that particular moment.  Basing things off of my feelings made for quite a bit of inconsistency in addition to continuous disappointment. Then I was dealing with the idea that I needed to be perfect or that things had to be just so. When something would come up, or I’d “cheat’ as some would say, I would feel like a failure, resulting in me throwing in the towel completely-“Oh I’ll just restart again on Monday” would be an all too familiar phrase when things such as this would occur. In addition to battling with my own feelings about getting to the gym, I was also bouncing back and forth between eating healthy and just eating junk. I would commit to eating healthy and would begin to see results but then after a week or so, or there was a cake brought in to work or something, I would fall off the wagon and completely sabotage myself. It was horrible! My “fitness pursuit” was off and on, back and forth, and after a while I grew tired of feeling defeated.

I decided to join a challenge group and commit to finishing the 90 day program with my coach. I needed something different and I needed change! After about a week into the challenge, I knew that this was what I had been missing all along. It wasn’t that I didn’t go to the gym or try to stay active, that I didn’t eat healthy, or even that I didn’t give it my all…I was missing the support and accountability from someone!! I was doing this all on my own and expecting perfection! After completing my first program I was blown away not only at my results physically but how I was completely transformed from the inside out as a person! I had not felt that good in a long time.

Beachbody has created a system that allows you to workout from home, create life long friendships, and have the support you need! Through my challenge groups led by –ME–, you get the accountability, support and encouragement you NEED to be successful and see results! Each time I run a challenge group I keep things different by changing things up in terms of what we focus on or have discussions about, in addition to targeting different audiences who are ready for change! Until I was able to fully participate and commit to a group, I was spinning my wheels and getting no where. After having gone through a 90-day challenge myself, I realized having people to support and encourage me was the most important piece to the equation for me when it came to my success! Not to mention the convenience of being able to workout from home and not have to go anywhere (AND surpass my goals with the results I wanted).

I have personally been coached by you and I lost 40 pounds during and after the insanity program that I did with one of your challenge groups so I know that both you and the product are amazing.  What is your personal coaching philosophy and could you share an example of how you have implemented that philosophy?

My coaching philosophy is understanding that being healthy and fit is a LIFESTYLE! And lifestyles take time to reset and re-create… and that’s the beauty in it. There is no perfect way of doing it, there is no right or wrong, it is YOUR personal journey so you get to pursue this any way you want! And the blessing is that I get to be here to encourage and support you along the way! If I had never taken that leap of faith, because that’s what it was-a leap of faith in making that decision to try something new and different that I had never done before, I would more than likely still be spinning my wheels getting no where. All the while feeling down about myself and not seeing the results I wanted. My favorite phrase is “I get to have my cake AND eat it too!” because although I am only human, living a healthy life is something I am learning how to be better at every single day!

Your job is to stay positive and motivate others to push through the tough spots, conquer the plateaus, and achieve success but I’m sure that behind the scenes you struggle like anyone else with self-doubt and discouragement.  What have you found is the best way to break out of a slump? 

Absolutely! I struggle just as much as each of my challengers and face my own insecurities as well. I have found that keeping my “WHY” (this is your reason for change, your reason for wanting something different for yourself, that one thing that just consumes your heart and your desire to pursue this healthy lifestyle) close to me where I can see it DAILY!! Your reason for a healthier lifestyle and for making this change HAS to be so big and so obvious day to day that it’s almost screaming at you! So on the mirror, as your background on your phone, maybe you hang it up in your office for all to see as well–you have to look at it and really make it a part of what you are focusing on daily! Another way that I find myself pulling through the struggles is by reading through my goals. I am old fashion and LOVE to write down my goals so that I can read them over and over again and even change them as I go along…I have seen others even make vision boards and get super creative and fancy about it! I have done this, but also find that for the day to day struggles, you need something NOW and you need it to be available.  The last thing that I have found as stated before to be HUGE to my success, is to have people around me who I can call, text, have relationships with who will encourage me to do what I need to do when I just can’t do it on my own.

I know that you have new challenge groups starting all the time.  When’s the next one?  What is it?  How does it work?  And how can people get signed up if they are interested?

I run challenge groups EVERY MONTH! There is always a place for everyone regardless of their fitness level and knowledge behind what it means to start living a more healthier life! I have individuals who just want accountability, individuals who are just starting and have never even done any sort of workout program or been to the gym, and individuals who get stuck and are facing a plateau and just need something different…again that’s the beauty of these groups, they are uniquely designed to assist anyone and everyone regardless of where they are at in their fitness journey!

If you would like to be a part of a challenge group or would just like to chat and get more information, you can find me on Facebook  or Instagram and send me a private message saying “You are ready for a change-and want more details!” and we can chat! 😉 It’s that simple! I look forward to hearing from you and am beyond blessed to get the opportunity to be a part of this journey with you!

Awesome!  Thanks so much for doing this interview Joanna and good luck to you and all of those that are involved in your next challenge group.

If you are interested in learning more about beach body  or shakeology, you can check those out here and here.

You can also follow Joanna on Facebook or on Instagram.

Don’t forget to comment, subscribe, and share using #InterviewingAwesome

Hank Green announces Nerdcon: Stories

So Hank Green announced last Friday that he, and the good people from vidcon, are launching a new conference called Nerdcon: Stories. Nerd Con Stories

I’ve been a fan of Hank and John for quite some time but this is probably the coolest thing that either of them has ever done.

The conference is basically designed to celebrate stories but it goes deeper than that.  It’s celebrating human stories because Hank and the folks at Nerdcon realize that stories are the crux of the human experience. 

Think about it.

We all love TV shows, books, movies, and social media but the reason that we love them is because they are riddled with stories and ever since we were little kids we’ve loved to hear someone tell us a story.

Story permeates our existence.  You can’t hang out with a friend, or call your mom on mother’s day (don’t forget May 10th) without telling a story.

What I’ve noticed is that people not only like to hear stories but we actually ARE stories.  If I asked you to tell me a bit about yourself… you’d tell me a story.

I’m currently writing a book that explores this idea as it relates to relationships and especially as it relates to personal coaching and mentoring relationships.

Side Note: People here the word mentor, and they kind of freak out a bit.  It sounds super profound and complex and they get visions of kung fu masters up on mountaintops but mentoring is very simply listening to and telling personal stories. 

Listening to and telling stories is how we connect as people and it’s how we come together and help each other as well.  If I share a story about something that I’m going through and ask for advice, you would probably share a story about a similar situation and how you got through it.  It’s all stories.

Hank mentions in the above video that  “every human society that wants to behave differently, first has to change the stories they tell.”  This is true on the macro level for society but it’s also true on a personal level for you.

If you want to change, get better, lose weight, get your dream job, whatever… You have got to start by changing the stories that you tell.

Used under creative commons.  Photo taken by Dustin Oliver

Photo taken by Dustin Oliver

Notice that I said stories.  PLURAL.  Change will only happen if you change the story that you tell your friends/family/the world AND the story that you tell the person that lives above your bathroom sink. That would be you.

Change starts when we reframe, and rewrite our own stories.  My goal, as an author, speaker, and entrepreneur is to help you unlock the power of your own story. I do that by listening to stories and helping people see them from a different perspective.

Your story is inspiring and powerful and if you don’t think so, I dare you to send it to me so I can prove you wrong. 

You can email me your story at andrew.linderer@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment, like and subscribe.  

P.S. If you know Hank, please let him know that I would be a fantastic speaker for Nerdcon: Stories!  Shoot I’d even just love to just go to Nerdcon, speaking there would be kind of like giving a TED talk. It would pretty much make my life.