Weekly Blog

What Would You Attempt if You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

In last week’s blog, I proposed that the biggest fear people have is the fear of failure. Based on the feedback I received, it appears that message resonated with many. What is it about failure that most concerns us? Is it…

  • Being rejected
  • Not being loved
  • Not being good enough
  • Failure itself – what it says about us

The irony is that your real friends and those in your family who truly love you will always support you. They don’t care whether you succeed or fail. They love you unconditionally, no matter what your imperfections… and we all have them. They only want the very best for you and are always there for you.

Why the Fear

So, why the fear? My experience is that we grow up believing that we have to earn the love of others and do so by trying to excel at what we do. Over time, we get trapped into believing that our “who” is our “do”, that our role is our identity. In other words, we believe our worth is in our performance, prominence, possessions, and personal relationships. Most people believe they have to “do” to be loved.

I’m convinced that believing that we have to earn love creates in us a lack of self-love. We fear that if we don’t perform we won’t be loved. And at a very fundamental level, we all want to be loved; we all want to be accepted.

What Would You Attempt if You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

I have a plaque on my desk that reads, “What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Think about that question. Pause and ponder it in your mind, “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

  • How would your life be different? (I know mine would be)
  • What would you try?
  • What would you be?
  • How would the world be different if everyone lived this way?

If your biggest fear is failure (like most), it only makes sense that you would try more things and do them differently if “you knew you couldn’t fail”. You would exhibit more courage. You may possibly think differently about what direction you would go in. You wouldn’t be so tense or nervous when trying a new endeavor.

What Would You Attempt if You Knew Nobody Would Feel any Differently about You if You Failed?

So, what would your outlook be on trying new things if you knew that nobody cared whether you succeeded or failed; that it would make no difference as to how they thought about you?

Again, those who truly love you will never leave you. They’ll always love you for your “who”, not your “do”. And God our Father never sees you as a failure, nor does His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins, dare I say our faults and our failings.

You Can Do Something About It

TRY, RISK, DARE, and DO all that you feel called to. Who cares what happens…those who love you don’t. God loves you regardless. And nobody else matters.

How do you feel about the above? Please share your thoughts with me at

May God Bless you on your journey to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph
Weekly Blog

I Want to be Like Mike

Do you have someone who is forced to live life differently? Someone who can’t do many of the things that most of us can in the same way that we do them? I do and I’ve learned significant lessons from him.

My cousin Mike, paralyzed from the waist down since birth, has spent most of his life in a wheelchair. As such, everything is more challenging, whether it’s getting a shower, getting dressed, or transferring in and out of his wheelchair…onto a couch, into bed, or into his car.

Now 48, Mike has lived on his own for more than 2 decades. He works, drives a car, and has an active life, but nothing is ever easy. And at the same time, Mike never complains, never gives up, and is always concerned about others. Let’s look at each individually.

Never Complains

With Mike living in a suburb of Detroit and me outside of Pittsburgh, we don’t see each other as much as we’d like. That said, we speak by phone frequently. Not unlike anyone else, Mike has struggles, most of which are bigger than what most of us deal with. But he never complains about his circumstances or other people, instead most often finding the good in each.

Never Gives Up

Mike had open heart surgery a couple months ago and it’s been amazing to watch his recovery. Day by day, he makes progress, and always with a smile on his face. Beyond this and the other recoveries that he’s had to endure for his numerous, previous surgeries, he’s always striving to live life to its fullest, whether it’s his work life, playing keyboards, learning new things, or socializing with family and friends. He’s always moving forward. He never gives up.

Always Concerned About Others

Mike is always talking about the needs of his family members, whether his parents, brothers, their wives, or kids. He’s equally concerned for friends, in addition to those suffering from disease and disaster, whether he knows them or not. On a constant basis, he shares his concerns over others with me while not making mention of his own situation. It’s not infrequent when he asks me to pray for someone with him, whether a friend or family member. He’s always showing concern for others, wanting to always help whoever he can.

I am incredibly blessed by my relationship with Mike. Not only am I regularly reminded of the above by watching him live his life, but he helps me grow in my faith. What often begins with him asking me questions about the Mass or Scripture or some teaching of the Church, turns into me learning through our discussion. He shares his heart. He expresses a raw vulnerability that few do. It’s the real Mike, all the time.

Learning From Others

If we slow down enough to take notice, we can learn lessons from many in our lives. All of us have struggles and challenges, some handling them better than others. My oldest daughter, Danielle, likes to remind me that God never gives us anything that we can’t handle. While I believe that’s true, it’s certainly not always easy. Walking with others is incredibly important. We’re not meant to go through life alone. We can learn from them and them from us.

As Jesus told us in the Great Commandments, second only to loving our Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love them and learn from them. I’ve watched Mike do that with so many. He’s my role model. Who’s yours’?

Please share any comments with me at

May God continue to bless you on your path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment.

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

We Need a Shot in the Arm

Never Hurts to Get a Good Shot in the Arm

Have you ever felt like you’re not yourself? Like something is off? It could be at work. Or at home. In your relationships. It could even be the spiritual, i.e. your prayer life, not feeling the presence of God.

The above is not abnormal. We all go through it. Life has its ups and downs. Even those who lead seemingly great lives aren’t always great. BTW, many aren’t truly happy either.

Now it’s About the Peace, not the Pace

For me, it used to be all about the pace; now it’s about the peace. My wife and I have a nice rhythm to our lives, a good balance of the spiritual (Mass, prayer, spiritual reading), intellectual (reading/learning), emotional (relationship), and physical (exercise). Given where I am on my spiritual journey, things are pretty good, most of the time. That said, I need the occasional shot in the arm, the pick me up, something to get me revved up and reenergized.

What Used to Accomplish It

The things that used to accomplish this for me are of the secular world, like a professional sporting event (Steeler football), motivational talk, a concert, night out with my wife or the guys, or a party. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with any of these things. In fact, I still enjoy them all.

Now It’s Conferences and Nights of Worship

But today, what I like to do more than anything else to get that shot in the arm, to get re-energized, is to go to a Steubenville Conference or a Night of Worship (Steubenville or otherwise). Both are highly energetic, with impactful and relevant talks and vibrant worship music. Whether it’s something I’m dealing with spiritually or a life issue (or maybe nothing at all), I always walk away from these events feeling much better than when I went in. Not only is the time with our Lord meaningful, but so is the community, being surrounded by so many praising God all together.

If you’ve not experienced either, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. And I might be. But if you like a good message that speaks to your heart and motivates you; if you like good, energetic music; if you enjoy being with an energized crowd; and if you want to explore what else God has in store for you…I’d highly recommend both.

Find One in Your Diocese

Nights of Worship, also known as Festivals of Praise, are done at numerous Parishes, in various Dioceses across the country. Likewise, most Dioceses have very good, fulfilling conferences or other events to give you that lift. You just need to look for them. A good place to start is the Diocesan offices.

Franciscan University’s Steubenville Conferences

Franciscan University of Steubenville does Nights of Worship on its campus in Steubenville, OH, as well as partnering with Parishes. In addition, the University serves 60,000 guests annually at its 33 Steubenville Conferences across North America, 11 of which are on its campus. Each, in addition to the worship music and the talks referenced above, is Sacramentally based and Eucharistic centric.

To be totally transparent, I work in the Conference Office at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I started attending its Conferences 5 years before I took the job. Then and now they are a great shot in the arm, a galvanizing event, evangelistic, and energetic. You can get more information at And to learn about our newly introduced Steubenville Discipleship Quad Model, visit

The Mark Joseph guarantee…if you come to a Steubenville Conference and don’t love it, I’ll personally refund your money. What do you have to lose?

Please share your experiences at such events with me at

May God continue to bless you on your path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment.

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

What If You Could Change Your Life?

It’s said that most people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do their lives. If not a vacation, then their recreational activities. Or other things not specific to the life they’d like to live.

Even if not true for you, you’d still probably like to change some things about your life. Most people do. Those things may range from your career to the house or neighborhood you live in, your savings, education you’ve attained, time spent away from the family, travel you’ve not done, the volunteer work you’d like to do, or the hobbies you engage in.

Personal Gifts and Virtues

Then there’s interpersonal skills…things like active listening, collaboration, conflict management, creative thinking, empathy, humor, trust, leadership, motivation, patience, relationship management, respect, tolerance, and teamwork.

Or how about things like….

  • Charity
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Faithfulness
  • Modesty
  • Self-control
  • Chastity

The above are fruits of the Holy Spirit. Tack onto those the virtues, which can be found with a quick internet search.

Strength of Your Relationships

And lastly, how about relationships. Do you have as many as you want. Are they deep and authentic or superficial? Is there transparency, true vulnerability? Do you have those in your life who you can rely on, who can rely on you? What characterizes your relationships with your friends?

What characterizes your relationship with God, our Creator, who loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done.  

My Past Planning Hasn’t Worked

Although a real planner, especially as related to the organizations I’ve been part of, I’d be lying to you if I said that over the years I’ve done a lot of comprehensive planning for my “life” outside of work. Then over the last decade, I’ve had some occurrences that have caused me to pause and really want to make change in my life. The question is how. For me, there are two pieces:

  1. My spiritual journey
  2. Real life action plan

Let’s discuss #2 first. The reason I had never done such planning wasn’t for lack of effort or intent. More than several times throughout my life, I would start the process, typically at the beginning of the year, in New Year’s fashion. I never researched a tool, always trying to do it on my own, never succeeding.

A Plan that Works

I’ve recently found a book and tool set, called “Living Forward – A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want”, written by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. As an aside but related, I’ve been following Michael Hyatt for a while and love his stuff.

The book does a great job of coaching you through a process, following a particular sequence, which includes:

  • Designing your legacy (how you want remembered)
  • Determining your priorities (within different categories of your life)
  • Charting your course (SMART Goals)
  • Implementing your plan (mechanics for making it happen)
  • Keeping it alive (regular review and revision)

Like so many things, simple but not easy, I’ve found the methodology to be very effective. It has really helped me gain clarity, not only on where I want to go, but on how to get there. It’s a great tool that I’d highly recommend.  

We are Made for Greatness

Related to the spiritual, given some real tragedy in my life, I experienced conversion, followed by healing, and formation, where I now understand the unconditional love of God and the fact that he made me uniquely with special gifts to do great things, just like you. Through a discernment process, I now understand those gifts and what I’m to do with them (topic for a future blog).

You can change your life. It’s never too late to be the person you want to be. God made you and me for GREATNESS!!! Pray about it and take action. Contact me for help if you’d like. The result of all of this is finding real peace, joy, and fulfillment in your life.

Please share your thoughts with me at

May God Bless you on your journey!!!

Mark Joseph