Weekly Blog

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Johnny Lee sings a song called, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” Viktor Frankl once wrote, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Matthew Kelly has an expression I love: “We can never get enough of what we don’t really need.” All three quotes relate to us having false gods and chasing false happiness. I refer to them as the 4Ps…Prominence, Possessions, Pleasure, and People. 


We all want to do well, to succeed. Many want to stand out. That could mean business or career success. For others, it might be more about social standing or popularity. Still others want notoriety for excelling in a field or doing good deeds. Prominence makes us feel respected and admired, held in high esteem, and most importantly, loved. Social media plays into this as well, since most of us only put our best selves forward. 

The drive for prominence can also manifest itself in superficial relationships, where we’re really using other people instead of truly befriending them. Maybe we desire to be prominent to them individually, or to impress others by the relationship. 



Look at the houses we live in, the cars we drive, and the things we wear. It’s a universal issue, no matter our sex, race, religion, age, or socioeconomic position. No matter the income level or the neighborhood we live in, we value stuff. One indication of this is the amount of personal debt most people have in the U.S. Many live way beyond their means. Cars and trucks can now be financed over longer and longer periods of time. The amount of electronic gadgetry that most of us have is over the top. Then there are all our other physical possessions … the list is endless. 

I’m not suggesting that we should go without a house or a car, but instead understand why we buy what we do. Is it for functionality or status? 


When we don’t know that we’re made for greatness, we rely on distraction and entertainment, anything that provides us with pleasure. Far too many people equate pleasure with joy or happiness. They’re not the same. Joy is long lasting, independent of substance or circumstances. Pleasure, on the other hand, is only experienced in the moment. Once the act creating the pleasure is over, the pleasure is gone. It is fleeting. 


Whether we realize it or not, many of us turn other people into false gods. They may be professional athletes, actors, musicians, politicians, dignitaries, the wealthy, very successful, or those that hold prominent positions. But they can also be people in our own life. In my adult life, I didn’t look to the “rich and famous” as my false gods. For me, the people I looked up to (often with envy as well as admiration) were the local business owners and executives in my hometown. I wanted to be a successful business guy more than anything in the world because of what I thought it said about me, and the people I idolized most were those I could reach out and touch. 

There is hope! But we have to stop looking for fulfillment in prominence, possessions, pleasure, and people. Only one thing can fill the God-sized hole in the center of our chest…and that’s God Himself.

As always, please feel free to contact me at with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

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

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

What Do You Fear?

Last week, we talked about how conditional love leads to lack of self-love, which then creates a fear within us. This fear prevents us from trying and doing things, using our God given talents, meeting our full potential.  

I made a decision in college which was driven by my fear. I loved my economics courses and although doing well in them, I was really good at accounting. More confident of getting a job in the latter, I chose to major in accounting. In hindsight…definitely a result of my fear.

Then there was the time when my company was in pursuit of the proverbial homerun. It was obvious that if we were successful, that it would take us to a much better, bigger place, changing my life professionally and financially. This is where these concepts all tie together. Given the conditional love I experienced, resulting in my lack of self-love, I had this fear of not succeeding that had a grip on me. I wanted it so badly. Although you couldn’t tell from the outside, it paralyzed me from within, causing me to make some bad decisions. 

Fear Impedes Our Progress

Fear impedes progress in our lives. Think about it. Because of fear, you don’t do things or do them differently than you otherwise would. Therefore, the results you achieve, both good and bad, are different than if you didn’t have the fear. Without the fear, your lessons learned, your progress would be different, arguably better. 

What Are Our Fears? 

Separate from your phobias, i.e., snakes, spiders, heights, elevators, what are your fears? Depending on the resources you look to, the list of most common fears can vary. When writing my book, Overwhelming Pursuit: Stop Chasing Your Life and Live, the list that rang most true to me included:

  • Ridicule
  • Rejection
  • Conflict or Confrontation
  • Unknown (Uncertainty)
  • Loneliness

Reciting the above when giving talks, I always ask the audience which of the most prevalent fears is not among the list. Someone invariably answers….FAILURE. 

Why are we so fearful of failure? 

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

I have a plaque on my desk that reads, “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” Think about that for a minute. How would your life be different? I know mine would. How about yours’?

The irony here is that our true friends and those in our family who truly love us will support us no matter what. So will God the Father, who loves us unconditionally, and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, dare I say our faults and our failings. 

It says 365 times in Scripture some derivative of “be not afraid”. God clearly doesn’t want us to live in fear. Yet most of us live with fears. It used to be true in my life. I thank God for the journey He’s taken me on, which will be shared as we move through this series. 

As always, please feel free to contact me at with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

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

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

Why You Beat Yourself Up

Last week, we talked about conditional love. My lived experience is that it creates in us a lack of self-love. In believing that we only receive love if we perform well and to the satisfaction of others, we don’t love or believe in ourselves when we don’t perform well. Not loving self then creates fear (next week’s subject), which prevents us from trying and doing things, using our God given talents, meeting our full potential.  

We believe that we have to perform well to be loved. Stated another way, we fear that if we don’t perform well, we won’t be loved. And at a fundamental level, we all want to be loved; we all want to be accepted. 

Related to lack of self-love, consider this – you do really well at something, then hearing ten compliments and one criticism. What is it you remember and concentrate on long after the occurrence? If you’re like most, it’s the criticism. You see flaws in yourself that you don’t see in others. We judge ourselves much more harshly than others. All of this is a result of lack of self-love, born of conditional love. 

Same Was True for Me

My lack of self-love resulted in me beating myself up on a regular basis. From the outside, I was this confident guy, who had it all together…nice family, good business, nice things, but I was crumbling inside. It was real….I had no peace or joy in my life. I was on that hamster wheel, exhausted, deflated, and frustrated. I was overwhelmed. 

We can beat ourselves up over past sins and past decisions, big or small. Both have been an issue for me. Taking the latter as an example, I remember making a business decision with significant financial impact. It turned out to be the wrong decision, with a dramatic negative result. I carried that burden with me for an incredibly long time, beating the “crap” out of myself regularly, i.e., daily, hourly. I couldn’t let it go. According to my therapist, referenced again below, it was stealing the energy from me to live a happy and fulfilled life. 

It Happens to All of Us

When writing my book, I wanted to vet the concepts. As such, I reached out to the Christian therapist who helped me so much on my journey….more on that later in this blog series. I said to her something like, “70-75% of people suffer from lack of self-love…right?” She scoffed at me, laughing. I’ll never forget it. I said, “what do you mean?” She then said, “try 95%+”. She then explained that based on her experience and research, that lack of self-love easily afflicts more than 95% of us”. Wow!!!

Here’s the Truth of the Situation 

Those closest to you, who truly love you, family and friends, could care less how you perform. They’re going to love you anyhow. And God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done. He sent His only begotten Son to die on the Cross for your sins, dare I say your faults and failings. 

Life is messy, as we’ve discussed in this series so far. The mess is going to continue as we further unpack things over the next several weeks…before we get to the good stuff…the path to peace, joy, and fulfillment. Stay tuned. 

As always, please feel free to contact me at with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

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

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

Why You Believe You’re Loved

We grow up believing that we have to earn the love of others. The more or better we perform, the more love we perceive that we receive. How does this happen? Simple…you succeed at something, you receive all kinds of congratulations, pats on the back. You fail and you’re criticized. When intended to be constructive, it’s not always received that way. Sometimes the criticism is destructive, including no commentary at all. Many are familiar with the phrase, “the silence can be deafening”. It can be particularly hurtful to young people. It’s not done with malice or ill intent. It’s a human condition. 

My first and most glaring example of this is my high school football experience. Growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s (City of Champions), my brothers and I loved football, such that I started playing organized football in 6th grade. Having played successive years, sometimes as a starter and sometimes not, I quit football my sophomore year. Something I regretted for a longtime, I was intimidated by a coach. Ironically, I found the weight room and getting bigger, stronger, and faster, my identity began to take on that of my physical stature. 

I went back to football my junior year, followed by my senior season, where I didn’t start the first game. Noticed by a coach, I was moved from defensive back to defensive end, starting the rest of the season, for a team that won the championship for the second year in a row. 

All the hard work had finally paid off. Not only did I achieve several personal successes, but I was part of a team that was treated like heroes, like gods. The accolades were many and often, whether from our coaches and teammates, parents, siblings, and extended family, friends, classmates, school administration, teachers, broader school community, or the media. We, the entire team, were praised by everyone, everywhere we turned. We were celebrated for our success, treated like heroes, like gods.  

I tell you this story not to impress you. After all, it was a long time ago (literally 40 years ago), but to impress upon you how conditional love takes place. We grow up, given our experiences, believing that we have to earn the love of others. Feeling loved when we succeed, the experience is different when the opposite takes place. When we don’t perform well, we perceive that others don’t like our performance and aren’t accepting of us. We then internalize these things (positive and negative responses), with them driving much of what takes place in our lives, i.e., the hamster wheel. 

Next week we’re going to discuss what conditional love leads to and the behaviors it creates, all contributing to us being overwhelmed. There is “light at the end of the tunnel”, but first we’re going to unpack the things that create the challenges that we all experience. Stay tuned. 

Hope the above resonates with you…it does with most. As always, please feel free to contact me at with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

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

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph