Failing Forward!

Train wreck at Montparnasse Station, at Place ...

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Ever have one of those huge “FAIL!” moments and you just wish you could crawl into a deep cave and never see the light of day again?

Maybe you failed a test… Lost the big game… got rejected by someone you had a really big crush on…or got fired. Perhaps it was the most humiliating thing in the world for you and you feel like never trying again. I’m here to encourage you. Every successful person has gone through huge failures and learned to come back fighting to keep a dream alive. One train crash does not deserve another.

I wrote the following for a teen curriculum book in 2004 and it applies today:

Listen, you’d better just get used to failure, because it’s going to
happen a lot throughout life on your way to success. Trust me on this.
I certainly failed a lot more than I’ve succeeded (as far as numbers go)
but my ultimate successes far out way the effect of failure. It’s not
that I think you can make poor choices and suffer no consequence… On
the contrary! I believe you will most certainly suffer for choosing
unwisely in life, but, in your search for wisdom there develops the
ability to rise above the suffering that comes as you take wrong turns…
if a lesson is learned.

If you fail to achieve the desired goal admit it
never try to fool yourself into believing you’re better off not knowing
the truth. It’s a lie and it’s a terrible habit to let form. If someone
criticizes your efforts, try to improve from that without letting it get you down.  No one
has the right to degrade you… (including you!) but much of what is said
to you can be very helpful if you have a good attitude about it. Use
the experience or lose the experience , I say.

Failure should be an occurrence that happens but never a state of mind you live with. I made some choices throughout my life that I thought would kill me, haunt me

forever, or at least would drive away any hope for a good future, but
I’m alive today and believe me, that is a serious achievement for me!
I’m happy to say I am married to a wonderful woman, enjoy much of my
everyday life and I get to see and experience things most people I
know won’t get to do over their lifetime. Why? Because life holds hope
for anyone with breath in his or her lungs. Hope for a future… hope for a
great new life. Hope even though we fail sometimes. I learned this lesson and it saved
my life! I wanted to die so badly at one point but I’m so happy I didn’t
go through with those thoughts, In fact,  I’m enjoying life so much it’s
kind of freaky! if you want to be successful at anything you do… if you
want to live life to it’s fullest potential… get used to failure,  but
learn from it… better yet,  learn from other people’s failures first! If
you get advice from people already experienced in something you avoid
so much suffering other people will experience. Problems are your
opportunity to show the world you have solutions. Failures are hidden
success lessons. Never give up!

I hope this has helped you in some way today. Keep dreaming and watch for the “Falling Forward” Booklet on my shop.

Amazing Presentation For Teens

School Assembly – Conventions – Leadership – Motivation – Fun!

We are gearing up for the new school year with updated programs, new live artwork and one amazing new book! If you’re looking for an engaging program for teens please check out our official website: and give us a call! Dates are filling fast.

Shaun and Team

Office Phone 312.233.2620

Chicago Attractions, Tours, and Things To Do


Chicago Willis (Sears) Tower at night

Chicago Willis (Sears) Tower at night

Go Chicago Card: Chicago Attractions, Tours, and Things To Do from Smart Destinations.

If you are going to be in Chicago, IL for some site seeing over several days, this is a great deal and a good way to plan your time taking in the major attractions. The best deal by far is the seven day pass, but if you go to many of the opportunities offered (And they are worth it!), you can still get a huge bang for your buck in just a couple days. A great idea for something unique is to go on Windy Of Chicago, a tall-ship that sails from Navy Pier. The “Go Chicago” site will give you lots of ideas and links.

If you’re just in town for the day you can just get a day pass:


For Food I’ll start with the basic “Must-have Chicago Foods”:

Portillo’s Chicago Style Hotdog – not into that? Try their Italian Beef! If you can’t do Portillo’s just make sure you get a Vienna all beef dog.

Gino’s East or Giordano’s For Chicago Style Deep Dish Stuffed Pizza!

If you’ve had those and are looking for something a bit more intimate and elegant still in the Pizza category try a Pizza Pot Pie from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. Good Salads too.

Steak? Oh yes! – Mastro’s,  Gene & Georgetti, Morton’s and Gibsons.

More to come…


Shopping, Ladies?

Well you have to check out the Mag (magnificent) Mile on Michigan Ave… that’s a given. After that: State Street. If you really want to check out something amazing: spend a day at the Merchandise Mart! The Merchandise Mart is the world’s largest commercial building, was commissioned by Marshall Feild and Co. in1930 and purchased by Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy (father of JFK) in 1945. 90 minute tours are avail. (just fyi-I used to clean floors in this building.)


Until I get more of my own personal favorites from Chicago up here, try looking at Chicago Magazine’s Best Of Chicago List.

Got a question about Chicago? Comment below and I’ll help you out.

The Le Car (The Happy Mobile)

If you’ve heard me tell the story of Happy Meal Girl, you probably remember the description of the car we took to McDonald’s. Well, here are some pictures of the make and model of the infamous “Happy Mobile” or “clown car” however I described it to you. If I can find time maybe I’ll Photoshop the bumper stickers and stuff. For now, this gives you a great idea of how tiny the car was. Enjoy! (Maybe I’ll put the whole story on here one day.) By the way did you know that the Happy Meal in Japan is called a “Fun Set” and the one in Spanish is “Happy Little Box”?

Seriously I think these things had 10 inch wheels.

HAHAHA! This is nearly the amount of people Happy Meal Girl had stuffed in the car!




































Airborne Le Car!

Yea this was pretty much the way I remember the ride to McDonald's.

Shaun’s Quotes

ThinkExist Dynamic daily quotation

Here are some quotes from speeches, articles or books I have written: I will be releasing a quote book in 2012.

The following quotes are (c) 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 20010, 2011 – (*please see bottom for permissions)

“Life is designed to test your resolve!”
“Difference makers don’t have time for self-pity and self inflicted pain.”
“Do you really think you have what it takes to change the whole world? Or…do you want to accomplish a world change for yourself and someone else? One is attainable!”
“You can Mourn Death or Celebrate Life – You Choose!
“My simple and achievable motto: Improve Myself…Improve Others!”
“Failure is a Gift Every Successful Person In History Has Learned To Receive As A Lesson.”
“Before gold is turned to treasure, it is always found among dirt and debris.”
“You must be on your knees to pan for gold!”
“Belief doesn’t make something true. You can believe it’s Friday (and get ready for school) when it’s really Saturday. Belief simply makes you sincere.”
“Sincerely search for the truth!”
“Discipline is a true friend. It will never betray.”
“Find something to improve today.”
“Clean up one thing in your life.”
“Love someone who hasn’t earned it.”
“Trust belongs to those willing to earn it.”
“Be on time. ALL the time. It shows the other person you value your moments together.”
“Talk too much and others will stop listening.”
“Whatever you spend the most time on is your passion.”
“Productivity and Passion should be equal.”
“Give the gift of encouragement today.”
“Unmotivated? Pain and sickness soon follow.”
“Take a break now and then. Minds are muscles too and need time to recoup.”
“A change of mind can be a major event – It can lead to awesome things!”
“A good way to tell if something is a good thing; find a circumstance where it’s absent.”
“Listen to people who’ve already been where you are. They will save you pain and heartache.”
“Copy people who have done things right.”
“Look up to people at peace with their decisions.”
“Peace and Joy are present when selfish manipulation isn’t.”
“You will never have stolen what you freely give away.”
“Dreams are free to imagine. It costs nothing to think big.”
“Turn your imaginations into goals by writing them down and setting a date.”
“Write down your top ten goals – pretend you will live to be 75.”
“Write down your top ten goals – pretend you will live to be 25.”
“At this point in my life, I am keeping daily lists. They tell me what I want to achieve that day and how much I actually do. I do this so that I do not need someone else doing it for me.”
“Alphabetize something today. Everyone knows this system. It works great!”
“Who do you really want to be? Spend years thinking about it – but seconds debating about how you should get started. Starting something is easy! Just open a document on your computer and start gathering information, writing down ideas and talking with people about how to do it. You have already started!”
“Plan your life like you plan a vacation: Make a checklist, set a destination (Ultimate goal), get a map (instructions), see what else you can do on your way (set smaller goals), avoid dangerous routes, Have fun!”
“Do you want to change? Start today with one small step in the right direction.”
“Celebrate every small victory on the way to your dream!”
“I can be mentored by anybody. Everyone has something they are good at. I can learn from them!”
“I have many mentors. No one person has all the answers.”
Making excuses for your lack of education is like applying white-out to an iPad.”
“The internet is the greatest tool you can use to get to your dreams. It can educate you in anything you want. Some use it for awesome things while most just play. How are you spending your time on it?”
“What problem are you a solution to?”
“What questions are you the answer to?”
“If I gave you $100.00 would you spend it, save it, or invest it and make it grow?”
“What do you need to know most to change your current situation?”
“What do you value most in life? – Relationships, Comfort, Helping Others?”
“My time is valuable to me. Do you show me that you value my time? Do you rob me of my time?”
“Finding out what is valuable to me and honoring that thing will show me your place in my life.”
“Give me one person willing to act over thousands of audience members unwilling to do something any day!”
“Think you aren’t a hypocrite? Think again. Everyone has inconsistencies. Just work on them so that you have fewer than you did yesterday.”
Getting better at anything takes time. Your efforts will often result in correction. You cannot learn a foreign language without mispronouncing words and getting correction.”
“Experience as much as you can in life! Life is full of awesome things!”
“Don’t be so street-smart you lose the ultimate fight of life…peace, love, friends and family.”
“You are unique and wonderful. Anyone who says different is ignorant of the truth.”
“Make a difference everywhere you go…leave it better than you found it!”
“Honor isn’t dead. It lives deep within us all. You will only feel it’s effects if you practice it.”
“Creativity never dies…it just sleeps for a while to catch it’s breath.”

50 Christian Quotes

“Christian Youth are called to be sheep among wolves. They must quickly learn to trust in God‘s power to protect them.”
“One Christian living a life of character sends ripples of faith through the lives of all they encounter.”

“People talk about your heart a lot in church. Your heart is simply the deepest part of you where all your true feelings, darkest secrets and brightest hopes live.”

“Depression can be like a long cold rain on your life that seems to have no end. If you let him, God will come and ‘Parade on your Rain!’”
“Let God into your heart and He WILL change your life!”
“One flame, no matter how great the darkness…will light up a room.”
“The Word of God is like a flame that will guide you along the way.”
“God wants the best for you. It’s your thinking that tells you different.”
“Some call the Bible ‘the road map of life’. Have you looked at it to see where you are?”
“Start something small today that will have a huge effect on your Christian life…Read something in the Bible everyday.”
“If you don’t know what to read in the Bible, read the red.”
“You’ll end up like someone in the Bible – like it or not. Who do you want to be like in the Bible?”
“Remove the Bible and it’s principles from anything and you get destruction. Hitler hated the Word of God, God’s chosen people the Jews, Christians and anything resembling them. He told his followers he was making a better world but he sent the world plummeting into chaos, death and destruction.”
“God wants you to be effective! It only happens when you know His Word.”
“Desire time with God like you desire time with the opposite sex. Watch what happens!”
“You can’t listen to music filled with garbage lyrics and have positive outcomes in your life.”
“Fill your world with awesome things that encourage goodness to come out of you!”
“Christianity is a life lived abandoned to God. Does that describe you?”
“What’s more important to you than God? …more important than His Word to you?”
“What will separate you from God?”
“There is no excuse for being ignorant of the Bible. If you don’t like to read there are products available to allow you to hear it. Apps are available on smart-phones too.”
“What do you spend money on when you get it? That’s the most precious thing to you.”
“I started ministry when I was thirteen. I just opened my mouth and talked about Jesus everywhere I could.”
“The only thing that will make you a bad witness for Jesus…ignorance.”
“Respect the Word of God by spending time in it. It will fix your ignorance.”
“Prayer isn’t a time to shut off your brain and say spiritual sounding stuff. Do just the opposite of that! Engage your thoughts and really talk to God…like YOU talk!”
“Take time to be silent and listen for God’s impressions on your heart.”
“Luck and superstitions don’t belong in the life of a believer, our trust is in God.”
“Add some fun to your spiritual life! Get some new Christian music you like.”
“Go do something to help out a needy person this month. If you look for a way to do it you’ll find one.”
“If you are seeking an answer you’ll find one, if you are looking for an excuse you’ll find that too.”
“If you had to defend why you believe what you believe, could you?”
“Begin to collect a library of books and information you can use for a lifetime.”
“Don’t try to take God’s job from Him. Bad idea!”
“God’s pretty good at handling news. He already knows it.”
“You can’t ever shock God with your honesty. You can’t ever trick Him with lies.”
“Don’t steal from others…you’ll lose the most important thing of all. Respect.”
“Jesus loved everyone but treated people different based on their response to Him.”
“What’s your response to Jesus?”
“Healthy physical choices lead to better physical results. Bad spiritual choices lead to bad spiritual results.”
“Grace is always ready to change the outcome.”
“You are in a story…His story. What part will you play? Talk to Him about your role.”

More Quotes:

“Desire to live in God’s blessing more than His mercy. Mercy is good and necessary. Without mercy we can never have blessings. Mercy often includes wonderful miracles, but the blessing is always miraculous and lacks the pain involved in mercy.”
“Blessing is the reward of following instructions.”
“Delayed Obedience is like reading the instructions after exhausting every idea of your own.”
“Learn the value of listening to instructions and doing things right the first time.”
“Getting to bed earlier than others gives you an edge over them.”

*Permission to use up to three quotes in any one work, provided: the quotes cite the author (“Life is designed to test your resolve” – Shaun A. Hays) and a link to this blog or the official site ( anywhere in the work. Any further use of copyright material should be cleared with the author.

Virtual Suicide by Social Network

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Multiple personalities and even cross gender profiles are growing ever more popular among youth on social networks like Myspace and Facebook. I call this “Virtual Suicide” when it is taken to an extreme. It is the removal of oneself from reality, but often it is a cry for help.

“Tweaking” your profile to make you look better or feel better about yourself is socially acceptable online, although this author highly discourages too much of it because it can really get you into trouble. Some use different or “hidden” profiles to stay in a safe zone outside the reach of online bullying or to keep an unwanted “online-stalker” from finding them. Mostly, they are used to keep one’s activity from being monitored from the ever present “Helicopter Parent” who hovers over their children’s activities as if they have an interest in the child’s life somehow (humor!).

Most of us go through external personality changes like a different hair color or a change of culture identity (goth, burnout, prep, sports) and it shouldn’t scare us when we see teenager go through certain changes. Most teens are just searching for their identity as they grow more and more independent from parental decision making. However, when someone is using these things to completely escape their current reality, we can assume that something is wrong in their life. It may be that they just need to escape a horrible family situation or they have lost a part of themselves and are trying to fill that void, but when they are desperately trying to change all perception of themselves whether online (the easiest way to do this) or in public settings (concerts, parties school, family gatherings) it is a sign that something is not right. I certainly am not saying it is always a serious psychological problem but it most likely is an outward sign that there is a huge stress on the psychological health of this person. The stress can be from an internal or external source. Internal sources can be chemical imbalances, psychological issues, self perception issues and spiritual emptiness. External sources can be family related (parental overload or neglect, favoritism, abuse, divorce etc.), Peer pressures, social pressures (can include a specific pressure to fit in or to rebel to a social norm) and religious pressure (closely related to social pressure).

I should say that I believe all areas that can be pressures have their place and are generally good. Some teens need a little more encouragement and some need the proverbial kick in the attitude. Balance is always the key. If you are a parent, look for the imbalance(s) that might be causing the outward signs of stress in your teen and be honest about it. The fact is there is no perfect parent or teen and they need time and lots of love to grow up healthy and balanced. Look for a solution to the problem not the symptom.

How to tell if you or someone you know is commiting virtual suicide:

  1. Online identity is highly “tweaked” to make it appear as if the real identity doesn’t exist. (Some “tweaking” is normal. Look for extreme lying about who they are not how they feel.)
  2. Multiple online identities with misleading names or user names.
  3. Using opposite gender identity and assuming that role in conversations.
  4. Denial of personal health (mental, spiritual, sleep, etc.) in order to maintain the “New” identity by constant monitoring. (like feeding and changing a new baby)
  5. Obsessive behaviors, or self destructive tendencies. (cutting, drug or alcohol abuse, obsessions with any group that is not striving to build up the good character in them: can be musical, religious extremists, peer groups.)
The final thought
I want to help and not alarm unnecessarily, so read over this article again calmly before taking the next step. If you see that there is a heavy combination of several of these traits: please seek professional help immediately. While “Virtual Suicide” can be bad, the fact is that it can be a sign of more extreme intent to harm oneself. Take the signs seriously, but again I urge you to try looking for a solution to the internal or external stress problem not to try and “fix” the symptoms.
Life is waiting, have serious fun! – Shaun Hays