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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

May 24, 2019

In this episode Mark interviews Sarah McVanel, author, professional speaker, and owner of the boutique firm Greatness Magnified, about her latest book FLIP SIDE OF FAILING.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update (which includes being stuck in Oklahoma City for a couple of extra days due to tornado-rich storms) and also shares a word from this episode's sponsor Findaway Voices . . .

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their conversation, Sarah and Mark talk about:

  • Sarah's introduction to being a writer and a speaker when a work colleague that she adored decided to retire
  • How we (the corporate world) don't properly leverage recognition
  • Sarah's first book F.R.O.G. (Forever Recognize Others' Greatness) and the accompanying workbook that provided tools she co-authored with Brenda Zalter-Minden
  • How Sarah and Brenda collaborated on the books
  • Recognizing the two distinct author voices in their particular collaboration and how they leveraged that
  • The exploratory method that took two years for Sarah and Brenda to write their first book
  • How Home Depot was the first big corporate client to hire Sarah because they discovered her first book
  • A personal and professional turning-point moment involving Sarah's son, dealing with bullying, and cutting
  • Sarah's new book Flip Side of Failing and how she didn't plan on writing a book on failure
  • The common theme of the book that you can fail and still be great - and how failure can help us achieve greater success
  • How we have to have a failure-friendly mindset, and be in a context that accepts failure in order to elevate from failure
  • The acronym ACCEPT (Acquire / Choice / Connection / Expect / Progress / Transformation)
  • How Sarah launched the book exclusively at the Spark Women's Leadership Conference on May 16th prior to the book's global release on May 21st. Everyone at the conference gets a book, Sarah does a keynote, and there's a panel that Sarah moderates on the topic of failing
  • How you are going to show up if you believe in your new book and what it offers to readers
  • The importance of attaching your book launch to an event


After the interview Mark reflects on two things from the conversation with Sarah that were important to him. First, the importance of recognizing the greatness in others. And second, the concept Sarah mentioned that you don't always write the book you planned to write.

Mark then thanks Patrons of the show and reminds them of the additional audio content available to them (including a few answers to four questions post that went up earlier that same day) - he also riffs off of a couple of verbal errors he previously made.

Links of Interest


SARAH McVANEL helps individuals leverage the exponential power of recognition to retain top talent, fuel healthy teams and sustain healthy bottom lines. She speaks nationally on the topic, leads workshops, coaches leaders, and conducts organizational recognition program reviews. Sarah specializes in working with service-based organizations and “helping professionals.”

Sarah is a Certified Speaker Professional (CSP), Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL), and president of the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS). She has a BA in Psychology, MSc in Family Relations, and Diplomas in Human Resources and Healthcare Administration.

Sarah has over 18 years’ experience including at a senior leadership level and now owns boutique firm Greatness Magnified. She is an author of peer-reviewed journals, articles and four books.


The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0