Newsletter: Reach for the Stars

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It must be said that I love good writing. I don’t think that comes as any surprise, as I love writing myself and I love reading the works of others. More importantly though is that I love to be moved by words. Perhaps that is why I got into the story telling business in the first place.

Some of my English-teacher friends have their favorite authors and novelists, but I don’t. It’s a weird characteristic for a writer to not possess: a loyalty to a specific author. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love Mary Higgins Clark and still love Stephen Ambrose. And I love a good fiction or non-fiction book.

I am however loyal to one writer: Aaron Sorkin. The man just knows how to get me fired up with his well-crafted prose. If you were a fan of the West Wing, I highly suggest checking out his new HBO show, News Room.

You Have to Fight for Your Passion
For Sorkin, he has had to battle his own demons to get to where he is today. I didn’t know it until a few weeks ago, but he had a problem with some pretty hard drugs early in his West Wing days, but has been clean for 11 years.

But passions are like that. We have to fight for them. We have to hold on to them even when the world is doing everything in it’s power to take them away. Otherwise we lose a piece of our collective soul. And you will lose a part of who you are as a person.

The Never-Ending Question
What is your passion? Passions are one of the things I speak about often, especially in my FOCUS workshops that I have become known for.

But what good is a passion if it don’t do something about it?

I know all too well.

You see, the only reason I have the speaking opportunities I have today are because of two very conscious choices I’ve made in the past 12 years. The first was in the year 2000.

My Pop Cultures teacher at the time suggested I join the high school speech team. It sounded like a geeky thing to join, but I also knew I had a unique skill at giving speeches. So I signed up and four months later, I had an Iowa All-State Speech medal to show for it.

Then, nearly seven years later, I wanted to get into professional speaking, but I was waiting for the phone to ring. But it never did. Finally, my friend Nathanael called me out, telling me to go chase the dream and not wait for it.

So I did. And here I am.

You Have to Live
Acting on your passions helps you come alive. It gives you something to shoot for, go after, dream about and fail for.

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
-Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch

At the end of the day, at the end of a week, a month and your life, it is going to be the things you tried to do that you’ll remember. Sure, I ran a marathon and I crossed the finish line. But i will remember the hours of training and reading and prepping more than the race itself.

Be the person you want to be. Reach for the stars. Be passionate. And never quit.

FOCUS: Age is No Limit!

Selected Life Lesson
Anything is possible, no matter what the age.
-Mary B’s Life Lesson from the Beyond Rubies Conference

Richard’s Thoughts…
We are powerful beyond our measure … no matter how young or old we are. That was no more apparent to me than at an event I volunteered at two weeks ago on Pier 60 here in New York City. It was with The Trevor Project, an organization that is near and dear to my heart. “Trevor Live” is an annual event to celebrate all the advocates and pioneers in the area of LGBTQ inclusion and safety.

And while listening to the band fun. perform and Susan Sarandon speak, it was the Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award recipients that took my breath away. They were, and are just kids, and they are changing the world for the better.

It was an honor to be there that night and serve the greater good. And Mary’s lesson is poignant on this, the day after the American Independence Day. Anything really is possible. It is never too late to change your life and the lives of others. Let’s get moving.

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Working with Porcupines

“We are working in a world full of porcupines.”
-Deadra Stanton

This is true. It’s been more than two months since I was let go from my job, and a lot has happened since then. I’ve written a few articles that are about to be published in national magazines and trade publications. I have run a freaking marathon.


And something I have always known, but never quite understood until this year, is there are more than enough porcupines in this world.

But better than that, I learned how to make it work. Sure, you can still get whacked and it hurts, but I can survive. And knowing that, I can keep going. And I am going.

In the past six months, I’ve also writen a short film (more on that soon!), accepted an invitation to speak at the Nonprofit Human Resources Conference in our nation’s capital and began to chase my own dreams.

There will always be porcupines, but I am choosing to be a teddy bear. I will continue to wear my heart on my sleeve and if that means I get hurt more, so be it. I like to feel. I like to live. I like to cry and I like to love.

image source

In this world of porcupines, how do you find success?

FOCUS: Be Respectful of You!

Selected Life Lesson
Being over critical of yourself brings nothing but bad feelings.
Self-respect takes you further than you can imagine.
-Samantha P’s Life Lesson from Olathe, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
Watch a child. If you don’t have one, watch one next time you’re shopping or at church or your local PTA meeting. Children just love to live. They are as alive as any human beings on the planet. Sure, the guy driving down Santa Monica Blvd. in their sports car feels alive, but are they really?

Adults can be the most critical people on the planet, and even more so of themselves. But when we are over critical of ourselves, we limit what is possible in our lives. And when we limit what is possible, we eliminate opportunity. And when we eliminate opportunity, we get stuck and we shrink from our passions.

Your task for the next seven days is to focus on only saying positive things to yourself.
You will be amazed at what becomes possible when you do.

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The Power of Positivity

Talking to strangers is something I have never been good at doing. Perhaps it has come from bad airline conversations or super-awkward moments on the subways here in New York City, but I usually refrain from longer than “hello” conversations with people I don’t know.

All that began to change as I took my trip to San Diego for my recent marathon. I spoke to a wonderful lady here at LaGuardia when our early morning flight was delayed. Then I spoke to a great lady on the trolly in San Diego who actually grew up and once lived in New York City. And of course, at the race itself, I was more than happy to talk with other crazies like myself.

But what did all of these interactions teach me?

positive image

It’s simple really: That positivity breads positive experiences which can in turn change the life of someone you have never met and will likely never see again.

Case In Point: I was on a date my last morning in San Diego, enjoying a coffee with a wonderful man and this woman approached us. Now that I am an NYC cynic, I expected her to ask for money. Instead, she asked, “How do I look?”

I was surprised by her question and I gave her a quick look and said, “You look good.” She then went on to explain that her was on her way to a job interview and had been crying for the past few days because her mother had just died. In that moment, I felt terrible, so I reassured her that she did in fact, look good.

We wished her well, and luck on her interview. I’d like to think she did well and perhaps we had something to do with that. In that moment, I hope she felt comfortable come up to us because we were laughing and exuding positivity on an early Tuesday morning.

image source

Do you notice a change in the world and your environment when you are positive?


FOCUS: Keep on the Tracks!

Selected Life Lesson
Never let someone derail you – always follow your passion.
-Patricia B’s Life Lesson from St. Louis, Missouri

Richard’s Thoughts…
Ever have someone belittle your dreams and ambitions? If you think long enough, I am certain someone has done that to you. The biggest one I remember is when my dad said I couldn’t run for president in the year 2020.

Perhaps in the end he will be right, but I still like to believe in possible. Why? Because I have seen it. I have run for office and almost won. I have changed from a tennis player to a marathoner. I have given keynote speeches.

When you have your passion, you are obligated to go after it and to live it. Your passion is the thing that makes you come alive above all else and to do nothing less than chase it does not do you
or your passion justice.

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NYC: Live the Life YOU Want w/ Intro to Live Laugh Play Dream Coaching

This two-hour classroom session, part lecture, part discussion, part reflection, is designed to mimic the first consultation of my life coaching program. Together, we’ll go through what I believe and how that pushes me forward. Then together, we will begin to dive into your life and look into what you want and the pathway there.

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We might talk a bit about your past, but I’m not a therapist. I’m a liver of life and that is my sole focus. I’m not going to tell you what to do (unless you need a good smack on the head). Coaching to me is about finding ways to look forward, while understanding the past, and working together to find the answers – your solutions – and from there, designing a plan for your life. You know yourself best. My role will focus on assisting you to become aware of your thoughts, what you want and how we, together, can get you there. I can’t “fix” you. But together we can start to design the life you want through engaging, life-affirming conversations and asking each other powerful questions that can help you gain clarity in work, life and love (or wherever you desire clarity). My basic belief is that a coach gives you a neutral (and of course, confidential) sounding board and an advocate for you.

Quick Hits

Who is this for? This is for anyone who wants to challenge themselves and live, laugh, play and dream more and have the life they really want.

What is this? This is an introductory session, as a larger part of a longer-term coaching consultation/relationship. There are no commitments after this day, but your Skillshare fee will go towards your next sessions if you sign up.

Why should you sign up? Sign up if you want to do more or re-focus your life. I’ve done it and so can you!

Questions?! Email me at

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The Marathon Let-Down

I understand that I am not the Super Bowl MVP. Wait. I am the Super Bowl MVP. Running the 2012 Rock ‘n Roll San Diego Marathon was my Super Bowl and I said that before I even made the trip. It is likely to be one of the greatest athletic accomplishments I will ever experience.

As I raced my way the last mile, with the finish line in sight, I felt many different emotions.

On one hand, I was exhausted. My ankles hurt. My eyes were heavy. My throat dry.

San Diego MarathonOn the other hand, I was elated. Euphoric almost. I felt tears, but they didn’t come. And I smiled. I smiled the last quarter of a mile, all the way to the finish line. And as I crossed the strip marking my path from zero to 26.2 miles, I pumped my fist. I was a champion.

But now, everything seems so small. I worked so hard and so long to get to that finish line, what can possibly top it?

It took me 11 days to feel this … and it is the similar feeling I had after I lost my election a decade ago. So, what’s a man to do?

Keep dreaming, damnit. That’s my motto. And what’s next? I’m not sure, but I am going to find something to chase, build towards and achieve.

What’s next for you?

FOCUS: Change Your View!

Selected Life Lesson
Change your perception of the view.
-Kelli’s Life Lesson from Des Moines, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
I’m sure you’re all bored with hearing about the marathon, but I still can’t believe it. I, Richard Dedor, ran a freaking marathon! I just wrote about the whole experience and made my re-cap video that you should check out!

For me, running a marathon was practically an eight year journey of, ‘I think I can … I think I can…’ And it came down to just doing it. I wasn’t 100 percent positive that I could do it; even after all the training.

But through it all, I kept my eyes focused on the goal. My view had to change from this notion that I could not possibly run a marathon to one that I definitely could. The moment I changed that view was the moment it became inevitable that I would succeed. What view do you need to change?

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