Personal Development

Experience the World Around You

I spend a lot of my time in and on social media. It still amazes me that a platform like Facebook that I joined because it was fun while in college (I still remember where I was when I first signed up) now provides me with so many opportunities.

However, social media has produced two major negatives that have infiltrated not only the world of marketing, but our lives.

The first I recently wrote about, and it is our propensity to do things to be liked and get likes. For me, that is a huge loss in individuality and I admit that I have fallen victim to it.

The second is that business and people are too focused on their growth numbers. I too have fallen victim to it. I understand it though. If a company spends $4 million on a Super Bowl ad, they want to see some return on investment.

But for people like me, I’d rather have 100 super-duper passionate followers than a million who won’t even click links. That’s the virtue of having a community: It’s diving in and experiencing all it has to offer.

It’s not how many followers you have, it’s what everyone gains by being a member. It’s not how many phone numbers you have, it’s how close and connected you feel to those numbers when the phone isn’t in your hand. It’s not how many friends you grab coffee or drinks with. It’s how many will be there at your worst moments.

What is your community giving you?

I Will Not Like Myself

We live in a world of “likes“, “shares”, and “retweet.” And before I forget, be sure to like and tweet this article!

This story from the Daily Dot last week got me angry. First of all, are we really encouraging sex on social media with likes? I mean, is that what we have stooped to?

But on a deeper level, in life, we have gone from seeking acceptance and understanding, to just wanting to do things that get us likes and attention. It’s sad really.

Around Christmas, a few kids posted that their dad would get them a dog if the post reached a certain number of likes. It did, so they are getting a dog. That’s great! However, wouldn’t the kids have actually learned something had their dad said, “If you can raise $250 for Heifer International, you can get a dog.”

We should be teaching to go for impact and not entertainment. Value and not emotionless and social media driven hype.

Like this, share it, retweet it … do with it as you will. I’m not asking for any of it. I’m only asking that you think about it.

FOCUS: Active Listening

Selected Life Lesson
Listen to what people are saying.
-Stephanie’s Life Lesson from Des Moines, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
The backbone of Stephanie’s lesson is the concept of “active listening.” I speak about active listening in my FOCUS talk and it’s something we could all use a little practice of.

It is where we truly listen to one another. We shut off our own minds and listen. We shut off all the voices in our heads and listen. We shut off our intuition, our suggestions, our ideas, our criticisms, our “ah-ha” solutions, and just listen to what is being said.

It is amazing what is possible when you do. You can see into a person on a much deeper level. You can learn something new. And you can grow as a person with unlimited potential.

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Be Original

In the land of so much noise, we have to pick and choose what messages we actually pay attention to and let into our lives. I have actually become pretty strict with what I let into my life now, and it is a goal of mine here in 2013 to be super-focused.

But it is hard with all the noise that bombards my e-mail inbox and news feed. However, as our world get noisier and noisier, the spammers and junk mail continues to flow in at seemingly faster and faster rates.

I can hardly keep up with it. But one piece of spam I got last week was the last straw for me:

Spam has to be originalThis came to me via Twitter, and I laughed as I read it. I get this message a few times a month and I’m tired of it.

Not because it is annoying (it is). But because it is unoriginal. Seriously. Get creative. Do something to make me click on the link if you’re so desperate.

But this Twitter spam message isn’t the last straw. We all do it. We do the same thing everyone else is doing. We Tweet what we’re eating even when our resolution is to eat healthier. We bitch about politics without understanding policy. And we keep doing it.

I think that is why I don’t post 3-4 times a week, but rather once or twice. I want whatever I create to be original. To be new. Each time I sit down and write, or paint, or sing, or whatever, I want it to be amazing and not boring and over-done. I have one chance in my life to be original and amazing. So do you.

How To Let Go of Anger

I made a mistake. There. I said it.

I’ve made no secret about my ups and downs over the past 18 months. It has not been pretty. And I am a pretty close-knit person, but I believe it is time to open up about everything that happened … even if I do it in pieces.

One part of me that has undergone a drastic reformation over the past 600 days is my anger. Anger towards myself. Anger towards my family. Anger towards the people in my life. And anger in general. I admit, I do have a short fuse. But it is getting longer. And that has taken a bit of work.

Why this focus?

Anger does no one, and I mean, no one, any good! It stresses you out. It makes you jittery. And really, not much fun to be around. And the angrier you get, especially if it is with the same person over and over, the level of toxicity rises and never really goes down. Trust me on that.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get frustrated and upset and bothered. But I have made a conscious effort to contain my “anger” and use it for good.

Find your triggers. This is probably the most important thing you can do to eliminate the anger and stress. They say that knowledge is half the battle, and they are right. My triggers were my relationship, my physical surroundings, my job, and my family. Once you dive into where the angry triggers come from, you are able to manage them.

Manage the stressor. Sometimes the stress trigger is hard to manage or eliminate, but it is possible. If topics of conversation stress you out, don’t let it come into your life. I know when I am home, I don’t like to talk politics. I’m too libertarian for my family, and that is okay. I know that. I manage it. I changed jobs as well. I moved to a new apartment. I changed the relationship.

Find enjoyable activities. I do not believe we can eliminate stress from our life. But I do believe we can manage it in a way that gives more to our life. I choose to write and relax. I take on challenges that are random. (Like writing and producing a short film.) But I am also still running, engaged in politics and growing my business.

All told, I’m much happier and healthier than I have been in years and I attribute it to managing and limiting my anger. Plus, it makes me happier.


Time For Plan B

One of my favorite country artists, Kenny Chesney, had a song years ago entitled, “Living Life in Fast Forward.” That’s how I have felt lately. But I also must admit: My life hasn’t followed Plan A. Or Plan B. Or Plan C for that matter. But I like to take that as a testament to my adaptability and willingness to take whatever challenge comes my way.

Plan B
But this is a the great thing about personal reflection. We have a chance to make sure we are who we want to be and if we are not on the right path, we can stop and re-focus.

That’s what this post is about. It’s time to re-focus.

Stop. You can’t keep your foot on the gas if you’re trying to assess your current location.

Listen. Are you really happy? Are you getting what you want out of life?

Think. As you’ve listened to your heart, what aspects of your life do you want to keep? Modify? Enhance? Or eject?

Act. Now you are prepared to take action.

And this is the perfect time for you to re-take control of your life with Live-Laugh-Play-Dream Life Coaching. Seriously, your first consultation is free. You have nothing to lose. It’s time to stop and start to listen.



FOCUS: It’s Your Book to Write!

Selected Life Lesson
It’s not where you’ve started or where you’ve been but where you finish.
-Mike P’s Life Lesson from West Des Moines, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
I’ve been going back to a similar quote about needing to live life forward. We can look back and learn, but our eyes always need to be on the horizon, in front, forward, ready for the challenges that are to come. This year didn’t go as planned for me. But I was ready for the challenges that came.

And while my finish isn’t where I wanted it to be, I am ready for 2013. This upcoming weekend marks the end of the year and my annual review. I look at my goals, my plans and where I want to be in five years. I haven’t reached my finish line yet. This is just the end of a chapter.

What will the next one bring for me? For you? Only you can decide. It’s your book to write.
And it starts now.


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It’s Time to Rebalance

Each year, each quarter in fact, I spend a considerable amount of time reviewing where my life is and where I want it to go. This year will probably be the deepest de-construction I do, as I need to re-build my focus. 2012 for me was tough: I hit rock bottom, I was fired, I was injured and had a lot of choices to make. Some of those challenges led me to say “yes” to nearly every request that came my way.

Sometimes that is good, and sometimes it is bad. Now, I have a lot of mini-projects sitting on my plate; and no focus. That ends in a few weeks. I’m putting my life on a table and cleaning house. What survives, I don’t yet know. But I do know I will actually be using my own coaching system on myself.

Life To Do List
It matters what you want in life. But it always matters that you make the choice to go and do something about it. It is about passion. It is about dreams. But it is also about putting your life in order so that you can and do go after your passions, that you are healthy in body and mind and that you are happy with who you are.

It starts now. Join Me.

I Ran a Marathon and You Can Too (or anything else you want to)!

When I look back at this past year, I believe it will be seen in my eyes and those closest to me as the year that I re-took control. I stopped telling myself “no” and made some amazing things happen.

After a back injury shortly after college, I had to hang up my super-competitive tennis dreams, and find a new athletic outlet. I picked running; for some stupid crazy reason. But there I was in the heat of summer, in Iowa and in St. Louis running up a storm.

San Diego MarathonI’ll never forget my fear when my friend Marissa convinced me to sign up to run a 4-mile charity run in Kansas City back in 2009. I was beyond nervous. With tennis, I’ve been through virtually every possible experience. At this point, I had only run two miles in any run. This race was double that! But I’ll never forget that feeling when I crossed the finish line. And now, looking back, it’s funny how far I’ve come.

How did I go from 4 to 26.2? I just kept running. I kept pushing myself. And I kept telling myself I could do more. I could do better. I had to do better.

So, I ran the New York City Half-Marathon in 2011 and that was the final test. I was ready. So I took a short break and then put the rubber to the road. I trained for the next six months. Got injured twice. But I didn’t stop. I kept going. And when I crossed the finish line in San Diego this summer, I achieved more than just checking off an item on my Life To Do List.

You can do this too. You can chase after a dream; a passion. And I want to help. Just post a message in the comments, or send me a message and we can start today!