FOCUS: Power of Passion!

Selected Life Lesson
In order to meet my passions, I must start saying, “no” to the things I am less passionate about.
-LaRi L’s Life Lesson from Kansas City, Missouri

Richard’s Thoughts…
Last week marked the return of two things to my life: speaking and running. This fall for me has been extremely busy and stressful, but I have to say, I am starting to re-take control of my life.

Last week I spoke at the Nonprofit Human Resources Conference and I’ll be up in Springfield, Massachusetts, in a few weeks presenting at a diversity workshop. I must say: It feels great! That is the power of knowing what you are passionate about. Once I realized that – understood the passion running through me – I made my life about that. Sadly, I lost it.

But it’s back. And so am I. Look out. Dreams are being created. Passions are flowing. What’s yours? What can happen by writing it down or telling your best friend about it? Imagine the possibilities

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Because I Can’t Help Myself …

I recently had a dream where I (along with my best friend, Asitha) signed up to run another marathon. I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing dreams but this one got me thinking and wondering why I had it. Does some part of my aching body want to run another marathon? Or perhaps I just miss running? Or maybe my mind is simply telling me to get back to doing something physical?

Rock Climbing

I posted this question on my Facebook page and I would love your thoughts as to what my next physical challenge should be. Which ever one gets the most votes, I’ll take on and document the progress here!

Onward and upward!

Newsletter: Be You

This is part of my monthly newsletter (which is free, by the way)! Sign up here to get it delivered to your mailbox each month

I never know month to month what I will write about, and as I sit down to write this, the idea for this newsletter just came to me. Last month’s theme was, “Help Yourself,” and this month I am setting the focus back on you. Why?

Because you are the most important person in the world. There is zero contest and absolutely zero room for discussion on this issue.
Last week I celebrated National Coming Out Day by “coming out.” Of course I did that for the first time more than six years ago, but I have found in the past six years that it will be a process that will continue for my life. I’m not afraid anymore, and why I tweeted “Proud to be a gay man in this world!” :)”, I meant it.
I have been blessed with so many things, and I would not be me without the gay part. But in all my travels, I have found it incredibly difficult for myself and others to be their true selves.
I met someone in Washington, D.C. at the NHRC conference last week who had come to the realization that they needed to spend some time reflecting on what they were really putting into their life.
She spoke with an eloquence of someone who knew they were not being their true self, but was wanting to fight and find who that is. When you’re not living up to who you really are, you not only hurt yourself (and remember that you are the most important person to you), but you hurt others.
You take away from this world your own beauty and that is a precious gift from God (or whomever you give that power to).
I’ll never forget when I came out to my friend Paul. I knew he would be okay with my disclosure but it is a personal disclosure of vulnerability. What he said in response has stuck with me: “Thank you for the gift you gave me.” 
And he’s right. I gave him a part of me, through honesty, and each day that I stand tall; whether as a gay man, an athlete, a politician, or just a person, I bring beauty into the world.
Living your life is a process; especially if you have built up walls to protect yourself. Believe me, I know all too well what that is like.
I’ve been doing a lot of self reflecting lately along with watching some old television shows and recently, one episode of Home Improvement had a wonderful line that relates to life and how we chose to live it.
Tim’s old college roommate was visiting and wanted to behave like old times. By this time, Tim had grown up, was a married father of three and couldn’t, and didn’t want to be his old self. But he had to stand up – slowly – for the man he had become. He went to his backyard to speak with his wise neighbor, Wilson, who had this lesson for him:
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
Wilson was right. When we grow up, we have a chance to become who we are. Luckily, we’re given many chances in life, but, this moment is a great opportunity for you to reflect, see, and ask yourself:
Are you living as your true self?

FOCUS: Be Present

Selected Life Lesson
Live in the moment. The past and the future
are nothing more than thoughts.
-Janelle D’s Life Lesson from Baltimore, Maryland

Richard’s Thoughts…
This week I had the good fortune to meet Jennifer and her fellow human resource professionals at the Nonprofit Human Resource Conference in our nation’s capital.

It was the first professional speech I’d given in awhile and I wasn’t sure how my strong my nerves would be, but remarkably, I was pretty calm. The most stressful moment was when I couldn’t get my laptop to behave the way I wanted it to. But the point is, the past was gone and I couldn’t do anything about the upcoming presentations or the long train ride I had ahead of me. I was in the moment.

And I personally have to remind myself of Janelle’s lesson. It’s about this one moment, and for one day in October, I had the great fortune to spend 90 minutes with a great group of professionals.
I urge you to remember that on this day: Be present.

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FOCUS: on … Focusing!

Selected Life Lesson
Focus in on what I’m doing at the moment.
-Edward’s Life Lesson from Garden City, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
I like to take on new challenges. Why? Because I never know what is possible with each one that comes across my desk. Sure, it means I take on the challenge of writing a short script and writing a new book proposal and doing two speeches in the month of October when I am already swamped.

But it’s about the possibilities. However, the lesson this week is about saying no. I take time at the end of every quarter to review my life; where I’ve been and where I am going. I just did that last weekend and I must say, I always feel better after doing so.

And here we are: the last quarter of 2012 and there is still a lot that I would like to accomplish. But I am going to double-down on all my goals and try to make each one happen. Here’s to staying focused and making something amazing happen. What will you be focusing in on to end the year?

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Book Review: The Right Stuff

Do I have the right stuff? Boy, I hope so. I don’t want to be on the short end of this stick. If you have never heard of this book, or it’s author, Tom Wolfe, go pick up this book now.

Sure, it is a history novel, but it reads like a movie. It is almost like you are with Al Shepard as he sits and waits to be launched up into the sky … hoping that the world’s knowledge of physics is more than 99.9% correct.

Apollo 11I found myself dreaming of being an astronaut; I once wanted to be one! In, The Right Stuff, I was taken back to a time I didn’t live or experience and it felt like I was there. It’s a sad statement, but I didn’t realize that John Glenn was not actually the first American in space. I will never make that mistake again.

Nor did I realize how the NASA program came to be, or how dangerous flight was during this time period.

The most unique thing for me to read and experience through the words of Wolfe would undoubtedly be how the minds of the Air Force pilots work. It was always about pushing the envelope of flight to see if they had the “right stuff.” They would drink a lot to see how much they could take in and how good they could function the next day. They would race on the beach. It was all about having and not losing the right stuff.

History is always fun to read about. Why? Because we can all learn, and remember the trials before that allow us to look up at the moon and say, “One small step…”



FOCUS: Be Open!

Selected Life Lesson
My husband and I walked into a store we don’t shop in and we were quick to judge this girl — we were both ashamed. She was very sweet and helpful.
-Lori R’s Life Lesson from Des Moines, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
Last week’s lesson was about assuming. How did your reflection on that lesson go?

When we assume, we make decisions that are not based on rational thought and reasoning.
Sure, I recently wrote that I am a proud conservative, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get along, or encourage friendships and relationships among those who think and view the world differently than myself.

It’s tough to not judge when you have a history built up. But just try it.
People can and often do surprised us.

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