FOCUS: Commit!

Selected Life Lesson
Be persistent and show commitment.
-Anonymous’ Life Lesson

Richard’s Thoughts…
Commitment. That’s the key to success. Well, that an a few other things like faith, passion, a dream, energy and of course luck. But I do believe one of the keys is commitment. I have begun to track my progress of training for my marathon in written posts and videos. Why?

Because I am committed. My first goal is to finish. But I also want to do well. I don’t believe I will be breaking the four-hour mark, but I’m shooting for 4:10 – 4:20 for my finishing time.

Here is my latest video:

I made this video last weekend during my run through a snowstorm here in New York City. I did it to prove a point for this week’s lesson: I am committed to being 100-percent prepared. There is no other way to go after your dreams. Commit, prepare, and succeed.

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Book Review: Marathon

I have made no secret that I am running for 26.2 miles. It’s a journey. A long-ass one! But I’m doing it. It was something I wrote about in Anything is Possible and now on my Life To Do List. That’s why my best friend and marathon partner-in-crime gave me Hal Higdon’s, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, for Christmas.

Marathon: The Ultimate Training GuideAll in all, this is a fantastic resource. The book covers everything you could ever want to know about running in and training for a marathon. It is no easy task.

The great thing about the book is that is covers mostly the best ways to train. That’s where a lot of people get tripped up. (Full disclosure: I’m not doing one of Higdon’s programs due to my own physical limitations and injuries.)

Throughout the book, Higdon details how to go through your daily and weekly runs and how to allow yourself adequate recovery time. Littered through the book, the 4th Edition, are stories of success. Not everyone had it easy, but success is paramount.

Aside from all the training advice was the information on eating; especially pre- and post-marathon. For me, that has been my biggest concern and focus, aside from the running itself.

All told, this book seems to be a great guide for the new-to-marathoning runner. And for someone (me), who only plans on going on this adventure once, this book is a great guide on how to do it right.

FOCUS: Offer Help!

Selected Life Lesson
Continue to help others who may have to deal with the same heart-wrenching sadness I have in my own life.
-Barbara L’s Life Lesson from Springfield, Mo.

Richard’s Thoughts…
We all know emotions are a tough thing to deal with. They can drag you down and sap your energy and passion for life away. That’s where offering your own experiences up as proof of coming through to the other side is vital.

Not only to that other person, but also yourself. For instance, if you talk someone else through a difficult experience or moment or decision that you too have either gone through or are going through, you are exponentially able to gain perspective for your own situation.

It is a priceless act of caring and compassion that I recommend you do. You can also get this same experience through volunteering which I also do through The Trevor Project. I do believe Barbara is right: give back to others. You’ll make the world a better place.

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Drinking During Work Hours

What an interesting topic this is … I can only actually recall having a drink during work hours once and that was years ago, but it just felt like the right thing to do. But many, many people disagree on this topic so I thought it was worth putting my two cents out there.

I did a quick search and here are some comments against having a drink at lunch:

“If I am going back to work, never. I am always surprised when a lunch companion orders a drink.”

“That’s one of those “let’s show you to the door” offenses where I work.”

And from “Alcohol at lunch is downright stupid. Sure, it’s your “own time,” but do you want to have an employee who was drinking 30 minutes ago working for you? Of course not.”

Now for the people who say it is okay to have a drink at lunch:

“Change the local business culture so that it is not just tacitly tolerated but actively accepted to drink alcohol at lunch again.”

“But when I got into the advertising world and learned that a beer fridge in the office was not grounds for immediate termination – let’s just say I didn’t think it was that big of a deal to have a “pop” and then walk back to a communications position in an office building.”

“Whenever I get the chance to eat lunch at a nearby pub, I always grab a beer. IMO, if the beverage won’t interfere with your professionalism once you get back to work, go on and enjoy one! If you think it may interfere with your productivity later, then opt for something else. A beer or cocktail is just a drink, but what matters most is how you conduct yourself while having it and after you’re done.”

That said, there is a lot of school of thought out there. And let me now give you my take. I was “scolded” by a co-worker when I got back and told her I had had a drink. Her mother was in HR (at a separate company) and said they would never allow it. Here is the truth, it was one beer. I was a salaried employee. Yes, I went back to work afterwards, but there was no explicit policy against having a drink. As a salaried employee, you are never “on the clock,” instead your are technically always on the clock.

I do believe there are professions where you should never have a drink when you are on lunch, but I have never worked in one of those fields.

One last thought: It is something called the Ballmer Peak. “The theory that computer programmers obtain quasi-magical, superhuman coding ability when they have a blood alcohol concentration percentage between 0.129% and 0.138%. The discovery of this effect is attributed to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft – who probably “discovered” it by simply monitoring his own perpetually inebriated nervous system, and deducing that programming ability “peaks” after a few drinks and then dips dramatically after full-blown drunkenness ensues.”

In summation, I will just say that I believe we are all adults and if my burger will be better with a craft brew that will not inhibit my ability to do my job well and to great success, then I should be able to make that choice; so long as I am not breaking any company rules or laws in the process.

What do you think?




Inaugural Newsletter Out Next Week!

After a lot of work, I am proud to announce that my first monthly newsletter is coming out next Tuesday! You don’t want t miss it! This month’s focus is on setting and achieving your goals.

Sign up here (make sure to check the box for the newsletter)!

Future topics include time management, how to write a book and how to make a lasting impression on the world.

Thanks for being great friends and fans!

FOCUS: Emotions!

Selected Life Lesson
There is always emotional equilibrium to life; the sadder you are now, the happier you’ll get in the future and vice-verse.
-Jugwei S’ Life Lesson from Des Moines, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
Life is just one big roller coaster, isn’t it? Birthdays (and the new year) are always great times to be introspective and since today is my birthday, I thought that is what this week’s life lesson should focus on. Much has happened in my life in the last 365 days. For starters I moved to New York City and then I tried out to be a US Open ball-person.

This year has given me some pretty darn high highs. But also some pretty low lows. And that is where Jugwei’s lesson comes in. Life is a magnificently created roller coaster that we get to ride. But with that, comes a major choice. Are you going to keep your eyes closed, or open them and experience each and every moment that comes along? Sure, it is okay to grip tightly sometimes, but I encourage you to throw your hands up into the air and enjoy the journey too!

So, that is my lesson on this, my 28th birthday. Life is going to bring you the brightest skies but it is going to deliver, sometimes at your own fault, the darkest of storms. But experience it. Take it on and you will be better for having lived through the valleys to enjoy the mountains that await.

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Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

As I typed out the title to this book review blog post, it finally hit me: The title is a part of the story! If you decide to read this, you’ll understand. And if you have read it and haven’t thought about it, think about the scene with the MTV producer … do you see it?

I have to admit however, I did not realize this book was a memoir. I read the whole thing thinking it was a fiction book because surely what the writer had created could not have happened in real life! But it did. Of course, author Dave Eggers makes clear in the beginning (which you should read!) that he had to take some liberties in creating the story which is why this book falls into the “creative non-fiction” genre.

But do not let that deter you. The book reached No. 1 on The New York Times Bestseller List and was a nominee (and finalist) for the Pulitzer Prize.

So, back to the title, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.” What does that mean? It means David’s life was crazy, but genius. So much so that MTV should have begged him to be on The Real World: San Francisco. So much so that he worked at a start-up magazine at the same time that WIRED exploded. He lost both of his parents. And his life is genius. Or so he thinks.

Why you should read it:

  • If you like entertaining fiction that also pulls on your heart, you’ll enjoy it.
  • Hell, you might even laugh out loud at some of the things David says/thinks.
  • If you’ve ever thought your life could be on television, compare it to David’s and ask yourself the question again.

FOCUS: No Repeat Mistakes!

Selected Life Lesson
Don’t let yourself make the same mistake twice.
-Cooper C’s Life Lesson from Olathe, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
We have managed to make it five days into 2012! How are you doing with your goals thus far? Quit already? I sure hope not! But this week’s lesson is not about quitting and it is not about not reaching your goals. It is about setting yourself up for failure.

What do I mean by that? I mean that you should never ever set goals that you have tried to achieve in the past, not change your tactics, then try again. For instance, one of my goals each year is to read a certain number of books. Two years ago I did not reach it. Why? Because I didn’t try hard enough. From that moment on, I have kept a running list of books I want to read so I am always prepared to pick up the next one! I have even gotten into the habit of reading more than one at a time!

It is all about tactics. If you try it one way and it doesn’t work, try another way! Don’t quit! But definitely don’t try the same thing again because you are most certainly likely to get the same result. 2012 is your clean slate. What you do with it is up to you.

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