anything is possible

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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Focus on the Keys to Success

If I had all the answers, I probably wouldn’t be living in an apartment in New York City. I’d be governor or senator or the creator of Google or something. But I don’t. Not many of us do. But one thing I know is how to not find the answers.

What’s the key to success? I believe 37 Signals, a brilliant cloud-based apps designed to assist in collaboration, information sharing and making decision for people and businesses, has that answer.

Useful is forever – Bells and whistles wear off, but usefulness never does. We build useful software that does just what you need and nothing you don’t.

It works for them (and by the way, I am a business and personal user of their Basecamp app), and I believe it works for life too. I have made no secret that I have a lot of passions and sometimes that has gotten the best of me. I like do put my time into a lot of different things. I love sports and politics and education and art and exercise and the study of life. But there is not enough time in the day for me to do all those things. Therefore I have had to pair down what I do.

Sports. I used to watch a lot and know all the pertinent stats. Now, if you ask me, I couldn’t tell you who won the NCAA Men’s Tournament last year. I have changed that value. I still love sports, but I don’t devote my limited resources to as much of the game and facts. This has given me more time for …

Politics. I have always cared and always will about politics and policy. Election years are always fun for me especially as a past candidate but with my recent addition of an iPhone to my life, I am able to read more about current news than ever.

Education. This can be taken one of two ways. I love learning and I love learning about learning. The latter is new to my life so I have had to change my devotion to …

Art. I used to do a fair amount of photography and painting. Since moving to New York City, I have done a bit of photography, but no painting. Whether it is an energy, or a time thing, I just haven’t felt the desire to pick up a brush. But that’s okay because I need that time to …

Exercise. Obviously I am training for a marathon. And if you have never done that, it takes a lot of time to do so. But I’m enjoying that journey. But that still leaves …

Life. I need to live and so do you.

That’s why you need to know what your life is going to be about so you can cut out the things that don’t fit into the core of your app; your life. Once you strip the bells and whistles, you will be able to make more possible in your life.

(photo credit: jayneandd)

Signed Anything is Possible Book Giveaway!

Want to win a signed copy of Anything is Possible?

Dates: March 14-21, 2012, ending at 11:59 pm Eastern.

In order to enter the giveaway, you must follow both @FuzzyWhiteTech and @RichardDedor. Then to complete your entry, you must tweet your “life lesson” using the hashtag #AnythingIsPossible. You may enter once a day. When the contest ends, we will randomly select the winners using a random number generator. You will then be contacted for your address via @FuzzyWhiteTech by way of a Twitter Direct Message. Please email information@richarddedor.com with any questions.

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FuzzyWhiteTech is a mobile app development company that you must check out!

Don’t forget to complete your entry by tweeting your “Life Lesson” with the hashtag #AnythingIsPossible.

The Glory of March Madness

It is almost here. The Madness will soon be upon us.

For those non-baketball fans out there who have no idea what I am talking about, March Madness is all about the unpredictability of 68 of the best men and women’s basketball teams playing each other over three weekends to find a national champion. Sure, there will be one (or four) No. 1 seeds who make it to the finals, but that’s not the point.

Perhaps one of them will win their first round game with a buzzer-beater. Or perhaps they will sail through to the title. But what the tournament always seems to remind us is that it is about the journey. It’s about the battles – large and small – that make the difference.

Take the Northern Iowa Panthers. I must disclose that they are my alma mater, but that does not diminish what they did a few years back.

When the brackets were released that year, my Panthers secured a No. 9 seed, meaning they would play tournament No. 1 seed Kansas in the second round should they win their first game. That Monday at work, I was less-than-excited. We had a good team, but Kansas was amazing.

But then something crazy happened. The Panthers won their first game on a buzzer-beater of their own. And the night before the game, I was talking with a friend about what I thought our chances were and he asked me a very good question.

“Would you rather lose by a few points, or be blown out?”

I didn’t even hesitate in my answer. I said I would rather lose by a few points. And why did I say that?

Because I knew my team could compete with the best. I knew we were that good that year. As a competitor, I would rather have the chance, than not. And the great thing about this story, is that they took advantage of that chance.

A great line from one of my favorite movies, Miracle, says it best. When coach Herb Brooks is speaking to the guys before the game against the Soviets he says, “If we played ‘em ten times, they might win nine. But not tonight.”

And that’s the lesson of March Madness. It’s one game. One chance.

Life is exactly the same way. We have one chance.

What shot are you going to take?

Mayor Dedor

Three days ago was yet another anniversary in my life. It is the day that I lost my campaign for Mayor of Mason City, Iowa. Oh, you didn’t know that?

Back when I was 18 years old (yes, you read that right), I decided that I wanted to be crazy and run for public office. I still lived at home. I was a student at North Iowa Area Community College. A freshman. Did I mention I was still living at home?



I get two questions a lot when talking about the campaign.

First, why did you do it?

I wish there were a simple answer for that question. The great thing with time is that things get simpler. Stories and reasons get softened and a clearer understanding often emerges. Why did I run? Because I had a passion for policy. I had a passion for my community. And I had ideas I wanted to share. All those things, and I wanted to win. I truly did believe that when I announced my candidacy that November afternoon in Southbridge Mall, that I could win.

The second question I get a lot is, when are you going to run again?

That question is a lot like the one I get now, “When are you going to write another book?” The answer to both questions ironically is: When I have something to say. Of course, when it comes to politics, I will always have something to say. That is a passion that will never die. But do I ever see myself running again? Who knows. I love the idea, but not sure I love what it does to life, families and the people involved. I will say this: I learned a lot!

Looking back, nine years hence, I am still tremendously honored that I received the 612 people who voted for me. I had that many people in my town of 30,000 who believed in what I believed. Trusted me with the community’s future.

I carry this experience with me wherever I go. My campaign slogan nine years ago was, “The Time is Now.” It’s interesting to me that my new slogan is, “Believe in Possible.” I did back then. Nine years later, the torch still burns bright.

FOCUS: You Can!

Selected Life Lesson
“Can’t” never did anything.
-Peggy S’ Life Lesson from Des Moines, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
Peggy’s Life Lesson is most certainly true! The word can’t limits your thoughts on what is possible. Looking through which lesson to send out this week was easy because this one stuck out at me. About a week ago I saw a poster that simply said: Impossible spells out I’m Possible!

Even after writing Anything is Possible, I had never seen that before. But it is true. While the word can’t doesn’t have that special characteristic, it is limiting. Can, will, do and possible are limitless. You say it, you dream it, you can do it.

And the end of the year and the birth of another is a great time to start thinking about what you can do. I’m currently doing that for 2012 and beyond and I will say this: I am beyond excited.

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Time To Go After 26.2

What a sight: Standing on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan last week with the sun brightening the pristine blue sky and lighting the path for the 47,000+ runners below. The day was what the word perfect was created for and what the word embodies. Around 1:00p.m., my friends’ family and friends arrived and a quick chat ensued. You see, I was there to support my friend Patrick (@PatrickCourtney), a guy I met when I was only five and had just moved to Iowa.

My childhood friend, Patrick, with his ING NYC Marathon Medal.

It is quite the story that 20 years later, we both would end up in New York City. But life has a way of always working out and this race was another reason I believe in life and all it’s wonders.

So, there we stood on Fifth Avenue as his wife watched her iPhone track Patrick’s progress towards. First it was 10 blocks away. Then two. Then we saw him. And he had a smile on his face.

It surprised me, but then as I thought about it as he ran away, perhaps he had the smile on his face because he saw his bride jumping up and down as he approached. Or perhaps it was his family and friends cheering him on and a neon orange sign with orange glitter showing their support. Or maybe it was simply that he was at mile 22, with 4.2 to go. Whatever it was, there he was, smiling.

I’m so proud of him and what he has accomplished and it inspires me as my own journey begins. My date with destiny is June 3, 2012, San Diego.

Time will tell – 200 days to be exact – whether or not I am smiling as I reach mile 22, but as I’m running on that day, I know I will think back to this day in November, when I watched 47,000 people accomplish the impossible.