FOCUS: … on Being You!

Selected Life Lesson
Stay true to yourself no matter where you are or what the situation is.
-Lindsey J’s Life Lesson from Olathe, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
I learned something new over Christmas: I have not been myself. I didn’t know how much I had really changed until my mom made that comment. But in looking over the past few years of my life, I can see that. I had changed … and it wasn’t for the better.

And I pride myself on always getting better and becoming better. Well, I’m happy to say that I am back! And if you’re feeling like you’ve slipped into something you don’t want to be, I’m here to tell you, you can be whoever and whatever you want! You get to make the choice.

Today, I am choosing to be someone with passion. With gusto. With dreams. And an unquenchable thirst for experiences and seeing others do the same thing. You can do the same thing too!

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FOCUS: Life is Beautiful!

Selected Life Lesson
Enjoy, appreciate, cherish and love life and all aspects of it!
-Stacy P’s Life Lesson from Mason City, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
Stacy’s life lesson hits on so many things that I hold near and dear to my heart. It is so easy for us to get lost in the emails, text messages, and laundry. So much so that it can add a complete pile of stress, much of it unneeded.

That is why I have worked so hard and why I write often about managing your life to ensure that you don’t get lost in the endless things in life, but rather enjoy everything life brings.

That is this week’s lesson. I hope you listen to it with your whole heart.
Life is amazing and beautiful. Let’s live it together!

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FOCUS: New Mistakes!

Selected Life Lesson
You’re going to make mistakes in life but you have to learn from them or you’ll make them again.
-Reece C’s Life Lesson from Manhattan, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
Isn’t that a true statement!? We all know it to be true, and yet we make the same mistakes over and over. Looking back, that is probably the lesson of my 2012 … not learning. A lot of great things happened for me, but I missed a lot of opportunities due to my own mistakes; repeated mistakes.

But that’s not going to be 2013. I am owning it. I am going to crush it and become the success I have dreamed of. There is a lot of work to do and yes, I, and you are going to make mistakes, but that is okay! So long as they are not the same ones over and over.

How are you going to make sure 2013 is your year?

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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.


FOCUS: Not-so Broken Hearts!

Selected Life Lesson
A broken heart cannot kill you.
-Heather P’s Life Lesson from Marion, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
The last 400 days of my life have been quite the roller-coaster. Never before did I think I would again be single, get fired, run a marathon and then decide to stay in New York City for another two years! But here I am; probably as happy as I have ever been.

What do I owe this to? Perseverance. Sure, I struggled this past year. I went through a bout of depression. And I just wanted to quit at life sometimes. But we always make it through.

In the moment, I was not the most positive person in the world. (Just ask Steve!) But no matter how broken you are, we, this community is here for you. I love you for the time you give me each week. And trust me, you can make it through any battle.

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FOCUS: Don’t Sweat!

Selected Life Lesson
Never let them see you sweat.
-Lisa K’s Life Lesson from Mason City, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
One lesson I learned from a lawyer years ago was to never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. Of course he was referring to when he has someone on the witness stand, because that advice does not translate to the real world quite as well.
We need to ask questions because we don’t know all the answers!

But Lisa’s lesson is definitely true. As someone who has worked in politics and been in the public spotlight, nothing can be a surprise. If you act surprised, everyone will see it and it will change their emotions and perceptions of you, and sometimes that is not a positive change.

Life is hard. We all know that. But we always get through it. It’s like the old saying, “The only way out is through.” Well, there is no need to sweat on the journey. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and in the end, it will work out just how it was supposed to.

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Be ‘American’ Exceptional

Richard Dedor for MayorIt’s Election Day here in the United States and I thought this would be the perfect time to say that we as a people are exceptional. Sure, there is always room for improvement (that’s for another post), but we are exceptional.

Do I think we are the greatest nation on Earth? Irrelevant.

I do know that we create great things like medicine and cures, great technology, great writers and artists and have lead the world in times of need.

But we have fallen. Our greed has hindered our own ability to help ourselves, and as a result, the world. This isn’t a post about posting blame. It is a post about reclaiming who we are. No matter who wins tonight in your local race, your governor’s race, or the race for the White House, we are all Americans and it is on that point we must all come together.

We are exceptional. We can create great things. We can lead the world in medicine, in technology, in creativity and in our own economy. The work starts now.

FOCUS: Vote for You!

Selected Life Lesson
Don’t complain unless you offer a solution.
-Rosemary B’s Life Lesson from Mason City, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
It’s almost over … the election that is! By this time next week it will all be behind us and Rosemary’s lesson reminds me of why I vote. Not only is it my right and I take pride in that, but it also gives me permission to voice an opinion for and against those elected and running.

For those who know me well, or read my blog, know that I can be a very political person. But one thing I am not, is a zealot. I love to discuss and debate, but in the end, I just want what is best, not just politically, but for my life and for yours.

That’s why I love what I do and why I push so hard on the audiences I speak with. Life is up to you. You get to make a choice. So, this week, cast a vote for you!

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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?

5 Lessons from “The Summer of Richard”

Sure, I involuntarily departed from my previous full-time job and sure it was depressing. But after 110 days on my own, I joined a new team here in New York City and I could not be more excited about the future.

But in what I am now calling, “The Summer of Richard,” I thought I would share some of the lessons I learned. And in case you were wondering, yes, I stole that line from Seinfeld:

1) Goals Keep us Focused. Without question, having the marathon (link) as a goal kept me moving forward. It is easy to get stagnant and frustrated and depressed without goals and targets in mind. But knowing that at the start of June I was going to be traveling to sunny San Diego to run a marathon with my family supporting me, kept me focused on the goal. And even after achieving it, that high carried me forward. Always have goals in mind.

2) Tough Moments Reveal Our True Desires. It is true. When you are down and out and frustrated, you begin to see what you really want in life. I spent the “Summer of Richard” re-developing some of my workshops, building out a new book idea and writing a short script.

3) Embrace the Opportunity. I finally had time to write. So I did and got published in RSi Magazine and PRSA Tactics. Had I not embraced the moment, that would not have happened.

4) True Friends Stay Close and Get Closer. When you are at your lowest, your closest friends and advisers get closer to you. They push you and hold you close when you need it. I will never forget my friend Kade who one day was offering his support and six weeks later, basically telling me to get off my ass and make it happen.

5) Rest. Boy, did I need the rest. It was honestly, a blessing to have the summer to myself. I needed to let my body rest, not because of the marathon, but because of life. I had been working at some level since I was 15 years old. I am now 28. I have only had one real vacation in four years. And barely take days off. I needed it.

In the end, I learned more about myself in those 110 days than I could have doing nearly anything else. I thank you all for going on the ride with me.

Here is to tomorrow!