I Have No Regrets

Very few times in life will I ever work hard, pour my heart into something, succeed and walk away.

Since the summer of 2007 when I launched Winglight Productions (only to be re-branded as just Richard Dedor), I have been working my ass off to make it as a speaker and consultant. in that time, I have worked for a lot of different organizations doing what I love.

I have spoken at a high school student athlete conference (as their closing keynote):


I have shared the stage with leading international educators at NAFSA.

I have spoken at a TEDx event.

This summer I made a promise to myself that I was going to go all on this dream and if I couldn’t make it, then it was time to “hang it up.”

It’s a tough feeling knowing that I love helping people achieve their dreams through speeches and writings, and those will always be a part of me. But in life, there comes a time when you just know the reality will not end up matching the dream.

The beautiful part is that it is okay. It is okay that I didn’t make it the way I thought I would. It’s okay because I was (and am) a speaker.

I got to open and close conferences. I got to speak and share my passions with hundreds upon hundreds of people of all backgrounds and professions.

I leave with no regrets and my head held high. Not everyone can say that.

Thank you for your support and your love. I will still be around. I am still planning some big things in other areas of my life so stay tuned. In the meantime, FOCUS will continue even if I don’t post it here on the site.

Again, thank you for this journey. It has been an honor and a privilege.

Anything is possible!

Newsletter: Home Again

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It’s trite in American politics — the idea of a “New Beginning” — and yet it is used by someone during every election cycle. Don’t stop reading! I’m not going to bore you with the tales of the election that has just past.

Instead, I believe I will regale you with a short story about finding a new beginning.

Shane Bitney Crone is a wonderful young man. He grew up with a strong family. He had American values. And he fell in love. All of those characteristics are a part of the American Dream. But what the world was not ready for us to find out was that Shane fell in love with a boy, Tom. They traveled the world together. They were living the American Dream. Until, one day, Tom tragically died.

Perhaps the greater tradgey is that Shane was never completely open about his sexual orientation while he was with Tom. Certainly they were open in public and didn’t lie about their love, but Shane did not see the point in fighting for equal rights or standing up to discrimination. That all changed when he was barred by Tom’s family from attending his funeral.

Since then, Shane has worked tirelessly, and openly, to tell their story which resulted in a documentary movie: BRIDEGROOM. I have yet to see it, but I encourage you to do so. It’s a story of love. Not gay love. Human love.

And what does any of this have to do with a new beginning?

Shane lost the love of his life.

Back in 2003, when I lost my campaign to become Mayor of Mason City, Iowa, I was gutted. Of course the campaign had been stressful and a victory would have changed the course of my life forever, but I was okay with that. When the numbers came in and I had indeed lost to Jean Marinos (now a friend), my sense of direction was lost. I no longer understood my place in the world and how I could have the same impact winning the election would have provided me and the campaign.

I grew to dislike the “game” of politics and I walked away.

Sometimes that has to happen. Sometimes you have to lose completely and publicly to be able to find your way home again. I can’t tell you what I’m working on right now, but I have been consulting with a number of people here in New York City on a new political venture and I can’t wait to tell you more. It took me ten years to find my way home again. To my own, New Beginning.

Elton John has a new song out called, Home Again, the lyrics of which seem appropriate: “If I’d never left, I’d never have known.” He is right. I had to leave to know.

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Focus – on Your Pursuits

Life Lesson Of The Week
Give yourself permission to have fun & enjoy something to the fullest.
-Georgia D’s Life Lesson from Park Ridge, Ill.

Focus On It
When do you tell yourself that enough is enough? And when do you say that you have had enough of telling yourself no, or not now, or maybe another day. All that is, is fear.

You need to do things for you, as often as possible. We spend so much time thinking about work and our to do lists, we rarely spend the right amount of time working on something we are truly passionate.

This week’s lesson is quite simple: You now have permission to have fun and take on the challenges you have been putting off. Hop to it!

FOCUS: To Do Lists

Selected Life Lesson
Hard work yields results.
-Daniel F’s Life Lesson from Independence, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
Last week I checked off a new item on my Life To Do List. Before I tell you what it was, I must ask, “How is progress on your list going?”

In our busy lives, it can be easy to forget about all the things we want to do — it happens to me too — but you mustn’t. The list is for you to experience; it is not for dust collecting. That is precisely why I recently dusted mine off and made it happen.

I sold a painting! 7th Heaven was from years ago in my early days of painting. John Elway was a sports hero of mine, so it was natural that I painted him holding the Vince Lombardi trophy after Super Bowl XXXII. The purchaser said he liked it because it symbolized victory. The day he purchased it from me, we both experienced victory.

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Getting What You Seek

Fact: We get what your brains are focused on. Nothing more and sometimes much less.

Gorilla Study Image

37Signals recently summarized the infamous Invisible Gorilla study where researchers found that 83 percent of radiologists, in reviewing x-rays of lungs, missed a superimposed image of a gorilla. Why?

Because they weren’t looking for it.

When I lead team building workshops, that lesson is something I drive home in how I give directions and it is a lesson for leaders:

The less you direct in black and white terms,
the more freedom your team has to discover new and great things.

The same is true in life:

The less you focus on one tiny thing, or the end goal,
the more likely you are to find amazing opportunities
and experiences along the way.

Open your eyes, uncloud your path and see what is out there.

Newsletter: Start Climbing

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Over winter break, I took three hours and locked myself away to review 2012 and plan for 2013. This includes goal review, life review, deep reflection on what went well and what went poorly, budgetary reviews and then 2013 goal setting for all areas of my life.

And on that point, I can see that there are a lot of unknowns that I am going to find the answer to this year. Some will be harder than others, but not any less worthy of my time.

That’s why I do the quarterly and yearly review … to find what is worthy of my time. To make this fun, I have found 13 things that I am unsure of going into this year.

  • Health: Can I manage my health better for a full year without marathon training?
  • Knowledge: Can I manage all my reading that I dream of doing?
  • Budget: Is my plan solid enough to hit a great goal by 30?
  • Creation: Do I have the energy to create two books this year?
  • Web: Can I increase my visibility?
  • Politics: Is my random idea something with validity?
  • Love: Where does it take me?
  • Creative: Can I produce the short film I’ve written with a great director?
  • Happiness: How do I maintain happiness in the Big Apple?
  • Kindness: What can I do to be more kind to friends and strangers?
  • Time: Have I learned my lesson from poor time management?
  • Darkness: Have I seen enough darkness recently to remain in the light?
  • Hope: How do I keep hope alive and thriving in my life?

I control some of those things, and some of them I don’t. And that is the key.

I don’t – and can’t – control everything. And neither can you. Once you understand that and let go of the notion that you can, life really and truly begins to happen for you.

Life is a series of ups and downs. It sounds overly simplistic, and it is, but it is also true. There are going to be some amazing high moments in your life and there are going to be some amazingly low moments in your life. But to get to the top of whatever goal you’re dreaming of chasing, you’re going to have to go through the valley. And it is in the valley where the demons lay waiting for you. My advice: keep going.

So you’re climbing up the mountain and you slip down. Or maybe you stop climbing for a few months. In my world, that is okay. We all need a break. We all need to stop and re-focus sometimes. That is when failure is okay. But it is when you stay down, you don’t pick the goal back up and you don’t keep climbing. That is when we and you have a problem.

Are you ready to start climbing?

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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Newsletter: Reflecting to Grow

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This has been quite the year for me. I’m back on the speaking circuit. I was fired from a job. I traveled to San Diego to run a marathon (which I completed in great time). And I met an amazing man.

Here were are, it’s nearly 2013 and I want to just take two minutes more of your time. I want you to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go. It’s what my life coaching program, Live – Laugh – Play – Dream, is all about.


  • What were your goals when the year started?
  • How did your pursuit of them pan out?
  • Why?

I want you to think about those questions … and then think about these:

What do you want out of 2013?

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!

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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