goals

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?

FOCUS: Live Your Passion!

Selected Life Lesson
Always be passionate about what you want to pursue. Always think you can never give up.
-Taylor B’s Life Lesson from Haven, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
Having and living a life full of passion is a wonderful thing. But how many of you and your friends actually execute on your passions on a day-to-day basis? I recently re-launched my website because I am doubling-down on my own passions. I am working to make it happen.

Are you? Better yet: What are your passions? Do you know? And if you do know, are you doing anything about them?

You see, passions are great. But if they are just sitting up on the shelf collecting dust, what good are they? They become a box of dusty baseball cards that are depreciating in value. Perhaps today is the day to double-down on your passion. Dust off the box and get moving!

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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.

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.

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: Goals for 2012!

Selected Life Lesson
If you believe yourself, you can achieve your goals.
-JoAnn D’s Life Lesson from St. Charles, Missouri

Richard’s Thoughts…
The end of 2011 has come. This is the last Focus message of the year, and what a year it has been. I’ll be the first to admit that I did not achieve all my goals. Some of it was my fault. Some of it was me biting off too much. Some of it was not setting the right goals.

Tomorrow I am taking a few hours to finish my 2012 plan; goals included. What will you be striving for in the new year? It is a clean slate. What will you do? What do you want to do?

Whatever it is, you have the power and the ability to make it a reality.
The question is: Will you?

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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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