Newsletter: Be a Miracle

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Wow, did I have a rough week two weeks ago. It just seems that in life, when it rains, it pours. Or, if you’re in the East Coast like me, when it snows, it snows!

It began on Wednesday on my way into Manhattan. It just felt like everyone wanted to get in my way. Whether it was the person on the subway stairs, or the person on the actual subway, or the person on the subway platform oblivious to the rest of the world, or the person on the sideway who clearly didn’t know the meaning behind ‘walking in a straight line.’

And it continued Wednesday night. And Thursday morning at the gym. And Thursday on the way home.

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get my head back to neutral.

But then a snow storm came. Nemo. And I started to smile again.

It a challenge in this world – New York City especially – to maintain a positive attitude.

No matter the situation, you have to create opportunity. If it is sports, you have to create opportunity to score, or play great defense. If it is in writing, you have to make sure you have time and energy to write. I think hockey great Wayne Gretzky said it best, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Put in context, you miss 100 percent of the happy moments when you don’t allow yourself to smile and enjoy that moment.

A continuation of creating opportunity, you sometimes just have to breathe. I tried to do that, but it just seemed the harder I tried to create happiness, the more things piled against me. So, on Friday, I came home, opened a bottle of wine and watched television. I didn’t focus on work or my to-do list. I just sat and relaxed. Sometimes that is all you need.

Sometimes you just have to let it go. You can’t control a lot in this life, but you can control you. You can’t control when you will get sick, or when a co-worker is going to drop the ball. You can’t control if you get fired, but you can control your response. And you certainly can’t control other people, but you can control how they impact you.

Happiness is a choice. What are you choosing?

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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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?

Why I Deleted Path

Simple: I don’t live on my phone.

Sure, I do e-mail, text, Twitter and Facebook on my phone and I read my blogs and catch up on world news on my phone, but I don’t need to be super-connected to people. I love my friends and we text each other and send photos on occasion.

If you’ve never heard of Path the idea is quite simple: It’s a mobile Facebook that is limited to your closest 150 friends. Okay. The idea is unique.

But, I don’t have time for another social network. I just don’t. We all have limits and I’ve reached mine.

How are you handling the growing technology influx?


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!

Finding Happiness

Where is that place where you most come alive? What are the senses that make you feel at peace? Who are you with when you laugh so hard it hurts?

My friend Emily recently posted a photo of her answer and it got me thinking about my perfect place.

Happiness is ...

I talk a lot to my friends and family about where I am the happiest. I make no secret that I love my adoptive state of Iowa. I also make no secret that anytime I go to Colorado, I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders each and every time. But that happens any time I go to the mountains or the beach. In fact, as I write this, I am headed for a weekend up in the Adirondack mountains for some much needed rest and relaxation.

But Emily’s perfect day, her perfect moment, is dinner with a group of her best friends.

And it struck me how simple that is. I absolutely adore my friends and what they bring to my life. They push me. They challenge me. They tell me the truth when no one else will. And when needed, they give me the ass-kicking I need (see my friend Kade for an ass-kicking if you’re in need).

I can find happiness and peace in a lot of places. No matter if it is Iowa, or Colorado, or the beach or a quaint coffee-house, so long as I am with someone I love and care about, happiness follows.

What about you? Where do you find happiness?