How to Let Your Passion Lead Your Life (Guest post by Richard Dedor)

24 02 2010

Anything is Possible bookThis post is part of the Blog Tour for Richard Dedor’s new book, Anything is Possible – Want to learn more about Richard?  Visit his blog, Finding Focus at & follow him on Twitter at to keep in touch!

I often get asked about how I got started. I get asked how someone can do what I do. People want to know how to chase their dreams. My answer is simple: Just do it!

What is stopping you? Is the grass greener by doing nothing about your passion? Are you making too much money? Are you enjoying your life too much? Over the last two years I’ve been studying people all around the world and I have found that the people who are happiest are the ones who are doing something about their passions. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and going out on your own. What it does mean is making your passion the focus of your life. It also doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your family, your friends or your stability. It’s simply acknowledging that you have a passion and then making a plan to make it a bigger part of your life. Simple as that.

But Richard, I have no idea where to start! I believe there are three simple steps you can take right now … today to start making it happen for you.

Find Your Passion

Before you can chase it, you have to find it. You have to know what it is. I started chasing mine back in mid-2007. I was 23. I was collecting a pay-check from a full-time job but I wanted more. I wanted to be using my skills, which also happened to be something I enjoyed. I am a speaker. I have been a good one since high school and my days as a candidate for mayor in Mason City, Iowa. Once I knew which passion I wanted to start doing something about, I began to make a plan for making it the focus of my life.

Determine What Your Passion Means

I’ll say it, my long-term goal is to be self-employed where I’m a speaker, author and coach. That’s it. That’s my passion and my dream. I’m going after all three right now, but at different speeds. I still have a full-time job, what I like to call my “day job.” I enjoy it. But it’s not my dream. This is. But for me, getting my complete dream requires a lot of work. Every day I come home and put in an additional two to five hours. But I’m passionate about it! I love it! I truly enjoy meeting new people, learning about how our human mind works and ultimately motivating people. You have to determine if your passion will require you to quit your job, move to a new city or just re-organize your priorities. I’ve sacrificed a lot to get my passion to this point and I’m excited about where it’s going.

Make it Happen

As much as I hate the phrase, ‘at the end of the day,’ it fits here. At the end of the day you just have to make it happen. Only you can be the one to go after your passions. Only you can live your dreams. It is said all the time but you only get one chance at this life. Why not go out and live it out loud? The world is a much better place when people are not only happy in life, but are full of passions. One of my passions is writing, so I’ve written a book. I didn’t just write it to check it off my list. I wrote Anything is Possible to change lives. That is my passion. You’re now a part of it.

Take the time, and soon, to review your life. Are you truly living the life you dreamed? I know things can get in the way (darn kids!) but that is no excuse for completely sitting on your hands. Passions feed the soul. Passions bring joy. Passions change lives. Get going and make it happen. The world will be a better place.

Check Out the Anything is Possible book


Meet Michele Payn-Knoper – A True Passion Driver

11 01 2010

The first Passion Drivers  interview of 2010 features Michele Payn-Knoper who I met virtually way back in April 2009 via Twitter. At that time, Michele had been thinking of starting an Ag chat on Twitter and started #agchat in the process. I helped Michele as she began agchat and would attend the first few chats that started. I could see the benefits of #agchat immediately to farmers and Ag businesses who participated and ever since then, Michele and the #agchat community has helped to bring @agchat to a whole new level.

Most recently, Michele (and the agchat community) was nominated for a Mashable award for “Twitter User of the Year.” In the end, Michele did not win, but it showed that the use of social media in Ag is expanding by the day and giving voice to those in the agricultural industry will continue to make an impact.

Here is Michele’s interview for Passion Drivers. She is truly a passion driver who believes in giving those in Ag an opportunity to tell their stories.

1) Tell us about yourself:

Cause Matters Corp. was founded in 2001 to help give a voice to the people who feed the world by connecting farming with food choices. Agricultural advocacy training, motivational farm keynotes and consulting for hand-selected projects related to advocacy leadership, social media strategy and rural economic development are the focus of our firm.

As a part of helping people “champion their cause”, I encourage them to connect with others’ hot buttons (AKA passions) and speak their language – whether it’s building a connection between farm gate and consumer plate, selling, fundraising, or social media. I have been honored in the last year to receive my Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a designation achieved by less than 10% of all professional speakers and to be named as one of the “25 Hot Speakers” by the National Speakers Association. Several in the #agchat community on Twitter would probably be disappointed if I didn’t mention that they were successful in nominating me as one of Mashable’s Top 5 Twitter Users of the Year. The point in all of those is that it’s an opportunity to raise agriculture’s story higher.

On a personal note, I’m a mom who is constantly challenged to balance my passions. We live in central Indiana on a small farm, complete with registered Holsteins that go back to a heifer I invested in when I was 12. And, we’re avid Michigan State fans, especially this time of year.

2) What is one thing that you are truly passionate about?

My driving passion is connecting the farm gate to the consumer plate and building communities to support that passion.

3) What encouraged you to follow this passion?

Growing up milking cows and learning that my friends didn’t understand (or care) where their milk came from started raising flags. Like many others, I learned a variety of life lessons at state and national levels in FFA and 4-H, but the most notable was a love for speaking as I competed on stage at the Michigan State FFA Convention. Experiences at Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture encouraged me while I earned Bachelor degrees in Animal Science and Ag Communications. Unfortunately, my mind was also shaped as I watched activists try to burn down our Animal Science building and Agriculture Hall on campus.  Early in my career I had the opportunity to work with executives from across the agrifood business and I saw a common denominator of needing to educate people about modern day agriculture. Coupled with my on-farm experiences, it became obvious to me about a decade ago that agriculture needed to do a better job of connecting with the 98.5% of our population or we lose the opportunity to do what we love. I believe we have responsibility to protect agriculture as a cornerstone of society, defend our national security, feed an increasingly hungry world population and give people the choices they deserve – both as business owners and consumers.  That belief fuels my passion every day!

4) What do you want others to know about your passion?

Please get to know the people who raise your food, fuel, feed and fiber – and don’t assume one food label is superior to another. 1.5% of the U.S. population farm and they are constantly discredited by activist organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, Greenpeace and others.  Talk to a farmer before you believe misinformation.  Farmers want you to know that they work to make more food on less land with better environmental and animal care practices. We, as an agricultural industry, MUST find ways to work together to get that message out. This is why I’ve come to believe in social media so much; I have seen agriculture come together as a community, identifying & educating consumers about critical issues. More importantly, it opens up a dialogue – something sorely needed if farmers want to put a face on the plate and if consumers are ready to grow their food literacy.

5) Anything else you would like to share?

Simply put “look beyond your own food plate.” Connect, ask questions or learn more at:

Many thanks to Michele for taking time to answer these questions and I hope you learn more about what makes Michele a true passion driver. Go out and be a passion driver yourself. Until next time.

Inspiration quote on pursuing your passion

4 12 2009

“When you want a thing deeply, earnestly and intensely, this feeling of desire reinforces your will and arouses in you the determination to work for the desired object. When you have a distinct purpose in view, your work becomes of absorbing interest. You bend your best powers to it; your give it concentrated attention; you think of little else than the realization of this purpose; you will is stimulated into unusual activity, and as a consequence you do your work with an increasing sense of power.” -Grenville Kleiser

Meet Hildy Ann McElvain – A Passion Driver

30 11 2009

Our next Passion Drivers interview is with Hildy Ann McElvain. I met her via a Networking Breakfast Club meeting I attended at First Watch in Shawnee about a month ago. Brody Dorland (@brodydorland) was there to speak about social media. I got to talking with Hildy about what she does and she shared a little about her passions. She agreed to be featured as a passion driver sharing the passions she loves to share with others. Read her interview below.

1)      Tell us about yourself.

First and foremost, I’m a mom.  Everyone can relate to that, whether they are one or have one.  It’s the desire to nurture and be there for my kids that keeps me plugging away.  Let’s face it, if you didn’t have people to take care of, maybe you’d be a bit lazier?  All my “babies” will all soon be in college and it just gets more fun to have meaningful conversations.  I’m starting to see if what I put in their heads stick.

The reality is, you need to make money to keep the family going.  Over the years, I’ve added to my “offerings” because I’ve seen immense benefits. I enjoy meeting and sharing information with others.  If I can help someone, life is good.

2) What is one thing that you are truly passionate about?

I got on my “health kick” in 2002.  I heard a gal explain the difference between an isolated vitamin and whole-food nutrition. It made perfect sense to me so I started taking Juice Plus.  About four months later, my dad had a five-way heart bypass.  It scared me, big time.  My dad is my mentor and my role model for healthy living.  His condition became my wake-up call to get smarter about nutrition.  Juice Plus offered great training and great information.  I began to share my new-found knowledge with others.  I soon learned that many people didn’t want to listen.  You’d think someone wouldn’t want to get sick and especially wouldn’t want their kids to be sick??? People are often set in their ways and don’t like to be told what they should or shouldn’t be doing.  I’ve tried to not let that bother me, say “next” and find others who want to learn.

In May of 2008, I was introduced to Kangen Water.  It’s water that’s produced by a small machine, 35-year old technology from Japan.  Long story short, the water helps to raise your body’s Ph, hydrates, and pulls toxins from the body.  Amazingly, even people with stage-four cancers are reversing their disease.  I  wanted to be sure my family was drinking the healthiest water possible; we bought a machine.  How can you keep these benefits a secret?  I added Kangen Water to my “tell about this” list.

I don’t like taking prescription drugs.  I think it makes much more sense to get to the cause of a health problem than to masque the systems.  I do this with supplements that are natural, no preservatives.  Nature’s Sunshine is my resource.  And to find out exactly which supplements to take, you can get scanned by a high-tech instrument.  I have one and am happy to scan others.

Remember I said I enjoyed helping people?  On top of sharing health-related advice, I LOVE using and promoting Send Out Cards?  Why?  It’s a total joy to create a special greeting and then have the recipient call you back, all happy.  And when people figure out that they can do this for their own family, friends and customers, it’s a win-win.  Send Out Cards is a web-based greeting card service whereby you log into your account 24/7 and have fun making a card.  By clicking “send,” the company prints it, stuffs it and stamps it.  So easy, convenient and way less money than how we used to buy a card.  I send tons more than I used to or ever thought I would and it’s all good.  I’m acting on my promptings to tell someone that I appreciate them. It makes their day.

3) What encouraged you to follow this passion?

Like I mentioned, my dad is my mentor.  He’s now 85 and in pretty darn great shape.  He bikes, plays tennis, golf and is always stretching his mind to learn something and then share it.  He and my mom are fun-loving and the reason for my positive nature.  They continue to encourage me and my family to make the best out of life.  I will be forever grateful for their teachings.  I LOVE that I’ve been able to be a huge influence on their health with the products I feel are so very important.  That has been a blessing, big time.  I want them around for many, many more years so they can be a special part in future graduations, wedding, births and all else.

4) What do you want others to know about your passion?

Enjoy the heck out of whatever you do.  As a kid, I think we followed the dreams of others.  As older adults, hopefully we get smarter and realize there’s stuff we enjoy.  It’s lots more fun to spend time on that.

Even though I continue to hit brick walls with people who still guzzle soda and choose not to learn why they shouldn’t, I know that I will eventually come across someone who wants to learn.  When that happens, it’s such a thrill.  To be able to impact someone’s life in a positive way – be it with their health or their ability to send cool cards – it’s very rewarding.

So, my advice: find what’s worth your time, keep on learning, stay positive and enjoy the ride.

5) Anything else you would like to share?

I’m trying to come up with a website that will house all my interests.  I’m thinking that if I put it out there, surely, people will come to me???  Am I dreaming?  It’s a challenge to constantly network, to be everywhere to share my messages.  It would be efficient and far less stressful to have INTERESTED people contact me versus me running into roadblocks.  I could use ideas for a website domain and thoughts about how to get floods of people to it.

Learn more about Send Out Cards at this link:

Learn more about Juice Plus and Kangen Water at these links:

Jake Olson’s passion for USC as he fights cancer

28 11 2009

This video is one of the most powerful ones I have seen. Jake Olson has fought cancer his whole life and his love and passion for USC is shown throughout this video. It is a must watch. Jake Olson is truly a passion driver!


Are you cheating the world of your gifts?

10 11 2009

Finding passion is one of the best investments in your career you can make. It energizes you, makes you more confident, and fuels your persistence.

When you don’t pursue a path that aligns with what lights you up, you cheat the world of the impact that you are uniquely qualified to make.

Read more on The M.A.P. Maker blog

Passion Drivers Interview with Renee Kloeblen

28 10 2009

Our 2nd Passion Drivers interview is with Renee Kloeblen. Renee is someone I got to know via Twitter first and then later in real life I had the chance to meet her (at all places it was at the Shatto Milk Company where a #shattotweetup was held recently). Renee is someone I would consider a friend and you can find her often on Twitter tweeting away about life in general and having fun interacting with others.


In this interview, she shares about her love and joy in making specialty cakes for people who Love fun cakes.

1) Tell us about yourself:

My name is Renee Kloeblen, a mom of two hilarious kids, wife to Kurt. We live in an older suburb in Shawnee, KS. In my past life of 2 short months ago, I was a kindergarten teacher, but in lieu of my long experience as a teacher, I want more. More time with my own kids, more time to myself, more time to learn, more time to love, give, and more time to create. So I quit or resigned cause I’m not a person who gives up. I’m currently staying at home and finding myself.

2) What is one thing that you are truly passionate about?

One thing 🙂 you’ll have to get in an in depth conversation with me and you will soon find I’m passionate about everything. But for you Mark, its CAKES! Chocolate cakes, white cakes, cupcakes, fancy cakes, crazy cakes, and fun cakes! I mean, who can not be passionate about cakes, honestly? Right now my love and joy is making specialty cakes for people who LOVE good and fun cakes. Stretching my artistic talent and learning everyday how to create cakey goodness.


Classic Orignal Garden Rose Design By Renee

3) What encouraged you to follow this passion?

Well, actually Twitter. Friends from twitter, and friends. The immense joy I felt when they were in love with the cake that was mirrored by the love I put into it.

4) What do you want others to know about your passion?

Find what makes your heart sing. I could do anything if I could feel that same intense feelings of joy and wow I receive from making someone a confectionery good just for them.

5) Anything else you would like to share?

My blog. Thank you Mark for helping me with starting it and encouraging me. Check it out here: And to Hollie @queentuffy who has gave me cake self esteem and help to make this passion continue and becoming “cake empire” as she would say! Also – make joy special for people whether its words, giving or cake. Personal thought, touch, and love is what I put into all my cakes. 🙂


Girly Godzilla Cake for @queentuffy by Renee

I encourage everyone to check out Renee’s blog: Cakey Goodness where she shares more pictures of her specialty cakes she has created. She has a unique talent for cake decoration that is one of a kind.

Until next time.