It’s Your Dream … What are You Waiting For?

Good morning, and another happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off just right.

A few nights ago, my wife and I watched several episodes of a cable TV show about people buying RVs. It’s similar to those real estate shows – they go to one lot, check out three RVs that match their desired criteria, and then they choose the one they liked best. The show concludes by showing them taking to the open road in their new tenement on wheels.

Most of these people weren’t simply looking for something to take on a weekend camping excursion, but for a permanent home without the permanent address. They were ditching the traditional home-bound life for a full-time adventure on the road. And here’s the real surprise – most of them were a lot younger than me.

See, you’d expect that from a retiree. After all, the kids have all moved out, so downsizing isn’t a real issue. They don’t have to work, so every morning they can wake up and decide what they want to do. There’s no grass to cut, no walls to paint, a lot less space to keep clean, and if it snows you can simply pull the plug and go someplace warm. Yeah, they didn’t need to sell me on that.

So, why would a young couple – some with kids – choose that lifestyle over the option of planting their roots and building a traditional, stable life? In every case, their answer was the same. They’d lost somebody close to them, a friend or family member, or had seen somebody incapacitated for life, and decided if you want to do something awesome, there’s no time like the present.

They decided to get out and enjoy life while they’re young enough to enjoy it and worry about finding a more permanent home later. It’s the exact opposite of what we’re conditioned to believe. We were taught from an early age that you do the work now and play later. And those of you who have kids probably teach them the exact same thing. I did.

And yes, there’s that nagging part of the equation that asks, “How will you make ends meet? Do you really want to live like a gypsy your entire life, traveling from town to town and taking odd jobs at every stop?” It’s contrary to everything we’ve been taught so, for those of us who live in a brick home and go to work at the same place every day, it’s almost inconceivable.

And some of them do exactly that, picking up odd jobs as they go, maybe volunteering in campgrounds in exchange for a place to park, some electricity, and a little money for food. But some have established careers that allow for working from home. Some are writers, or software developers or testers, or any of a growing number of jobs that afford the opportunity for telecommuting.

There’s an important point to be made here, and it applies to all of us, regardless of where and how we choose to live.  These people had a dream and, instead of waiting until they’re too old to fully enjoy it, they decided to do it now. They decided that life truly is short, and there’s no time like the present. And they were creative enough to make it work.

In reality, most of us can’t just chuck it all and chase our dreams today. We have a job, a home, kids, family, whatever. And we can’t just turn our back on those obligations. But nothing says we can’t, or shouldn’t, start working on those dreams now. Today. Sure, life will be a lot easier after retirement. If you believe that, go visit a nursing home. You might come away with a different opinion.

“Someday” is a word we use far too often. It’s always out there, waiting to be claimed. But until we assign a real date to it, someday is just a figment of our imagination. And here’s the sobering fact. We don’t have all the time in the world to accomplish our goals. People get sick every day. People die. Or on the way to that stable job they wanted, somebody takes their lane in traffic. Life happens.

If there’s something you want in life, don’t wait. Start working on that dream now, while you’re still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy it. Time stands still for no person, and we all have a set amount of time on this earth. Make the most of your time. Make it count! That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Sleeping on the Floor Tonight?

Good morning, and happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your day is starting off well.

Today, all over America, women are waking up to a romantic greeting card and a box of chocolates. According to Packaged Facts, a leading market research firm, we will buy 58 million pounds of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. In fact, there are only two days out of the year when more chocolate will be sold. Easter (all those chocolate eggs and bunnies) comes in second. And first place goes to … are you ready? Halloween! Sorry ladies. I guess you know where our priorities are.

I was one who never quite got the fascination with the day. I mean, when we were kids, we’d exchange those cheesy little cards that you shoved anonymously into a decorated shoe box, and I always did like the little multi-colored candy hearts. But that pretty much stopped in fourth grade.

When my wife and I were dating, I remember my mother-in-law asking, “So, what did you get her for Valentine’s Day?” I was speechless. You mean people really celebrate this day? Adults? Sane adults? I just always figured it faded away when we were old enough to dress ourselves. I guess that partially explains why I went through most of my school years without a girlfriend.

But you know, sometimes we need a reminder to show the people we love how much they mean to us. And Hallmark is right there to lead the way. I shudder to think what would happen to that company’s annual sales if Valentine’s Day were suddenly cancelled. But that’s okay, they have a backup plan. Apparently, there’s a Saturday in October called “Sweetest Day.” Ugh!!!

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. I think it is important to show affection, and I don’t mind if we all get together and do it on the same day. Makes it really hard to get dinner reservations, but we don’t share our feelings often enough. Except on Facebook. Some people share every emotion that crosses their mind. But I digress.

The important thing is that we don’t just limit it to one day. Much like Christmas, where we all tend to agree we should keep that feeling alive all through the year, we shouldn’t need a heart on the calendar to remind us that somebody in our life would sure love to know how much they mean to us. It’s important. It’s our way of saying, “I’m happy you’re here.”

Relationships are never easy. People always talk in their old age about how they woke up every morning, more in love than the day before. Right. I have two words for that, and they begin with the letters B and S. There is nobody on this planet that’s never rolled over and thought, “Are you STILL here???” And I think it’s you ladies who experience that sentiment the most.

But somehow, we work through those days and find better ones. We adapt to sharing a home with somebody who thinks the glasses belong in THAT cabinet and the thermostat needs to be set to 60. We set aside our dreams for the ones we love and try to find enjoyment in the things they love. We’re not just sharing a home together – we’re sharing a life. And that takes work.

But the work is easier when we can share it with somebody who shares our values and goals. On the job, they team us up with people whose skills complement our own so we can do a better job and get it done faster. We may want to choke them sometimes, but the job gets done. And it’s that same teamwork that builds a home. We don’t marry a “spouse” – we choose a partner.

And for those who either don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day or don’t have anybody special to celebrate it with, take some of that money you saved and treat yourself to a special day. It’s estimated that 15% of women will buy themselves flowers today. I guess that’s a sad statistic in one regard, but positive in another. It means these women value themselves, with or without a partner.

If you forgot to buy a card and some goodies, it’s not too late. But you know, those are just material expressions of what we should be saying to that special person, today and every day. Whether it’s your mother, your wife, one of your children, or the person sitting next to you at work, let people know you appreciate having them in your life. It’ll make you feel better, and just think what it’ll do for them.

Affection is one of those things where you can never have too much (well, you know) and you can never run out. So, share a little … today and every day. Let’s not wait until October to do this again.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome (and hopefully romance-filled) day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Winning?

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

It’s hump day, and that means the week is just about half over. It’s also the midway point for all those things we’d hoped to accomplish this week. How are you doing on your assignments? More importantly (don’t tell the boss), how are you doing on your personal goals? You know, those things you’re doing just for you?

As we near the mid-point of February, those New Year’s resolutions are beginning to nag. And, like most “adoring” husbands, we find a way of shutting down that nagging voice to the point we no longer even hear it. Yes, by this point we should have lost ten pounds, or been to the gym 30 times, or whatever it is we promised ourselves what we’d do. We don’t need to be reminded every day!

Part of the problem is we try to set goals for the entire year. And if the weather is bad, or there are leftover goodies from the holidays, or whatever, we look at our progress so far (or lack of it) and say, “I’ve still got plenty of time. It’s only February!” All the more reason to do those Monday morning resolutions we’ve talked about.

But the even bigger problem is we set lofty goals that will require an immediate and complete change in habits, personality, and lifestyle. And when we don’t find ourselves progressing as we think we should, it’s easy to get discouraged. And then that nagging voice kicks in … “You knew you’d never be able to do that.” And the easiest way to shut that voice down is to simply give up.

Goals should be challenging. If your goal is to get up every morning and tie your shoes, that’s not much of a stretch, and not much to celebrate. But if your goal is to go to the gym for three hours every day of the week, and you haven’t been near a gym in the past year, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.

Most of life is about setting and achieving goals. Sometimes we don’t even think about it. And sometimes, those goals are set for us with deadlines we think we can never meet. It may be an assignment at work, something for one of the kids, or an emergency repair that’ll take everything in the bank and then some.

When those goals require us to operate at peak efficiency and dig down deep into our creativity, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But when they require everything we’ve got, week after week, there comes a point where you’re just physically drained and something has to go. Sadly enough, when we look over the list of possible cuts, our personal goals are usually at the top of the list.

And it’s possible that we set our sights too high there as well. If you’re working a job that requires 8-9 hours a day, raising a family, maintaining a home, and working a part-time job or building a business on the side, it’s a safe bet your goal of getting to the gym every day is doomed to fail.

As we set goals, we need to be realistic. Sure, stretch yourself a little. That’s what makes the goal worthwhile. But make it something where you have at least a reasonable chance of success. Several smaller goals will get you to the finish line faster and easier than one huge leap. And as you complete those smaller goals, you not only see progress – you see yourself winning, week after week.

It’s all part of the habit of success. If you’ve been with me a while, we’ve talked about that before. It’s like a small child staring at the cookies on top of the refrigerator, completely out of reach. So, they stand on a small stool. That gets them closer, so they try something else. And with each piece of the rickety ladder they construct, they get closer and more excited until finally they reach their goal.

If your personal goals are a bit too much, it’s okay to trim them down a little. Or just stretch out your self-imposed deadline and set some smaller intermediate goals along the way. With each success, you’ll get closer and more energized. And, if there are corrections to be made along the way, you can spot them earlier and get back on track.

Goals should be challenging, but realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make those Monday morning resolutions and celebrate your success at the end of every week. You’ll move closer to your ultimate goal, building confidence every step of the way. And it’s that confidence that will see you through to the end.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Believe in Others – And Be Sure They Know!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

We’ve been talking a lot over the past several days about goals and the things we can do to achieve them. And yesterday we talked about the reality that each of us has within us the ability to make that happen. And as I wrote those words, I wondered how many of us have actually heard them through most of our life. Affirmation doesn’t seem to be overly abundant in this world.

I’m reading a book by the late Rich Devos, Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People. It’s a short book, and an easy read if you’re in the mood for something uplifting. The chapter I read yesterday afternoon was about a simple but very powerful phrase – “You can do it!”

How often have we heard that throughout our lives? And, by contrast, how often have we heard the exact opposite? “You’d better stick to your day job.” “The odds of you accomplishing that are one in a million!” “Are you serious? That’ll never work!” And, here’s the real question … how many times have you uttered those words yourself? If you’re completely honest, it can be disheartening.

I grew up in a family where we were encouraged to be the best we could be. When I was a boy, all I wanted was to be a doctor. Mom and Dad were proud of that aspiration and did everything they could to let me know I could accomplish that goal. When the teenage years hit and I decided to be a rock star, I realized pretty quickly that I’d be chasing that dream on my own.

We all want the best for our kids, and my parents were no different. But all too often, we try to shape their dreams to match the vision we had for them. Instead of encouraging them to be great at whatever they decide to do, we tend to steer them toward being great at the things we want them to do.

Think of the little boy standing at home plate with a bat resting on his shoulder, a look of complete boredom in his face, and his parents standing behind him yelling, “You can do it, Timmy! Hit it out of the park!” They’re giving him plenty of positive affirmation. But is it what he really wants to do? Or would he rather be sitting in a quiet room, scribbling gothic images with the hope of becoming a great tattoo artist?

Affirmation is important. In fact, it’s critical. No matter what we attempt, we should be able to do it with the full moral support of our family and friends. And no matter what they attempt, they should know we have complete confidence in their ability to succeed. That’s what affirmation is all about. It’s the knowledge that, not only do you know you can succeed, but everyone else knows it as well.

We can’t control the feedback we receive from others. It’s their honest opinion, and they’ll usually share it with your best interests at heart. But sincerity doesn’t always equal accuracy. Just because somebody offers advice, that doesn’t mean we should take it to heart.

But we do have control over the feedback we give others. And, in encouraging somebody else to pursue their own dreams, assuring them they have what it takes to succeed, we’re reminding ourselves that we also have what it takes to achieve our own goals. You can’t compliment somebody else without feeling better yourself. And you can’t affirm somebody else without affirming yourself.

When we lift up those around us, we lift ourselves as well. Words of affirmation need to begin at a young age and continue throughout our lives. We have the power to make that happen. When somebody shares a dream, instead of poking holes in it, focus on how they can make it happen. That is, after all, why they shared their goal to begin with. They wanted affirmation.

Dreams are easily born, and just as easily crushed. And all too often, it’s not the cold, cruel world that crushes our dreams. It’s those closest to us – the people we love and trust the most. Every one of us has the ability to accomplish anything we desire. But we can only do that if we believe in ourselves enough to make it happen. Feed that belief. In yourself, and in everyone around you. Then wait for the magic to happen.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

You’ve Got This!

Good morning! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

I spent most of my weekend working. But, in fairness, I was working on my own personal goals, so that’s not really like work. Okay, some of it is, but it just doesn’t seem as labor-intensive when it’s something you want to do. Like building a new house. It’s hard work no matter who’s moving in, but it just seems a lot less grueling when that somebody is you.

But it helps knowing you have what it takes to get the job done. I’ve attempted some jobs in the past where, not long after I started, I realized I was in way over my head. There’s something to be said for checking things out ahead of time and making sure you either have, or can acquire, the skills needed. Otherwise, you’ll be paying somebody else a lot of extra money to clean up your mess.

And, I think it’s that fear of getting in over our heads that keeps us from taking on more than we do. Even taking a new job doing the same thing we’ve been doing for years is scary, because no matter how similar the actual job may be, every company has its own quirks. And that keeps a lot of people in jobs they really don’t like, because sometimes it’s easier than making a change.

But, let’s assume you’re happy with your job (I hope you are). That doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t, look for other opportunities, and it doesn’t mean you can’t dream of a lifestyle beyond what you can attain in your current job. But finding those opportunities and doing something about them two different challenges. All too often, we never try. “It’ll never work.”

Have you ever seen a job posting for something you really wanted to do, but weren’t quite sure you were qualified? Maybe you read the “required skills” and went down the list going, “Nope … nope … maybe … nope.” They all seem to be worded in a way that makes you wonder if you’re even capable of doing the job you already do. It’s like they don’t even want you to try.

And while we’re talking to other people to find out what a certain “required” qualification entails, somebody else with fewer skills comes along and applies for the position and, next thing you know, they’ve got the job. And you’re left kicking yourself for not taking the shot, because you’re absolutely more qualified than that other guy.

It’s natural to assume the people who have been able to achieve the things we want are somehow better qualified or more deserving than we are. Maybe they’ve worked harder or went to a better school. Maybe they know the right people. And maybe they just faked their way through it until success came knocking. Sometimes you have to talk the talk before you can walk the walk. And sometimes, you just have to be willing to try something a little different.

Our pastor told us the story of a man who, while looking for his golf ball in the edge of a lake, noticed there were dozens of other balls in the same area. So, he talked to the owner of the course and struck a deal – he’d dive every lake on the course, and the course would pay him ten cents for every ball he retrieved. It turned into a full-time business that he later sold for over $5 million.

Sometimes, the obvious answer isn’t so obvious. Sometimes it means doing something you believe in when everybody else says it’ll never work. I’m sure the Wright brothers heard that as they built their first airplane. I’m sure Bill Gates heard that as he built Microsoft, or Mark Zuckerberg as he envisioned Facebook. And that guy diving for golf balls? Yeah, I’m sure he got laughed at a time or two.

And not a one of those people had any more brains or abilities than you. What they had was a desire, a dream of something better, and the belief that they could be the one to make it happen. It’s been said that Alexander Graham Bell didn’t invent the telephone. He took somebody else’s failed attempt, adjusted a screw one-quarter turn, and it began to replicate the human voice.

Just because nobody’s ever done something doesn’t mean it can’t be done. And just because others have already accomplished what you desire, it doesn’t mean there’s no room for one more. And, most of all, none of that means somebody else is more likely to succeed. Believe in yourself and work with a sense of purpose. Because there is nobody more deserving than you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Get Off the Beaten Path!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope you’re having a fantastic day!

As we head into the weekend, some of us are planning a couple of days of rest and recreation. For others, it’s two days to catch up on everything that got neglected around the house because of the “real” job. And, depending on your job, this could be the busiest two days of the week.

Over the years, I’ve worked a lot of side jobs. When I was in the Navy, I spent my evenings and weekends on the receiving end of a 40-lane bowling alley. Have you ever wondered who that is in the shadows back there, taking care of pin jams and ball returns? That would be me.

!f just a few minutes. I ran back and forth all night and then collapsed in exhaustion.

I’ve had other side jobs – pizza delivery, standup comedy, running my own businesses. You see, I learned early in life that, once you negotiate your starting pay on most jobs, that’s about as good as it gets. You may get a promotion here and there. But for the most part, the best you can hope for is a cost-of-living increase that’ll let you keep living exactly the way you did last year.

If you want anything extra along the way, you have to do a little extra to get it. So, we put in a little overtime, take a side job, sell some old belongings, or turn off the cable TV and eat Cheerios for a month. Whatever it takes. Because the fact remains, whatever you made on your job last year is about what you can expect to make this year.

I’ve met lots of people who had some pretty demanding jobs on the side. I once worked with a project manager who spent almost every evening in a theme park, cooking hundreds of pizzas until closing time. And every morning, he was back on the job. I’d be lying if I said you could never tell. He mumbled every word and walked like the living dead.

It goes without saying that we can only keep up a pace like that for a certain amount of time before it catches up with us. Yet, with just about any one of those people, if you were to suggest something a lot less stressful, maybe even enjoyable, that they can do from the comfort of their own home, they shake their head and move on. And the answer is always the same. “That’ll never work.”

We’ve been conditioned from the time we were children to believe hard work is the only way to succeed. If you’re not reaching your goals, you’re not working hard enough. Get a better education, find a better job. Put in some overtime and climb the corporate ladder. And the reward for all that is, you get to work even more.

At some point in history, somebody figured out you could move a large rock a lot easier if you roll it instead of trying to pick it up. It’s called working smarter. No matter what your goal, there are lots of ways to get there. But banging your head against a wall for 46 years will give you a headache. The key is finding an easier way to get the job done.

That means keeping your mind open to opportunities others can’t (or won’t) see. The well-trodden path is crowded and, if you keep following the same crowd, you’ll get to the same destination, behind every one of them. If you want to arrive at a different (hopefully better) destination, you have to get on a different path.

And that can be scary. It means taking a leap of faith into the unknown, going against conventional knowledge, and trying something you never saw yourself doing. And it may take a few tries to make any real progress. But if you keep at it, sooner or later you’ll find the path ahead is a lot shorter and more open than what you left behind.

Try to find a little time to relax this weekend. And, in that time, open your mind to possibilities you never really considered. Dream of not where you are, but where you’d like to be. Then begin thinking about how you can get there. It’s possible you already know. The answer may be right there waiting for you to take the next step. There’s only one way to find out. That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s The Rush?

I don’t know of too many people who wake up in the morning yearning to take their spot in the rush-hour commute. There are a few occasions where some people are determined to show the very worst side of their personality, and that one ranks at the top of the list. Can I get an amen?

And, other than an accident that ties up traffic even worse, few things can ruin the morning commute more than rain. Anything more than a sprinkle is enough to do the job, but a downpour is a special kind of messed up. Wipers blazing, puddles in the worst possible places, and people driving like the green flag just dropped at Daytona. That describes my commute yesterday.

I’ve often wondered what goes through a person’s mind to make them drive just as fast as they can, weaving in and out of cars that are at least trying to maintain a safe distance, on days when every instinct and everything they were taught in driver’s education tells them it’s about as dangerous as a coiled-up rattlesnake. “It’s raining! I need to hurry up and get there!!!”

I usually say a silent prayer that they’ll get where they’re going in one piece, and without taking anybody else out along the way. Because that’s usually how it happens. The accident they cause is behind them, and they race on oblivious to the mess they just caused.

It makes you wonder, are these people even half as energetic when they get to work? Do they approach their whole day with an equal sense of purpose and urgency, determined to outdo everyone around them? Or are they the ones sitting in the bathroom stall for a half-hour reading the newspaper, right before they clock out to take a break? We may never know.

In his 1974 song, Mac Davis reminded us all that it’s important to “stop and smell the roses along the way.” And, given the hectic pace in which most of us are forced to live, I can’t think of a more befitting sentiment. Sure, we need to get things done. But we miss a lot of the world’s beauty when our eyes are only fixed on that car in front of us.

Okay, I’m not suggesting we should take our eyes off the car in front of us. But you get the point. It’s easy to get tunnel vision, so short-focused that we never see the wonder around us. The baby calf in the pasture, the eagle perched in a dead tree, the snowman carefully crafted a day earlier, or the toddler lovingly waving goodbye to an older sibling.

It’s easy to see our world as a challenge to be conquered, full of people who are determined to get in our way. That guy in the left lane who’s only going five miles per hour over the speed limit. The person you have to reach around to get a can of corn off the grocery store shelf. Or the child who won’t stop crying when it should be obvious to the whole world you’ve got a headache.

But it’s just as easy to take a step back and enjoy those same situations. Instead of lamenting heavy traffic, turn up the radio and sing along. If you can’t race through the grocery store, take a little time to read some labels and find healthier alternatives. And when a child is crying, think of the innocence of youth. Try to remember a similar time in your own life.

It’s all about perspective. George Carlin once said the same words that hurt can heal. It’s that way with just about anything in life. Even the deadly venom of a rattlesnake can be used to make blood-thinning medicines that can lower blood pressure and prevent stroke. Now, I don’t suggest petting one, but they do have a purpose in our world. So does everything and everyone around us.

When the pace of life starts raising your stress level, slow down and take a deep breath. Take a moment to enjoy the world around you. Smile a little. Wave somebody else into traffic in front of you. It’s therapeutic – try it sometime. And when the jerk behind you starts blowing his horn, just wave and wish him a better day. You may get the finger in return, but that’s on him, not you.

When we take time to smell the roses, we find another level of existence. We find enjoyment in things that once were a source of irritation. We make new friends. We find new paths and enjoy new scenery. But most importantly of all, we enjoy this journey a lot more, and maybe even help those around us to do the same. That, my friends, is living.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved