It’s a Brand-New Day

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

Yesterday was one of those days for me that I hope not to repeat any time soon. It happens. And it was nothing major. Just a lot of work on tight deadlines with no common understanding of the processes involved, accented by a couple of disappointments that normally would have been no big deal. But as I said, it happens. We dust ourselves off and move on.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you have days like that. If it happens a few days in a row, it can skew your perception to the point that you get up in the morning expecting a frustrating day at work. And that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Little things that would normally go unnoticed become just one more piece of a puzzle nobody wants to build. But we do it anyway.

Frustration and disappointment aren’t bad, in and of themselves. It’s our reaction to them that makes the difference between solving an issue or wallowing in it. Most of the conveniences we enjoy each day were made possible because somebody faced adversity and worked through it. Imagine trying to invent a light bulb when none of the homes you intended to light even had electricity.

I’ve often wondered about inventions like radios and TVs. I guess it would be safe to assume that radio stations were built before the first radios were sold. Otherwise, all a radio could have done is generate its own static. And I doubt many people would have lined up to buy that. “But wait! In a year or two, it’ll actually play music!” Yeah. You’d get faster results by getting your kid a guitar.

Which means somebody had to go out on a limb and build a radio station, staff it with a disc jockey and sound engineer, buy records (at least we had the Victrola), and start broadcasting music to … nobody. They had to sit there and pretend somebody was on the receiving end until that first radio was sold. And what if nobody had bought that first radio? Talk about an exercise in futility.

I remember years ago when NASA sent one of its first probes to land on Mars. It was years of design and development, followed by a three-month journey that ended in a brief moment of utter dismay when the probe crashed onto the planet’s surface at almost three times the intended speed. All because the final distance and velocity calculations were in feet instead of meters. Wow.

I can imagine those folks went home hanging their heads that day. All that time, money, and effort, down the drain in a matter of seconds. And I’m sure there was a point where somebody said, “Why isn’t it slowing down?” Imagine being the guy who made those final calculations, watching the scenario unfold as you realized why it was happening. I think I’d need a stiff drink after that.

But those people came back to work the next morning, determined to figure out what went wrong, and to try again. And the next probe landed without incident. With each excursion, we’ve learned more about our nearest celestial neighbor. And I have little doubt that sometime within the next twenty years, a human being will walk on the surface of Mars.

Frustrations are just part of the job. If we face them head-on, we can fix the underlying problems and make life easier tomorrow. Mostly. There will always be issues we just can’t fix, whether it’s because of people, equipment, or the processes involved. But when we fix those things over which we do have control, it makes the other problems a little less troublesome.

When your day just won’t go right, think of the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I think it’s that last part that has the greatest impact – the wisdom to know the difference. If something is completely beyond your control, let it go. Focus on the things you can control. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for increasing frustration and, sooner or later, a complete breakdown in your relationship with those around you.

I often tell people, “This will be an awesome day! I’ve decreed it, therefore it shall be!” Okay, the forces of nature don’t always recognize my authority in the matter, but it sure sets the tone for how I face my day. Give it a try. It may not make all the problems go away, but it’ll make it a lot easier to clean out the clutter around them. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Whatever happened yesterday is in the past. Let today be a new day. Face each challenge with a fresh mind and spirit. It’ll make the day go better, and you’ll be that much better equipped to solve whatever issues may arise. And with each of those wins, that’s one less problem you’ll face tomorrow.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Some Things Really Can Wait

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend.

Mine was a mix of trying to cram in all the necessary errands Saturday so I could stay out of the snow Sunday, which means I probably spent more time in front of the TV than I should have. But I did use some of my down time to do a little business training, so I guess I can add that to the “accomplishments” list.

That’s not to say there aren’t things I should have done that I didn’t. Every Monday, as I drive to work, I look back at the weekend to make a mental list of the things I didn’t get finished. I’m sure we all do that at some level. There just never seems to be enough time to do all the things we need to do, plus a few of those that are just for our own amusement.

So, I begin most Mondays by adding to my “to-do” list for the coming weekend. Unless I can get lucky and knock out a few things in the evenings after work. But in all honesty, some of those things may never get done. That’s just the way it works.

And that’s okay. At least I hope it is, because there are jobs on my to-do list from 1997, and odds are I won’t be getting around to any of them this week, either. I’m pretty sure my wife gave up anyway. But the truth is, some of these tasks may not have been that important to begin with. Sometimes, we just think they are.

And it’s that way, both on the job and off – even for some of our personal goals. We’ll put something at the top of the list with all the best intentions of giving it our utmost attention. But other things can quickly take that top spot, and, after a while, we realize it may not have been so critical after all. Or we just run out of time. It happens.

And other times, we let something slide only to find later it really was a lot more important than we’d thought. And we come to that realization as the “Check Engine” light comes on, accompanied by a loud knocking sound and blue smoke pouring from the tailpipe. Maybe Dad was right about those oil changes. There goes next year’s vacation fund.

So, it’s important to revisit our to-do list from time to time. Some things can be put off a little while, and some can be erased completely. But there are some that absolutely need to move to the top of next week’s list, with no option for putting them off again.

The critical piece of the puzzle is knowing the difference. Unless you’ve got all kinds of time on your hands and the only thing on your to-do list is getting up every day for breakfast, sooner or later you’ll find yourself facing some tough decisions. Sometimes we’re aided in those decisions by something a lot more desirable, like going out with friends. But that’s not always the case.

Where it gets tricky is when we have things to do that will take more time than we’ll ever have in a single day. My garage is a perfect example of that. Or maybe I should say, the clutter in my garage is a perfect example of what happens when you put off doing anything until you can do it all. The mess just keeps getting bigger. And the sad part is, most of it can go straight in the trash.

If there’s something you need to do, whether it’s for work, a job around the home, something for your business, or a book you’ve been meaning to read (or write), you don’t have to do it all at once. But if you just throw your hands up in the air and turn on the TV because you only have six hours left and there’s no way you can do that job in six hours, guess what’ll still be on your plate next week?

Break those larger jobs down into manageable chunks, and then you won’t need a whole day (or longer) to get them done. Maybe an hour here and a half-hour there is enough. Sure, it won’t get done all at once, but unless you’re cooking dinner or performing surgery, odds are it doesn’t matter. Whatever you didn’t get done will still be waiting for you later. That, I can promise.

Make time for the things you need to do but remember things don’t always go according to plan. Other things will pop up – some more critical, some not. But as the day comes to a close, don’t beat yourself up over the things you didn’t get done. Celebrate the wins and re-prioritize the rest. And be sure to make a little time for yourself along the way. You’ve earned it!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Build Those Invisible Results

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off well.

Today begins a new month and, for anyone who started a New Year’s resolution, it’s a critical milestone. If you’re still sticking to your plan, congratulations! Whatever it is you wanted to change has now become a part of who you are. It’s a habit and, as you know by now, habits can be hard to break. So, give yourself a pat on the back.

If you’re back to square one, you’re not alone. According to a January 2019 article by Inc Magazine, the failure rate for resolutions is about 80%. For most of us, getting started isn’t the hard part. But by mid-February, most of us lose our resolve. Change takes work. And sometimes, it’s easier to just stick with what we know.

Part of the problem with resolutions is that we can be a bit unreasonable. We expect too much and set ourselves up for failure in the process. If you haven’t been to a gym in the past five years, getting there five days a week is asking a lot. Maybe a goal of at least two days a week would have been more realistic. If things are going well, you can always build from there.

Also, as we’ve discussed a few times in the past, when you give yourself a whole year to make a change, there’s no pressure. You’ve got all the time in the world, and if you haven’t even begun by now, there’s still time. But when you make Monday morning resolutions, you’re under a much tighter deadline and are less likely to just blow it off.

But I think the biggest challenge in sticking to change is our need for immediate gratification. You’re eating healthier, you’re walking more every day, you’ve cut back on the snacks, but the morning trip to the bathroom scale doesn’t show any progress at all. After seven days of that, your brain says this just isn’t working. At that point, quitting can even make sense.

What we fail to recognize sometimes is that you have to build a foundation before you can raise a building. What you’re doing today may not be evident for a week or two, maybe even longer depending on what you’re trying to change. Most doctors agree that the weight loss (or gain) you see this week is the result of what you did last week. It doesn’t show up right away.

And that’s with weight loss, where results can be measured every day. What about things where the results are a little harder to see? Like eating more vegetables to improve your health or studying for an exam that’s three months away? Your immune system is getting stronger, and your brain is being filled with knowledge. But how do you measure that?

Oftentimes, we don’t know the good we’ve done for ourselves until it’s crunch time. When everyone in the house is sneezing and coughing, you breeze through unscathed. You get your test score and you passed with flying colors. That’s when all the seemingly invisible work you were doing pays off.

But what if you got sick anyway? What if you failed the test miserably? It happens. When my daughter went through nursing school, she was devastated to find that she’d failed her microbiology class. In fairness, it’s very common for students to fail that class first time around. Some things are a lot more difficult than others.

It’s easy to get discouraged. You begin to wonder if anything you do will make a difference. Maybe this just isn’t your thing. And that, my friends, is where the rubber meets the pavement. Either you get some traction and get moving again or go sliding off into a ditch. Or, you decide not to take a risk at all and just sit there in the middle of the road watching life pass you by.

My daughter took that class again the next semester and passed. She’s a Registered Nurse today and has risen to the top of her career path. Because she had a goal and wasn’t going to let a setback end her dream. And in overcoming that setback, she learned just how strong she really is.

We’ve all got that strength inside us. We’re born with it and it never completely goes away. It’s what gave you the determination to sit, crawl, walk, and talk. All major events in a child’s development, and all things where early failures made the task seem monumental. But you did it anyway, because you refused to quit.

Challenges are a part of life. And sometimes we need to build a foundation to stand on before we can step over them. Just because you don’t see results today, that doesn’t mean they’re not building beneath the surface. Keep your eye on the goal and find that inner strength. The results will come. And all those challenges you faced will make them that much sweeter.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Life Begins Today

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

You know how you wake up in the morning with a song stuck in your head, and you’re stuck with that song for the rest of the day? And the whole time you’re wondering, “Why couldn’t it have been something I’d play on a jukebox instead of this? I never even liked this song!” Okay, my brain has a flood of thoughts each morning, and some are no more insightful than this. Sorry.

As I was getting dressed this morning, I thought briefly about a man who used to go to our church. Don’t ask me why. I already told you I can’t explain my thoughts before my first cup of coffee. But I do have to say, this man was memorable. I don’t know of anybody who didn’t like him, because he went out of his way to be a friend to everyone.

I remember my pastor telling me one time, “I believe he’s a member of at least half the churches in town.” It’s a small town, but that still meant he was a member of about six different churches. He didn’t drive, so every Sunday you’d see him walking to church with his developmentally disabled nephew holding his arm. And he brightened the room by just walking in.

On the surface, it sounds like a person with such an overwhelming need for acceptance that, anywhere a crowd was gathered, he wanted to be a part of it. But there was nothing needy about him. He lived well below the poverty level but smiled like he was on top of the world. I think it wasn’t as much a need for acceptance as a need to share a little of that enthusiasm.

One time our friend was taking a trip to a neighboring state for the first time. In fact, he had never been out of Greene County in his entire life. I couldn’t fathom that. I was a good ten years younger and I’d already lived in ten different cities in four states, and had literally traveled around the world. And he was leaving the county for the first time ever.

Yesterday, I got a text message from an old friend. She’s read my posts about shopping for an RV, and was excited to tell me that she and her family are picking up a new travel trailer this weekend. And knowing her, that trailer won’t be sitting around collecting dust. Spring isn’t quite here yet, but that’s why God made campfires. They’ll be out enjoying that thing in no time.

I remember when I first started working with her. I was being introduced to the team, and then the manager pointed at an empty desk. “She’ll be back next week. She’s on vacation with her family in Mexico.” As I recall, every year they were off someplace different with the whole family. Talk about enjoying life and building memories.

And for lunch yesterday, I met a co-worker I haven’t seen in a while. She’s another one who’s always on the go. And she told me yesterday of her New Year’s resolution – every month this year, she will travel somewhere. Mostly long weekend trips within the country, but I believe she’s planning a trip overseas as well. She’s already got her destinations planned out through the summer.

Three different people, each enjoying life in their own special way. And at the end, as they’re sitting in a rocking chair sharing stories of their life with great-grandchildren gathered around, they’ll each have completely different stories to share. But two of those three will never run out of interesting and new stories to tell. And I’m sure their eyes will sparkle as the memories come flooding back.

There are people who are perfectly content to walk the same path every day of their life. There are some who are content never to walk any path, but to sit in a quiet room, isolated from the world. There are some who live to work, and when the work is over, they sleep until it’s time to work again. We all have different things that excite us and make us want to get up in the morning.

It’s not important that we all enjoy the same kind of things. What is important is that we don’t spend our lives waiting for that perfect opportunity to do the things we enjoy. If life is getting in the way, change it. If money is the problem, fix it. Don’t let challenges stop you from enjoying life. If people in a wheelchair can travel to vacation destinations around the world, what’s your excuse?

We all have a certain number of days on this earth, and there’s nothing more disheartening than to see a hearse drive slowly past, carrying a casket of unfulfilled dreams. Dare to dream, and then chase those dreams. Enjoy every day. Find what makes you happy and do it. You only have the rest of your life.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are We There Yet???

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

My day started of pretty well. I’m finally seeing some steady progress in my weight loss. Granted part of that was from being sick over the weekend, but even after two days of solid food, it’s still moving in the right direction. Now, if I could just speed things up a little! I can put weight on over a single meal. Sure would be nice to lose it that fast.

Patience is not a virtue many of us can place at the top of our list of attributes. Not if we’re being completely honest. We want what we want, and we want it now. And we let the world know if it’s not right there waiting for us.

Which is why none of us wants to call Customer Service, because we know we’ll have to listen carefully for six options, then sit with a phone glued to our head listening to elevator music interrupted by timed reassurances that our call is important and if we hang up, we’ll lose our place in line. Have you ever called when they’re experiencing “unusually low call volume”? Yeah, me either.

I’ve often wondered if anybody watches the video cameras in a fast-food drive-thru line. You know, something that will show the facial expressions and steering wheel tapping as people wait for food that somebody should have had ready before they even got there. And then you finally pull up to the window they ask, “Can you pull up a little? We’re waiting on your fries.” Yeah, so am I!

We’ve become accustomed to these inconveniences. It’s just a part of life, and we’ve learned that complaining doesn’t do a bit of good. Besides, if you complain too much, your food may arrive with a little extra “flavoring.” So, most of us just sit there and silently grumble to the people sitting in the car with us who have nothing to do with the fact that they just turned on the fryer.

But I think most of us are the least patient when it comes to our goals. Whether that’s weight loss, building a beach body, climbing the corporate ladder, or building a business, we all want results. And we want them now. Seriously, what is taking so long? We’ve been working at this for a whole month! Where are the results?

We’ll talk more about some of this in the coming days, but I think it’s important first to agree that we really have become spoiled in terms of instant gratification. I see people standing in the lunch room at work reading the instructions on their microwaveable meal. “Seriously? Four and a half minutes?” Yeah. Instead of the half-hour it would take you to prepare it at home. Relax.

We get to experience each minute of life once, and then it’s gone. We only get one chance to enjoy each of those minutes and, like all the time we spend sitting on hold just to hear the dreaded, “Our office is now closed – please call back tomorrow”, we can never have that time back.

Here’s an idea. Slow down a little. Anticipate some of life’s delays and find some alternatives. At the very least, find something constructive to occupy your time. Instead of pacing in front of the microwave, make a new friend. While you’re sitting on hold, read a good book. Instead of fuming at the drive-thru, turn up the radio and sing loud enough to bug the crap out of everyone else in line. Just me?

Sometimes, we all need a little diversion. When I was on the road doing comedy, I spent hours every day driving to the next show. But it wasn’t until I got off the interstate and took the slower route that I really began to enjoy the drive. I saw things that I thought were part of a bygone era. Drive-in movie theaters, roadside motels, antique cars and trucks in roadside lots, and some of the nicest small-town diners in the world. And you know what? I got my food almost as fast. Go figure.

It’s all about taking time to enjoy what’s around us instead of bulldozing against what’s in front of us. The line will move. Our call will be answered. The weight will come down, and we’ll eventually see progress toward our goals. But the moment we get frustrated and give up our place in line, it all goes away.

Patience is a virtue. That doesn’t mean we don’t keep working toward our goals. But more often than not, the results will come in their own time. Our task is to be there when they do, ready to enjoy the moment and press on toward the next one. It makes the time go faster, and it makes each little success feel that much better. Give it a try.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When the Team Wins, We All Win

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

Okay, so last week I was bragging about dodging the intestinal virus that’s been going around. Well, suffice to say I wasn’t as bulletproof as I’d thought. Normally if I even get these things it’s one bad night followed by a day of getting back to normal. But this was a particularly brutal strain and I was out of commission for four days. It’s good to be back.

It’s at times like this when you realize the importance of teamwork. My wife got this a couple of days before me, so I was able to spend some time taking care of her. And, since she began recovering a day or two ahead of me, I was able to lay on the couch whining in front of her. That’s how it works. We’re a team.

I read something a couple of days ago that I found rather funny. It said that for women, the pain of childbirth is so powerful and overwhelming, they almost begin to know how a man feels when he has a cold. I’m not normally much of a wimp, but in this case, I’d say that was pretty accurate. Stomach pain has always been my kryptonite.

But, with a little teamwork, not to mention a daughter who seeming is impervious to this stuff, we made it through. It’s an important premise we learned years ago – teamwork isn’t about the most valuable player holding up a trophy at the end of the game. It’s about lifting up the player who needs a little extra help so the whole team can do better.

If a baseball team has one home-run hitter and eight other players who strike out every time at bat, the best the team can hope for is three solo home-runs in a game. Improving that batter’s performance won’t help the team much at all.

But if that player can help a couple of others just get on base, the team’s average improves dramatically. Personal statistics look impressive on paper, but at the end of the game the team’s score is all that counts. We win (or lose) together.

Okay, enough with the sports analogies? You’d think I was an impressive athlete, and you’d be wrong. I was the kid who made sure nobody else on the team got splinters in their butt, because I was too busy picking them out of my own. But the one time I got a base hit, I advanced a runner into scoring position and we won the game. So, even the scrawny little right-fielder can get the job done sometimes.

And the only reason I got that base hit was because my coach and one of our strongest batters took some time with me for a little extra batting practice. They built my confidence to the point that I wasn’t afraid to take a swing. I got off the bench, grabbed a bat, and said, “I’m getting hit this time!” One player laughed and said, “If you get a hit, I’ll spit nickels!” What can I say? I needed the money.

The point is, when we help those around us, no matter what their position (or station in life), we raise the team average. And when the team wins, everybody gets free ice cream, whether they got on base or not. Those are the rules.

But here’s an important point to remember. Your “team” isn’t limited to the people in your family, your closest friends, or the ones you work with. It’s the janitor, working to clean up everybody else’s mess. It’s the guy in traffic who really can’t afford to be late one more time. It’s the child selling cookie dough for school. It’s the elderly person, forgotten and left to wither in a nursing home.

You see, it’s easy to get behind those in our immediate circle. But that’s only one small part of the team. A city in which people are either wealthy or homeless isn’t going to attract many investors and property values will plummet. But as a greater percentage of its citizens become independent and able to offer their own contributions, the city begins to flourish.

By helping those around us, we help ourselves. And more often than we’d believe, the help people need is little more than a friendly smile and somebody to make them feel important. People need to feel needed. Because when they do, they have a sense of purpose. And it’s that sense of purpose that drives us to do great things.

Sometimes, it’s not as much about hitting the home run as advancing another runner into scoring position. We do that by giving a little more of ourselves and helping others become the best they can be. We’re all in this together. And just think how much better that ice cream will taste after a win.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Makes You Happy?

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

This is the time of year when we begin to think about life after winter. Unless you live in Australia, in which case you’re still enjoying the better half of summer. I guess it’s just a matter of perspective. I always admired birds for their ability to follow the warm weather, and their common sense in doing so. Except the birds here. I’ve heard them chirping in the snow. They must work here.

Before I get too deep into this topic, I know there are a lot of people who absolutely love cold weather and as much snow as Heaven can dump. I also know people who think smacking your head into a brick wall is invigorating. I’m not assuming anything here, just making an observation.

Let’s just say that, for most of us, warm weather is a lot more pleasant and enjoyable. And I’m finding that, the older I get, the colder cold gets. What used to be tolerable is just downright freezing. They say it’s a slowing metabolism. I say it’s common sense improving with age.

For somebody who just wrote yesterday about making the most of each day, you probably had an image of me outside in the snow, bundled from head to toe with nothing showing but an ear-to-ear grin. Now you’re making assumptions. I do try to make the most of every day. But when it’s cold, I tend to find my enjoyment inside where it’s warm.

There was a time when I loved playing outside in the snow. I remember our first winter in Ohio, pushing my daughters on their brand-new sled. They’d squeal, I’d fall, and we all got a big laugh. But it was something new. Much like that dust-covered treadmill in my office, it didn’t take long for the newness to wear off.

And I know that, in about six months, we’ll step out the door and it’ll be hot. Not just warm, but the kind of sweltering, stuffy hot that takes your breath away. And then, my friends, you’ll see that ear-to-ear grin. I may comment that it’s hot, but I’ll never complain about it. That’s just my time of year.

Which begs the question, if I love warm weather so much, why do I live in Ohio? I had to answer that question several times when we first moved here from south Florida. And I still remember my answer: “When it’s hot and I’ve stripped off everything the law allows, that’s as good as it gets. But when it’s cold, I can always get warm.” Famous last words.

Okay, there’s some truth to that. I can put on a heavier coat and a ski mask. They won’t let me in the bank like that, but it’s a start. Still, there is no cold on earth like standing next to a slow-moving gas pump in near-zero weather and the wind is cutting through like a frozen dagger. And the probability of an empty gas tank increases as the temperature goes down. It’s Newton’s law of relativity.

I’ve had a little fun with this, but there is a point to be made. If weather can have such a profound effect on our happiness, why don’t we do something about it? Right now, as I look outside at the remaining snow on the ground, people in the southern hemisphere are planning a day at the beach. And somewhere in the middle, it never gets cold. And you know what? They have houses there, too.

We all make choices. I moved here thirty years ago looking for work, and I’m still here because this is where my daughters and grandchildren live. And when my little ones walk through the front door on a snow-covered day, I remind myself this is a choice I’ve made and it’s the right choice for me. Sometimes, the greatest warmth comes from within.

Still, my wife and I have this idea that the same roads that run south also run north. As long as we have the means to travel, distance is simply a matter of choice. We can choose to let that distance separate us from family or pay them a visit. Or invite them to come see us. Or even meet someplace in the middle for a vacation the kids will never forget.

It’s all about having the means to make those choices. I have friends who visit Hawaii every year because they can. They’ve traveled all over the world because of choices they made. And every one of us can make those same choices today. We just have to want it.

It’s one thing to be stuck in the cold because you enjoy it. But we should never let our lives be controlled by circumstances we have the power to change. No headstone was ever inscribed with a person’s dreams – only their accomplishments. Get out there and make the most of it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved