Don't Take Flying Lessons From Somone Who's Afraid of Heights

Good morning, and happy Friday! We’ve made it!!! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ve been trying to learn a little more about Facebook and how to build a page that will provide more features than just a simple profile. In other words, I’m about to take what’s been working so far and mess it up completely. And to help me do that, I’m reading Facebook Marketing for Dummies – 2014 edition. Because, you know … technology never changes. Besides, I’m too cheap to buy the new book.

For somebody who’s spent the past twenty years working in the IT community, you’d think I’d be just a little more adept when it comes to things like social media, the TV remote, and adding contacts to a cell phone. Well, you’d be wrong. What’s the opposite of a techno-weenie? Whatever it is, that’s me. And no, I don’t have a flip phone. But I can make a long-distance call on a rotary dial, so there!

New ideas are hard to handle sometimes. We get into a comfort zone and, though we may despise that existence more and more by the day, we look for any reason not to change. We’ll even recruit a team of nay-sayers to craft a rock-solid excuse for why we shouldn’t even consider taking that next step. People who, you know, have never taken that step themselves. But, boy do they know!

I listen to motivational CDs a lot. Most of you already know that. I read motivational books as well. Yes, you can say it. I need a life. Because we all know the only thing better than trying to make your own life better is to read books about fictional people who have it all. Great looks, sculpted body, a billion dollars, and a slightly twisted notion of romance. Who has time for that motivational babble?

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with “romance” novels, and I can see their appeal in terms of fueling our unspoken fantasies. I’ve read Fifty Shades (okay, most of the first book) and I’ve watched the movies. And I have to be honest. I’m much more interested in his cars and helicopter than his red room of pain. Yes, ladies, typical male response. And the last time I checked … well, never mind.

But with anything in life, whether it’s building a boat, flying a plane, succeeding in business, or learning how the latest intimate “toys” work, we all need some basis of knowledge before we’re ready to dive in. And it’s usually best to gain that knowledge from somebody who knows what they’re talking about. You know, somebody who’s used those toys or flown that plane.

It amazes me the number of times I’ve talked to people about starting their own business and, before we can even schedule an evening to really chat, they call back and say, “Well, I don’t know if this is gonna work. I talked to my mom, and she said …” You know the rest. Well, here’s my first question. How did that particular business work for your mom?

In an interview years ago, media magnate Ted Turner talked about a failed attempt at running a boatbuilding business. When asked what he learned from that experience he said, “I learned that I don’t build boats very well.” He didn’t say boatbuilding is a dead industry. He didn’t even say business ownership is for suckers. He simply said that wasn’t his niche. So, he found something that was.

How often do we seek advice from people who have no idea how to do what we’re thinking about doing? How often do they offer up that advice for free? It doesn’t matter what you’re considering, there are hundreds of “experts” who will give you dozens of reasons it’ll never work. So, here’s a novel idea … find somebody who’s making it work. See what they have to say about it.

I’m reading a book about how to build a new Facebook page because I don’t know all the ins and outs of doing it right. And, by this time next week, that new page will be up and running. Every day, people in my own family poo-poo on the idea of building a stronger social media presence. So, I don’t go to them for advice. I’m getting information from people who know how to make it work.

Whatever it is you want to do, unless you’re already on top of the game, odds are you could use a little help. And, as one of the speakers I’ve listened to loves to say, if you want to be a millionaire, don’t go to a thousandaire for advice. Find somebody who’s already succeeded in that endeavor and listen to what they have to say. More often than not, the advice they give will be spot-on.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Makes You So Special?

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

One of the things that amuses me most about kids is their perception of “fair.” It’s not fair they have to go to bed. It’s not fair they have to do homework while the other kids are playing. It’s not fair they have to clean their own room. It’s not fair that they only get one shot of bourbon in their sippy cup. Okay, that last one may not be entirely legal, but tell me you’ve never considered it.

As toddlers, we learn about fair play quickly. What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine. We share. Toys, germs, broccoli, and mom’s lipstick. Funny, mom is all about sharing until you start sifting through her purse. And the other kids? Well, it depends who’s bigger. When you’re the little guy, you share. Everyone else receives. Those are the rules.

Somehow, we carry this slanted idea of fairness into adulthood. When I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it was fair that I was always the one to clean toilets. Nobody else took their turn. I mean, they had no qualms about using those toilets, but I was the one who got stuck cleaning them. No fair!!! Okay, I never actually said that. I only look stupid. Besides, there were lots of other toilets on that ship.

But then I put a couple of stripes on my sleeve, and things changed. All of a sudden, I got to sit there and sip coffee while the new guy got stuck cleaning toilets. And the whole time his face was screaming “no fair!” I did my best to hide my smile. Fair? You bet it is! Go get yourself some stripes! That’s your job now! Until the new guy goes on vacation. Then … well, you know. “Oh, Daaave!!!”

It’s that warped sense of fairness that holds us back in real life. On the job, in relationships, in society, and in business. We expect to be treated fairly. And we may even try to set a good example, but only until somebody else gives us the shaft. “Leftovers again??? And you think I’m gonna fix the brakes on your car? Yeah, hand me the toolbox!” Okay, in my defense, she never actually hit anything.

On the other side of that equation is the notion of entitlement. You want something, some form of reward that you haven’t yet achieved. Maybe it’s a promotion or a new job. Maybe it’s a bigger house. It could be as simple as a weekend without the company cell phone, or as grand as a new boat. But, do you really deserve it? I mean, everybody else would like a little of that action, too. Right?

One of the biggest things that holds us back from reaching our full potential is the feeling that we’re no more deserving of that success than anybody else. It’s hard to look a person in the eye when they’ve been working in the same job as you for the past ten years and, two years in, you’re applying for a promotion. Why you? How is that fair to them? You almost feel guilty even trying.

No matter what it is you want to accomplish, the first thing you have to get past is that feeling that you may not deserve it. Unless you break the law or sacrifice your moral values along the way, you deserve whatever level of success you can achieve. And if you do step outside the law, you still get what you deserve. Try looking the judge in the eyes and crying, “No fair!” I dare you.

Beyond that, if you’re willing to take a risk, make the sacrifices, do the work, and put up with other people’s BS along the way, you deserve whatever your heart desires. And what about that other person? Well, they could have the same thing as you. In fact, once you achieve your goals, you can show them how. Sometimes we do more for others simply by leading the way.

There is nothing in this world that is above your level of privilege. Sure, if you were born into a “normal” family you may have to work a little harder. But that only means you’ll appreciate your success that much more. Never sell out your dreams simply because you’re not sure you’re worthy. You are. Get that in your head now, and there’s not much that can ever hold you back.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Luck Isn't Something You Trip Over

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

There’s an old tradition in show business that says when a friend is getting ready to take the stage, you never say “good luck.” Somebody, at some point in time, fell flat on their face after being the recipient of such a prayer, and decided it must be because the gods of karma turned the blessing against them. There’s no other logical explanation – certainly not a lack of talent or preparation.

So, when you want to wish your friend a strong performance, you give the karma gods something else to consider. “Break a leg!” That’s the kindest thing somebody can say as you’re taking the stage. Unless you’re as clumsy as I am. I’d rather take my chances with good luck.

One night my ankle rolled as I was taking the stage and I took a nosedive in front of a sold-out crowd. The audience thought it was part of the show. And in complete honesty, it probably got a bigger laugh than any of my jokes that night. I stood up, took the microphone, and nodding to an imaginary person backstage said, “Break a leg … thanks jackass!”

No, it wasn’t an intentional part of the show. The ligaments in my left ankle are about as strong as a politician’s conscience. It’s an old war injury. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Never mind that the country wasn’t technically at war at the time. It happened on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean when I was in the Navy. That’s all you need to know.

Bad luck? Maybe. The doctor said I would have been better off if my ankle had broken, but that’s not the way it turned out. And, since that time, I’ve learned to deal with the fact that it’ll clock out on an unauthorized break any time it feels like it. At that point, the best I can do is try to steer myself away from anything hot or sharp. Falling down is a foregone conclusion.

When somebody we know has several bad things happen in a row, we say they’ve had a run of bad luck. And when everything they touch turns to gold, we attribute that to luck as well. “Some people just have all the luck.” Yeah. Especially people who do things like, I don’t know … work, keep their eyes open to opportunities, and take a few calculated risks along the way.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know the next sentence by heart. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. Delivering a strong performance onstage requires two things – an audience that wants to be entertained, and a performer who’s ready to deliver. And the same is true in everything we do. Opportunity and preparation. Put the two together and good things happen.

But, like any mathematical formula, the order of operations makes a world of difference in the result. If you wait for opportunity to come knocking and then try to get onboard with the preparation side of the equation, it’ll be gone before you know it. Like the six-o’clock bus, opportunity doesn’t wait for anyone. There are too many others already waiting for it to come along.

Preparation has to come first. You have to get dressed before you go to the bus stop and wait for something to come along. That habit can keep you out of jail, too. Or so I’m told. Opportunity pretty much demands that you’re ready for it. And while you’re standing on the curb in your bathrobe, the people who got dressed first are on their way to earning a paycheck. That’s just how it works.

Besides, unless you’re prepared to make the most of an opportunity, you probably wouldn’t recognize it anyway. Oh, you may see it. But you won’t be able to truly appreciate it. You’ll say things like, “That’ll never work. I have a cousin who tried that once and he’s still broke. I’ll just wait for a prettier bus to come along.” Well, guess what? There is no prettier bus coming. Get onboard or be left behind.

Opportunity knocks, but it doesn’t knock the door down. You have to leave the door open just a crack and be ready to jump on the right opportunity when it comes. Be picky, but not so picky that you spend your life waiting for a prettier bus. Sometimes, a worn-out pair of sneakers fits better than the flashy new pair. But you’ll never know unless you put your feet in and lace them up.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Embrace Your Starting Point … Even If It Sucks

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

Yesterday I went back to the gym for the first time in (inaudible mumbling) days. Okay weeks. Alright, months. Let’s just air it all out right now. It’s been less than a year, so that’s where I’m stopping. And don’t ask when I was there last because I’m not even sure the YMCA computers keep records that long. Let’s just say it’s been a while.

This isn’t part of a New Year’s resolution. It’s more about spending too many hours sitting around the house every day. And that whimper I hear from the bathroom scale every morning. Last time I stepped on it the digital display just said “ERR”. I guess that beats “OUCH” but not by much.

Add in several years of lower back pain that’s getting worse with time, and the fact that I have to pay my grandson to carry a couple of 40-pound bags of salt to the basement, and it’s painfully obvious I have to do something. The only problem is they expect you to pick those weights up by yourself, and there isn’t a motorized exercise bike in the place. Only a set of pedals. Seriously?

The treadmill would be great, but you can’t just stand there. I’ve seen too many videos of what happens when people fall behind on that device, and it’s not pretty. But there is some perverse sense of satisfaction in standing with your feet on the side rails and watching the display rack up the miles. I can burn off 6,000 calories without even breaking a sweat.

Okay, we all know it takes a little more effort than that. I joke about fitness and my weight because it beats crying about it. And I think we all need to do that a little more. There’s nothing worse than trying to get out of a yoga pose as some anorexic diva complains about her belly fat. The first step toward self-improvement is accepting yourself just as you are. Only then can you get better.

We all have our own starting point, no matter what it is we’re trying to accomplish. For some, that starting point is at least a few degrees better than most of us would be thrilled with as a final goal. And that’s okay. I can’t set their goals any more than they can set mine. We can set expectations, but those are imposed. Kind of like the boss telling you when an assignment is due.

And make no mistake, those expectations have to be met. But in terms of goals, they’re little more than a mandate by somebody who’s less interested in your priorities than their own. On the job, that’s to be expected. Needs of the company have to be met. But off the job, we need to set our own expectations. And once we’ve established those expectations, they need to become goals.

The key is to approach those goals as if you’re being paid to succeed. And in every sense of the word, you are. But ask yourself at the end of the day if you met the expectations of the job. If you were paying yourself to do this, would you still have a job tomorrow? Or would you be sitting outside the boss’ office with a herd of penguins doing a Texas two-step in your belly? Be honest.

No matter what personal goals you hope to accomplish, start with these two truths in mind. First, you are perfectly acceptable just as you are. You don’t have to measure up to anybody else’s standard. And second, you have the ability to do anything you desire. Whether it’s fitness, weight loss, improved health, a stronger relationship, or increased wealth, it’s waiting to be claimed.

The ability to laugh at your predicament is a healthy start to working toward improvement, because it means you’ve accepted the reality of that situation. You’re not kidding yourself or anybody else. From there, it’s just a matter of deciding which way you want to go. The only thing standing in your way is your own desire. Okay, and a few non-motorized exercise machines.

If you want the machines (or the world) to move, you need to do the pushing. You can do this.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can't Fail If You Don't Try

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

No, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth. No, my account wasn’t hacked by a political troll. I didn’t have my morning coffee until mid-afternoon yesterday, so that’s my defense against anything I may have said or done that made a few heads spin. But I know you’re my friends, and if my lack of coffee went further than I’m aware, I’m sure I can count on you for bail money.

It’s the first Monday in a new month. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that would be the dead of winter. I’ve often wondered why people south of the equator don’t just advance the calendar six months so we can all dread February equally. Or maybe we should just turn our calendar back six months, though enough people whine about August already. I’m not sure I could handle that.

This is typically a week when those of us who made resolutions take a few moments to reinforce our goals. That’s not to say we’ll do anything more about it – we just admit we blew it and remind ourselves why it was important in the first place. For another week or two, most local gyms will still be pretty well packed. But by mid-month, all those workout clothes will be in a Goodwill bag.

I have to say I’ve done pretty well with my resolutions so far. Granted, cutting certain words out of your vocabulary isn’t that great an accomplishment, especially when you’re not out in morning traffic every day. But I’m trying. I had a few others as well, and I’m hitting about 50% on those. Half the battle is recognizing where you’re falling short. But the other half is doing something about it.

We make a big deal about New Year’s resolutions, but they’re really no different than any other goal we may set during the year. So let’s stop calling them resolutions and just call them what they are … pipe dreams. Okay, goals. Some would say the two are about the same, but I say there’s one big distinction between the two. Intent. Premeditation. The willingness to see it through.

A goal without a plan is just a dream, and a plan without action is somebody else’s roadmap to success. And years down the road, we’ll tell people, “I had an idea about that once, but I failed.” No, you didn’t. You can’t fail if you don’t try. And that’s what stops most of us from taking that first step. Inaction is life’s only certain hedge against failure. It’s also a guarantee against success.

Which brings me to an important point. The absence of failure doesn’t mean you’ve succeeded, and the absence of success doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Read that again. You can’t fail until you stop trying, but success will still take a little more effort. And as long as you’re in the hunt for success, you haven’t failed. Both are absolutes at opposite ends of the spectrum. Action is what lies between.

So, try this. Find the most obnoxious person you know and share your goals with them. Tell them the great things you’ll do in the coming year, and then sit back and await the inevitable barrage of criticism. Then do yourself the best favor you possibly can. Succeed. Not just a little, but all the way. If for no other reason, than to rub their big fat nose in it. By then you’ll be able to afford the protection.

A goal is simply a dream with a due date. But as long as you’re willing to give yourself a free pass on that due date, it’ll never happen. Figure out what needs to be done and do it. See it through to the very end. And if it still doesn’t work, at least you’ll have earned the right to say you failed. But odds are, you’ll be telling a completely different story.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time Is What You Make Of It

Good morning, and happy Friday!  I hope your day is off to a nice start.

It’s been a busy week on my end. Not busy in the sense that you would normally think, but sometimes it’s all about perspective. For some people, getting out of bed every morning is productive. I’ve made a little more progress than that, so I guess I can’t complain. At least I haven’t had to shovel snow (or pick up frozen lizards out of the yard). Yeah, that last one was a news story that caught my eye.

I did have a job interview this week that went really well. I’m sure at least a dozen other who applied for that job felt the same, but they have room for a few of us, so I guess we’ll find out. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing some cleaning in my basement which, over the years, has become the collection area for everything nobody wants to mess with right now and is unwilling to throw away.

Some people take time off from work just to stay home and catch up on things like this. I’ve never liked working vacations, so I let the company set this one up for me. And, since I don’t have the option to go to work each morning, it’s a good time to get caught up on all those things I didn’t do before because I was too busy working.

Notice I didn’t say all those things I couldn’t do … didn’t and couldn’t are two different things. We always love to say we can’t do something because we don’t have the time. But let somebody suggest a movie, or invite you to card night, and suddenly time isn’t so much of an issue. Time can pretty much materialize any time we want it. And if it doesn’t, we find ways to bend it.

Here’s a question I ask people a lot. Think of someplace you’d love to go on vacation – someplace really nice. And not just for a few days, but for a couple of weeks. Now, if the boss were to come to  you and say, “Give me an extra 7 hours every week – split it up any way you want, but it has to be 7 hours – and I’ll pay for that vacation,” would you do it?

Everybody I’ve asked has said absolutely, they’d put in the extra time. Notice, we didn’t say what the boss wants you to do for those 7 hours each week. Maybe he needs somebody to clean toilets. Maybe he needs somebody to make sales calls. Maybe he needs somebody to demo products. But not one person has even asked that question. For 7 hours a week, they’d do pretty much anything.

Yet, when I ask those same people if they’ve ever considered starting a side business, the number one excuse is, “I just don’t have the time.” Okay, let me get this straight. You can find 7 hours every week for the boss, but you can’t find time to do something for yourself, something that could someday buy a vacation home instead of just a two-week visit?

Part of the issue is that we tend to trust our employers more than we trust ourselves. That money is pretty much guaranteed. You know, until they say, “You’ve done a great job, but we just don’t need you anymore.” Now I have all the time in the world to build a business. Yet, I’ve spent most of that time dawdling around the house, reading, and working on a few freelance assignments.

Stepping out on your own takes courage. There’s a risk involved. That risk may be financial, and it may be personal. You might have to buy some equipment, tools, or inventory. You might have to invest in a website. You may have to spend a little on advertising. But, for the most part, you can manage those costs and thereby minimize the risk. There are businesses you can start for less than $100.

But the real fun starts when you tell your family and friends about your new venture. “Are you serious? That’ll never work!” Ever heard of a man named Gary Dahl? In 1975, he came up with the idea of putting a rock in a box with straw bedding and breathing holes, and selling them for $4. You think people laughed at the idea of a pet rock? Absolutely. Gary Dahl laughed all the way to the bank.

If a man can become a millionaire, almost overnight, selling imaginary pets disguised as a rock, there’s not much you can’t do to make a little extra money yourself. Maybe not a million dollars, but would a few hundred a month make a difference? Would it pay for that vacation you for which you’d gladly invest 7 hours a week?

Invest those 7 hours in yourself. Don’t tell me the time just isn’t there. You just haven’t looked. But if you find that time and use it to your own advantage, a vacation may be just the beginning of the great things you can do.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Is Comfort Holding You Back?

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ve been bad about getting my posts out each morning. I could make some excuses for that, but the bottom line is I just haven’t done it. There’s something about not having to get up for work each day that changes the whole routine. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been up, most days at the same time as before. But I have to admit, I’ve allowed my days to start off a lot slower than before.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all creatures of habit. Some more than others, and I tend to fit into that category really well. I used to be spontaneous, but somewhere along the line I found a level of comfort in repetition and settled into a groove. That groove has served me well over the years, but I’d like to start shaking things up a little. You know, just enough to keep it interesting.

We’ve talked about this before, but comfort is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives you peace of mind. You know what to expect, and as long as nothing comes along to upset your routine, you can go through the day without much challenge. Life is good, and that’s the way you want it to be.

On the other hand, comfort breeds laziness. I’m not talking about kicking back on a beach after a year of working every day and saving money so you could spend a few days in a tropical paradise. That’s reward. You’ve earned it. But when you go back home, if you slip back into that routine of going to work every day and planning next year’s vacation, that’s your comfort zone.

That sounds counter-intuitive. I mean seriously, work is your comfort zone? Well, if it’s what you do every day without thinking about it too much, that’s exactly what it is. It’s your daily routine and you don’t dare shake things up. Because that involves risk – you know what to expect every day, even if it’s not something you really love. But it pays the bills and puts food on the table. Case closed.

Hopefully you’ve got a job that provides for your daily needs and lets you take that annual pilgrimage to the beach, or wherever you like to unwind. But here’s a crazy thought. What if you worked a little harder and took two trips to the beach instead of one? Maybe you could buy a condo and go there any time you want. What if you moved into that condo and could stroll the beach every day?

If you can dream it, you can do it. But accomplishing those dreams means doing something different, maybe something you’ve never done before. It means stepping outside your comfort zone. It might mean taking some classes or spending a little extra time at work learning a new skill. Maybe it means taking a second job and investing your paycheck. Or maybe even starting a business of your own.

Think for a moment about your greatest dream. Not a weekend vacation or a new car, but something really big. Now, ask yourself this question – if I knew that doing a certain thing each day would eventually lead me to that dream, would I do it? Then, ask yourself one more question. Within the bounds of legal and moral standards, is there anything I wouldn’t be willing to do?

That last question is important, because it exposes the limits of your comfort zone. Would you be willing to talk to strangers? Would you be willing to work a few extra hours every week? Would you be willing to learn a completely new skill, or study a topic that never caught your interest before? Would you be willing to travel to places you’ve never heard of, where nobody else wants to go?

As you enjoy your next vacation, take a good look around. There are people just like you who get to do this once a year and will soon head back to a routine existence that, if they’re lucky, will let them do it again sometime. And there are others who do this all the time, who will leave this destination for another one. The difference between them lies within their own personal comfort zone.

It’s good to be comfortable. We work for it, and we deserve it. But if you’re willing to stretch things a little, to step outside that comfort zone, you open a world of possibilities. If you can dream it, you can do it. The only limitation is within your own comfort zone. Take a look outside and see what’s there. It just may be worth a try.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved