We Value Ourselves as We Value Others – Think Big!

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

I slept a little later than normal today. It happens, especially when you don’t use an alarm clock. I haven’t used one in the past 20 years. Which is probably no big deal, because I never woke up to one before that. I was late for everything. But two days after I stopped smoking, I started waking up all on my own, and early. Real early. There’s something to be said for the ability to exchange oxygen.

But that’s a topic for another day. Today I want to continue with some of what we’ve been talking about this week – this idea that we all deserve the success we desire. Dreams are where it all begins, and dreams are often where it all ends. There’s a whole cemetery full of unfulfilled dreams, and it lives within the minds of everyone who ever let one of their dreams die.

To be fair, some dreams need to die. Some things we want may not be in our own best interest, or in the best interest of those we care about. Some can be downright destructive. And others may seem attractive on the surface, but the more we think about them, the more we realize it’s probably not what we really want. So, it’s no great loss when those dreams fade away.

But the greatest obstacle to achieving our dreams isn’t money, or skills, or even just plain luck. We can earn more money, build more skills, and change our own luck. But it’s hard to do any of those things with that nagging voice in your head that says you’ll never attain your goal because you don’t deserve it.

This is often the result of mistakes of the past, or even choices we made over the years that have led us to where we are now. I never went to college. I got my technical training in the Navy. But when I look at all the successful people around me, most of them have an advanced degree. So, what makes me think I deserve their level of success?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years. Most weren’t simple mistakes – they were just bad choices. Things I did with the best of intent, but knowing deep down it wasn’t the best thing to do at that point in my life. And we paid the price for those mistakes. One bankruptcy, two foreclosures, a failed business, and all the heartache that goes with it. Why do I deserve anything better?

It all begins with how we perceive our own value, and that begins with how we perceive those around us. If I look down my nose at everybody who’s ever suffered financial loss, who have lived in poverty most of their life and keep making the same mistakes, my perception of those people becomes my perception of myself. It’s like that big mirror just keeps popping up every time I form an opinion.

That’s one of the reasons I scrubbed my social media “friends” list a couple of years ago. It wasn’t so much that I got tired of all the negativity, politics, and downright despicable comments from others. I got tired of how it was affecting me. Because every time I caught myself thinking any negative thoughts, I automatically associated myself with my opinion of those other people.

The first step in improving our opinion of ourselves is improving our opinion of those around us. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything they say and do. It doesn’t even mean we need to like them. But unless we value others, we can never value ourselves. And valuing ourselves is the foundation of knowing we deserve something better.

You probably wouldn’t pack your golf clubs and drive three days to reach an exclusive members-only country club, knowing the whole time you don’t qualify for membership and couldn’t afford it even if you did. It’s that way when we begin chasing a goal that would elevate us to a level we’re not sure we deserve. Maybe we should just be content to stay right where we are and make the most of it.

If you’re happy where you are right now, that’s okay. Nobody says you have to change a thing. But make no mistake – whatever level of success you’d like to achieve in life, you deserve it. Don’t worry about the past. You can’t change it, and we’ve all made mistakes. But you can change your future. The success you deserve tomorrow begins with what you do today.

You are a person of unmeasurable value. You have gifts to share with this world that you may not have even discovered. And you deserve the best this world has to offer. It all begins with how much you value yourself and others. Because, when you can reconcile in your mind that anybody else is deserving of success, you automatically put yourself in the same category.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Fear of Success Stand in Your Way

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

Years ago, I was working on an invention. It was one of those things that has eluded mankind for centuries and, if successful, would have revolutionized the world of machinery. Imagine, if you can, free energy – an engine that operates with no source of power other than itself. The idea was brilliantly simple. And, as it turns out, it was simply not possible. At least not in that form.

I remember my dad telling me that if it worked, I would be a billionaire. That’s a lot of zeros with a capital B. As I explained it to my daughters, along with strict instructions not to share that information with anybody, my youngest began to realize how our lives would be changed, even everyday things like going to a public park. And I’ll never forget what she said next.  “Daddy, I hope it doesn’t work.”

We talk a lot about dreams and success, and how fear of failure can keep us from taking the steps necessary to succeed. But there’s another factor that plagues us almost as much – fear of success. No matter how badly we want things to change, there’s a certain comfort in knowing what to expect each day.

Success means change, and that means moving into the unknown. It means moving toward a life we may be able to imagine, but with the realization that we can only imagine parts of it. The rest will unfold as we move closer to our goal, and there may be elements of that life we hadn’t considered. That may not deter us from chasing our dream, but it does add a level of uncertainty in the outcome.

It’s been suggested that, if you were to divide all the wealth in the world equally among every person alive, within five years all that money would be right back where it started. That’s a sobering thought. And I know what you’re thinking. “Not me! Give me that kind of money, and I’d be rich for the rest of my life!” That’s what people think when they win the lottery. Yet 70% end up broke within a few years.

Part of that is simply the concept of working for something, knowing you’ve earned it and the appreciation of that reward when it comes. In “The Miracle Equation”, Hal Elrod talks about entitlement, the belief that we deserve something we want for one reason or another. It’s often interpreted in the negative sense as the belief that the world owes us something more than what we’ve earned.

But entitlement also means focusing on a goal and working toward it relentlessly, no matter what results you may achieve (or miss) along the way, and knowing that because of all that work, you deserve whatever it is you’re working toward. It’s a sense of validation that we all need as we move toward our goal. Why do you deserve the life of success? Because you’ve worked for it.

As we move toward that goal, we’ll undoubtedly discover new things we’d never considered at the outset. It’s like taking a trip across the country. You map it out and can even visualize all the big cities and attractions you’ll encounter along the way. But the true magic of the journey is all those little treasures you never knew about until they were right there in front of you.

And make no mistake – you’ll have to go through a lot of detours and treacherous terrain to reach some of those treasures. But you get through because the goal is bigger than any immediate hazard. You know what’s waiting at the end, and inconveniences become little more than speed bumps. With every mile and every setback, you’re that much more resolved to reach your goal.

And it’s that resolve that carries you through the unknown – both along the way and once you reach your final destination. Success is rarely everything we thought it would be. And there will undoubtedly be some surprises once you reach that goal, some better than others. But it’s the experience you gain along the way that will enable you to deal with those issues once they arise.

If you put an indoor plant on the front porch in the heat of summer, it probably won’t survive. The change is too rapid, and the plant doesn’t have time to adapt. But that same plant, growing in an outdoor flower bed from springtime through the summer, will thrive all season long. And, depending on the type of plant, it may even survive a harsh winter and bounce back next year all on its own.

Success involves change. There’s no getting around that. But in making the changes necessary to achieve success, you prepare yourself for any unplanned changes that come as a result. It’s that gradual progression that enables you to adapt. And it’s the knowledge that you deserve whatever success you can achieve, simply because you were willing to work for it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Lies Just Beyond Your Comfort Zone

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

When was the last time you tried something completely new? Maybe it was something creative, like knitting or woodworking. It could have been something as complex as learning to write software code, or as simple as using a new cell phone. Okay, that last one isn’t always so simple. But you get the idea. We try new things all the time. And rarely are we as good at the outset as we’d like to be.

I remember learning to drive. It’s one of the simplest things we do – in fact, judging by some people on the road, it takes no brains at all. But in the beginning, it wasn’t so easy. And for those like me who had to learn in a car with a manual transmission, just getting the car to go uphill from a dead stop was nothing short of a miracle. But we learned. And all these years later, it’s second nature.

I talk a lot about goals and dreams. There’s a reason why. Unless you’ve already accomplished everything you want in life, you have goals. They may not be in writing, and they may not even be all that well defined. But to accomplish anything new means to set a goal and work toward it.

To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Those of you who have been with me a while have heard that before. It’s one of my favorite quotes, originally attributed to Thomas Jefferson. And if you think about it, there are really no exceptions to that rule. You can’t move ahead without breaking new ground.

The problem with breaking new ground, much like learning how to drive a car with a manual transmission, is that the first few times out can pretty well suck. You dump the clutch and stall the engine. You let it out too slow and roll backward. You hit the brakes in a panic and stall the engine. You miss gears, grind gears, and at least once you accidentally try to shift into reverse.

It’s all part of the learning process. And getting the car rolling is the hardest part, because once you have momentum on your side, it’s easy to shift into the next gear. Eventually I got good. Good enough, in fact, that I learned to drive a 13-speed semi. I could even parallel park that rig between two other trucks. There’s another driving lesson we’d like to forget.

What stops us from moving toward our goals usually isn’t a reluctance to actually do the work. We know the reward is worth the effort. It’s the realization that we have to try something new. Maybe we’ve done something similar, but that hasn’t led us to our goal on its own. So, we have to do something we’ve never done before. And that can be scary.

Back in the 1980s, I wanted to learn woodworking. I picked up a little saw and a piece of pine and made a paper towel rack. That came out pretty decent, so I made a spice rack. That one was a little more complicated but came out a lot better. And with each successive attempt, I got better. Finally, I learned to build clocks and furniture. Was it worth the effort? Absolutely.

That’s not to say I didn’t have to throw some pieces in the trash and start over. And there’s nothing like finishing what you think is a masterpiece, only to watch the joints separate the first time the weather changes. You make mistakes, and you learn not to repeat them. Eventually, I got a job building furnishings for world-class yachts. It just took time, practice, and a lot of patience.

In any worthwhile pursuit, you’ll have to try new things. Because the fact is, if what you’ve been doing all along hasn’t led you to your goal, it’s never going to. We all know the old saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If we want things to change, we have to do something different. We have to be willing to learn. And we have to be willing to make a few mistakes.

Sometimes, that “something different” is so different you can’t even imagine yourself doing it. It’s never been your thing, and it would stretch your comfort zone beyond anything you’ve ever experienced. Good. That’s what it takes. Your comfort zone has led you right to where you are today, and it’ll never take you any further. But if you give it a little tug, it’ll stretch. Trust me.

Even Beethoven once struggled to play Chopsticks. If there’s something you want to accomplish, all that’s standing in your way is that comfort zone. Set it aside and be willing to fail. Each time you do, you’ll get better and better until success is simply a matter of making the decision to try.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Thoughts Are Just Words – We Dream in Pictures

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

I’ve missed you folks. I spent last week visiting my dad in what was supposed to be sunny Florida (more on that later). Normally I’d get up each morning on vacation and hammer out a few words, but this time I just let the vacation consume me every day. I guess I needed it. I hope you don’t mind.

It was nice getting away for a few days. I grew up in south Florida and, even though we weren’t quite so far south, there’s something to be said for palm trees and sunny days. And, though the sun did shine at least part of the time every day, afternoons were all about rain. It may have put a damper on my plans, but according to my dad they needed it. Old folks tend to think that way, you know?

We did get to the beach once. I succeeded in getting us lost on the way over, which is completely unacceptable to me. I should be able to smell salt air from a distance of fifty miles, but my sniffer let me down this time. By the time we got there, the clouds had caught onto our plans. We made it to one souvenir shop before the skies opened up.

But it was still enough to rekindle the dream. After a visit to the beach a few years ago, I told my wife we shouldn’t have done that because now I know how badly I’ve missed it and I want it back. We both grew up in south Florida, less than ten miles from the beach. It has a way of getting into your very soul, and it’s something that, no matter how far away you live, it never really goes away.

And that’s a good thing. Sometimes we forget how much something truly means to us, and we need that reminder. The smell of salt in the air, the warmth of the sun on your face, listening to the waves crash on the beach – if my preacher is even halfway right about the beauty of Heaven, it’s got one big, magnificent beach. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

And, in putting ourselves in those places, we not only remember how much we once enjoyed it, we allow ourselves to imagine having it back. Dreams are what drive us to do bigger and better things, to step outside the day-to-day routine and work for something better. And nothing feeds a dream like actually putting yourself in it – rain or shine, the effect is pretty much the same.

Another thing we learned on this trip is that, even though hotels can be pretty comfortable, there’s something to be said for knowing where you’ll sleep each night and having all the creature comforts close at hand. And I’m pretty sure the view through the mountains is even better through an 8-foot windshield. Our plans for buying a motorhome are that much closer to reality, simply from allowing ourselves to dream.

But dreaming alone isn’t always enough. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to experience the reality of attaining your dream. If it’s a bigger house you want, go on a home tour or visit some open houses. If it’s a fancy car, boat, or RV, go to a car, boat, or RV show. Sit in the driver’s seat. You’ll immediately feel the lure of the open road.

And, if all else fails, find some pictures of whatever it is you want. Thoughts are fluid, and we can dream up pretty much anything we want. But thoughts evaporate as quickly as they materialize. Pictures hang around as long as the tape holds up. And when that picture is right in front of you every day, it’s easier to solidify it in your mind.

There’s a reason you can get free brochures for just about anything you could ever want. The people who create and sell those things know one important fact about consumers that we sometimes forget – we think in pictures. There’s a reason you don’t hear many ads for resort vacations on the radio. The words may provoke thought, but it’s the pictures that drive you to action.

Make a list of your dreams and put it someplace where you can see it every day. Then start finding pictures. And don’t get too hung up on the “perfect” picture, because you may overlook a lot of even more perfect pictures along the way. Allow your mind to wander. And if you find something you like better, add it to the list. Voila!

It’s easy to focus on our current reality. It’s there every day, whether we want it or not. But when you allow yourself to dream, you imagine something better. And anything you can do to feed that dream brings it that much closer to reality. We only work for the things we think we can have. You have to believe it before you can achieve it. From there, anything is possible.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Just Git ‘Er Done!

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

It’s the weekend again, and for most of us that means a couple of days to relax and rejuvenate before we have to get up and face next week. For others, it’s the two busiest days of the week, working to take care of all of us who don’t feel like cooking, want to be entertained, or need to go shopping.

And for some of us, it means tackling that big project we’ve been putting off, simply because there’s never enough time during the week. I know people who actually take vacation just to stay home and work. That doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me. And it can make the weekend feel like it didn’t even happen. Seems to me there has to be an easier way.

But more often than not, we get to the end of these big projects and realize they weren’t quite as big as they seemed. Sometimes, it’s just the thought of it that was so daunting. Once we get started, things move along a little more quickly than we’d thought, and before long we’re finished with time to spare. Right. “And they all lived happily ever after.”

With me, projects always seem bigger than they were supposed to be. A simple faucet change on the sink turns into a major plumbing renovation because things that haven’t been touched in years are now being … well, touched. Throw in a little rust and corrosion, and things start to break. Big things. The ones that take five times as long to fix as the original repair and cost ten times as much.

Thankfully, I don’t have to mess with plumbing that often. And most other jobs around the house are pretty straightforward. If putting in a flower bed is the project of the week, you can pretty much plan the entire project and it’ll unfold as you’d imagined. Dig, pull weeds, dig again, plant flowers, dig again, pull more weeds, plant more flowers, lather, rinse, and repeat.

More often than not, our biggest hurdle is just getting started. And let me tell you, when that time comes, I get busier than I’ve ever been – doing anything BUT what I was supposed to be doing. I get up and make breakfast. For everybody. Then I wash dishes. Then I go to the store and lay out all the stuff I’ll need. Then I go back to the store for something I forgot. Then I make lunch. And on and on it goes.

Does that sound like anybody you know? I think most of us do that to some degree. By the time we get started, our brain is saying, “It’s too late – you’ll never get this done. You should have started earlier. Now you’ll just have to wait and do it next weekend.” It’s a rational solution to the fact that we just didn’t do what we knew we needed to do when we needed to do it. It’s an excuse.

And really, all we needed to do was just get started. Get all the materials ahead of time and have them ready to go. Get up early and have a light breakfast. Then put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves, and dig in. Odds are you’ll get it done sooner than you think, and now you can sit back and enjoy not only a little rest, but the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve truly earned it.

All too often, we let things slide that we could just as easily get done. We make them out to be bigger than they really are. We come up with a dozen other things we have to do first. And, more often than not, these are not things we need to do on the job. They’re things we need to do for ourselves. They’re the things that stand between us and whatever goals we’re trying to accomplish.

The loftier the goal and the longer it’ll take to reach it, the easier it becomes to put things off. But the longer we put things off, the greater the chance we’ll never get started in the first place. And five years from now, we’ll be left with the reality that, if we’d started five years ago, we’d be enjoying whatever it is we wanted in the first place.

If there’s something you want to do, something that’ll bring you closer to your own goals, just do it. Set aside the time and dig in. You’ll probably find that it was a lot easier than you’d thought and, armed with that small success, you’ll be ready to take on the next one. Then simply lather, rinse, and repeat. That goal is closer than you think.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Expand Your Options – Expand Your Possiblities

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

I’m getting a late start today. Well, later than normal. Twice last week my three-year-old grandson asked me to stay home and cook him some eggs. Today I decided to do just that. These years pass by way too quickly and the day comes when anything is more important than spending time with Grandpa. So, you enjoy these times while you can.

It’s nice having the option to work from home. Still, I’m one of the few who’s in the office every day. I just feel more productive when I’m at work. Besides, I like being around other people. I’ve been told I’m the official greeter of the fifth floor, because I make a point of saying good morning to everyone I see. It’s a responsibility I take seriously.

But, on the other hand, I’m trying to ease more into working from home for a couple of simple reasons. First, while we’re in the sweltering days of summer with heat indexes in the danger zone, I know it won’t be long and the pendulum will swing the other way. And there are few things I despise as much as getting into a frozen car and driving to work on snow and ice.

Also, as I’ve mentioned a few times before, my wife and I are buying a motorhome next year and we may decide to make that more of a permanent residence. Neither of us is certain where we want to retire, other than someplace warm and with an ocean. That narrows it down, but there are still hundreds of places that meet those requirements – we just need to find the right one for us.

So, the plan is to get out there and do some exploring. Find someplace interesting and go. When we get there we can decide how long we want to stay. If it’s someplace we really like, maybe we’ll come back in a few months and see how it is during the winter, or summer, or tourist season, or whatever. If we don’t like it, we can pull the plug, raise the jacks, and find someplace else to go.

When you can work from home, then home can be pretty much anyplace you want it to be. We have people on our team working in several different states, all across the country. Some like it hot, some like it cold, and some just like anyplace where the uniform of the day is pajamas.

To me, the best part is you don’t have to find a home based on the local economy. For most of us, where we live is largely determined by where we work. Some of the least expensive and quietest places to live don’t have much to offer in terms of employment. The more high-paying jobs a city has to offer, the higher the cost of living. Funny how that works.

Imagine if you could live anywhere you want without ever having to worry about where you’ll find work. What if you could build a business on the side without having to worry about location? You could live in a city, on a beach, in the boondocks, or on an island. Going to work could be as simple as crossing the hallway into another room or setting up a laptop by the pool. Okay, I’m sold!

Depending on your profession, that may or may not be an option. But our profession, like many other things, is a choice we make. We think we’re limited by things like skills, education, and experience. But those things we can acquire. That doesn’t mean you have to scrap it all and start over. It just means doing a little extra to put yourself in a better situation down the road.

And it may mean thinking completely outside the box. Employers love to use that phrase because it means using our creativity to improve our own job performance and come up with profitable ideas for the company. But it also means giving yourself options you didn’t have before. With options, you have choices. You get to make decisions based on your goals instead of basing your goals on someone else’s decisions.

When we expand our options outside “the box,” everything becomes possible. Things that didn’t make sense before make sense now. Things that wouldn’t have worked before become the best possible solution to the problem. And instead of limiting ourselves to the life we’ve known to this point, we enter the realm of unlimited possibilities. It’s a good habit to get into.

Whether you decide you’d like to work from home someday or not, never allow your life to be limited by your current circumstances. Opportunities are everywhere, just waiting to be discovered. When you find one that can lead you to your goals, grab hold and don’t ever let go. It may not be for everybody. It just has to be for you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Help Given is Help Received

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

Have you ever driven down a street lined with beautiful homes and manicured lawns, and then right in the middle of the block there’s a home that looks completely out of place? The roof is old, the siding needs paint, the lawn is full of weeds and needs to be mowed, and dilapidated furnishings are strewn across the front porch. You wonder who could possibly live like that in such a neighborhood.

Well, trust me, the neighbors feel the same way. Every day they look out their window in dismay and shake their head as they drive past that one house to get to their own. Not only is it out of place and an eyesore, it’s dragging down the property values for every other home on the block. And for the people living there, it’s a quick way to wear out your welcome in an otherwise upscale neighborhood.

I say that as I look out my front window at two old gas grills sitting in front of my garage door because I haven’t yet been able to get rid of them. I could have dragged them into the back yard again, but I barely got them to the street the first time. I’m pretty sure if I put them back there again, that’s where they’ll stay.

We’ve all found ourselves in a situation where we see something unpleasant, something we’d rather not have to look at – the person on the street asking for food, that drug addict stumbling alongside a busy road. Or that shanty in the middle of the block that just won’t fall down.

Looking away is easy. It doesn’t make the problem go away – it just makes us feel a little better since we’re not looking right at it. Besides, it’s not our problem. We have our own issues to deal with, and we’ve worked hard to rise to a higher level ourselves. If they’d try a little harder, they wouldn’t be in this position. That’s the easy answer. One that requires nothing on our part, other than a little unwanted judgment.

But if we back up and take a second look, things aren’t always as they appear. That person begging for food may not be frail and skinny, but that doesn’t mean they’re filling up on nutritious foods. Potato chips will make you fat as quickly as prime rib. That person stumbling down the road may not be a drug addict at all, but somebody with a debilitating disease just trying to get to the soup kitchen.

And the person living in that dilapidated home may be a single mother working two jobs and barely making ends meet with impending foreclosure an ever-present reality. She may be just as embarrassed as you are at the condition of her home, but any money she spends sprucing the place up could mean a choice between feeding her children or losing their home. You just never know.

None of that means we have to go out and save the world on our own. But to the extent that we help those around us to rise above their adversity, we elevate ourselves as well. Anything we can do to help another person achieve their own potential raises the collective average for everybody around them, ourselves included.

There’s always that one person on the team nobody wants to see reaching for a bat, especially with two outs and the bases loaded. The coach looks on hopelessly as the fans jeer and throw popcorn. And believe me, that person stepping up to the plate knows it. At that point, it doesn’t matter how many star players are on the team. This one person can singlehandedly lose the game.

But maybe that player is a star pitcher or can throw a ball from left field to home plate without a bounce. They just can’t hit the ball when it’s their turn at bat. So, if we can’t just remove them from the team, wouldn’t it make sense to help them become a stronger batter?

Some of the most notable figures throughout history began life in squalor, or with medical conditions that none of us can imagine. More often than not, those people want nothing more than to be like the rest of us, safe and secure, and with an opportunity to optimize their own potential. They just want to enjoy life, the same as you and me.

We may not be able to give everybody a handout, but sometimes all they need is a helping hand. A simple gesture, a little kindness, and maybe some extra effort, can go a long way in helping a person rise above whatever adversity they’re facing. We can’t eliminate all of life’s challenges. But in helping others meet theirs, our own challenges become that much more manageable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved