Who’s Keeping You On Track?

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

For those of us here in the US, yesterday was a holiday. A day to celebrate workers all across the nation. And how do we celebrate that day? Well, by shutting down the office and taking a day off. I think we need more holidays like that. How about just celebrating Boss’ Day a couple of times a week? They work too hard anyway. They’ve earned it.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. I like my manager. Though I do have to admit, when all the senior managers take a day to go to a management “retreat” there’s a completely different song in the air. Sure, people take an extra coffee break, and maybe a little longer for lunch. But the work still gets done. In fact, it seems to get done a little faster and better.

Now, I’m not suggesting we should get rid of managers. They serve a vital role in the company. Besides, without them, we’d be the first ones to catch hell any time something goes wrong. I know, we do anyway. But with a good manager, you never hear about half the problems they have to answer to every day. They take the heat, find a solution, and move on.

When things aren’t going right, it’s easy to place blame. Where that blame falls depends on your rung of the corporate ladder. For those of us at the bottom, it’s easy – somebody higher up is responsible. For those at the top, it’s easy to blame further down. And those in the middle can throw the blame in any direction they want.

But regardless of where you are or how big you are, it all comes down to accountability – the buck stops here. We’ve all heard that before. But how often do we say it? “Boss, I’m sorry. You gave me a job to do and I let you down. It was my fault.”

I’m guessing we’ve all said that at least a time or two. At work, it’s not so easy to pass the buck. The boss knows who was assigned to do the work, and how well the job was done. Okay, so maybe there were extenuating factors – lack of parts, computer went down, somebody else didn’t do their part, or just solar flares. That was always one of my favorites. Prove me wrong.

On the job, there’s always somebody to hold us accountable. You can’t make empty promises, and excuses will only work for so long, because sooner or later the boss will call you on it. But when it comes to the things we want for ourselves, we’re pretty much free to do whatever we want. “I didn’t do it because I didn’t feel like it!” Try that one at work.

All through life, we have somebody to hold us accountable for the things we need to do. That may be a manager at work, a professor in college, your spouse, your kids, or even your local homeowners’ association. They LOVE to hold people accountable. If you don’t believe me, park a junk car in your front yard for a week or two.

But when it comes to your own goals and dreams, who holds your feet to the fire? We like to think we do a pretty good job of that ourselves, but the truth is most of us pretty well suck at it. It’s easy to start a new project, but sometimes we need a little help with the follow-through. Because other priorities step in in and before you know it, nothing is getting done.

Maybe you’re one of those who’s self-motivated and never stops for anything. If so, rock on! More power to you. If you’re like the rest of us, you may want to consider enlisting a little help. Not help in doing the work, but somebody to make sure you do – somebody who will listen to your excuses, and then tell you why they don’t fly – somebody who will keep you on track.

Your accountability partner doesn’t tell you what to do – they just help you keep track of your own promises. It’s your dream, not theirs. You set the goals. You do the work. Their sole purpose is to keep you honest, and let you know when you’re coming up short. They don’t judge, and they don’t punish. That’s your job.

We’re all accountable to somebody. If you find that being accountable to yourself isn’t enough, you’re not alone. Find somebody who will drive you to succeed. Commit to yourself, and to them. And maybe you can even return the favor.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Take A Bow – You’ve Earned It!

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

The other day, my daughter had an especially challenging day with her little ones. They’re 15 months apart, and the oldest is in kindergarten, so you can fill in the blanks. Some days one is good and the other makes up for it, and the next day they switch. But every now and then, they put their minds together in a seek and destroy mission on the sanity of any adult in the house.

Now, take that and put it on steroids, and that’s the kind of day she had. At one point, she just sat at the bottom of the stairs in tears. She’d had all she could handle. My granddaughter, sensing her anguish, went to her and in the sweetest voice said, “Mommy, we’ve decided we should apologize to you for him making me do that.” Folks, that’s about as good as it gets.

I raised two daughters, and the one thing I can tell you is they never do anything wrong, at least not on their own. It was always somebody else’s fault. As Erma Bombeck observed, when the kids are upstairs and things don’t seem right, ask the girls what they’re doing and they’ll say, “Nothing.” Ask the boys and it’s, “We just threw the cat down the stairs and it was neat!”

Don’t get me wrong. I love girls. I raised two, and I still have a mostly full head of hair. It’s gray, mind you … completely. But I wear that as a badge of honor. Still, with two grandsons, I can definitely see a difference. Boys are a little less emotional about getting into trouble. They’ll confess to just about anything. Unless they get into politics, and then all bets are off.

I think as a parent, one of the things I tried to instill in my daughters the most was a sense of accountability. Not responsibility – that just means you were supposed to do something, and you didn’t. But accountability means the buck stops here. It means I screwed up and I’ll take the heat for it. Nobody made me do it – I did it all on my own. Now, can I have my phone back?

Accountability also works the other way. It means, “I did the work. While everybody else was out playing, I made the sacrifices and I made this happen. I’ve earned the reward.” That’s a hard pill for most of us to swallow. It sounds self-indulgent, and nobody likes a showoff. If you blew it, we expect a detailed commentary ending in a formal apology. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

And I think that’s why so many people have a problem with success. Oh, we love winning. We just have a problem with the entitlement that goes with it. “Well, things just worked out, I guess. It could have just as easily gone the other way. I just got lucky.” That last one is my personal favorite. It implies that you did nothing to influence the outcome – it just happened.

We expect accountability from our kids when they step out of line, and hopefully we’re leading by example. “Well, kids, we have to move. The bank is taking the house because I lost my job. It’s not my fault the boss can’t handle a little criticism. He needs to toughen up!”

Most of us do a better job than that. And I doubt we’d accept such an excuse from one of our kids. We need to teach them a sense of accountability. We need to instill a sense of humility as well. But we should also teach them that it’s okay to be proud of their accomplishments. And that begins by allowing ourselves to feel a little pride as well.

We’ll never work very hard to accomplish anything if it doesn’t give us some sense of fulfillment. To accomplish great things, you must first accept that you are deserving of great things. We can be gracious and proud at the same time. And it’s the combination of those two characteristics that will set a positive example for others as they also celebrate your success.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Commitment Will Win Over Excuses Every Time

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

Each morning, as I wake up, my brain starts searching for something to write about that day. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think about you folks as I’m going through my morning routine – showering, shaving, getting dressed, and making that all-important first cup of coffee.

Sometimes, I’ll go to bed knowing what I want to write about. If I’m really doing well, I get it written before I call it a night. But that doesn’t happen very often. When you’re 61 and get up before the sun each day, the brain starts slowing down not long after dinner. I always wondered why old people go to bed so early all the time. I’m starting to understand.

So, I get up in the morning and spill out my thoughts, hoping there’s some little thread of inspiration I can share. And I’ll admit, some days are better than others. There are days when the words just flow, and I get a little smug with pride when I’m done. And other days, I give it my best shot and think, “There’s always tomorrow.”

People have asked me how I’m able to do this each day. And the answer is pretty simple – I made a commitment. Sixteen months ago, I decided to get up each morning and share some words of inspiration. Worse yet, I let people get used to it. After a while, they began to expect it, maybe even look forward to it. And the last thing any of us wants is to let down a friend.

Two weeks ago, when we were on the road to Nebraska, I had to skip a day. I wasn’t really able to give advance notice, because it’s not always wise to let the world know you’re going out of town. But before noon that morning, an old friend sent a message saying she missed that day’s post. So, that night, I sat in the hotel and drafted a post for the next day. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

It’s that way with most things in life. Just wanting something isn’t enough. You have to want it badly enough that nothing can stand in your way. It’s all about commitment. Because, until you commit, you’re just thinking about it. You may even go through the motions, but excuses are easy to come by. And any time you need one, life will be more than happy to provide it.

Sure, there will be times when things legitimately get in the way. When I had brain surgery last year, I knew there would be a period of time that I wouldn’t be able to sit at the computer and write. And, thankfully, a close friend saw the dilemma before I even mentioned it and asked if she could fill in. For those of you who were blessed to read Mary’s words, I know you gained from it.

Making a commitment doesn’t mean challenges go away. In fact, they can multiply because you’re no longer just cruising along, taking life as it comes. You’re plowing forward through the defensive line with one objective – reaching the goal. And, trust me, that defensive line will throw some blocks. It may even try to tackle you. But when the goal is clear, none of that matters. You just press on.

I spoke to a friend over this past weekend. We’re in business together, and he’s my mentor. I shared my goals and made a commitment. Then I asked him for one thing – hold me accountable. Because when I’m only accountable to myself, I tend to make excuses. I’ve seen me do it.

But when you make yourself accountable to somebody else, things change. You know that call is coming every week, and the last thing you want to tell them is that you didn’t do any of the things you set out to do over the week. Whether we’ll admit it or not, we all want approval – on the job, at home, amongst family, and in most things we do. It’s just human nature.

It takes work to accomplish our goals. Some things require more effort than others, and the bigger the dream, the more you’ll have to do to achieve it. Until you make a commitment, it’s just a whim. And whims can never stand up to the weight of excuses. You have to decide that nothing can stand in your way – and then back that up with a resolve that can’t be shaken.

And one of the best ways to do that is to make yourself accountable to somebody else – somebody who has your best interests at heart and won’t let you get away with excuses. And maybe you can return the favor or do the same for somebody else. Because, in the act of helping another person succeed, you move closer to your own goals. And what a fantastic way to get there!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved