You Earn What You Deserve, and You Deserve What You’ve Earned

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

So, the year is half over … how are you doing on your goals for the year? Yeah, I know. I didn’t even set that one up with a light jab. I just went straight for the knockout punch. But it’s a question we all need to answer if we want to accomplish anything worthwhile.

And I’m not even talking about New Year’s resolutions, because we all know how that went. According to Forbes Magazine, only 8% of us have accomplished our resolutions for the year. The rest of us gave up long ago. I made a resolution once to never again make a New Year’s resolution, and I even broke that one. Go figure.

I’ve made a little progress toward my goals for the year. Not nearly as much as I’d envisioned by this point in the year, but it’s a step in the right direction. And sometimes, that’s the hardest part. It’s easy to make a decision, to commit to making a positive change. Doing something about it takes a little more effort. And that’s where most of us fall short.

The problem is largely in our minds – we know what needs to be done, but maybe we don’t think we can actually do it. Or we blow it out of proportion and make it a lot more dramatic than it really is. After all, who wants to celebrate tying their shoes every morning? If I’m going to spend my time and energy on something, it’s got to be something BIG!

Another thing is that sense of entitlement, or the lack of it. We know what we want. We’re even willing to work for it. But do we really deserve it? After all, everybody around us is right about where we are in life. What makes us so special? Why should we have anything more than the people who are doing exactly what we’re doing every day?

Well, if we’re going to put forth exactly the same amount of effort as everyone else, then we haven’t really earned anything better. That kid who studies hard every day, puts forth their best effort, and turns in every assignment on time, deserves an A. And then there’s that kid who goofs off all day and would love to get an A, but knows deep down he doesn’t deserve it.

It’s when we question our entitlement to enjoy a better life that we find it hard to put forth the effort. We dream about it, but deep down there’s that nagging reminder that, for most of the people enjoying that life, they already put forth the effort. They did the work and now they’re reaping the reward. And here we are, still thinking about it.

What sets achievers apart from the rest of us isn’t heredity or education or upbringing or even blind luck. It’s the willingness to work for something better. It’s having a dream, believing in themselves enough to go for it, and following through until they reach their goal. And, just like that student in school working for an A, they’ve earned success. They deserve it.

And make no mistake, there will be some who scoff at their ambitions or try to take away that sense of entitlement for something they’re doing the work to accomplish. “Seriously? You’ve lived on this side of town your whole life! You never even went to college! What makes you think you deserve to live over there?”

And if nobody says that to us directly, we’ll fill in the blanks. Because our brain only knows what it’s been taught. Every bit of knowledge comes from something in our past – something we experienced, something we learned, or even something we saw somebody else try. And it’s hard to get our brain to think beyond what it knows.

But if you’re out there working for something you want, not letting anything stand in the way, you absolutely deserve the success for which you’re working. If that person sitting next to you thinks they deserve the same level of success as you, then maybe they should be out there working for it as well.

Dreaming is easy, and it’s really not so much of a stretch to believe we could someday achieve our dreams. But that element of entitlement, of knowing we’ve earned the success we desire, comes from putting forth the effort. The harder you work, the more deserving you feel, and that makes you want to work even harder.

You deserve whatever level of success you desire and are willing to work to achieve. Life isn’t always fair, but it tends to show a preference for those who earn what they desire. Take that first step. It’s really not as big as it seems. Just do the work and believe in yourself. The reward will be that much sweeter knowing what it took to get there.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Effort and Belief – It Takes Two

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

I’ve been reading a new book, The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod. If you’re into motivational books, I highly recommend this one. If you’re not, I highly recommend you give it a try. There’s none of the mystery or romance in a typical novel. Just a couple-hundred pages of info on how each and every one of us can make our lives better. You know – boring stuff.

That’s what you would think by the way some people react. “How can you read that stuff?” My response to that is, “How can you not?” We’ll read a recipe book. We’ll read an instruction manual on how to fix a car. For some people, romance novels are a “how-to” for their love life (or what they wish it could be). But we won’t read a few pages about how to achieve success in life.  Seriously?

What I like about this book is that it takes a detour from the beaten path and suggests a concept many of the others tend to leave out. While some authors put all their emphasis on self-confidence and focusing on a dream, this book suggests that believing in yourself (unwavering faith) is only half the equation – you may have to actually work for it.

The two, faith and effort, go hand-in-hand. Have you ever set out on a trip with no confidence you’d reach your destination? Okay, I’ve owned a few cars that made me say an extra prayer, but you get the point. If we had no faith in our ability to safely reach a destination, we’d never leave the house.

But, sitting around the house staring at pictures of the beach won’t make it materialize in your front yard. If you want to smell the salt air and feel the warmth of the sun, you have to put down the travel brochure and do something about it. You may even have to drive. A lot. And with each mile that passes, the closer you get to your destination, the more real it begins to feel. And the more real it begins to feel, the more determined you are to get there.

I talk a lot in my posts about dreams as the basis for action. I talk about how we’re all wired for success and are naturally driven to it. I talk about believing in yourself enough to know that you can accomplish anything. But something I don’t talk about much is the effort that makes it all happen. I guess I don’t like talking about work any more than most other people.

But work is an important part of the equation. In the popular children’s book, a little train engine sat there repeating “I think I can, I think I can!” But until it put forth the effort to start moving, nothing happened. It was the combination of faith and effort that made the little train move. We’re no different. We can sit there and think about it all day. But at some point, we have to take action.

In the past, I’ve quoted Napoleon Hill who once said, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” I love those words, because they simply say if we can dream something up and have faith in our ability to achieve it, nothing can stop us from doing it. But it leaves out one very important part – we have to do the necessary work to make it happen.

And that begins with having a plan, knowing what to do and how to get the most from all that effort. A couple of days ago, a pickup truck next to me sat at a traffic light spinning its tires so fast they were smoking. There was a lot of “think I can” going on there, a lot of exuberance on the part of the driver, and a lot of effort (gas) being expended. But the truck wasn’t going anywhere.

We sometimes do the same in the excitement of starting on a new goal. The light turns green and we mash the pedal to the floor. As we’re sitting there burning through all our energy, the rest of the world calmly moves ahead. It doesn’t take long for us to realize we’re not going anywhere, so we back off the gas and try a different approach. Hopefully we still have some energy left.

On the other hand, too much planning can be paralyzing. It’s one thing to think about what you need to do. It’s another thing to just sit there and keep thinking about it. At some point, you have to take a leap of faith and get started.  You’ll know in an instant if you’re moving forward or spinning your wheels.

Belief makes things possible, but effort makes things happen. Believe in yourself enough to do the work, and work hard enough to justify your belief. Then do both for as long as it takes. The reward is worth it. And so are you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Every Failure Brings You That Much Closer to Success

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

You know that feeling when you’ve been working away at something day after day with no visible results? You know what needs to be done, and you’ve been doing it, yet none of it seems to have moved you any closer to your goal. For all practical purposes, it seems you end each day right back where you started.

I imagine it feels that way for software developers. You write line after line of code, for days on end, with a simple goal in mind – you want to turn on a computer, press a few keys, and see things magically happen. But until that last line of code is written, you have no way of knowing for sure if what you’ve done will yield any measurable results. Everything in between is just work.

It’s that way with a lot of the things we do. We work and work and work, and waiting for the visible results can seem to be an eternity. This is especially true with raising kids. You put forth the effort every day for years before you find out if you did the job well. Oh, we’ll get little indications of success along the way, but it can literally take a lifetime to see the full impact of our effort.

Still, every little thing we’ve done contributes in some small (or not so small) way toward the overall results. We may not see the results immediately, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. When you’re on a cross-country trip, you probably don’t celebrate every one of those mileposts along the way, even though each one is getting you closer to where you want to be.

But when the road is closed, and a detour takes you several miles out of your way, you breathe a big sigh of relief when all those twists and turns finally put you back on the highway you were on. The goal is that much closer, and you set the cruise control with a feeling of accomplishment at having navigated unfamiliar territory without getting lost in the process. You da man!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been putting forth a fair amount of effort in one of my personal goals without any visible results. It happens. My mentors, people who have been where I am and have gone far beyond where I hope to be, all keep telling me the same thing – just keep doing what needs to be done. Put forth the effort on a consistent basis, and the results will come.

Well, they were right. Over the weekend, some of that work paid off and I was able to celebrate a win. It’s a small win in the overall scheme of things, but one of many that will lead me closer to my goal. And, for that very reason, it’s a huge win. Because every step in the right direction validates not only the effort, but the self-confidence that got you moving in the first place.

As challenging as it can be to succeed, it’s even more challenging to work through those times when things just don’t work the way we’d planned. To be certain, some of those times actually put us further from our goal than we were to start with, and it takes that much more work just to get back to where we started. After a while, you begin to wonder if it’s even worth taking that next step.

But sometimes we have to find out what doesn’t work in order to find what does. Mom used to say there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and she was right. But for everything that gets the job done and brings you closer to your goal, there may be hundreds of approaches that won’t work. And in the very act of eliminating those that don’t work, we move closer to the ones that will.

Those software developers know exactly what I’m talking about. If any of them ever tell you they’ve never written a faulty line of code, and that every one of their creations worked exactly as planned on the very first try, don’t trust them in a real estate deal.

Creation, of any kind, is a process of trial and error. You have to be willing to fail in order to succeed. And when those failures come, you have to be willing to dust yourself off and keep moving. Because what you’ve experienced isn’t truly a failure – it’s just another step along the path to success.

Decide what you want and then put forth whatever amount of effort is required to get you there. Remember these words – I will, until. You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll experience setbacks. But as long as you keep doing the things you need to do the results will come. Stay focused and keep moving. Success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Swing Like You Mean It!

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

My office at work is right across the street from a minor-league baseball stadium. You can always tell when the team is in town for a home game, because of all the fanfare in and around the stadium. And the home team has as many die-hard fans as any major-league team. They just don’t have to pay quite as much to watch a good game.

As a young boy, I loved playing baseball. That is to say, I loved putting on the uniform, biting off a big chunk of bubble gum, and standing out there in right-field pretending somebody would actually hit a ball in my general direction. Let’s just say I spent a lot of time kicking daisies off their stems.

And when it was my turn at bat, there was little doubt I’d be heading back to the dugout empty-handed. The only way I got on base was if the pitcher couldn’t throw three balls in the strike zone. I’d swing – sometimes. But even when I did, it was a half-hearted swing because I had accepted defeat before I ever stepped up to the plate.

I always thought failure is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. Years ago, my wife and I owned a NASCAR souvenir shop. We built it from nothing – a few ball caps, some tee shirts, and a display of coffee mugs in the local flea market. We grew that into a fully-stocked weekend store, then opened a kiosk in the local shopping mall, and finally went into a real retail storefront.

I’ll never forget those last two days after the “Closed” sign was placed in the window for the last time. There were boxes to pack, full of items nobody wanted. There were shelves and racks and display cases waiting for somebody to haul them away for half what we paid. Finally, our name was removed from the front window, and it was official – we had failed. Life was pretty bleak.

But as bad as it feels to fail, it’s even worse stepping up to the plate expecting failure, knowing that no matter how hard you try, it’s the inevitable result. In baseball I didn’t swing as hard. I’d look at a perfect pitch and hope the umpire went temporarily blind. In my store, I’d sit behind the sales counter watching cars go by instead of making phone calls. The shelves were dusty. I just quit trying.

I’m sure every one of you has been there. Nothing seems to go right, and each thing that goes wrong becomes just one more example in a litany of excuses for why it was never going to work. After a while, you become your own worst enemy. You hang your head and look for new excuses. And when none present themselves without any effort, you make things go wrong. You’ve long since given up on the idea of success – all you want right now is validation for failure.

Missing a goal feels pretty bad. Do it a bunch of times in a row, and it can really start to wear you down. After a while, you look around at other people who aren’t even trying and begin to think maybe they know something you don’t. You’re over here beating your head against a brick wall and they’re lounging around in the back yard with frozen cocktails. It’s not hard to envy that life.

And then your subconscious mind kicks in and regurgitates every negative thought in its arsenal. “What made you think you could do this? You had to know you’d fail. If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it. How much time have you wasted when you could have been enjoying life? You wouldn’t be feeling this way if you’d never set a goal in the first place. Just give up!”

If any of that sounds familiar, welcome to the human race. It happens to all of us. And the more it happens, the more we begin to believe it. Negative thoughts can be pretty convincing, especially in the absence of success. And with every failure, those negative thoughts just get stronger. It’s like pouring gas on a fire except, after a while, the fire begins to pour gas on itself.

It’s only when we put those negative thoughts behind us and replace them with a newfound confidence that we can turn those failures into successes. Approach a goal with the expectation of success and your odds increase exponentially. With every swing, expect a hit and be ready to run to first base when it happens.

Step up to the plate. Swing confidence and conviction and keep doing it no matter how many times you miss. That perfect pitch is coming, so be ready when it happens. This is your time to shine.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Winners Always Win – And So Can You

Good morning. It’s Hump Day and we’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off just right.

As you look forward to your day, there are things you know will happen. They’re just certain. You’ll eat. You’ll have to use the restroom. Somebody will cut you off in traffic, and for a moment you’ll be upset about it. These things are as certain as the sunrise. Even when the sun is hiding behind clouds, you know it’s there.

Mom always used to say there are three things in life that are certain – death, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta. You can complain about them. You can even try to avoid them. But unless you choose to live under a rock, those three things will be a part of your life at some point. Okay, the first one happens regardless, but you get the point.

But good things happen, too. You woke up this morning. That’s always a good thing. Odds are the car will start when you turn the key. Traffic may be heavy, but you’ll get there. Somebody will smile at you during the day, and that odd person who wants to be everybody’s friend will stop by to say hi. Certain things are just … well, certain. You can count on them like clockwork.

Have you ever met somebody who just can’t seem to lose? No matter what they touch, it turns to gold. They get all the breaks. They have the perfect job, they live in the perfect home, and drive an awesome car. They eat cake and never get fat, they run and never get tired, and they always have the perfect solution to any problem. Nothing ever seems to bother them. Must be nice!

Part of it is perspective While you’re complaining about heavy traffic, they’re saying, “Where? I didn’t have any problems at all today.” And you know you both drove the same route. How is it possible that they didn’t hit any traffic? Well, maybe their perspective is a little different than yours. If they grew up in Los Angeles, any traffic that moves is pleasant.

It’s also possible that they were too busy singing along with their favorite songs on the radio to even notice the traffic. Or maybe they were listening to a motivational CD, where somebody else is telling them they can have anything they want, and then tells them how to do it. Sure, they see all the cars, and they stop at the red lights. But they’re too busy thinking about good things to notice the bad.

Successful people all share a few common characteristics. At the top of the list is belief. They don’t just think it’s possible they can accomplish a goal, they believe it’s a sure thing. Other people may get a chuckle out of their enthusiasm, but it doesn’t even faze them. They just keep doing what needs to be done and end up laughing all the way to the bank.

Armed with that belief, they do what it takes to succeed. It’s not hard when you know the inevitable result. If the boss offered to send you on your dream vacation at the completion of a project, how hard would you work to make that happen? On the other hand, if the boss said, “Hard work gets noticed around here,” the reward is a little less certain. Successful people keep the goal in front of them all the time. They know the outcome – they just haven’t attained it yet.

Finally, successful people don’t get mired down in the details. Yes, traffic is heavy. And how, exactly, is that impacting their ability to succeed? A year from now, as they check in at the airport for that dream vacation the boss never promised, will they even remember this morning’s traffic? No, because their mind is already too busy thinking about the next goal.

A friend of mine often asks what your goals would be if you knew you couldn’t fail. I have that little gem on a note at my desk. If you knew success was inevitable, as certain as sunrise, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta, what would your goals be? Do you think just maybe you’d be setting them a little higher?

You see, the successful person accomplishes all those amazing things for one simple reason – they decided to do it. They took that first step because they knew they could take the last. Every step in between is just part of the journey. And if heavy traffic gets in their way, they simply find a way around or use that time to plan the next move. Belief, action, and resolve. Those are the traits of a winner.

What goals would you set if you knew you couldn’t fail? You were born to win, and there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Aim high, believe in yourself, and don’t let anything get in the way. You’ve got this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keep Going – You’re Moving Faster Than You Think

Good morning! It’s Monday, and that means the beginning of a brand-new week! I hope your day is starting off well.

For those of you who were with us Saturday, I slipped on in on you. I hope you’ve had time to read it, because it pretty much tied up all the loose ends from the topics we talked about last week. If you missed it, see if you can find time to go back.

Okay, so last week got a little intense. That was by design, even though, as I’ve said before, sometimes these posts are more stream-of-consciousness than something with a planned direction. Still, once I got started in that direction last week, I felt compelled to continue. Hopefully you were able to glean some useful thoughts from it.

As we begin this week, I’m ten days from a goal that looks increasingly large. Know the feeling? It’s like having a stack of bills on the table marked “Past Due” and the bank account is empty. I think most of us have been there. But we all have to ability to correct that situation and, as the saying goes, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. The story can change up until the very last moment.

We had a large initiative at work last year with an aggressive due date that was enough to make the most seasoned specialists cringe. “Are they kidding? There’s no way!” These are common thoughts at the outset of a goal, especially one that was imposed by somebody else. And, the entire time, with every little setback, those thoughts rise to the surface again. “We’ll never get this done!”

When you’re in the car driving to a particular destination, it’s easy to measure progress because it’s linear. Except for time spent in abnormally heavy traffic, your progress is pretty much the same the entire time you’re on the road. You set the cruise control and you can pretty much know where you’ll be in a few hours or by the end of the day.

But with most other things, progress isn’t so linear. All that work you do up-front doesn’t seem to yield any progress at all. In fact, sometimes all you do is uncover an even bigger mess and now you’ve got more work than you’d bargained for. Can I get an amen?

When you build a new home, the job starts with clearing trees and leveling the site. What started as a beautiful work of nature is now a big mud pit and the clock is ticking. Next you dig even deeper to make room for a foundation, and then load up the site with construction materials. All that work, and not the first piece of the house is built. Instead of a beautiful homesite, it’s an eyesore.

But the work continues and, slowly but surely, a structure begins to emerge. You’re looking at the calendar, wondering how on earth it’ll ever be done on time, but the builder assures you it’s time to start packing up your old house, because this one will be finished soon. Weather delays will occur, and the carpet may not arrive on time. But they’ve done this before. They know it’ll happen.

Now, let me ask you, if the builder were to look at the calendar early on and decide it’s a futile race against time and that the goal was unrealistic to begin with, how hard do you think they’d work to get it finished? The moment we agree to back off the original goal, our effort declines. And the more our effort declines, the more distant our revised goal appears. And around we go.

When we focus too heavily on visible or measurable results, it’s easy to lose sight of the original goal and the effort we’ve put in to that point. And, much like a new house, while all that effort may not be apparent in our progress to date, it creates the foundation on which success will ultimately be built.  

As I begin this week, the measurable results toward my goal are pretty dismal. But the work I’ve done to this point was important work, and a required part of achieving my goal. I could change that goal a little if I wanted, and I don’t think anybody would come down too hard on me if I came up a little short. But nobody imposed this goal on me – I came up with it by myself. I own it.

Take ownership of your own goals and don’t let anything stand in the way. Put in the effort, even when it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. Because sooner or later, those wheels will heat up and gain traction. From there, you’re off to the finish line in a race you were destined to win from the start.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Focus on the Outcome – The Way Will Present Itself

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

I guess by now, you all think I wake up each morning with thoughts racing through my brain, just waiting to be spilled out onto the keyboard. I wish that were the case, but more often than not, I sit at the computer with no real thought as to what I plan to write that morning. It just happens. Some days it’s not all that great, and other days make up for it. That seems to be the way life goes.

In my younger years, if you wanted to take a trip from one city to another, you either looked at a map beforehand or relied on directions from others. GPS was something for ships and transcontinental airliners. And if the route you were on was closed for some reason, you’d simply get off that road, pull in someplace and ask directions (ladies?), and keep driving until you got there.

For the record, yes … I have actually gone into a gas station or convenience store and asked for directions. If that means I have to hand in my “man card” so be it. I’ve also opened a second screen on my computer in the morning to look up a statistic or find out who was the first to offer a specific quote. If you thought all those facts just rattled around in my brain all day, think again.

In the days of Christopher Columbus, navigation was done mostly by dead-reckoning and looking at the stars. You would take a known starting point, head in a specific direction, estimate your speed, and hope the wind and waves weren’t blowing you too far off course. At night you relied on the stars to get you back on track. Except on stormy nights. Then you just hung on for dear life.

Of course, that approach relied on one critical factor – knowing where you were headed. According to historical folklore, Christopher Columbus had set off to prove the world was round by sailing west to India, a country that everybody knew was to the east. What he didn’t know was that there was this huge continent in the middle that stretched from the top of the globe almost to the bottom.

A lot of mornings as I write my post, I find myself in a similar situation. I think I know where I want to go, but end up someplace completely different. And sometimes the goal is simply to get a positive message online, one that will hit home with at least one or two people, with no real sense of how I’ll get there. If you couldn’t already tell, today is one of those days.

Sometimes, too much planning can get in the way. You have a goal and an idea of how you’ll achieve it. You formulate a plan and start working through the details. You decide ahead of time exactly how you’ll get there and how long you think it’ll take. And then you hit the road with blinders on, focused only on that pre-defined route.

But you’re missing all the scenery along the way. You blow right past the on-ramp to a newer and faster route because you’re stuck on plans made from a ten-year-old map. You miss opportunities not only to expedite the completion of your trip, but to enjoy it more along the way. And then comes the dreaded “Road Closed” sign. Now what do you do?

If the destination is known, all you have to do is keep moving in the right direction. And when the GPS says, “Recalculating,” you make a turn and get back on track. Sooner or later you’ll get there. Destinations don’t move. What changes is the means by which we get there.

We talked yesterday about faith, the belief in something you can’t prove. In this case, it’s the certainty in a final outcome you’ve not yet achieved. But if you know where you’re going, and you believe in your ability to get there, how you do it isn’t quite as important. You don’t have to plan everything to the nth degree. Focus on the goal and the means will present itself.

The key here is that you have to begin with the courage to take that first step. You have to be open to options along the way. You have to be willing to try something new – maybe something so radically different that it almost doesn’t make sense. If you stick to the path everybody else is on, you’ll end up exactly where they’re headed, two steps behind.

You achieve new things by trying new things. Focus on the destination and believe in the outcome. Take off the blinders and be open to new opportunities. The path to success may not look like anything you’d imagined. But what’s more important? The destination, or the color of the car that gets you there?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved