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

Soar With the Faith of a Baby Bird

Good morning. It’s Hump Day! We’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off well.

As I was shaving this morning, I heard the sound of birds outside greeting the new day. It’s been a long winter here in southern Ohio, so that’s a sound I haven’t heard in a while. Okay, there are some stubborn species that have never heard of flying south for the winter, but this is typically a sound we associate with springtime. It’s about time.

As I listened to them chirping at one another, two thoughts came to me. First, I’ve never seen or heard of a bird that wakes up in the morning with a scowl on its face, grumpy about the interruption in its sleep. They all seem to wake up happy and full of life, eager to face the new day. Seems to me we could learn a thing or two from that.

I also thought about the little ones taking their first flight. That has to be a scary experience. It’s hard enough to leave the nest for the first time, but that’s when they realize just how high in a tree the nest really is. “Thanks mom! You expect me to step out of this thing and just flap my wings. What if it doesn’t work???”

Years ago, I saw a picture of a baby bird staring over the side of the nest getting ready for that first flight. The caption read, “It can because it thinks it can.” Just as a small child sees its parents walk upright, a baby bird sees its mother fly in from the big blue sky with food for the whole family. There’s never any doubt in their mind that they can do the same thing. It just takes a leap of faith.

Faith is the unwavering belief in something for which we have no physical proof. It means to know something deep down inside that others may doubt. It’s the ability to see into the future and know the outcome before you take the first step. And, for a baby bird, it means flapping your wings just a little harder to turn that long drop to the ground into the miracle of flight.

A friend often asks, “What goals would you set for yourself if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I’ve quoted her before, because I think they’re powerful words. If a wizard waved a magic wand over you and told you that you could now accomplish anything and everything your heart desires, which of your dreams do you think you’d tackle first?

Sure, the first couple of times you might go into it with the mindset that this may work, and it may not. After all, our lives have mostly been a mixed bag of wins and losses. But, unlike a baseball game, we can step up to the plate as many times as we want, and when the game appears to be over, we can declare extra innings. It’s not over until we say it’s over. We just keep playing until we win.

I was listening to a motivational CD yesterday where the speaker said that every time a baseball player steps up to the plate, he expects to get a hit. He stands there because he knows the right pitch will come his way. He swings because he knows he can hit the ball. He never expects to strike out. Yet the Hall of Fame opens its doors for the player who can get a hit one time out of three.

That means the best players return to the bench seven times out of ten. And all they’re thinking about is their next time at bat, and that their own batting average proves they’ve got what it takes to hit the ball and get on base. They don’t step up to the plate knowing they’ll get a hit. They do it because they have faith in their ability to succeed.

You have the ability and the power to succeed at anything you set out to do. Okay, I don’t suggest jumping off a tree limb and flapping your arms, because there’s this thing called gravity that can mess up your day. But you get the idea. There are very few things in life that you can’t accomplish if you have the faith and courage of a baby bird.

So, again, what would your goals be if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would you keep doing what you’re doing today, or do you think you’d set your sights just a little higher? We all dream of things we’d like to have or goals we’d like to accomplish. They may seem a little far-fetched, and others may get a chuckle out of your ambitions. But the only thing holding you back is your own self-doubt.

Remove that doubt and all things become possible. All it takes is a little faith. You can do this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When You Dream and Believe, Success is Inevitable

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

I’ve been meeting friends for the past couple of weeks, having lunch with a different person just about every day. The weather has finally gotten a little nicer, so we’re not as prone to just sitting inside all day. And it’s been great catching up with people I don’t get to see as much as I’d like. We should all do that more often.

We sit and talk about any of a number of things. Invariably, we’ll share some of our visions for the year, especially in terms of vacations. Nothing gets people excited more than the prospect of some time away from work, relaxing and seeing something they normally don’t get to see. And let me tell you, some of these people are really adventuresome! I need to hang out with them a little more.

In my business, that’s what we do. We talk with people. We find out what they do, we talk about family, and we share dreams. You may think you know the things somebody wants, until they look at you and say, “I want to sell my house and move to Switzerland.” Okay, I didn’t see that one coming.

For each of us, there are different things that motivate us. And, here’s a concept we don’t often talk about. Money is not a motivator – we may believe we get up each day and work for money, but what we’re working for are the things money can buy. Food, shelter, security, health, and the ability to enjoy a little more of what this world has to offer.

I have a friend who was giving a presentation in Mexico years ago and, through a translator, he told his audience they should put a picture of their dream on their refrigerator. All at once, a woman in the back jumped up and started yelling excitedly. He asked the translator what she was saying, and he replied, “She has a dream! She wants … a refrigerator!” Sometimes, you just never know.

But regardless of whether our dream is to take a European vacation, a beachfront home, or to simply own a refrigerator, it’s something that feeds our hope of a better future. The problem for many of us is that we allow our dreams to simply exist in the back of our mind, and only bring them to the surface when a nosy friend asks about them over lunch. The rest of the time, they just sit there.

I’ve quoted Napoleon Hill before in these posts, but in ten words, he says everything I’m writing about here this morning. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Those are powerful words. It means if you can dream it up, and believe in yourself enough to go after it, your brain will find the way to make it happen.

I wish our schools would spend a little more time teaching positive reinforcement to our kids. Okay, I wish more parents would do that. When they’re little, we encourage every dream they have and celebrate every accomplishment. But somewhere in the teenage years, when family bonds mean all so much to them (insert sarcasm emoji here), that positive reinforcement seems to fade.

And that’s why it’s important as adults that we find a way to get it back. I don’t care how young or old you are, there is no point in your life when you should stop believing in yourself because there is no point in your life when you can’t begin to achieve whatever your heart desires. Success is simply a dream, belief, and a plan, repeated daily until the goal is achieved.

Dreams can get you up in the morning and make you do things you might not otherwise have done to achieve them. If your boss called you in tomorrow and said, “Give me an extra seven hours a week for the next two years, and I’ll buy you that beachfront home,” would you do it?

Then why not put in a few extra hours each week building something that will allow you to buy any home you want? To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. That may be putting in extra hours, going to a new church, starting a business, or simply having lunch with a different friend every day. Those little changes can be the start of something big.

Dream. Find something that makes you want to get up every morning. Then believe in yourself enough to work for it. Feed your brain with positive thoughts. Be willing to try something you’ve never done before. And, in those quiet moments of the day, listen to your mind. It’ll tell you what to do next.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Build Dreams on a Foundation of Possibilities

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

Last week, my wife and I took our grandson out to dinner. It’s been a while since we were able to share some special time with just him, and we enjoyed it. Besides, being new to living on his own, I’m pretty sure his diet consists of whatever junk food he can get his hands on, and not very much of that. So, we wanted to make sure he got at least one good meal.

During dinner, he began to share some of his dreams. He wants to buy a new car, or better still, a truck. Not just a truck, but a big one that sits up high enough to drive over Toyotas without even flinching. He wants to move from his apartment into a house. And he wants to do all this in the next three months.

There’s nothing wrong with those goals. In fact, they’re pretty impressive. Especially for a 19-year-old with less than $10 in his bank account. I said the goals are impressive, not that they’re overly realistic. But, instead of shooting them down, we offered him some alternatives. Maybe move into a little bigger apartment and fix the car he’s got until he can save for something a little newer.

I remember those days all too well. Actually, it’s easy for me because I still have visions of things I can’t afford today and a lifestyle that’s above my current means. I used to draw pictures of boats I’d own someday. People say you should find pictures of the things you want because our minds think in pictures. Well, let me tell you, nothing is more detailed than a picture you draw from scratch.

My dad would let me go off into La-La Land for a while before he felt the need to pull be back down to reality. “Boy, you’re a dreamer!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard those words, I’d have all those boats. In fact, it got to be such a comical thing to me that I started naming them – Dreamer. Why not? I think most people would get it. In fact, it may even inspire a few others to dream.

I talk about dreams a lot in these posts, and for good reason. They’re important. They’re a part of our very being and, whether we’ll admit it or not, we all have dreams. There’s something every one of us wants. People like to say, “Just give me a close family and good health and that’s all I need.” That may be true. But there are still things they want. We all do.

When kids are little, we listen to their dreams and tell them, “You can do anything you want to do!” It’s important to instill that belief in them at a young age. But at some point between childhood and young adulthood, we begin to take those dreams away. And worst of all, we do it in the name of love. We hurt them to keep them from getting hurt.

I’ve never fully understood that, but I have to admit, I’m as guilty of it as anybody reading this. We see somebody with their head just a little too high in the clouds and feel some kind of responsibility to assist gravity in bringing them back down. And sometimes, it’s necessary. But it can become a habit to the point that, instead of looking for possibilities, we look for pitfalls.

When somebody shares a dream with you, there’s a reason. It’s not because they’re bragging or because they don’t have a grip on reality. They know reality – they live it every day. What they want is for you to build their enthusiasm a little and help them figure out how to do it. They want you to believe in them, just like you want others to believe in you.

And here’s the cool thing – when you believe in somebody else, you’re sharing that same belief in yourself. When you share possibilities, you begin to see possibilities. When you help somebody else succeed, you uncover the path to your own success. You can’t find the good in somebody else’s dreams without seeing the good in your own. It’s inevitable.

When somebody comes to you with a dream, humor them. Feel honored that they chose to share it with you. Instead of looking for barriers, look for possibilities. It takes the same amount of creative thought, but the results can be so much better.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved