It Ain’t Over Until You Quit

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

A friend at work once asked, “What time do you get out of bed in the morning?” She was referring to the fact that, by the time she woke up, she already had a morning post from me. Back then, I was getting up at 5:00 every day. Now, I’m lucky to be up by 7:30. I’d like to say it’s because I work so hard and need more sleep. But we all know the truth, now don’t we?

Last week I was writing to you from the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was a beautiful campground with amazing scenery. And most of the week, the weather was perfect. Made it hard to stay inside and work all day, but the bank says I have to keep putting money in if I want to keep taking it out. They’re picky like that.

We did get to the pool most afternoons, and I was able to spend a little time over lunch getting some sun in the hammock. Now, if you want something to jump-start your amusement today, picture me getting into a net-mesh bed that pivots at each end. Have you ever watched people at the carnival trying to climb a horizontal rope ladder? The neighbors thought it was funny.

As I quickly learned, there’s an art to getting in and out of a hammock. Well, getting out is pretty easy. It happens when you least expect it, with no effort whatsoever. But unlike cats, people don’t always land on their feet. Thud!

It would have been easy to just leave it sitting there for the next victim, but I wanted some sun and stretching out on the patio just isn’t my cup of tea. Besides, I’ve learned one of life’s brutal truths – at this age, getting down on the ground is a long-term commitment. Might as well change the oil while I’m there, because I’m not getting back up any time soon.

But when there’s a will, there’s a way. And, if you’re lucky, a much younger granddaughter to show you how it’s done. Sit in the middle, let it stop moving, then very slowly rotate sideways and lie back. Then shift to the middle because you’re still not centered and when you’re packing this much weight, there’s not much room for error. I finally got it right.

It’s that way with a lot of things. You see something that looks simple, maybe too simple, and think, “I can do this!” Well, you can. It just may take some practice. That’s the whole premise of those carnival games, where a carnie with six teeth and an IQ to match shows you over and over how easy it is. And $100 later, you finally realize there may be a secret he’s not telling you.

The thing is, once you learn that secret, it really IS simple. Sometimes, the hardest part is just trusting our instincts and not overthinking it. A business friend and mentor tells me all the time, it’s simple but it’s not easy. And he’s right. The concept is so simple, anybody can do it. But making that concept work takes effort.

And, like getting down on the ground at this age, it takes a little of that long-term commitment. All too often, we find something that could lead us to our dreams, but when the money doesn’t start rolling in within a few days, we quit. “That just doesn’t work.” Yes, it does. But it only works if you do. Off-ramps are plenty, and the moment you take one, it’s all over.

All through life, there are flashing signs that say, “Exit here!” They pop up at every hint of failure and keep flashing until we turn them off or just ignore them and keep driving. And once you drive past, the flashing stops. You can’t see it anymore. Sure, there will be another sign down the road. Lots of ‘em. But as long as you keep your eye on the goal, they’re just glitter along the way.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Past Is Gone, But The Future Begins Today

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

A couple of days ago, oil was trading at -$37.63 per barrel. Read that again. Did you see the minus sign? That means below zero. If you were somehow able to get your arms around a barrel of oil at the right moment this past Monday, somebody would have paid you nearly $40 to take it. I’m not even sure how that works, but I’d like to give it a try.

In eighth-grade we were learning about the stock market. The teacher gave us all $50 to invest (fake money, naturally) so we could do a six-week test of our investment savvy. Most of the class invested in several different things – you know, in case one failed. And most of them lost. Apparently, an affinity for candy necklaces doesn’t always translate into stock gains.

But that was back in 1971 and Walt Disney World had just opened. At the time, their stock was just under $1 per share, so my buddy and I put our money together and bought 100 shares. By the end of the six weeks, the stock was up 40% and we won the challenge. And the teacher still hasn’t paid up.

Earlier this year, Disney stock was trading at a little over $140. So, an investment in 1971 would be worth at least 140 times its initial value today. In 1986, Microsoft stock was selling for just over 10 cents per share, and last year it topped out at $190. Imagine waking up today and finding 1000 shares of Microsoft under your pillow. Where’s that tooth fairy?

Yes, hindsight is 20/20. Had we known way back then what a $100 investment might been worth, I’m sure most of us would have taken the plunge. On the other hand, I’d have probably invested it all in 8-track players. That was a hot commodity back then. So were slide rules. You know, until Texas Instruments came along.

Right now, I’d bet a lot of us are wishing we’d made some different decisions a few years, or even a few months ago. Those decisions may have been health-related, financial, career-oriented, or even just how much time we spent with family. And like it or not, the piper always gets paid.

I don’t think any of us are naïve enough to believe life will somehow go back to the way it was. Those days are gone. All around us, the world is changing. Retail stores are no longer spending their money on cash registers. They’re spending it on robots. The drive-thru at our local pharmacy just put in a new carrier system that’s twice as fast as the old one. It’s about time.

Things we never thought we’d see have come to pass. I remember a time when people said, “If gas ever hits a dollar a gallon, I’ll walk!” Those same people said we’d never see personal computers in every home, nobody wants to carry around a phone all day, and we’ll never let somebody else pick out our meat and produce for us. Famous last words.

We like to think the secret to capitalizing on a trend is to get in on the action before everybody else does. I’d love to own a souvenir shop on the beach. But apparently a few other people had the same idea. You know, like eighty years ago. That’s not to say a new store couldn’t survive. We went to Gatlinburg a few years ago, and there’s a pancake house on every corner. Literally.

Which only means that what was a good idea 50 years ago may still be a good idea today. All too often, we look right past the obvious solutions because they’ve been around so long. Sooner or later, they’ll have to collapse. Right? Well, those pancake houses probably aren’t doing so well today. But home-based businesses are stronger than ever. We’re home anyway.

It’s easy to pass on opportunities that are outside the mainstream. It’s even easier when we know somebody who already tried and failed, or our neighbor’s cousin had a friend whose brother couldn’t make it work. Well, guess what? Businesses fail. It happens every day. And every day, new businesses in those same industries succeed.

So, here’s the real question. Are you where you want to be today? Can you survive another six months in your current situation? What if it happens again this winter? If the decisions you’ve made haven’t put you where you want to be, maybe it’s time for a change.

The opportunities are there. And right now, most of us have time to do something about it. I’d be happy to share some ideas if you’re up to it. There are dozens of things you could be doing. Some may work, and others may not. But just sitting there isn’t really an option. A year from now, you’ll be looking back on the decisions you made today. Make them count!

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You’re Not Driving, You’re Just Along For The Ride

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

If you’re among the majority of the nation, your day didn’t start out like last Tuesday. Kids are home from school, parents are working from home (if they’re able to work at all), and all around us the world is slowly grinding to a halt. Hopefully you’ve got enough of the essentials to carry you through for a few days, because your neighbors cleaned the shelves at the store.

There was a story in the news about a guy in Tennessee who rented a truck and bought up every bottle of hand sanitizer he could find. Once the stores were empty, he put the items on Amazon and eBay for as much as 80 times what he paid for them. Both outlets shut him down, and he’s stuck with 17,700 bottles he can’t sell. Now he can’t afford toilet paper. Instant karma.

I normally try to mix in a little humor in my posts, but there’s not a lot to laugh about in this crisis. I read yesterday that up to 80 million jobs will be impacted, and in the coming week as many as 10 million people could be out of work. Never mind the kids whose school year was interrupted, or the high school seniors who may be denied the spectacle of public graduation.

Life, as we know it, has changed. And while we will eventually weather the storm and come out safe on the other end, things we’ve taken for granted have changed forever. At the top of that list is our feeling of security. It’s a reminder that life can come along when we least expect it and change everything in a moment.

The last recession is still a vivid memory. Most of us were impacted by it, and it’s taken the better part of 12 years to recover. Yet, in a matter of days, most of those gains have been wiped out. Hopefully this crisis won’t last so long, but recovery will take time and the landscape will look very different when it’s all over. Where we fit in that landscape may yet be unknown.

When you rely completely on one source of income, your exposure to risk increases exponentially. That’s why I’ve always tried to have a few things I could fall back on. A little here and a little there adds up. When you’re working, it’s extra income. It’s a chance to enjoy some of life’s finer experiences. And if the job ends, it becomes your immediate means of survival.

You never know what may happen to change your situation. Two years ago, I had brain surgery. That could have put me out of commission for good. You could be on your way to work tomorrow and somebody decides to take your lane. It happened to my wife. All manner of things can happen to change life as you know it. The question is, what will you do then?

To the extent that you can rely on yourself for income, and not somebody else, you have a better chance of controlling the outcome of things over which you have little control. I’ve never once fired myself from a job. Have you? If your company closed its doors tomorrow, could you continue making an income on your own? Every little bit helps.

Dig the well before you get thirsty. You’ve read those words before. There are things we can all be doing now that may not make a major difference in the next week or so, and maybe not even for a few months. But they could make all the difference in the world as we move forward and find our new place in life. If you’re out of work already, why not put that time to use?

It’s funny how we scramble to find a quick solution when we need money, yet we’re quick to scoff at anything outside of the traditional 8-5 job. But at a time when so many companies are sending people home, doesn’t a business of your own make that much more sense? The problem isn’t a lack of opportunities. It’s an overabundance of misplaced pride.

If you’re over the age of 30, odds are somebody at some time has offered you the chance to build a home-based business. And, if you’re among more than 99% of the adult population, you turned it down. Granted, owning a business is no guarantee of success. You have to work at it, and you may still struggle. But right now, wouldn’t it be nice to have something to work at?

This crisis will end. And then something else will happen. That’s the reality of life. Handling those ups and downs will depend heavily on the choices you make now – before the need arises. To the extent that you control the variables, you control the results. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and you’ll never have to wonder where you’re headed.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved