Where’s Your Sense of Adventure?

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

When was the last time you were asked to do something different, something you’ve never done before? It happens on the job all the time. “You’ve done such a great job on such-and-such, I know you won’t have any problem with this!” Sound familiar? It falls into that last line in your job description … “And any other such duties as may be assigned.”

It’s a little scary sometimes, but in the end, we usually do the job pretty well. Maybe that’s because of experience and conditioning. Everything we’ve done in the past has taught us everything we need to know for the job at hand. Sometimes, the boss isn’t just giving you a pat on the back. They know you’ve got what it takes, and they have confidence in your ability to do whatever is necessary.

It feels good knowing that not only does somebody have confidence in you, but that their confidence wasn’t misplaced. And I think we work a little harder to validate that. Nobody wants to be the last choice, the person who gets the assignment simply because everyone else was too busy. It’s like being the last person chosen for the team. You got the spot, but only because nobody else was there.

So, let me turn this line of thinking around. When was the last time you actively set out to do something you’ve never done before? Not because it was assigned and you had no choice, but because you decided to tackle something completely different? We do it all the time, just most times without any fanfare. There’s no cheering section and no pats on the back for a job well-done.

I think that’s a lot of the reason we don’t do more of these things. That, along with the fact that when you try something new, the results aren’t always guaranteed. I’m sure any stylist can tell you there are a lot of women who leave the beauty salon disappointed, or maybe even in tears. And all they can do is wait for their hair to grow out so they can get back to the way it was.

It happens with me sometimes when I decide to cook a new dish. I’m excited about it the whole time, just thinking about how much my family will enjoy my new creation. But those taste tests in the middle aren’t very promising, and before it’s even halfway there my wife yells from the living room to see what’s on fire. Sometimes it all comes together, but sometimes you crash and burn.

When that happens, do you try again? Or do you lick your wounds and vow never to do that again? Well, if it’s something as simple as a new meal item, you can always go online and get a more reliable recipe. You can even check the stars to see how well others like it. But when it comes to something as personal and semi-permanent as your hair, it’ll take a lot to find that sense of adventure again.

Now, for the final question – how many times have you thought about something that could raise you to a higher level and put you closer to your dreams, but never even gave it a try? And in making that decision, you probably came up with a laundry list of reasons for not trying. “It’ll never work.” “That’s just not me.” “I don’t have time.” You know, excuses. Or as Mom always said, any old port in a storm.

So, we keep doing what we’ve been doing and hoping for a better result. Well, back to the kitchen, if you follow the same recipe over and over and over, odds are it’ll come out pretty much the same every time. If you want different results, you have to change it up. Or, as I’ve said several times before, to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

It’s simple logic, but most of us spend our entire lives trying to prove it wrong. I think that’s partly human nature, the desire to go against conventional wisdom and come out on top. But there’s also fear of failure. And, rather than admit our fears openly, we just convince ourselves that we never really wanted that dream anyway. After all, we’ve lived just fine without it. Right?

It’s okay to stick with the tried and true. If it suits your personality, and you’re okay with things going pretty much the way they always have, then don’t rock the boat. But if that sense of adventure is yearning for a little more excitement, or just better long-term security, then maybe it’s time to consider something different.

We all have different goals in life, and those goals are as personal to us as the hairstyles we choose. Changing things up can be a little scary, but you never know what’s on the other side of a mountain until you climb up and take a peek.

I’ll be offline for the next few days, so if you don’t hear from me just enjoy the break. I’ll be back with you before you know it!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Be Sure You’re Chasing the Right Dreams

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

Today marks the beginning of a new month. One in which many of us, especially in the northern climates, will see some change. Leaves will begin to turn brilliant colors and fall to the ground, temperatures will go from warm to brisk (and some days downright cold), and stores will begin to change their inventory from summer and back-to-school to holiday gifts, decorations, and treats.

Those treats get me every time. I’ve been trying to add one feature to our outdoor display each year, but there are three problems with that …. putting it up, taking it down, and storing it until next year. Ladders and I don’t get along so well these days. But treats? Yeah. I pick them up, I put them down, and storage is never a problem. Walking it off next year is another matter entirely.

Along with a new month comes a new chance to set and achieve new goals. If you’ve been following my daily ramblings, you know I’m in the midst of some changing priorities. The goals I had at the beginning of last month have changed, in some ways pretty dramatically. Life has a way of doing that. So, you adapt. You redirect, refocus, and get back in the game. Life goes on.

And that doesn’t mean we have to give up our dreams. They may change a little, and we may find simpler and more effective ways to accomplish the same objective. But the ultimate goal is still there. The journey isn’t over because one road closes. You break out the old map (remember those?) and find an alternate route. And then you listen to the GPS for the next twenty minutes – “Recalculating!”

I’ve often wondered why a GPS doesn’t have an option to initiate a detour. Or even to let you get off the highway to fill the tank and grab a bite to eat without those incessant reminders that you’re not following directions. There’s no “give me a break” button, or even a mute. It’s either on or off, and the whole time it’s focused on one thing – getting you to your destination the fastest way possible.

All too often, we go through life the same way. We’re so focused on that optimal path that we fail to appreciate the scenery along the way. And about the time we hit a roadblock, we just sit there waiting for it to go away. Because this is our path – this is the way we’ve always seen it transpiring, and anything else means taking a step back and admitting some level of defeat.

I imagine the early pioneers knew that feeling all too well. I’ve mentioned before flying across the country and thinking of all those people who crossed those mountains in covered wagons. On a good day with flat terrain, you might put ten miles behind you. But once you hit those mountains, it could take several months to find a way across. I’d hate to guess how many times they had to turn back.

But the goal was there, ever present in their minds. They dreamed of a new life in a new location, and that dream made all the hardships worth it. And I’m sure some of those cities between Oklahoma and California were settled because somebody said, “I’m sick of this wagon! Welcome to your new home!” It happens.

But for those who kept going, the ground went from dusty and rocky to lush and green, full of promise. And, here’s the important part. What separates the barren land of the desert from the greenery of the west coast is one final mountain range. Cross those mountains and everything changes. Stop one day short, and you’ll never even know it’s there.

With each new month comes a new opportunity to re-assess and re-establish our goals. It’s a time to look back at our progress so far and make sure the path we’re on is leading us where we want to go. It’s also a time to ask ourselves why that destination was so important in the first place, and if it’s really the destination we’re after, or simply the journey. Sometimes, getting there is the most fun.

We often find that what we really want isn’t necessarily waiting at the end of the road, but somewhere along the way. Buying an airplane would give me the freedom to go pretty much anyplace I want. But if travel is the ultimate goal, that same money will pay for a lot of plane tickets. Sometimes, what we think we want is simply a means to accomplish an even greater goal.

We all need time to re-assess our goals and make sure we’re chasing the right dream. The beginning of a new month is the perfect time. Make sure what you’re after is what you really want, and that the path you’re on is leading in the right direction. The only thing worse than being 100 miles from your exit is realizing you’ve driven 100 miles past it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Reality Stand in the Way of Your Dreams

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

Over the years, my wife and I have talked a lot about moving south. We both grew up in south Florida, and we miss both the climate and proximity to the ocean. In an old Jimmy Buffett song, the lyrics say, “Salt air, it ain’t thin – it’ll stick right to your skin, and makes you feel fine.” Anybody who has ever lived close to the ocean knows exactly how true that is.

It’s also true that we spend most of our lives trying to get back to a place of comfort from our youth. I’m not sure if that’s because we’ve all worked ourselves into a life that looked better than it tastes, or because we’re simply trying to re-capture our youth. But those old days sooner or later come beckoning and it’s easy to focus on the good parts while forgetting why we left in the first place.

But it’s good to dream, even if the dream isn’t quite what we think it’ll be. You see a new restaurant being built and, as soon as you see the name, your imagination kicks in. “That sounds good!” Why? It’s just a name. You’ve never even seen the menu, much driven past and caught a whiff of whatever it is they’re cooking. But you find yourself anticipating opening day like a child waiting for Christmas.

Sometimes it lives up to your expectations, and sometimes it doesn’t. Or you may check out the menu online and realize it’s far too expensive for your budget, so you never do get to find out if it’s any good. Because, as we all know, price has very little to do with food quality. Some of the best tasting food on the planet comes from restaurants you’d drive right past if you didn’t know better.

Or maybe you’re like me, and when the new restaurant opens, you go back to your tried and true choices anyway. We don’t eat out that often, so when we do, I want something familiar that I can enjoy. I’m one of those who rarely even looks at the menu because I already know what I’ll be eating. Sure, I could try something else. But there’s some risk in that, and I don’t want to leave disappointed.

It works that way with a lot of things in life. We want something so bad we can taste it, to the point that it begins to consume our every waking thought. But as we get closer to it, something holds us back. That may be uncertainty, it may be fear, and it may be the realization that we like things just the way they are. As much as we want something better, we don’t want to lose what we’ve got.

Years ago, I interviewed for a job in Alabama. It wasn’t really close to the ocean, but it was a lot closer than I am here in Ohio. The job was right up my alley – it fit perfectly with my experience, and it would have been a nice promotion into a leadership role. As one interview led to another, our excitement began to build. Then one day reality came home to roost.

My grandson had gotten in some trouble at home and my daughter asked me to talk to him. As he sat on the edge of his bed, sobbing but not really talking, he finally blurted out, “I’m doing bad in school, I’m in trouble with Mom, and you’re moving away, and I’ll never get to see you again!” That hit me like a ton of bricks. One thing we learned in car sales is that the last objection is the real objection.

I assured him everything would be okay, then went home and told my wife I can’t do it. The reality of moving away suddenly overpowered the dream and sapped the fun right out of it. I told her if they offered the position, I’d have to turn it down. As it turns out, I never had to make that decision. I was one of the final three candidates, but somebody else got the job.

It’s good to dream. But it’s also good to re-assess those dreams from time to time so we don’t find ourselves chasing something we may not really want. Dreams exist in the imagination – and the imagination can make anything as fun and exciting as we want it to be. But as we get closer and begin to see some of the downside, it may not be as appealing as we thought.

Dreams change. And that’s okay, as long as it’s because you decided to make the change. But never let your dreams go because of external challenges you didn’t ask for in the first place. It’s been said that the only regrets we’ll have in life are the chances we never took. There is no certainty in anything, but there are possibilities in everything. Be sure the choices you make are right for you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Only a Crisis If You Didn’t See it Coming

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

I’ve often wondered what I would do if I got up in the morning and the coffee maker was broken. I know, if you’re a coffee drinker, that deserves an apology because it’s not a vision any of us wants to imagine. That rates right up there with flat tires and sitting down to the sound of the seat ripping out of your pants. At work. In a conference room. Full of the company’s top executives. Get the picture?

Thankfully, coffee makers don’t usually just quit all at once. You get a little advance warning. It starts brewing really slowly, it makes funny noises, and you start seeing chunks of something that doesn’t look like coffee grounds in the bottom of your cup. If that happens, run – don’t walk – to the nearest coffee maker store. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself without coffee when you need it the most.

It’s that way with a lot of things in life. You fall into a comfort zone where things are going well, and the thought of an abrupt change is the last thing on your mind. But it happens, and usually when you expect it the least. And it can require immediate action to avoid an even bigger mess. A lot of times, the outcome is largely dependent on our ability to act quickly at the first sign of trouble.

Rarely does anything go seriously wrong without at least some advance signs of trouble. Usually, we think about those signs after the wheel falls off the car and realize there was a noise we couldn’t quite identify, or a little extra sway in turns. It’s easy to write it off and just keep driving. But sooner or later, the problem will demand our attention. And the longer we wait, the more expensive it gets.

I have to take my car in for repairs this morning. I can’t quite describe the noise coming from the front end other than to say it sounds like I’m pushing a bulldozer blade down the road. And my car doesn’t have a bulldozer blade, so that’s probably not normal. And, thinking back, it’s been making little noises for a few weeks. I ignored those warnings, so now it’s shouting them at full volume.

But this isn’t really about coffee pots or cars. It’s about life. Because all through our life, things change. Relationships falter, the bank sends a foreclosure notice, the doctor walks in with bad news, or you find out you need a new job – like now. Any one of these things, or dozens of others, can throw you right out of your comfort zone and into full-blown survival mode.

It can hit you like a ton of bricks, but more often than not, there were signs of trouble long before the sky fell in. Those signs may have been subtle, or they may have like a red flashing light, something you couldn’t have missed with your eyes half-closed. But it’s easy to ignore those initial warning signs until they start screaming at us. By then, comfort has turned to crisis and we have no choice but to do something about it.

We talked earlier this week about creativity, and if you want to see creative thought in overdrive, put yourself in a crisis. You’ll dream up things you would never have thought of, simply because you don’t have any other choice. What you’ve been doing hasn’t worked, so now you have to do something different – maybe something you’ve never done before.

And most times, we look back later and wonder why we didn’t just do that in the first place. Maybe it was something so completely out of character, or out of our comfort zone, that it never really crossed our mind. And I’m not talking about anything immoral or illegal. Just a different approach that we never would have considered. But now, it’s the perfect fix. It’s the right thing at the right time.

Again, the change may be subtle, something you do without really batting an eye. It can also be something monumental that takes a complete leap of faith into the unknown. Or it could be something in between, where we have the option to make the easier move or to put it all on the line and make it work. Notice I didn’t say “hope for the best” – it’s all or nothing.

If we take notice at the first sign of impending trouble, we can usually avoid a crisis. And if we assess our options before they have to become choices, we can move in the direction we choose rather than the direction in which we’re pushed. A minor course correction may be all that’s needed, if we do it early enough. The goal never really changes – just the path you’ll follow to get there.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day and a fantastic weekend!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You Want to Change the Outcome, Change the Routine

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

As you go through your morning routine each day, does it ever occur to you just how much of a routine that is? With very minor exceptions, most of us do pretty much the same thing every day from the moment we get up until we get to work or begin whatever activities normally consume our day. I suspect even retired people have a routine. I’m not there yet, but I’ll find out soon enough.

My dog makes sure at least part of that routine goes uninterrupted. He’s patient while I get a shower and get dressed. But about the time he thinks I should be done, he’s patiently tapping his paws on the floor, waiting for me to sit in the recliner, give him his morning hug, and then let him out while I fill his food bowl. Then he comes in and starts the vitamin dance. He gets two. And he can count.

Dogs are such creatures of habit. And we are, too. When you get up tomorrow morning, try changing up your routine. If you normally brush your teeth first, do something else. Go to the kitchen and get a glass of water. Then brush your hair. Yes, before you get in the shower. Who cares if you’ll have to do it again? The fun part of this exercise is to see just how much it throws off your routine.

You may want to make a checklist the night before, because odds are you’ll forget something. You’ll get halfway to work and realize your computer is still sitting by the front door. Believe me, I’ve done that one without even trying. When we skip any step in our routine, intentionally or not, we’re like that confused dog, trying to find our place so we can get back to normal.

It’s all a matter of habit – habits so deeply ingrained in our very being that we do them without even thinking. Like wiping your mouth after a sip of water or closing a pen before you put it in your pocket. Oh, we miss from time to time. Something distracts us and we forget to do something. And then you get home and see a big blob of ink on your shirt pocket and realize what you forgot. Oops!

I guess I’m showing my age, because most shirts don’t have pockets anymore. Somehow, pockets have gone out of style. At least that’s what my wife keeps telling me. And that’s for women, because you carry a purse that’s big enough to hold the contents of six dozen pockets. If I need someplace to put a ballpoint pen, I’ve only got a couple of choices.

 And just like our morning routines, we have tastes in clothing, food, décor, and a bunch of other things that we’re reluctant to change. Are blue shirts a habit with me? Not really. But I do like blue shirts – with pockets. But, just like my favorite Halloween candy (peanut butter kisses), they’re getting harder and harder to find. So, I have to adapt. Reluctantly, I’ll admit. But I don’t have much choice.

We all like to think we’re spontaneous, but we’re creatures of habit more than we think. And if we want to change the direction of our lives, we have to change some of those habits. Because, just like a model train, the track always leads to the same destination unless we do something to change it. The train can’t make any turns on its own – it simply follows the track. Real trains do that, too.

It’s fun to watch a train run around in circles, but after a while it gets a little boring. The same thing happens when we put ourselves on a circular track where the scenery never changes. We get up every day at the same time, do the same things, follow the same routines, and then wonder why life never changes. It’s pretty simple. If you want to move ahead, you have to get on another track.

And that means shaking things up a bit. You have to break the routine and change some of those long-held habits. You might even have to try a different kind of candy or find someplace else to put your pen. But it’s the only way to move from where you are now to where you want to be.

Change is difficult, but you’ve done it before. All you have to do is decide on a new direction and break the routine enough to follow that path. The change may be so subtle, you barely even notice. But like a ship at sea, the smallest change can lead you to an entirely new destination. Set yourself on a new course and follow it to the end. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Envision the Life You Want – Then Go Build It

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

I was listening to a motivational speaker not long ago who made a bold statement that I didn’t quite agree with. He said that no matter where you are in life, you’re exactly where you want to be. Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but this is not the life of luxury I’d always dreamed of, and I’m working to change that. Clearly, this is not where I want to be. Can I get an amen?

But then the speaker went on to explain that presumptive statement. He said maybe this is not exactly where you want to be, but it’s where you’ve worked your whole life to be. Because everything we’ve done to this point has led us to exactly where we are. Any change along the way would have put us in a different position today. Okay, it hurts, but he makes a good point. I did this.

Every decision we make in life, even the little ones, stack up like Lego® blocks to build the life we now enjoy. At least I hope you enjoy it. After all, you built it. And if you think back, you can probably see some of those decisions and how they affected the direction of your life. Some of those decisions may have been forced on you, but they affected the outcome regardless.

An architect sits in an office and creates a vision – a drawing of the perfect structure, something that will fill a purpose and create beauty both at the same time. There’s a certain amount of ego involved. Every architect wants to outdo the others and create something that will dazzle everyone who sees it.

At first, it’s nothing more than a series of drawings. Then along comes a team of workers to dig a hole. All they have is a blueprint telling them how big to make the hole. They may not have any idea how the finished building will look. But the hole they dig will form the foundation for that building, and any mistakes at this stage in the game could have a profound effect on the finished product.

And so it goes with each team that comes along. Steel workers bolting and welding one beam to another, vertically and horizontally, one floor on top of the other. Gradually the building begins to take shape. Along come the masons to work their magic, and then plumbers, electricians, interior finishers, glass and flooring installers, and all the other teams that make it happen.

The finished product is the sum of all the effort that went into its construction. Every beam, every block, every piece of glass, they all form the building as it exists today. And any change along the way would have changed the outcome. The architect could have come along at any time and said, “Change this” and the building we see today may look entirely different.

The same is true of our lives. We are the architects. We are the ones who envision something so grand it defies the senses. Or maybe not so grand – after all, some buildings are a little more ordinary than others and that’s okay. They all serve a purpose.

We are also the builders of that life – we lay the foundation, we put the blocks in place, we create the internal structure that holds it all up, and when the time comes, we put on the finishing touches that complete the project. The life we enjoy today is exactly the life we’ve built. That doesn’t mean we don’t want something better. People move into nicer houses all the time. But it’s where we are now.

The first step in moving forward is acknowledging our role in being where we are now. It may not have been the life we’d envisioned, but it’s the life we built. And if we can acknowledge that, it opens our eyes to the reality that the project isn’t yet complete, and we have the power to change our current direction and build something better if we so choose.

Just as the things we’ve done to this point have created the life we now enjoy, the things we will do today and beyond will create the life we enjoy tomorrow. We may not be able to tear down what’s been built so far, but we can renovate it and add a little flair. And any time we want, we can build on top of that to create something bigger.

Every day, we build our future life whether we want to or not. If you’re happy to stay right where you are, make the most of it. But if you want something better, you have the power to make it happen. And it all begins today.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Boat That Isn’t Rocking Isn’t Going Anywhere

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

Forty-three years ago, almost exactly to the minute, I was sitting outside a Navy recruiter’s office in Fort Lauderdale waiting for my recruiter to arrive and take me to a land far, far away. At least that’s how it felt. Over the next several hours, my life would change in ways I could never imagine. And over the next 12 years, I was slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) changed into the person I am today.

I’ve often wondered where I’d be today if I hadn’t chosen that path in life. I had opportunities for some pretty high-paying work as a commercial artist – you know, back when people drew pictures instead of computers. But, as a result of my time in the Navy, I followed a more technical path and ended up with a job that suits my personality completely. I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

It’s easy to look back and wonder how our lives may have changed if we’d done things differently. I look at mistakes I’ve made over the years and I wish I hadn’t made some of those choices. But everything we’ve done in life, both good and bad, has led us to where we are at this very moment. One minor variation along the way would have changed our lives completely.

So, here’s the question – if we can so clearly see how the decisions we’ve made have led us to where we are now, why is it so hard to see how the choices we make today will affect the rest of our life? We always seem to think as long as we don’t change anything, we’ll continue on our current path indefinitely. “Things are going fine – don’t rock the boat.” Sound familiar?

But the reality is, a boat that isn’t rocking at least a little isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s probably not even in the water. Now, boats may look real pretty sitting there on dry land, but they completely miss their only intended purpose until they’re allowed to roll with the wind and waves. And in doing so, we accept the risk that, sooner or later, storms will come. It’s just part of owning a boat.

And it’s part of anything we do in life. Starting a family is one of the most wonderful blessings we’ll ever experience. To see a baby come into this world, one that’s of our own flesh and blood, is nothing short of incredible. Yet, with the first poopy diaper, we realize it’s not all marshmallows and roses. A thousand diapers later, reality starts to set in. This will be an E-ticket ride to the very end.

Now, we could have made the choice to just leave things as they were. “We’re doing fine, just the two of us. Life is good. Don’t rock the boat.” And I know a lot of people who have made that very choice. It works for them, because we all have different values. Sure, they’ll never know the thrill of holding a grandchild in their arms. But they’ll never know the heartache of seeing their child in tears.

We all make choices every day. To some degree, each of those choices will have an impact on our life moving forward. Even the breakfast sandwich I defrosted last night. I know the nutritional value in that sandwich, and suffice to say it’s not the best choice I could have made. Even now, I have the option to take it to work with me or just leave it there. I know the decision I’ll make. We all do.

I probably won’t feel any immediate effects from eating a sausage & egg biscuit instead of a bowl of oatmeal. But over time, those choices do stack up. Much like the other choices we make on a less frequent basis. Do you take a class to develop a new skill or spend that time at home? Do you start that business, or stick with what you know? Do you ask that girl out, or play ball with your friends?

The choices we make today will have some level of impact on our life, some more than others. And not making a choice is a choice in itself. You may think you’ll stay right where you are, but the reality is, you’ll just sit still as the world passes you by. The most beautiful home will eventually fall down if nothing changes.

Rock the boat. Take a few risks. A whole new life is waiting to be discovered. There will be some storms along the way. But unless you’re willing to go through those storms, you may never know the wonders that await on the other side.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved