Commitment Will Win Over Excuses Every Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Wishbones and Backbones

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

Yesterday, I was reading a post where the writer quoted a long list of things we should teach our sons. I agreed with just about every one of them, because I’ve always believed we need to do a better job of passing strong values on to our kids.

One particular item on the list stood out, because of its sheer simplicity. “Don’t grow a wishbone where the backbone is supposed to go.” I did a little research and found that this quote originated from a writer named Clementine Paddleford, and it was written for daughters, not sons. “Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”

It’s not uncommon for sentiments such as this to be misquoted, or even re-directed. Still, I think the message remains strong, whether we’re talking about sons, daughters, or even ourselves. But, like many other such quotes, it’s easy to take it out of context and miss the meaning entirely.

“Don’t grow a wishbone.” Those four words, taken by themselves, have some pretty strong implications that fly in the face of what I’ve been promoting all this time. I talk about the importance of dreaming, and how it drives us to bigger and better things. And the closing words, “where the backbone ought to be,” could be misinterpreted as well. It would be easy to read this entire statement as, “Don’t dream of the things you want – stand up and demand them!”

And, to be honest, there are people in this world who live by that mantra. If you want something, take it. To the victor go the spoils, and everybody else can just live with their loss or grow a backbone of their own. We’ve all met people like this.

And, the problem with that line of thinking is that it assumes every gain in life must be balanced by a corresponding loss. I’ve been in business a few different times, and something I’ve never understood is the concept of a balance sheet. I guess for accountants, it’s pretty simple. But the notion that assets and liabilities must always balance out to a sum total of $0 is beyond my comprehension.

I read another post this morning, in a comedy forum of all places, that said “A rising tide raises all boats.” Now, there’s something I can understand. And, we’ve talked about this before – the concept that, by elevating those around us, we elevate ourselves as well. When the collective total increases, so does the individual average.

In accounting, balance sheets make sense (I guess). But in life, dreams are not a limited resource, nor are the things that enable our dreams. Money is a renewable resource. So are fancy homes, boats, airplanes, RVs, vacation packages, and just about anything else you can imagine. Winning yours doesn’t mean somebody else has to lose. There’s more than enough to go around.

So, let’s assume Ms. Paddleford wasn’t suggesting we don’t dream, or that we should “grow a backbone” and take what we want. I think the statement goes much deeper than that. To me, it says don’t let your ability to dream overcome your will to achieve. If there’s something you want in life, and you want it badly enough to wish for it, then have the guts to pursue that dream.

In terms of dreams, having a backbone means standing in the face of adversity and saying, “You can make things tough on me, but you can’t make me quit. I’ll stand against you day after day until you give up or just move on to somebody else, because I have already decided this shall be, and there’s no turning back. So, give it your best shot. I’ve got this.”

I doubt you can point to very many things in life that you achieved without any resistance whatsoever. Okay, people who have won the lottery may not agree, but that aside, just about every worthwhile thing you’ve accomplished in life came with some challenges. But determination and commitment carried you to the goal. Simply stated – you didn’t quit.

Should we grow a wishbone? Absolutely! And, unlike the one that comes with our Thanksgiving turkey, we need to make sure our own wishbone isn’t quite so brittle. It needs to be strong and resilient, something that can be bent, but never broken.

And that, my friends, takes commitment. It takes an unwavering belief in our ability to reach the goal, and a determination that nothing will stand in our way. Starting to sound a little like a backbone? I like the way you think!

A wishbone by itself can’t accomplish anything except pipe dreams. A backbone by itself can’t accomplish anything except standing in the way. But when you make the two work together, there’s nothing you can’t do, no goal you can’t achieve. At that point, the world is your playground, just waiting for you to enjoy whatever your heart desires.  

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

© 2018 Dave Glardon

The Time is Now

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

Before I launch into today’s message, I want to thank my good friend Mary Sanders for her messages of inspiration while I’ve been laid up. I know the commitment it takes to do this each day, and I can never thank her enough. Hopefully she’ll continue to share her thoughts with us, because she’s touched each of us more than she will ever know. Please be sure to send Mary your thanks.

My recovery is going really well. It’s hard to believe you can have brain surgery and then go home two days later. The healing has been fast, and right on schedule. But I’m learning why they call this a recovery period. Healing is only part of the battle. Recovery takes a bit longer.

The night before my surgery, my wife and I went out to dinner and had a pretty serious discussion about things we don’t often talk about. You know, the kind of things people our age should have discussed a long time ago, but something else is always more important. Besides, we’re going to live forever, right?

It amazed me how easily the conversation flowed. She asked about some of my preferences, and I answered. No sighs, no tears, just an honest, open conversation. And, as many of our conversations do, it led us to tropical beaches where the water never gets cold.

Both of my wife’s parents made their wishes known – they wanted to be cremated and have their ashes spread at their favorite beach on Florida’s Gulf coast. So, that’s what we did. The whole family had to travel from other areas to get there, but that was their final wish.

And, it occurred to me that we can always find a way to get to those locations after this life is over, so why is it so hard to get there while we’re still alive? Why do we wait for our loved ones to take us on that one final trip instead of being able to enjoy it with them?

We talk a lot about dreams and different ways we can work to achieve them, but something we never really talk about is the concept of “now.” It’s always “one of these days …” And you know what? That’s not a goal. That’s not even really a dream. It’s just a passing thought. Passing, because it’s gone as quickly as it pops up, only to be replaced by a reality that dictates what we can do, and when.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk with the words, “If not today, when?” Okay, I checked my bank account and I won’t be sitting in the driver’s seat any time soon. But if I set aside that dream until my bank says it’s time to go shopping, it’ll never happen. I have to get started now.

It’s easy to dream. But committing to that dream means making a conscious decision, followed by action. It’s even more than setting a goal. It’s making a statement that “this shall be.” Not “I want …” or “one of these days I’d like …” If you describe your goal in those terms, you’re still just dreaming.

“This shall be” is a commitment. And it changes your whole mindset. No longer are you worried about how you’ll make it happen. You’ll find a way, because you’ve already decided what the end result will be. Once you’ve made that commitment, nothing can stand in your way.

When a baby decides it’s time to walk, the end result is inevitable. They’ve made up their mind, and no amount of setbacks or obstacles will keep them from their goal. We’re all born with that determination. We use it all through our lives to master new skills, to overcome challenges, and to get the things we want.

And, just as a child learning to walk, once you commit to your dreams … fully commit … the end result is predestined. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when. Suddenly, the impossible becomes not only possible, but inevitable. Roadblocks become detours. Obstacles become speed bumps. And inaction becomes unacceptable. Because you’ve decided “this shall be.”

This isn’t rainbows and unicorns, and it’s not just Dave spreading positivity. If you look back over your life, every worthwhile accomplishment came as the result of commitment, followed by action. It works, and it works every single time. We never fail until we stop trying. And anything you haven’t accomplished yet is still out there waiting. All you have to do is make it happen.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Sure, work is part of the equation, but it’s not everything. Get out there and live. Build memories. Don’t relegate your dreams to your last will and testament. Make time for them now. Make the decision and commit to it. And don’t let anything stand in your way.

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

© 2018 Dave Glardon