If You’re Willing to Try Anything, You Can Accomplish Everything

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

There’s an ice cream commercial on TV asking a simple question – what would you do for a Klondike bar? Okay, first I’d have to drive to the store, because we don’t have any and the Klondike delivery guy hasn’t been around lately. My guess is he ate all the inventory. That’s what I did. Of course, his freezer is a lot bigger than mine.

I remember when I was in my twenties, I would do pretty much anything to make a little extra money. Well, you know. Anything moral and at least mostly legal. Over the years, I’ve always had a second job. I delivered pizzas and newspapers, worked for a moving company, drove a semi, and did custom woodworking. All this was in addition to my day job.

Back then, if you asked me what I would do for extra money, I had a simple answer. “I would skin-dive for Roto Rooter!” A little disgusting, maybe, but after three years of spending my nights on the receiving end of a few dozen bowling lanes, clearing pin jams and dealing with drunk bowlers, there wasn’t much I wouldn’t try.

My grandson is a lot the same. He just wants to make money. He’s done construction, landscaping, remodeling, and demolition. He’s done oil changes, driven a forklift, worked in a lumber store, managed a coffee shop, and made pizzas. And he’s only 20. Let’s just say he moves around a lot.

But the point is, he’s not afraid to work. He’ll do pretty much anything if he thinks he can do the job, and somebody is willing to pay him. I’ve seen him work three jobs at a time. Chip off the old block? Yeah, I’d say so. His mom is a hard worker as well, so I guess she gets at least some of the credit.

But I’ve never heard this kid say, “I’m not doing THAT for a living!” It all comes down to a simple question of opportunity … I need a job, and you need somebody to work. Let’s do it. And as a result, he’s gained a lot of skills that most kids his age will never have. If I were to list all the different jobs I’ve had, you’d think I was making it up. The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Because I’ve done all those jobs, because I put need ahead of ego, there aren’t too many things I wouldn’t at least attempt today. I can do some pretty complex car repairs if needed. I can fix plumbing, though I’d rather not. I can do household wiring, carpentry, basic construction, and even gutted & remodeled our bathroom. I started twelve years ago and finished last week.

A little exaggeration, maybe, but you get the point. People who are willing to try anything can do anything. Success is a simple matter of making the decision to do it. That’s not to say there won’t be setbacks along the way, and the end result may cost almost as much as hiring a professional. But there’s something to be said for doing it yourself.

In my business, I seek out people with needs. Those needs may be self-imposed or thrust upon them by circumstances beyond their control. They may be financial, health-related, or simply to make the most of the things they already have. But the bottom line is, something needs to change. They dream of a better life and will do anything to achieve it. “Except that.” Really?

Well, then maybe the dream isn’t as strong as you think it is. I doubt many people, when asked in second grade what they wanted to be when they grew up, enthusiastically replied, “I wanna be a Wal-Mart greeter!” But you know, when the need is there, you do whatever it takes and worry about your ego later. And who knows, you may work your way up to cashier someday.

It’s easy to make a list of the things we want, and it’s just as easy to make a list of the things we’ll never do to get them. And that’s okay – life is about choices. You can choose not to do anything to achieve your goals, and life can choose to reward you by leaving you right where you are while somebody else gets the golden egg. Somebody who wasn’t so picky.

It’s hard sometimes to see beyond our immediate objections when opportunity knocks. It may appear too complex, or too difficult. You may think it’s a little beneath your dignity, or that others may laugh. The question is, how strong is the need? How powerful is the dream? If it’s something you want badly enough, there really isn’t much you won’t do to achieve it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Every Success Begins with Courage

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

Over the weekend, there was news of a retiree in Florida who was walking his puppy along a body of water when a small alligator shot up on the bank, grabbed the puppy, and ran back into the water. The elderly man jumped in the water, dragged the alligator to shore, and wrestled the puppy from its jaws, all without losing his cigar. I’d say he gets the badass of the year award.

The story had a happy ending. The puppy escaped with a minor injury, the man had a few lacerations from the alligator’s teeth, and the alligator is back in the water, a little more leery of anything that’s tough enough to strut around on two legs. I’d say that’s a win all the way around.

I was listening to a motivational CD last night where the speaker quoted a line from a movie that summed up this story perfectly … “All it takes is twenty seconds of insane courage.” Okay, in this case, I’d say it was more like a half-second, which makes it all the more insane. But you don’t always have time to think. Where alligators are concerned, that’s probably a good thing.

Some of you probably remember that quote as coming from the movie, “We Bought a Zoo.” The line was spoken by Matt Damon as he encouraged his son to throw caution to the wind and express his affection to the girl of his dreams. As one who’s been there in years gone by, I can certainly relate. Trust me when I say I crashed & burned on that one several times.

But the premise holds true through a lot of things in life. Fear is the greatest obstacle holding us back from accomplishing a lot of our dreams. Even if that dream is simply to get the landlord to accept a late payment, it takes a mountain of courage sometimes to pick up the phone and make that call. But it takes twenty seconds (or less) to dial the number.

I’ve never been good when it comes to the phone. I’ll do anything to accomplish my goal without having to talk to anybody. And those who know me probably find that really hard to believe, because once I start talking, I never shut up. But real people don’t respond with, “Press 1 to listen to obnoxious music for an hour while we decide whether to answer your call.”

Of course, they do this with repeated assurances that your call really is important and will be answered in the order in which it was received. And don’t dare bump a button on the phone or mutter soft curses out of sheer frustration, because it’ll respond with, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand your request.  Please check your attitude and try again later.” And then it hangs up.

Okay, I’m drifting way off topic. We were talking about courage. Specifically, how twenty seconds of courage is all it takes to begin moving toward your goal. Courage to do what? That depends on what you hope to accomplish. But regardless, until you take that first step, nothing happens, good or bad. A year from now, you’ll still be thinking about it.

And the problem with that is we don’t always have a year to debate and build courage. When an alligator grabs your puppy, you have microseconds. Other problems may leave a little more breathing room, but sooner or later you have to take the plunge. There is no other option if you want anything to change.

Thomas Jefferson once said if you want something you’ve never had you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. There’s no other way. That may mean asking a friend for help, inviting a customer to your store, sharing a business presentation, taking a new job, moving to a new city, or a hundred other things. And they all begin with twenty seconds of courage.

If you’ve been putting off that conversation with the boss, schedule the meeting. If you’ve been thinking of asking somebody on a date, dial their number. If you want to share a business idea with a potential partner, make the invitation. It takes twenty seconds to initiate action on any of these goals, but once you take that first step, it’s that much easier to continue.

We all like to think we’re fearless, or at least not too easily intimidated. But the thing we fear most is whatever our mind conjures up in the moments before we need to take action. It may be as real as a hungry alligator, or as imaginary as a trusted friend waiting for the opportunity to humiliate you. But until you muster up that twenty seconds of courage, you’ll never know.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

That’s It! I Want My Dessert!!!

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

Today is a new day. A fresh start. A chance to spread a little cheer and find a little for myself. No, I’m not drinking. I make it a point never to do that before breakfast. Aaannnd, I just finished my breakfast, so all options are on the table. Boss, if you’re reading this, I’m just kidding! (wink-wink).

Okay, my past few posts have been pretty heavy. Life works that way sometimes, and every now and then we need a good shot of reality. We’ve been there. I read this morning that today marks 5 years since 2020 began. I think we can all relate. So, excuse me if I get a little silly for a change. I’ve been accused of that once or twice, usually by my pastor.

Of course, he’s the guy who says we can’t just jump straight into Christmas. We have to observe Advent first. I never really knew what that meant, but let me explain what I’ve picked up over the years. It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s snowing. And before we’re allowed to celebrate the coming of Christ, we have to immerse ourselves in the drudgery that came before him. Got it?

Well, as much as I love my church and my pastor, here’s a novel idea. We’ve been through Advent for the past 10 months. Can we give ourselves time off for good behavior and find something to be happy about? I think we’ve earned it.

Sure, there’s something to be said for acknowledging life’s challenges so you can better appreciate the good stuff. It’s like eating Brussels sprouts before you can taste dessert. I get it. But there’s a reason I didn’t gain a lot of weight as a child – I didn’t get a lot of dessert. Some things just aren’t worth it, and those pungent green cootie-heads are at the top of the list.

But there’s also something to be said for stepping around the mud on your way into a party. Just because it’s there, that doesn’t mean we have to wallow in it. Not alone, anyway. I’m told mud-wallowing with friends can be a little … shall we say … exhilarating? But you still come out smelly, and nobody wants to be around that.

So, we look beyond the obvious and find something a little more enjoyable to occupy our time. Like dessert. Yes, I know, vegetables are loaded with vitamins. And I haven’t found a single vitamin since childhood that I want to taste. But I’m told there’s a whole industry for those of us who don’t like the flavor of vomit, so they make these things we can just swallow instead. Voila!

But this isn’t about vitamins or leafy green, semi-edible vegetables. It’s about finding a little joy. It’s about happiness. It’s about getting past all that surrounds us every day, the chains we can never seem to fully escape, and immersing ourselves into a world where people smile and laugh and sing. But no dancing. That’s where I draw the line. If you’d ever seen me dance, you’d understand.

Sometimes, my friends, we have to turn off the news, shut down the computer, and escape into an alternate reality where things like hope and victory prevail. We have to dream, to envision a more fulfilling existence, and plot … I mean, plan … a strategy for achieving it.

We can’t change the world around us, but we can change its effect on us. We can’t control circumstances, but we can control our reaction to them. We can’t change what has been to this point in life, but we can influence what is to be. And it all begins in that magical part of our brain where anything is possible.

Sure, at some point you come back to reality. At least I hope so. As much as I love the vision of traveling the beaches of the world, there are things right here that require my attention. Important things, like my job, the house, a leaky faucet, this mess in the basement … damn.

But here’s the point I want you to take away from this message – without dreams, none of the rest even matters. Work is important, but only if there’s something you’re working for … something other than a bill next month that’s not doubled because you couldn’t pay it this month. There’s more to life, friends. A lot more.

We don’t need any reminders that 2020 isn’t over, and 2021 isn’t shaping up very well, either. We can’t escape the challenges that surround us, but we can work our way around them. And it all begins with a dream. Okay, and letting ourselves sing happy songs right after Thanksgiving. Put up the tree, turn on the lights, and skip right to the good stuff! You’ve earned it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

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

The weekend is over and it’s back to the old grind. You ever notice how, when we want a new job, we’ll do anything and everything to get it? We send out resumes, we dress up, we interview … we’d rub ourselves down with alcohol and jump through flaming hoops if that’s what it took. But once we’ve got the job, all we think about is the alcohol. Go figure.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Or, as Erma Bombeck so eloquently observed, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. I’m sure there’s some hidden motivational gem in there – I just haven’t figured it out yet. But I have noticed several clumps of bright green grass in my back yard that coincide with the dog’s potty habits. Move on, Dave.

We always want what we don’t have, and when we’ve got it we want something else. That’s human nature. It begins not long after we first open our eyes and realize somebody else has something we don’t. It could be a scrap of toilet paper, but it’s the most awesome and fun-looking scrap of toilet paper on the planet. And if we get our hands on it – in the mouth it goes.

This concept is on full display with my two youngest grandchildren. Okay, they’ve stopped eating toilet paper, but if one has a toy – any toy – it becomes a conquest for the other to get it away from them. They know the rules of sharing … it’s yours until you put it down. And if the other yawns or scratches their nose, it’s gone. Not very quietly, I might add.

And as soon as that toy is gone, the one they were playing with swaps hands, and the cycle repeats itself. They both strut around with their new treasure, until the other looks away from theirs for just a second. It’s their first lesson in legal justice – possession is nine points of the law. And if all else fails, it simply comes down to which one can throw the best punch.

You’d think we’d outgrow that as we get older, but we really don’t. We want what’s in front of us until it’s not in front of us anymore. Oh, we’re proud of our accomplishment and we revel in it for a while. Until something shinier comes along. Then we immediately launch a plan to get it. Thankfully, biting and pulling hair isn’t part of the plan. Most times.

And you know what? That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful, or that you’re never satisfied with what you’ve got. It simply means you can still dream, and you’ve still got enough inner drive to achieve even greater goals. Okay, it means you can wish for it. Sometimes, we’re a little lacking when it comes to motivation. And that’s what stops most of us dead in our tracks.

In business, I hear people all the time saying, “I could never succeed at something like that. It’s just not who I am.” Fair enough. But you know what they say … behind every successful man is an astonished woman. So, let me ask you this. How many times in your life have you succeeded at something to the point that you shocked even yourself?

If you have a job, you succeeded at something most of us don’t really enjoy, where the odds of success are stacked against you because there are several, maybe hundreds, of other people trying to knock you out of the running. And they may not punch and pull your hair, but they’ll do anything possible to stack the odds in their favor, because only one person can win.

But success is not a zero-sum game where one person has to lose in order for another to win. And even though you may keep score, nobody else does. Oh, maybe if they think they can laugh at you for still being in the hunt. You know the quickest way to shut people like that up? Quit. Give up. They’ll stop talking on the spot, because now you’re just like them.

Now, if the message you took from that is to stop trying, we need to talk. Nobody’s opinion matters besides your own. And in chasing your dreams, you’ll encounter lots of other people with the same goal. But unlike that one position the company is hiring, any number of people can achieve the same dream. Unless the dream is to beat everybody else, and then you’re on your own.

It’s fun to win, but winning means somebody else has to lose. And sometimes, that somebody is you. Find something where there’s room for everybody, where there’s no hair-pulling to hold you down, and give it all you’ve got. Success is easy once you learn how to create your own.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

In Your Quest for Success, Don’t Overlook the Classics

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

I read a post yesterday that said, “if the only thing you can think to say is ‘good morning’ we can’t be friends.” Wow. That cut deep. Guess I’ve been doing this all wrong. I mean, okay, that’s not your typical greeting in a funeral home, but can you cut me some slack? It comes from the heart.

I’ve often wondered if it bothers anybody that the first two words of my daily posts and the last eight are always the same. If you don’t know, you’ll have to read to the end to find out. That’s what corporate America calls suggestive selling. “Want some fries to go with that bucket of paint?” Well, you get the idea.

Okay, first things first. You don’t EVER have to ask me if I want fries. That’s like asking if I want cheese on my cheeseburger or a fork with my soup. Both have happened. It’s like, “Yeah, I want cheese, but on the side.” Here’s a tip – don’t ever tell them you want your cheese on the side, because that’s the one thing they’ll get right. And it’ll actually be melted.

Wow, that went off-course fast. Back to my original train of thought – saying good morning. I guess I understand the sentiment behind that meme. It’s like seeing an old friend on the street and saying, “Yo, how’s it going?” How’s what going? And do you really even care? Or are you just uttering a few blank words to get them to acknowledge your presence?

“Can’t you think of anything a little more original?” That’s a rather brusque way of saying, “I’ve heard that one before.” Well, aren’t you the perfect example of worldly knowledge? Heard that one before, huh? Maybe more than one person wanted to wish you a nice day. Oh, the horror! Can just one person blow a raspberry in my face and kick me in the shins as they walk past?

We like originality. It shows a creative spirit, not to mention the little bit of extra thought that goes into crafting a more personalized greeting. But, come on. How many times have you watched the same movie? If you watch cable TV, you do it all the time. Especially this year when Covid has all but shut down Hollywood. We’ll be seeing reruns for years.

And sometimes, the old classics are still the best. To date, nobody has tried to do a remake of Gone With the Wind or The Sound of Music. Want to know why? They were awesome the first time around, and they’re just as entertaining today as they were fifty-plus years ago. And any attempt to make them better would likely result in a box-office flop.

The same is true of a lot of things in life. Like advice, for instance. Look both ways before crossing the street. Don’t take candy from strangers. Don’t golf in a lightning storm. And always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident. Okay, that last one was more for mom’s self-esteem, but you get the idea. Old ideas don’t always go out of style.

Yet, when somebody says they have a dream, and in order to achieve that dream they need a little extra income, what happens when you suggest one of the time-proven classics? “Oh, I’m not doing THAT! I had a cousin who tried that one. I want to come up with something on my own. Or maybe I’ll take your idea and make it even better!”

There’s nothing wrong with originality. It’s what got us to where we are today – somebody looking at the status quo and saying, “There has to be a better way.” But you know, all these centuries later, round wheels are still the best and heartfelt greetings are still a good way to start the day. Some things are just fine the way they are.

The question, then, becomes whether we’re willing to stick with the tried and true when it best suits our purposes, even if others think it’s lame. There are lots of roads leading to any destination, but there’s always one that’s faster, smoother, and easier. And odds are, you won’t be the first person to discover it. But what’s more important? The destination or your ego?

Don’t look past opportunity because you didn’t dream it up. Most opportunities in life are somebody else’s idea, and you may know several people who tried and failed. Thomas Edison knew a few. So did Madame Curie. They succeeded where many others had failed. And it wasn’t because they invented something new. They just made the most of what was already there.

If others have found success in something, so can you. Sure, you can blaze your own trail and name it after yourself when you get there. Or you can follow a path others have laid out for you and enjoy the destination that much sooner. The choice is up to you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Own Limitations – Don’t Let Them Define You

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

Have you ever thought about the advice we give kids, about how they can conquer the world and be anything they want if they only work hard enough? “There’s nothing you can’t do!” Then they try to climb the refrigerator shelves to reach the cookies purposely placed out of their reach, and the rules suddenly change. So much for ingenuity.

All through our lives, we’re told to dream big and aim high. I saw a sign on somebody’s desk once that read, “Aim for the moon – even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Well, if you think there are stars orbiting the moon, maybe we’re getting at the root of the problem.  That’s not to say you’re doomed to failure, but a Mensa scholarship probably isn’t in your future.

We all have limitations. Some we were born with, and some we’ve developed along the way. Sorry, but that’s just a fact of life. If you’re three feet tall in high heels, odds are you’ll never be a star basketball player, no matter how badly you want it. And star football players know all too well how quickly certain injuries can end their career or seriously limit their ability to compete.

So, aside from natural ability and devastating loss, what stands between us and the goals we so strongly desire? Why can’t I, at the age of 62, become an avid runner and win the Boston Marathon? Well, first of all, I can’t find anybody who’s willing to chase me that far with a snake. The motivation has to come from somewhere.

But let’s be honest. The real reason I’m not a marathon runner is because I never wanted to be. As a kid, I despised basketball and soccer because there’s too much running. And that carried into my adult years. A friend once asked me to join him for a 5k run. I said, “Why would I run that far when I can do it faster in a car and smell decent when I get there?”

And let’s be honest here – if my parents had told me that I could accomplish any goal in life if I’d just run every day, I think I’d have chosen Door #2. It was never my thing. On the other hand, my parents did encourage my artistic side, both in music and in writing. That was my passion and, apparently, it’s also my strong suit. The writing, not the music.

In our jobs, there are things we need to do well just to stay employed. We need to be even better if we hope to advance. That doesn’t mean you have to be the absolute best. It just means you have to be better than average. And no matter what you do (for a living or otherwise), if you have the basic skills to do the task, you have the ability to do it better.

Having gotten a taste of what it’s like to live in an RV, I think I can do it better. In fact, I’d like to become one of the best campers on the planet. That’s my goal. But so far, nobody is offering to pay me to camp, so I have to get good at something else along the way – earning an income on the side. And building a decent campfire without gas. Just keeping it real.

I have all the tools in place to live my dream, including the side income. Well, the ability to earn that income. But there are things I need to do to develop that ability and become better at it. I don’t have to be the best – I just have to be better than I am today.

And we all have that ability, whether it’s our job, a business, a hobby, a relationship, our physique, or even the way we sing. It’s okay to focus on the dream as long as you also focus on just doing a little better along the way. Instead of shooting for the moon, aim for that next step. Being the best is awesome, but it’s more important to be your best.

There are limitations to what we can accomplish, but find those limitations yourself instead of letting others dictate them to you. If there’s something you want, go for it. Give it everything you’ve got. You may still come up short, but isn’t that better than not coming up at all? Do one thing better each day and your dreams will make up the difference.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Well, How Did Those Plans Work Out?

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

As I sit here in complete peace and quiet, my wife is at our daughter’s house getting her kids ready for school. One is in kindergarten, one is in first grade. Oh yeah, and they have a 20-year-old brother. Don’t ask. I told my daughter she did that completely backward. I’ve tried calculating her age when these two get into their teenage years. I ran out of fingers and toes.

I remember when our oldest was born and people would say, “You’re so young to be starting a family.” Okay, I was 22, my wife was 18 – they were talking to her. And my response was always the same. “We’re doing this now so that, when we get older, our kids will be grown and moved out and we’ll have all that time to ourselves.” Read that again. Now you can laugh.

Oh, she moved out. On her 18th birthday, as we were putting candles on a cake, she was packing her bags. It wasn’t a pretty day. But in a little over a year she was home. A year later we became grandparents. At least she did it while we were young. By the time he grew up, we’d still have plenty of time for ourselves (more laughter).

Meanwhile our youngest graduated high school and took off to college. We were so proud. A year later that excursion ended. Well, the actual college part of it. I was still paying for those classes five years later.

All the while, we were doing the parent thing for a third time. My grandson was my best buddy. We did everything together – amusement parks, trips to the “guy store” (Sears), basketball in the street, and his first rock concert. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my grandparents, and I wanted him to have a different experience. Then he grew up.

I knew it was coming the first time I took him to football practice and, as he was getting ready to get out of my truck, I said, “Hey! Where’s my kiss?” He looked at the team assembled in front of us, then looked at me like, “Are you nuts?” The look in his eyes said it all. I settled for a half-hearted hug and accepted a sad reality. Grandpa wouldn’t always be the center of his universe.

Life changes. And yet, the more it changes, the more it stays the same. I’ve lost count of how many times our daughters have moved back in “for a week or two.” Since the first one moved out in 1998, we’ve had an empty nest for a total of about five years. And just about the time our oldest granddaughter was feeding herself, along came two more.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Forty years ago, I really thought we’d be out traveling the country by now, retired and wealthy, flying back to see the kids whenever we started missing them. Okay, forty years ago I still thought I’d be a rock star. Yeah, that never happened.

Now, as we plan what I hope will be a long winter escape in the motorhome, I think of the life we’d be leaving behind. The kids, our house, family dinners, babysitting, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, trash night, the neighbor’s dogs … uh huh. I won’t even be looking in the mirror for semis.

But I know that, about a month into that trip, we’ll start missing home. A month later we’ll wonder why we ever left. Two months later we’ll come home and immediately start planning our next trip. Because that’s what life is about – planning the next trip and reminiscing about the last one. Or figuring out what went wrong. That one seems to happen a lot.

I’ll never forget what my dad told me right before I left for the Navy. He said, “The two best duty stations in the world are the one you just left and the one you’re going to.” Okay, he told me a few other things as well, but we won’t go there. Suffice to say most of Dad’s lessons were pretty much on the mark. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

No matter what plans you’ve made, life will have a say in their execution. And even when things go just the way you’d planned, you find that it’s not always what you thought it would be. But as long as we continue to dream, nothing is ever permanent. The outcome can be whatever we want it to be. And even that can change.

Life isn’t measured in years – it’s measured in the experiences we have and the memories we make. Nothing ever goes completely according to plan, but there’s beauty to be found in those diversions. Just keep your eye on the goal and never give up. And when you get there, just think of all the extra stories you can tell.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time to Pick Up the Pace

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

I woke up feeling reasonably rested for a change. My Fitbit’s sleep tracker doesn’t think I slept all that well, but what does it know? All it does is look for movement and track my heart rate. The only time I’m not moving at night is when I’m wide awake and trying to get back to sleep. And my heart runs really slow all the time. All I care about is how tired I am in the morning.

Several years ago, I was in the hospital overnight with “unspecified chest pain.” Let me tell you, if you want to skip the lines at the emergency room, walk in pointing to your chest. You’ll go straight back to a room. It’ll still be an hour before you see a doctor, but at least you’re not out in that germ incubator they call a reception area.

Well, I skipped the lines that night, and I also got a warm bed to sleep in. That’s the other thing about chest pain – you’re not going home. All through the night, this alarm kept going off next to my head. The nurse said it was a low-pulse alarm that goes off any time my heart rate drops below 50. Which, incidentally, happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I fall asleep..

My doctor says it’s not a problem, but apparently it was enough to keep me awake all night. I don’t know what causes it to run so slow. They say it happens with athletes and people who exercise a lot. Yeah, that’s not me. I think my heart is just pacing itself. You know, like a runner who’s in it for the long haul. And I’m really in no hurry to reach the finish line anyway.

Of course, we can take that to an extreme sometimes. It’s one thing to start everything like a jackrabbit and peter out halfway through the first lap, but it’s easy to start off so slowly we never really get in stride. Sure, everyone else is taking a breather because they sped off too quickly, but they’re still way ahead of us. At some point, we need to pick up the pace.

As we’ve discussed in a lot of topics, it’s not hard to pick up the pace at work. You’ve got somebody standing behind you (literally or figuratively) expecting you to do the job in half the time anyone else could, and they control the paychecks. We know the consequences of moving too slowly. Nobody needs to spell it out. But what about when it’s something for you?

In my business, some things take a little practice. You practice until you’ve got the steps committed to memory, and then run with it. Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But sometimes we get so caught up in dress rehearsals that we never actually take the stage. We’re still just “getting good at it.”

Ever heard of analysis paralysis? It’s what happens when we sit back and analyze something to the point we never actually step out and start doing something productive. Oh, we know exactly how we’ll handle any situation that arises. That’s committed to memory. The problem is, situations never arise because we’re still sitting there thinking about it.

Then, when we finally do get started, we feel that overwhelming urge to take it slow. Why? Because, according to our analysis, it’s only a matter of time until something goes wrong. We have to go slowly so we don’t blow right past it. Mistakes must be corrected. They taught us that in kindergarten. Slow and easy wins the race. Remember that one?

Well, slow and easy keeps you pretty much in pace with everybody else around you. You take a step, they take a step. Everybody takes a step. We’re all moving, but nobody is getting ahead. And even if it’s not a competition to see who can get there first, you already know what happens when you stick with the crowd. By the time everybody gets there, all the good stuff is gone.

The only way to step ahead of the crowd (and that much closer to your dreams) is to pick up the pace. Sure, do some analysis. Practice. But put a date on the calendar and commit to it – “No matter what, I will get started on this day. I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t need to plan out every contingency. I’ll do what I need to do and handle challenges as they arise.”

And once you get started, get moving. Set a pace – a steady rhythm of doing the things you need to do every day to bring you closer to your goal. You may not beat everybody else to the finish, but you’ll get there just the same. And odds are you’ll pass a lot of dropouts along the way.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who’s Keeping You On Track?

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

For those of us here in the US, yesterday was a holiday. A day to celebrate workers all across the nation. And how do we celebrate that day? Well, by shutting down the office and taking a day off. I think we need more holidays like that. How about just celebrating Boss’ Day a couple of times a week? They work too hard anyway. They’ve earned it.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. I like my manager. Though I do have to admit, when all the senior managers take a day to go to a management “retreat” there’s a completely different song in the air. Sure, people take an extra coffee break, and maybe a little longer for lunch. But the work still gets done. In fact, it seems to get done a little faster and better.

Now, I’m not suggesting we should get rid of managers. They serve a vital role in the company. Besides, without them, we’d be the first ones to catch hell any time something goes wrong. I know, we do anyway. But with a good manager, you never hear about half the problems they have to answer to every day. They take the heat, find a solution, and move on.

When things aren’t going right, it’s easy to place blame. Where that blame falls depends on your rung of the corporate ladder. For those of us at the bottom, it’s easy – somebody higher up is responsible. For those at the top, it’s easy to blame further down. And those in the middle can throw the blame in any direction they want.

But regardless of where you are or how big you are, it all comes down to accountability – the buck stops here. We’ve all heard that before. But how often do we say it? “Boss, I’m sorry. You gave me a job to do and I let you down. It was my fault.”

I’m guessing we’ve all said that at least a time or two. At work, it’s not so easy to pass the buck. The boss knows who was assigned to do the work, and how well the job was done. Okay, so maybe there were extenuating factors – lack of parts, computer went down, somebody else didn’t do their part, or just solar flares. That was always one of my favorites. Prove me wrong.

On the job, there’s always somebody to hold us accountable. You can’t make empty promises, and excuses will only work for so long, because sooner or later the boss will call you on it. But when it comes to the things we want for ourselves, we’re pretty much free to do whatever we want. “I didn’t do it because I didn’t feel like it!” Try that one at work.

All through life, we have somebody to hold us accountable for the things we need to do. That may be a manager at work, a professor in college, your spouse, your kids, or even your local homeowners’ association. They LOVE to hold people accountable. If you don’t believe me, park a junk car in your front yard for a week or two.

But when it comes to your own goals and dreams, who holds your feet to the fire? We like to think we do a pretty good job of that ourselves, but the truth is most of us pretty well suck at it. It’s easy to start a new project, but sometimes we need a little help with the follow-through. Because other priorities step in in and before you know it, nothing is getting done.

Maybe you’re one of those who’s self-motivated and never stops for anything. If so, rock on! More power to you. If you’re like the rest of us, you may want to consider enlisting a little help. Not help in doing the work, but somebody to make sure you do – somebody who will listen to your excuses, and then tell you why they don’t fly – somebody who will keep you on track.

Your accountability partner doesn’t tell you what to do – they just help you keep track of your own promises. It’s your dream, not theirs. You set the goals. You do the work. Their sole purpose is to keep you honest, and let you know when you’re coming up short. They don’t judge, and they don’t punish. That’s your job.

We’re all accountable to somebody. If you find that being accountable to yourself isn’t enough, you’re not alone. Find somebody who will drive you to succeed. Commit to yourself, and to them. And maybe you can even return the favor.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Unless You’re Changing, the Results Stay the Same

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

This is the day we normally ask, “what are your plans for the weekend?” Well, apparently my plans will involve figuring out the new Facebook, because no matter how many times I’ve tried reverting to the “classic” look, they just keep jamming it down my throat. Now they’re telling me to stop whining and take the hit. Lovely.

Change is hard. Sometimes it’s necessary, like telling us to cover our face when we’re out in public. Nobody likes it, but we can at least understand why. But in the middle of all this, with everything that has happened this year and what we’re facing in the coming months, Mark Zuckerberg decides to throw one more thing at us? Thanks! You’re a true patriot!

Okay, I’m done with my little rant. I wrote all that to make a point. We don’t like change. If you read yesterday’s post about the contents of my closet, you already know that. I guess men are especially resistant to change. That’s why the men’s clothing department takes up one small corner of the store, and women get an entire floor.

I can’t remember the last time men’s fashions really changed. It must have slipped through at some point, because the mullet hairstyle has somehow gone from high fashion to a stereotypical joke. It didn’t happen overnight, like the consensual ban on white dress shoes and leisure suits. Yes, I had ‘em. And I probably wore them a little beyond their expiration date.

When it comes to clothing, we’re still wearing what we wore twenty years ago. Okay, to an extent. In my time, if a teenage boy went to school with rubber sandals and colorful socks, he’d get pounded. According to my grandson, that’s what all the cool kids are wearing. You know, when it’s too hot for the Air Jordan XL2500s with the pink swoosh and neon green laces.

I remember taking him to a theme park during the summer, when all the girls his age were wearing short shorts and skimpy tops. Do you think he noticed? “Hey grandpa, look at that kid over there. That’s the KD-9s he’s wearing. And they’re only $600!” I told his mom not to worry about grandkids any time soon. His attention was otherwise focused.

But when it comes to men – adult men over the age of 20 – fashions are pretty much limited. I can send my wife to the store to buy a pair of pants and she only has two questions: Dress or casual, and what color? Because no matter what, they’re only available in bone, tan, blue, and brown. And if you’re lucky, some shade of olive drab.

Since the mid 1960s, the world’s population growth rate has dropped steadily every year. We’re not procreating at near the levels we did during the baby boom years. I blame that on two factors – HIV, and men’s fashions. One was thrust upon us by forces unknown, and one we readily accepted because we’re too lazy to change. Ladies, am I right?

Think about it. You’re out in the club and a young lady catches your eye. You smile and she smiles. So, you saunter over, looking all suave and debonair, and start laying down your best moves. You see one of the hottest creatures on God’s green earth. You know what she sees? Her dad, twenty years ago. And why not?  You’re dressed just like him.

Resistance to change is normal. We like knowing what to expect from one day to the next, even if it’s something we don’t like. This is why people with no savings continue to make poor financial decisions. It’s why people at the bottom of the corporate ladder seem content to stay there. And it’s why women in abusive relationships are so reluctant to leave.

Change can be a little intimidating. Even with something as simple as clothing. You think the manufacturers never tried anything new? They did. And every time, the new line was an utter failure because no man wanted to be the first to go out looking different than everybody else.

I get that a lot in my business. “Sure, it looks easy enough, but what if everybody else laughs?” That could happen. In fact, it does happen. It’s all part of having the guts to step out and do something a little out of the ordinary. And if you’re not willing to risk that, then just keep doing what you’ve been doing. No problem.

But remember, the same approach will always yield the same results. To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Change isn’t easy. It takes purpose, focus, and commitment. You have to be all-in. But once you get past that initial reluctance, a whole new world opens up. Dreams become possible, and success becomes a way of life.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved