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

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall …

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

Have you ever had that feeling something is happening right under your nose, something sinister that you would never allow? It’s like parents smelling incense from a teenager’s room, or noticing that the bottle of vodka in the freezer is all of a sudden … you know, frozen. It’s almost like somebody is refilling it with water to keep you from knowing how much is gone.

That’s how I feel every morning when I look in my closet. It’s full of clothes that are a perfect fit for somebody who’s carrying around a bunch of extra weight. And judging by his fashion sense, he’s old, too. Like really old. There’s only one plausible explanation. I think my wife is having an affair.

Okay, before she reads this and smacks me in the head, I guess I should take that back. I know the clothes are mine, simply because they fit. Well, they used to. They’ve shrunk. Not in length, but in the waistline. How does that even work?

And when it comes to fashion, let me share a little story. Several years ago I had a part in a movie. It never saw the big screen, but it was fun going through the process. I played an older comedian who was mentoring a younger comedian. Right up until the scene where they found my body slumped over the table with a very real-looking bullet hole in my head.

As I was reading my lines the day before our first shoot, the wardrobe director asked if I knew where I could get my hands on a button-down sweater. You know, “Like the old men wear.” Yes, it was a low-budget film. That wasn’t the worst part. I had two sweaters just like that hanging in my closet. Right next to my powder-blue leisure suit.

It reminded me of the time when I went to the vision center for an eye exam. As I was trying on a pair of glasses with large squared lenses, a very attractive female clerk gently took them off my face and put them back on the rack. “We keep a few of these around for the old men. Let’s try something a little more fun.” Wham! A two-point shot and I didn’t even see it coming!

Age is one of those things that sneaks up on us. It happens while you’re sleeping. I offer that scientific observation based on the fact that my hair is no grayer at the end of the day than it is when I wake up, but every morning it seems a little less colorful than it was yesterday. And the problem is, the older I get, the more I sleep. Damn.

The same is true of weight. I know, there are people who can eat a single donut and say, “I feel bloated!” Yes, Karen, those extra 150 calories went straight to your gut. Everybody duck! The button on her pants may fly off at any moment. It could put an eye out. Seriously. I read it on Facebook!

Okay, there are days when we feel a little older and temporary bloating is a real thing. But the long-term trend is something we rarely notice until it becomes … well, noticeable. With women, age is easy to conceal. With men, it’s a little more obvious. Checkered shorts, black knee socks, and leather sandals? Give him a pair of wraparound sunglasses and send him to Golden Oaks.

Think back over your career. Were there times when you felt you just weren’t making any progress? You’d wake up each day and think, “Here we go again. Same stuff, different day.” Yet somewhere along the way, things changed. Odds are, you’re not still doing the same things you did when you first started working. You grew. It may have been slow, but here you are.

Now, think of your dreams – things you’ve been slowly working toward for several years. It’s hard to notice any real progress from one day to another, but when you look at where you were a month ago, or maybe a year ago, you’ve probably gotten closer, even if you weren’t trying as hard as you could have.

One of the hardest things about achieving long-term goals is the lack of noticeable results from one day to the next. It’s that way with savings, weight loss, education, muscle-conditioning, business-building, and just about anything else you can imagine. You may notice small gains over time, but it’s hard to see progress on a daily basis.

But the progress continues as long as you keep working at it. We barely notice each mile in a 1000-mile trip, but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting there. Just keep going. Do what you need to be doing, and stick with it. And one day when you least expect it, you’ll realize you’re just about there. Almost like magic.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Not Your Circus, Not Your Monkeys

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

I once had a manager who loved to ask loaded questions. “Do you remember two weeks ago when I asked you for that report?” Don’t answer! It’s a trap. If you say yes, the next question is, “Then why didn’t you do it?” If you say no – “So, you just don’t pay attention!” At that point, even a fake coronary won’t get you out of trouble. Because he’ll do CPR and then say, “Well?”

What that usually means is he was supposed to do the report and his boss just asked the same question. “Do you remember a month ago when I asked you for that report?” Now he’s in trouble and no boss is ever in trouble on his own. In lifesaving courses, the first thing they tell you is that a drowning person will do anything they can to climb on top of you.

And when that happens, there’s only one thing you can do – sink. The faster you go down, the quicker they’ll let go. Then you can try again, and odds are they’ll be a little more cooperative. Okay, that works in the water. I’m sorry to say it doesn’t work in the office. The moment you start to sink, the boss will put his foot on your head and push down even harder. Okay, some bosses.

Thankfully, most are a little more compassionate. Even in the military, they’re learning that you get more out of people when you treat them with a little respect. Sure, they have to do whatever you say. You know it and they know it. And one of the first things they teach you in the military is how to delegate. You know, pass the buck. “I told Glardon to do that!”

But that’s how things get done in the real world. The top dog needs something done, so he calls in his leaders and says, “Make it happen.” They call in their managers and say, “The old man wants this – make it happen.” And the managers find somebody getting a cup of coffee and say, “Since you’re not doing anything else right now, I’ve got a job for you.” Sound familiar?

So, you go back to your desk fuming, because this is the first cup of coffee you’ve had in three days. You have a pile of work the boss doesn’t know about, because six other people have dumped work on you this week alone. There’s no way you can get it all done, and now you have one more job to add to the pile. So, you make a phone call. “Honey, I won’t be home tonight.”

Yesterday we talked about time, and how we always find time for everything but our dreams. But you know, there comes a point where you’re so busy you can’t even remember that you had dreams, much less what they are. And it goes that way until you’re so stressed out, your only dream is running away forever. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. We’ve all been there.

It’s estimated that up to 90% of medical conditions are related to stress. That’s a pretty grim statistic, especially when you consider that stress is largely within our power to control. I didn’t say “eliminate.” There’s only one way to completely eliminate stress, and funerals are expensive. But we can control stress and make it a little less prevalent in our lives.

We can start by putting things in perspective. Mom always used to ask, “Will it matter twenty years from now?” Okay, that’s a tough question when your kid just colored the front of your first Bible in red crayon – the one you’ve had since you were ten (the Bible, not the kid). Thirty years later, those marks are still there. But you know, they really don’t matter.

Another way is by using one of the very first words we ever learned … “No.” Oh, you’d be surprised at how many people act like they’ve never heard it before. “What do you mean?” I mean no. I don’t have time for this right now, and I’m not taking it on. Your crisis is not my emergency. I’ll help any way I can, but the answer today is no. Period.

Sure, there are times when you can’t say no. This week has been one of those times for me. Just don’t let it become a habit. Because odds are, while you’re burning the midnight oil doing somebody else’s work, they’ve already gone home and had dinner. And they’re not giving you a second thought. It’s almost like somebody told them to get a life and they listened.

Well, get a life! Don’t let other people dump their load on you. It’s all about balance – being productive and helpful, but not to the detriment of your own well-being. Know when to say no. I promise you they’ve heard it before.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time is What We Make of It – Make Yours Count

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

It’s been a crazy week for me, and the calendar says it’s barely started. I think we talked about this last week. Just lots going on, between work, cleaning my dad’s house, my brother in the hospital, and taking the motorhome in for warranty work. Oh, and that freelance assignment I was supposed to have done two weeks ago. When it rains, it pours.

It seems a lot of my posts center on this topic – too much to do, and too little time to get it all done. And yet, at the end of the week, we still fill those 168 hours doing something. Maybe not what we’d planned on doing, because life has a way of spotting extra time. “Oh, you thought were getting all this done? Yeah. Hold my beer!”

It keeps us on our toes. It sparks our creativity. It makes us talk like a drunken sailor. It’s been said that you never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. Wrong! I learned to swear when my sister learned to drive. She taught me all the words. The Navy taught me how to use them in proper context. And time (or lack of it) was one of those contexts. Still is.

Dad always used to say “first things first.” Okay, that’s a simple concept for people who can tell the kid to go cut the grass. It’s easy to get the important stuff done when you can delegate the rest. That’s why the boss always looks so impressive and the rest of us are running around looking like Keith Richards on a three-day binge.

But there are some things we just can’t delegate. I’ve had help with the house cleaning, and I’m thankful for everyone who’s pitched in. But I have to do the freelance work myself and the boss says I can’t subcontract the work he’s paying me to do. I’d send somebody else to the hospital to visit, but I’m pretty sure my brother would catch on. And nobody else is driving that RV.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here, because that’s the best way to work through trying times. No, I wouldn’t try to farm out the work I get paid to do. And I’m happy to spend time with my brother, even if it is in such a clinical setting. And someday, I’ll teach my wife to drive the RV. You know, after I put the first dent in it. I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s been waiting for.

Leadership is a word we often misconstrue to mean bossing people around, when what it really means is taking the bull by the horns and making things happen. It’s a word employers like to throw around, and for good reason. Every successful company needs leaders. And not everybody wants to be a leader. That’s why we have pay scales.

But leadership applies to most areas of life, including the parts where we’re doing things for ourselves. You know, chasing our dreams. It’s an important part of life, and one we all too often ignore for the sake of all those other things we have to do. You know, now. Right this minute!

And part of leadership is being able to categorize work into a few different buckets. In my final years in the Navy, I was the leading petty officer for my division. I sat at a desk and looked important. And I shuffled papers. Lots of papers. The officers were so impressed.

On my desk, I had three stackable baskets. You know, “In, “Out,” and “Pending.” Well, mine said, “I don’t want it,” “I’ll get to it later,” and “I’m hoping you’ll forget about it.” Guess which one stayed full? And once a month, I’d sift through the papers in that bottom basket. Nine times out of ten, nobody had ever mentioned them again. They went straight in the circular file.

Sometimes, people will dump work on your plate simply because they can. It’s up to us to decide which tasks are important, which ones we can give to somebody else, and which ones we can set aside. And here’s the important part of this whole post – your dreams NEVER go in the “set it aside” bucket. Find time. Make time if you have to. But dreams always take a priority.

They may not take top priority, and you probably won’t find anybody else willing to do the work for you. They have dreams, too. But as long as you’re willing to let other priorities steal all your time, you’ll never do anything for yourself.

Working hard will get things done. But are you getting the right things done? A cemetery awaits us all. We may not be able to change the destination, but we can certainly choose the path. Make time for yourself. Make it count.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Everyone Has an Opinion – Some Are Just Better Than Others

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

It’s the last day of the month. Time for some know-it-all like me to pop in and ask if you’ve accomplished all your monthly goals. I haven’t. I’m just trying to live vicariously through you. I’m hoping at least one of your will send me a message telling me you did everything you set out to do so I can call you one or two bad names and then focus on outdoing you next month.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but isn’t that the way it feels sometimes? You do something good, something productive, and you’re afraid to tell anybody because you don’t want them to think you’re rubbing it in. It’s better to succeed in silence. Almost like an army advancing on a strategic target. The last thing you need is somebody else’s attention.

Besides, it’s fun to spring a surprise on people. “Hey, boss, remember that report you were looking for somebody to do? I saved you the trouble. It’s all done! Here, I even put your name on it!” Okay, there’s a difference between initiative and brown-nosing. We’ll talk about that some other time.

But what happens if you let the boss know you’re working on it before it’s actually done? “Hey, where’s that report you said you were working on? You know it’s due tomorrow!” It doesn’t matter that you’ve worked till midnight every day and will probably pull an all-nighter tonight. You’re no longer the hero coming in to save the day. You’re just another hurdle.

And that’s something at work that can get you noticed and maybe even set you up for a promotion. You want the recognition. What if you keep it to yourself and then, just as you’re about finished, you find out the boss quietly assigned it to his favorite protégé? You turn yours in a day early and the boss says, “Who told you to do this? Don’t you have other work to do?”

Well, is it any wonder we don’t let the cat out of the bag when we’re working on our dreams? Especially big ones. It’s okay to tell people you’re hoping to spend a week in Florida this winter. But tell people you’re looking to buy a vacation home on the beach, and let the games begin. “Seriously? With whose money? Planning on winning the lottery next week?”

It doesn’t even matter if you’ve got a plan. In fact, that makes it worse because now people know you’re serious. Now your mental stability is on the line. And we all know what happens if you share your plan. “Seriously? You fell for that? My cousin’s neighbor’s brother-in-law tried that. It doesn’t work!”

So, you keep it to yourself and silently plod along. You make mistakes, more than you might have, because there’s nobody to help avoid it. And the more of those mistakes you make, the more you’re convinced everybody else was right. You really aren’t cut out for success. Or maybe you are, but whatever you’re doing is just plain ludicrous. It’ll never work.

Those last three words have blocked more people from their dreams than you could ever imagine. “It’ll never work.” Never mind that other people have made it work, or that there are people out there with a track record of success who can help you over the rough spots. It’s easier to just quit while you’re ahead.

Except, you’re really not ahead, are you? That dream, that burning desire, is still there. You may have poured a little water on it and turned some of the smoke into steam, but it’s still there fighting to build back up and roar to life. But much like a fire, you can only water it down so many times before it dies completely.

And where are all those helpful friends who made you feel so bad in the first place?  “Aw, man, that’s really tough. But you had to know it wasn’t meant to be, right? Come on over and we’ll have a beer. Can you pick some up on your way?”

When friends hand you a bucket of water for your dreams, pour the water on them and find somebody with a little fire of their own. Hang around people with similar dreams, and maybe even a few who have already accomplished theirs. They’ll be just as willing to help as all those other people. The difference is, the help they give will steer you to succeed, not fail.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to succeed. You have to do most of the work, but the more successful people you have in your corner, the better your chances of success. Don’t work in silence, and don’t keep your dreams a secret. Share them with the right people and let all those others sit back in amazement.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Until You Take That First Step, It’s All Just a Dream

Good morning. It’s Friday!!! I hope your day is off to an awesome start.

It’s been a long week. I know, we established that fact yesterday, but I think it bears repeating. It’s been a really long week! Okay, it’s been four days. The same four days that precede every Friday. But there are times when you’re pretty sure somebody snuck in a couple of extras just for you. Okay, I’m done whining. For now.

On a brighter note, I’ve gotten up every morning this week to send out some words of inspiration. I had slipped into a habit of letting other things get in the way, and it feels good to have accomplished my goal for the week. That’s assuming I actually finish this post and send it out. But the first few words are always the hardest. After that, it gets easy.

It takes a lot more energy to get your car up to speed than it does to maintain that speed. Not that the arresting officer really cares about that, but it’s worth noting. For that matter, it takes more energy to start your car than it does to run it for the next several minutes. And I’m like a car. A really old car with a carburetor and manual choke. And leaded gas.

Work fascinates me. I can sit and stare at it for hours. I didn’t make that one up, but it sure seems to fit my personality sometimes. And thankfully, I have all kinds of other things to do instead. Productive things. You know, like surfing the internet, reading social media, watching TV, staring out the window. Or my personal favorite, planning the work. I do that a lot.

By the time the day is done, I can curl up in bed with a smug grin on my face, knowing I’ve stayed busy all day and truly deserve a night of uninterrupted sleep. Well, apparently my body knows the difference, because I haven’t had a night of uninterrupted sleep since 1982.

There’s nothing quite like setting a goal and achieving it. And, as we’ve discussed in the past, a goal is something that you, and you alone, can control. If the outcome depends on anybody else, it’s a dream. But dreams can be distilled into goals that, if we accomplish them religiously, can influence the outcome and stack the odds in your favor.

Like eating fried foods and chocolate. If your dream is to gain weight, all you have to do is set a goal of eating more junk. Voila! You win!!! On the other hand, if your desire is to be healthier and lose some weight, your goal may be to eat more fruits and vegetables. I know. Blech! There are pills that will help us lose weight. Can’t we mix them with chocolate? Don’t say it … I know.

But the problem with any goal is that you have to actually do something to achieve it. And, more often than not, you have to do two things – you have to do what you need to do and stop doing what you shouldn’t. Which is why you see people dipping strawberries in a fountain of milk chocolate. They got the first part right – just not the rest.

The first step is always the hardest. Whether it’s cleaning a room, chopping down trees, changing your diet, or starting a business, nothing happens until you put forth the effort. Once you get started, it’s easy to find distractions … oops!  I mean, it’s easy to keep going. Yes, distractions are everywhere. But if you stay focused on the objective, it’s not hard to finish.

I’m getting ready to take on a few very large projects. Some are a lot more enticing than others, but they all need to be done. I’ve thought about them, and I’ve planned them down to the last detail. There’s only one thing left to do – as a popular comedian often says, “Git ‘er done!”

Once you take that first step, the next one is that much easier. And the more progress you make, the more clearly you can see the end. That doesn’t mean another job just as big won’t be waiting for you. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Set a goal, find the time, and make it happen. Sometimes, just getting out of the chair is the hardest part. But once you get started, your focus changes and things get done. Like this post. I’m done. All it took was sitting at the keyboard and shutting off the internet. Do what needs to be done and stop doing the rest. Now my day can begin. Hopefully yours as well.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Is It Friday Yet???

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

You know how you go through the whole week thinking it’s a day later than it really is, and then you wake up on Tuesday realizing it’s not Friday? Okay, Monday was a long day. So were the others that followed. Today is Friday, right? Pleeeeze, somebody tell me it is!

Mom used to always say, “Stop wishing your life away!” Okay, that was usually when I’d make comments about wishing I was older or that Christmas would hurry up and get here. When you’re nine, those things are pretty important. Now? Not so much. Christmas comes fast enough, and I’d be thrilled if the aging thing would slow down a little.

It’s not that I mind getting older. I’m perfectly happy to have lived this long, and I hope to be a lot more wrinkled and gray before it’s all over. I’ve earned this. That’s not to say I deserve it, because I’ve been pretty hard on this body over the years. Every now and then it reminds me.

I’ve often said the closest I come to weightlifting is standing up after dinner – if I want to sweat, I’ll eat a plate of Buffalo wings or bend over and tie my shoes. The end result is pretty much the same. Yes, I say that tongue-in-cheek, because I know the damage I’ve done over the years. But you know, sometimes you have to laugh at yourself. Besides, it beats others to the punch.

Aging is a double-edged sword. It’s a badge of honor, proof that you escaped danger enough times to tack on a few more years. But it also comes with the realization that you may not have as much time left to do all the things you wanted. We talked about this yesterday, and I won’t go into that now, other than to say it’s a time of reckoning.

My grandson was telling his girlfriend the other night that I’ve had a picture of a motorhome on my desk for several years, as a reminder of my dream. He’s right. On that picture it says, “If not today, when?” It’s still there, even though we bought an RV earlier this year. It’s a daily reminder that the dream is only half-fulfilled. Now we need to hit the road.

My dad, who has spent 88 years managing finances from a safe and practical approach, shocked me when he said, “I’m glad you bought this now instead of waiting until you were too old to enjoy it.” I about fell over. But he made my point perfectly – there’s a certain age for all of us where we crest that hill, and things start to move downward. It’s just a fact of life.

I’m not there yet. I’ve still got plenty of good years left, or so I hope. But you never know when life will throw a knuckleball. You’re driving to work, and somebody takes your spot in the road. You get a hearing test and find out you need brain surgery. Your company closes. A pandemic strikes. The economy tumbles. Any of a thousand things that can instantly change your life.

And that’s when it hits you that you still had things you wanted to do. Odds are, you’re not done yet. But you may have to re-assess your capabilities and tailor your dreams to fit. And that, I think, is probably one of life’s greatest sorrows. Because you’ll always know if you’d just started sooner, you might have been able to do it all.

We can’t go back in time and start sooner. Today is today, and in a few short hours it’ll be gone. And sure, the opportunities you have today will probably still be there tomorrow. But every day we fail to capitalize on those opportunities is one less day we can enjoy the rewards. And it’s that much closer to the day we may no longer be able.

Aging is one of life’s greatest blessings. If we’re lucky, we reach that certain age having accomplished most of our goals. I can’t imagine much that would feel better than looking back over a lifetime of accomplishments, with just enough spark left inside to take it one step further.

Yes, life is passing by quickly enough. Instead of living for Friday, maybe we should make the most of the days leading up to it. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Make things happen today and you won’t have to wish you had later.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved