You’re Working – But Are You Getting Anything Done?

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

Did you ever hear the story about the magic soup stone? An old woman goes to the door to find a tired traveler offering to share his stone that magically makes soup. All you have to do is put it in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. He’d show her if she’d share the soup with him. It seemed so incredible, she just had to give it a try.

Once the pot began to warm up, he said, “We should add a little salt. Soup needs salt.” So, she did. And pepper. Next, he suggested a few vegetables. You know, just for flavor. She complied and, to her amazement, it began to smell like real soup. Finally, he asked if she had any meat. A soup this good can only be better with a little meat. And he was right. It was awesome.

Of course, the moral of the story is don’t believe everything somebody tells you, and only half of what you see. Yes, the soup started out with a rock and some warm water. But if you put a rock in some warm water and add meat, vegetables, and a few spices, it takes on the flavor and aroma of soup. Then you take the rock out and eat. Voila! Just like magic.

It’s like those diet pills that promise to “melt away the pounds.” Okay, first things first – fat doesn’t melt. Not body fat. It turns into concrete and you have to take it out with a sledgehammer. And after six bottles of those pills, you notice the asterisk next to the weight loss claim … “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!!! I can do that with M&Ms!

How often do we try to accomplish something the easy way, only to find it doesn’t work unless you fall back on the tried & true methods you were trying to avoid in the first place? Or the task itself seems so monumental you never really get started, but realize later you’ve been going through the motions all this time and could have accomplished something worthwhile?

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book for years. Okay, decades. But let’s be honest, that’s a pretty big effort. The thought of putting 50,000 coherent words together on the same topic is daunting, to say the least. First you need a topic. Then you need to figure out an approach and apply your own unique slant. Then you have to actually write it. I need a magic book stone.

But with all these morning posts over the past three years, I’ve written the equivalent of 9 books. Somehow, I found the time to do all that writing and a never-ending supply of things to write about. Okay, if you’ve been reading these posts for three years, you may have a differing opinion.  Still, you get the point. Sometimes it’s not the work as much as the focus.

How many times have you found yourself spinning your wheels, working all day just to stay caught up, when the same amount of effort would have accomplished one of your goals? Or you’ve tried every new gimmick that came along, only to find that none of them work and the same amount of effort would have done the job the old-fashioned way?

My business is a lot like that. It’s simple. Really simple. That’s not to say it’s easy, but it’s nothing that requires any special education or skills. All it takes is to follow instructions – duplicate what others have done. Yet every new person coming in has a “better” way of getting the job done faster. And in all these years, I’ve never seen a one succeed.

We all like to be creative and come up with our own twist on what everybody else is doing. And that’s a good thing, in moderation. Let’s face it, when Thomas Edison got tired of carrying around an oil lamp, our world changed. But in my relatively short lifetime, I’ve seen several attempts at improving on the light bulb. So far, only one has really worked.

It seems like we’ve covered a lot of territory in this post, but is there a point? I think there are a couple. First, nothing is ever quite as easy as it seems. There is no magic soup stone, and success still has to be earned. Also, if we apply a little focus to the work we’re already doing, we can achieve our dreams instead of just working.

Will I get that book finished? Yes. I have no doubt. Will it sell? That’s another story. But anything is possible if we consistently do what needs to be done. There may be easier ways, and some may actually work. But start with what you know works and then experiment from there. You may be surprised what you can accomplish.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Prioritizing Your Dreams?

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

It’s April 1, a national holiday for practical jokers and wannabe comedians. It’s a day when great deals really are too good to be true, and everything on the Internet is met with a little extra skepticism. And it’s the one day a politician’s word is as good as anybody else’s. I’m not sure that’s as good as it sounds.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, April is a symbol of hope. Winter is gone (mostly), flowers bloom, and small animals abound. Oh, they were there before. But now we can see what they’re up to, instead of wondering how much insulation and wiring they’ve destroyed in hibernation. It’s a good thing squirrels are so cute. Besides, one is barely enough for a sandwich.

April is also the time when we start to think about getting started on those projects we dreamed up over the winter. I didn’t say we actually start them – just that we think about it. But Mom always said it’s the thought that counts. Come to think of it, my wife says that a lot, too. I’m beginning to think that’s just a tactful way of saying, “Nice try.”

Planning projects is easy. You dream it up, figure out what it would take to make it happen, and then start listing all the things that are standing in the way. “It’s too cold right now. As soon as it warms up, I’ll get started. As long as it doesn’t get too hot. But I’ll have to set aside time to do the taxes. And then there’s graduation and summer vacation, and then … well, I’ll get to it.”

We all have good intentions. And I’m told they come in real handy for paving the road to perdition. Several years ago, I tore down our backyard storage shed to make room for a new one. But in the process, I stepped on a rusty nail and my foot got infected and then it got too hot to work outside and then winter came and then … well, you get the picture.

It was a year before my grandson and I actually built the new shed, and that’s a personal best for me. Notice I didn’t say we finished the new shed – we built it. I still need to put on the front and rear trim pieces and install soffits to keep the birds out. But it’s reasonably weatherproof, and that was my goal five years ago. Get the lawnmower in out of the rain.

And we haven’t even talked about the missing baseboards from new flooring that I installed twelve years ago, the cracked vanity top in the bathroom, the new faucet we bought for the kitchen, or all the clutter in the basement and garage. I told my wife it’s the thought that counts. She said the same thing about dinner. I guess two can play that game.

Home projects are one thing. Sooner or later, they have a way of prioritizing themselves and eventually you don’t have a choice. But what about all those other things you wanted to do? That business you wanted to start, the trip you planned to take, or the book you’ve been meaning to write? Well, maybe this winter when there’s nothing better to do.

The longer we put things off, the easier it is to do. After a while, it just becomes routine. Dream it up, put it off … dream it up, put it off. The boss has this stuff figured out. They dream it up and set a deadline. Otherwise, nothing would ever get done. Except coffee. They said “take initiative.” Isn’t that when we do something without being told? That’s a good thing, right?

It’s not that we’re lazy. Far from it. The problem is that life doesn’t stop just because we have other plans. It doesn’t even move out of the way. It’s like that old lady in the grocery store who parks her cart in the middle of the aisle as she searches the entire selection of canned soup looking for that one flavor the store doesn’t sell. And I didn’t even want soup.

Meanwhile, we wait for that perfect opportunity to get on with our own plans. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the perfect opportunity doesn’t exist. Sometimes you have to just push the cart out of the way and move on. Or do like the boss does – dream it up and set a deadline. Put it in writing and give it to somebody else so they can nag you till it’s done.

We can’t control life’s interruptions any more than we can control the weather. But unless our dreams take priority, they’ll never get done. Spring has begun. And another one is just a year away. The question is, will you begin the next one living your dream, or thinking about it?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Care Where You’ve Been

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

A couple of days ago, the container ship that had been blocking the Suez Canal was finally freed. Investigators will try over the next several months to determine how it got stuck in the first place, and attorneys will certainly offer their opinion. But I’ll bet nobody is as relieved as the guy who was standing at the helm when they hit the sand. “Starboard? Is that even a word? C’mon Captain … right or left???”

If you’ve never served aboard a ship, let me share some insight. The Captain doesn’t “drive” the ship. In fact, he’s probably never touched the steering wheel. It’s usually a junior crew member who didn’t have anything better to do at the time, so he got stuck at the helm taking orders from somebody else and will catch the blame the instant something goes wrong. “I told him hard to port!” Really? When?

A few days ago, there was a meme on social media showing a tiny excavator next to this massive ship, digging away handfuls of mud in an attempt to set it free. The caption said if you think there are unimportant people on this planet, remember that 12% of the global economy is in the hands of a guy who shovels dirt for a living. That puts it in perspective.

For every great feat of mankind, it’s the people in the trenches who make it happen. Elon Musk gets a lot of credit for electric cars and private spaceships, but I doubt he’s ever turned a wrench on any one of them. He comes up with an idea, pays others to develop the idea, and then pays even more people to do the grunt work. He may be a visionary, but he’s mostly just the rich guy at the top.

It’s said that 10% of the population controls 90% of the wealth. That’s true. In fact, it’s probably a little optimistic. And if you don’t believe that, look around you. Count the number of apartments you pass on your way to work, and then count the number of mansions. How many dump trucks do you see for every limousine? How many executives are there in your company? How many workers?

That’s why it’s so hard for those of us who spend our days in the trenches to imagine ourselves at the top. “Get an education, go to work, and climb the corporate ladder.” That’s the advice we’re given. And it’s good advice, if you’re a really patient person with dreams of mediocrity. But what happens when you realize your ladder is too short or is propped against the wrong wall?

A while back, I heard the story of a man from Central America who moved to New York City with barely enough money to live for a couple of weeks, and took a job parking cars while sleeping in an abandoned car every night to save money so he could eventually move his family to join him. He was a hard worker, but one of those people everybody overlooked. Until somebody found him sleeping in their car. I’m sure he moved a lot.

Still, he had a dream – he saw his family living with him in a home they owned. It was a simple dream, but one that burned within him every day. It got him up in the morning, prodded him to work hard all day, and gave him a reason to put his trust in a complete stranger who said, “I can help.” That stranger didn’t offer a handout – he offered a plan.

For most people, it would be hard to wake up every day in somebody else’s car and see ourselves living in a mansion. Especially in a strange country where we can barely speak the language. But that’s exactly how this story ends. He took a simple opportunity and applied it to his dream. Granted, that dream was modest at first – a home of his own. But in building that dream, he made even bigger dreams possible.

If you don’t think you have what it takes, you’re not seeing the big picture. Maybe you think you lack the education or skills. Maybe you’ve made some mistakes in the past. Maybe you were born poor, and on the wrong side of town. Or maybe you’ve worked your way up that ladder and think you’ve reached the highest point available to an “ordinary” person like you.

Ordinary people achieve extraordinary results. Success isn’t for the select few – it’s for anybody who has a dream and a burning desire to achieve it. It’s for those who will not be denied, who are willing to go that extra mile when everybody else is watching TV. Don’t define yourself by your spot on the ladder. See yourself where you want to be. Is it possible? Absolutely! Can it happen? Well, that part is up to you.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Always Get Better With Time

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

When people visit places they’ve never been, there’s usually some unique attraction, something in particular they really want to see or experience. In San Antonio, I wanted to see the Alamo. In New Orleans, it was the river. Okay, and Bourbon Street. You have to do that once, and once was enough. Now that we’re in Arizona, my wife’s greatest ambition is to see a roadrunner.

Yes, we could have done that in just about any zoo, not to mention Saturday morning cartoons. But there’s something about seeing one trotting alongside the road without a care in the world, not even the coyote. Yes, I watched way too much TV as a kid.

I’ve seen roadrunners on previous visits. They’re not like the cartoon. If that’s your only exposure, you’d expect something as big as ostrich and faster than Superman. They’re more like an anorexic chicken with abnormally long legs. Still, fun to watch as a dust devil approaches across the desert. I’ve seen them, too. Just not Taz.

I remember on the drive out here, as we were heading through barren mountains and desert, my wife commented that she didn’t know any place like that really existed. She’s seen mountains before, but they were covered with trees. She’s seen sand, but it was on a beach. And I’m not sure she’s ever seen a real cactus before. Not unless somebody planted it.

Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that mean the most. I remember driving through Yellowstone National Park, and an RV passed in the opposite direction. In the windshield, there were three kids sitting on the dash (yes, no seatbelts), their eyes alight with amazement. Right then, I decided I want to do that with my own grandkids someday.

Dreams begin at the most unexpected times. We see or hear something, and it sparks a flame. The more we focus on that experience, the stronger the flame grows. Do it enough, and it becomes a roaring fire. But like a fire, it has to be fed. We can’t just dream of something once and expect it to thrive. We have to keep adding fuel to the fire.

Part of that fuel is easy – imagination and pictures. Put those two together and the dream begins to take on a life of its own. Feed the fire, and it begins to feel real. It’s no longer just something you want to do, but something you can actually see yourself doing. Reach that point, and you’re one plan away from making it happen. All that stands in your way is action.

The problem then becomes, when? You know what you want to accomplish. You can see yourself doing it. You have a plan. You know what needs to be done. But when? A goal is a dream with a plan and an expiration date. Okay, a deadline. If you miss a deadline, you can always try again. Expiration dates are a little more permanent. Especially with yogurt.

And here’s the thing. Expiration dates aren’t always what’s printed on the packaging. Sometimes it comes a lot sooner than it was supposed to. Maybe you left it sitting out too long, or maybe the package wasn’t completely sealed. Next thing you know, you’re hugging the commode. Especially with yogurt.

It’s pretty much the same with our dreams. We always think there’s time, and it’s always after some life-changing event. “After I get a good job.” “After I pay off these student loans.” “After we start a family.” “After the kids are in school.” “After the kids are grown.” “After we pay off the house.” “After I retire.” Have I missed any?

Well, if we’re lucky, we get to make those choices. But life sometimes has plans of its own. One day you’re driving to work with that dream in the back of your mind, and next thing you know a dump truck takes your spot in the road. Or the doctor calls with unwelcome news, or your body just says, “That’s it – we’re old. Fake it all you want, I’m done playing.”

Some plans should be put on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them possible now. Besides age or time or whatever life-changing event you’re waiting on, what else needs to be in place to make your dream come true? Odds are money is part of it. And you can get started on that today. They have these things they call banks, and money has no shelf life.

And if there’s no reason for putting your plans on hold other than some sense of honorable self-deprivation, then make it happen. If you’ll enjoy something when you’re 65, you’ll enjoy it that much more now. You already have the dream. All that stands in your way is action. And unlike time or life’s twists and turns, that’s the one thing you really can control.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Have to Wait if You Get Started Now

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

Okay, I realize that for most of you it’s afternoon. It’s only 9:30 here. It’s not my fault Arizona decided to start the day so late compared to everybody else. Well, unless you live west of here. My workday starts at 5 AM. I don’t care where you’re from, that’s early. On the other hand, I get to knock off at 2 and head to the pool. So, there’s that.

As I look around, I’m surrounded by what was once a dream. Living in an RV, surrounded by palm trees, mountains, and a clear blue sky, and everybody who walks past either waves or stops to talk. Stress exists, but on a distant planet. You know, somewhere outside the front gate. This is what we’ve dreamed of. Well, except the scorpions.

People ask sometimes if it’s hard living in such a small space and moving from one location to another. I guess that depends on how you look at it. The view out our front window right now is awesome, and we can change it any time we want. Having the ability to move means you’re never stuck with the local weather. Don’t like snow? Head south!

For us, it was all part of the dream. Getting out and seeing the country (even west Texas), chasing the sunshine, sampling the local cuisine, and meeting new people every day. So far, most of that has come to pass. Okay, as it turns out, there’s still a Burger King on every corner, so I’m not completely convinced there’s any such thing as local cuisine. But we try.

Should we have waited a few more years instead of doing this now? Maybe. My bank statement could make a financial analyst cringe, but this was our dream, not theirs. And there’s something to be said for doing things like this before you’re too old to enjoy them. Okay, that ship already sailed, but you get the point. We’re not getting any younger. It was now or never.

We always think there will be plenty of time to chase our dreams, and that our financial situation will somehow be a lot better later in life. Well, ask somebody who’s made it past 50 how well that worked out. Sure, we may make a little more money, but expenses pretty well keep up. And your health doesn’t care what you had planned. It has plans of its own.

That doesn’t mean you just chuck it all and start living the dream. Depending on your situation, that can be a quick way to make the dream come to a premature end with little to no hope of ever reviving it. On the other hand, we see a lot of young couples living on the road, enjoying the experience before life forces them to put down a set of roots.

And let’s be honest – what makes it all possible is money. Not necessarily a huge bank account, but the ability to replenish it as you go – a source of income that doesn’t stop the minute you leave home. A friend once told me that when you can make money from home, then home can be any place you want. “There’s no industry there!” Awesome! Sign me up!

Maintaining that income is simple if you just open your mind to possibilities you never considered. When you’re the boss, you decide when and where you work. When you need more money, you work harder and give yourself a raise. If you want a vacation, you take one. And nobody tells you that you’re too young or too old, or that your job has been outsourced.

Find an income like that, and you open a whole world of opportunity. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard. You just have to be open to new ideas, and willing to take a chance on the one person you can count on the most. Sure, you have to ease into some of these things. But with that in mind, how long do you plan to wait? Rather, how old do you plan to be when you finally get there?

Nobody visualizes themselves at beach in a wheelchair or dragging an oxygen bottle through the streets of Rome. When we see the dream, we’re vibrant and healthy, living life to its fullest. Maybe you can’t start the dream now. That’s okay. But the sooner you take the steps to make it possible, the sooner it’ll happen. So, what are you waiting for?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are New Habits Covering Up the Good Ones?

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

I’m sitting here reading yesterday’s post, wondering how I went from headwinds and dust storms to income taxes and physical fitness. It was early, okay? Real early. I’m three time zones behind the rest of the folks at work, so I have to start my day while the roosters are still snoring. And that first day was a bear.

There was a time in my life when getting up this early was a roll of the dice where you need double 7s to win. If I had to be at the airport early, I stayed up all night to keep from missing my flight. Oh, I had an alarm clock. But when you’ve lived on an aircraft carrier, you’d be surprised what you can sleep through. General quarters? Call me back in an hour.

It’s been 20 years since I’ve used an alarm clock. That changed when I quit smoking. I guess there’s something to be said for the ability to exchange oxygen. Okay, I know … old people wake up a lot during the night. And when I reach that age, I’ll tell you how it works. For now, let’s just say I can wake up any time I want.

Throughout our lives, habits change. Some change because we made a conscious decision to change, and some just change on their own. Over the years, I’ve become a lot more mellow in traffic. My wife may not completely agree with that assessment, but I rarely flip anybody off these days. I save that for the absolute best of the jackasses. Is it my fault they still drive?

I don’t remember ever making a conscious decision to change that. It just happened. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and driving slower. Or maybe it’s because I finally realized I wouldn’t stand a chance in a real fistfight, and some people take this stuff way too seriously. I like to think I’m just learning to enjoy life a little more instead of focusing on the idiots.

Habits change when we stop doing something quite as often. That may start as a conscious decision, but sometimes we just let other things take up that space in our brain. I don’t have to focus on keeping my middle finger down if I simply wave at people instead. The new habit replaces the old with no real input on my part.

That’s good when it comes to habits we need to break. But what about the ones we should continue? You know, like kissing your significant other when you walk in the door. That’s an easy one to overlook, especially when you have a dog that greets you at the door wagging its whole body, just waiting for the chance to lick you in the face. Time to step up your game, dear!

Okay, I just took one for the team, because I’ll pay for that last statement. But you get the point. Sometimes, other things slip in and unintentionally obscure the habits we’ve formed. A good TV series comes on and takes the place of your evening walk. A new hobby gets in the way of your business aspirations. An early bedtime keeps you from reading a book (or writing one).

None of these were intentional decisions to eliminate a particular activity. Something else just came along and took its place. That’s when we need to re-examine our priorities and see how these new habits fit our current needs. And bear in mind, needs change. When you’re hungry, work comes easy. But when that stimulus check hits the bank, it’s just as easy to slack off.

It’s not hard to keep focus when we’re on the job. The boss frowns on watching daytime soaps in the middle of a team meeting. But when it comes to those things we do outside of work, the ones that are fueled by our own goals and dreams, there’s always something else competing for our attention. And that’s how good habits die.

So, take time every now and then to examine your habits. How have they changed over the years, or even since last month? Are the new habits getting you any closer to where you want to be? If so, then keep at it. You’re on the right track. But if other things have slipped in and obscured those habits you need to continue, then make the necessary corrections.

Habits can lead you closer to your dreams or keep you from them. Success is about forming and keeping the right habits, and filtering out anything that doesn’t fit. It’s okay to have a little fun along the way. Just don’t let the wrong habits sneak in and steal your dream. Prioritize. Make it count. You’re spending the time anyway, so why not spend it on something good?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Skepticism Steal Your Dreams

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

So, yesterday afternoon when I finished work, I decided it was time for a swim. That’s one of the advantages of RV living, if you’re in a park with a pool. Especially if the pool is heated. That’s what it says on the park’s website – heated pool. What that means is they allow the sun to shine on it when it’s not hidden by clouds. I came back out so fast I didn’t even get wet.

I should have expected no less from the park that put me in a site where my living room slide is in the bushes and I can only open my water service bay door halfway because there’s a power pole right next to it. But right next to me are five empty spaces with tons of extra room. So, I did what any normal person would do. I left a crappy review online. So there!

Something I learned long ago is that RV parks and hotels aren’t always honest in their advertising. Go figure. They use wide-angle lenses for pictures of the pool, brag about amenities that are more like tripping hazards, and think the word “resort” means anything a step above the local truck stop. Last night my wife heard gunshots. I wish I was making that up.

It’s tough when all you have to go by is somebody else’s assessment of how great their place is. Nobody ever says, “It’s a bed with a bathroom. If you’re tired enough, it’ll do.” At least then I could make an educated decision. But I can’t stand dishonesty in advertising. All the exaggeration and half-truths. Which reminds me, I need to update my resume.

It’s funny how the rules change when we’re promoting ourselves. If you don’t believe that, read a few dating website profiles. There must be a book of adjectives some of these people are using, not to mention Photoshopping their head on a Chippendale model’s body. I’ve got a six-pack! Well, a four-pack … I drank two last night after I came back from the pool.

So, it’s no wonder people get skeptical when you try to sell them a product they’ve never used, or show them a business they’ve never seen. They know how it works. Most of them have a resume, too. You brag about the good parts and gloss over the rest. It’s like that asterisk on weight loss products that says, “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!

But as a consequence of our mistrust, however well-founded, we end up missing a lot of things that may have been much better than we’d imagined. Like that crawfish etouffee I ate last week. Sure, the waitress recommended it. She said it was her favorite. I think her boss was watching. But she told the people at another table that fried shrimp is her favorite.

So, yeah, I wondered if it was all she made it out to be. Much like those nagging questions about a business that promises unlimited income potential. If it’s that good, I wondered, why isn’t everybody else eating it? Maybe they know something I don’t. And why is the waitress over there nibbling a cheeseburger when nobody’s looking?

It’s hard knowing who to trust. I once interviewed at a place that offered a paltry $5.50 an hour to start. When I asked about advancement, the Human Resources rep assured me it would get better. “I’ve only been here a year and a half, and I’m already up to $6.25 an hour!” Wow!  All that in less than two years? Better sign me up twice, because that’s how much I’ll need to live.

Yes, that was a long time ago. But the premise is pretty much the same. The people who want you to say yes can give you a dozen reasons to say that, but it doesn’t mean things are working out that great for them. Take that business opportunity your friend offered to share. You already know he’s broke every payday, so why would you take his word for it?

Well, consider this. Maybe he’s just getting started. Maybe he hasn’t found his groove yet. Maybe he never will. That doesn’t mean the opportunity itself is bad. It just means he’s not making the most of it. Like that waitress nibbling on a cheeseburger. The crawfish etouffee is fine. In fact, it was awesome. It just wasn’t something she put to good use that day.

A little skepticism is normal, especially when the advertising is so great. But when we judge something new by somebody else’s experiences, we miss the opportunity to create our own. So, the waitress likes cheeseburgers and your buddy is broke. And the pool may be a lot colder than it looks. But shouldn’t you at least stick your foot in to find out?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If A Mountain Pops Up, Go Around It

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

One of the pleasures of starting a new job is working through all the computer access issues. “Yeah, we must have missed that one.” After the fifth time, you start to wonder if they wouldn’t be better to just start over. I’m on a first-name basis with half the Help Desk staff, and my access is still hosed up. On a bright note, at least I’m being paid for it.

This isn’t really a “new” job … I’m working for the same company, but as a direct-hire instead of as a contractor. To complicate things further, I previously worked for this company until a little over a year ago, when they eliminated my position. So, now I have at least two, and possibly three, profiles in the system. That’s when it threw a fit. “Good God! One Dave is enough!”

Yesterday I was stressed. Today, it’s comical. And the funny thing is, this company thought they were saving money by eliminating my “unnecessary” position. They sent me home for 2-1/2 months, and then brought me back as a contractor. Now they’re hiring me again. By the time all is said and done, they’d have been money ahead to just pay me for a 10-week vacation.

That’s how it seems to go with “brilliant” ideas. Things look great on paper, but lose their luster when the rubber hits the pavement. Like that time I tossed a firecracker out the back door at Burger King and it landed in a puddle. I picked it up and thought, “We use the microwaves to dry wet money.” I seriously wish I was making this up.

On most jobs, creativity is a valued trait. You know, during the interview. But once you get started, they don’t want a lot of innovative thought. “Just do what we taught you to do, the way we taught you to do it. Don’t get creative!” In the Navy, that wasn’t just a mindset – it was in the regulations. Any deviations had to be approved by COMNAVAIRGOD himself.

I guess I should say I never violated those regulations, but when you’re 2000 miles from dry land and facing the potential grounding of two entire aircraft squadrons, you do what needs to be done. In other words, post a watch on the shop door to let you know if the Lieutenant is coming, then drill a few holes, solder some wires, and make the problem go away.

The trick to something like that is you’d better know exactly what you’re doing, because when you’re talking about launching fully armed fighter planes off the pointy end of the ship, the stakes are pretty high. There is no “close enough.” Especially when you’re 2000 miles from dry land and there’s no place to hide when the you-know-what hits the fan.

Other times, there’s a little more room for error. That doesn’t mean you can just throw caution to the wind, but when you’re not dealing with unexploded ordinance, you have a little more freedom to try something new. In my job, I’ve often told junior employees, “It’s okay – we’re not building bombs.”

Yes, that last sentence just put me on a federal watch list. Oh well, they’re gonna be bored.

But the point is that you weigh the risks of failure with the potential gain. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Somebody calls you out for using too many Oxford commas? Been there. Yet, here I am, still gainfully employed. Go figure.

On the job, the risks may be a little higher than when you’re planting flowers at home. “Who puts petunias with hydrangeas???” But the worst that happens there is you suddenly become the topic of discussion at the next neighborhood meeting. So what?

When we’re working on something for ourselves, we tend to follow the same philosophy from the military which says there are two ways to do anything – the Navy way and the wrong way. If anything stands in the way of doing what we thought we needed to do, we just stand there and keep running into the wall like a Roomba with no reverse button.

But if we take a single ounce of that creative energy that allowed us to come up with a dream in the first place, it’s not hard to figure out a way around obstacles. And every time we do, we become that much more convinced nothing will ever completely stand in our way. Even wet firecrackers.

Half of success is believing you can succeed. The other half is facing obstacles as speed bumps instead of roadblocks. If anything you’ve done has brought you to this point, there’s something else you can do to move beyond. Find what that is, and you open a whole new world of opportunity, putting your dreams that much more within reach.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Chill Pill a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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

When was the last time you went … literally ANYWHERE … and thought, “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!” Unless you’re going to, like, the Social Security office, it’s not one of those things you’ll ever need to conduct any kind of business. It’s like that worn-out voter registration card that nobody ever asks for. You carry it because it looks important.

Okay, so put yourself five states away from home, and you get offered a new job. Awesome! And then they send you a bunch of paperwork to fill out, just because Best Buy has a sale on printers and the HR rep owns stock. You print the forms (after you spend six hours setting up the new printer), and then panic sets in … “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!”

Thankfully I had a copy buried in a file in my computer. Not where I would think to look for it, like in my “Employment” folder. No, I was much too sharp to fall for that! I stored it with my Key Lime pound cake recipes. Yes, I have more than one. Don’t judge.

Then I had to get it all witnessed by somebody who could look at my ID cards and verify that they’d seen them. Easy enough, right? Oh, and it couldn’t be my wife. I asked her to sign an ex-girlfriend’s name, but she refused. Sorry, it’s not like we have a lot of friends nearby. And the RV park manager refused. “I’m not getting into any of that!” Dude, it’s an employment form – not weed!

I realized later that I’d made an unfair assumption about him. You know … that he could read. Or maybe he’s just a jerk. You never know. But the bottom line is I had to figure out a way to get that form signed in time to start my new job. I sent it to my daughter. She signed it, I sent it in, and we all lived happily ever after. You know, until at least today. It’s still early.

Through that fiasco, I got a little more frustrated than I should have. Okay, I pitched a fit. It didn’t help that the printer wasn’t cooperating, I was having issues with my work computer, we’re out of ice cream, and the grill wouldn’t light. Can we say “Monday?”

I used to tell my daughters that stress is like a glass of water. When it’s empty, you can fill it halfway with room to spare. Even at the halfway point, you’re not in danger of spilling anything unless you walk like I do. But fill that glass all the way to the top, and all it takes is an obstinate park manager to run it over the top. Thankfully I brought my frustration home – to my wife.

Stress is a silent killer. Medical research suggests that as much as 90% of medical problems requiring treatment by a primary care doctor are stress related. Read that again, because it’s important. Ninety percent. And you know what that means, right? When your kid tells you to take a chill pill, it’s out of love and genuine concern for your long-term health. Right.

Stress is like a swarm of mosquitoes. It’s always there, and given half a chance, it’ll mess up the best of days. You can avoid it, but sooner or later it’ll catch up. And that’s not always a bad thing. A little stress keeps us on our toes and helps keep the adrenaline flowing. But, like that glass of water, it builds up fast. And when it does, something has to give.

To make matters worse, doctors treat a lot of medical conditions brought on by misguided efforts to alleviate stress. Alcoholism, drug use, even some sports injuries, are often the result of stress avoidance. Sports injuries? Absolutely! Some people run to escape stress. I’ve found stress runs a lot faster than I do, so I don’t even try. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

But instead of that evening cocktail, maybe we could go outside and take a walk. Not a brisk cardio walk, but a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Do you have a hobby? How long has it been since you’ve devoted any time to that? How about spending a little time focusing on your dreams? There is no stress in dreams, and if there is, we really need to talk.

The point is, if you give stress half a chance, it’ll wear on your soul and make mountains out of molehills. You can never escape stress, but you can manage it. Even if it’s just a temporary reprieve, that’s usually enough to get you back on track. Like taking a nap. The world and its problems are still there, but a little breather makes them that much easier to face.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Hit That First Bump Fast Enough, and You’ll Sail Right Over the Rest!

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

You know how there’s something on your bucket list that you’ve always wanted to do, and when you finally get to do it, it’s almost like waking up on Christmas morning to find out there’s no Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? Worse yet, your dream toy is there and it breaks the first time you play it. Oh well, at least you got new socks and underwear.

That pretty much describes my first visit to New Orleans. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for most of my life, and I have to be honest … a little Bourbon Street goes a long way. Thankfully, there’s more to the Big Easy than dive bars and live rodents. We went back a few days ago for a second look. The French Market and Riverwalk was thoroughly enjoyable. And no rats!

One of the things about traveling is that it’s full of surprises, some good and some not so good. Like that first stretch of interstate right after the “Welcome to Texas!” sign. They could have put up a smaller welcome sign and spent a few dollars on one that said, “Speed Limit 65 – Go Ahead – I Dare You!” We left the ground twice. In an RV, no less. Evel Knievel would have been proud.

It would have been really easy to take the next exit and turn around. But then I’d have to go over that same stretch of road again, so that alone made it worth driving the remaining 877 miles to get to the other side. Once we got past the torn-up pavement, the drive was mostly pleasant. In fact, some parts were beautiful. I guess there’s a reason people actually live here.

There are two sides to most things, and if we bail out at the first sign of trouble, we may never see the good parts. Ever met that person who changes jobs every six weeks because they had a bad day at work? “This place sucks! It’s hard work, and these rules are for the birds! I’m not enjoying this one bit!” Um, okay … you think maybe that’s why they call it a “job?”

Every job has its days. Every city has its slums. And every state has highway features that would bring a dirt-bike to its knees. Okay, not every state … so far, just Texas. Still, that’s not all there is to Texas, or New Orleans, or even the world’s worst job. There’s always another side worth exploring. And once you find it, you never really want to leave.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days, or some Texas-sized bumps in the road. That’s all part of it. But when those bumps pop up, you have two choices. Slow down or turn around. Or you can just floor it. If you’re going fast enough, that first bump will launch you over the next two or three. I’m just saying.

It’s the same when we’re chasing a dream. That vision of success is what keeps us moving, but success has to be earned. Entertainers learn this early on – it’s called paying your dues. Granted, success comes a lot easier for some people, and ability is only part of the equation. There’s also hard work, determination, heartache, and a certain amount of luck.

A Roman philosopher once said that luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Opportunity is always there. Preparedness is the part we have to master. Part of that is building the necessary skills. Part is carving out the time to do the work. But the biggest part is the mindset that we won’t let a few bumps in the road turn us around.

When we first got off the highway in New Orleans, it was in a neighborhood the police try to avoid. It would have been really easy to turn around and never go back. We only walked three blocks down Bourbon Street. See one drunk sleeping on the sidewalk, you’ve seen ‘em all. But, after driving all that way to get there, we had to give it one more chance. And I’m glad we did.

As you chase your dreams, life will throw all kinds of obstacles in your way. You may have the perfect plan to get there, but then reality raises its ugly head and reminds you that not everything is fun. There will be parts you absolutely despise. But if the dream is worth having, it’s worth working through those parts. And who knows, you may even come to enjoy them.

Giving up is easy. People do it every day, and very few of them are living their dreams. That’s no mere coincidence. But for those who won’t be denied, who ride over the bumps and keep on going, there’s a reward far greater than any challenge we faced to get there. Keep going. Every obstacle you face brings you one step closer to your dream.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved