Success Just Woke Up To a Brand New Day!

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

I finally got some well-needed sleep last night. I’m not entirely sure what was standing in my way the nights before that, but by the time I got home from work yesterday I was almost dizzy with exhaustion. At times like that, you listen to your body and do what it says.

A doctor told me years ago you can never “get caught up” on missed sleep. I understand what he was trying to say – every time you cheat your body out of the minimum amount of rest it needs, it takes a toll. And sleeping extra hours next week won’t make up for it. But I would imagine the long-term toll is pretty small, and getting back on track is more important than crying over spilled milk.

Yesterday I got back on track with a few things that had fallen by the wayside. You know that feeling when you’re in the groove, beginning to make strides, and then slip back into your old habits? It’s kind of like losing a few pounds because you’re starting to eat sensibly. But then one day you get a craving for a cheeseburger and fries. Next thing you know, you’re right back where you started.

It doesn’t happen because you gave in to that craving one day. It happens because one day turned into two, and two turned into three, and three turned into a week. And it’s something we’ll fight the whole way until eating right becomes a way of life, because no matter how badly we want to change, our old habits exist within a comfort zone that we have a hard time leaving behind.

The same is true with the things we do to work toward our personal goals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing a book over the years. Several books. I’ll get a burning idea, sit at the computer for a couple of days, and hammer out the first two or three chapters of what I’m certain will be my first masterpiece. Then other priorities slip in – things I can’t ignore. You know, like work.

Before long, the book is on the back burner and that computer doesn’t add a single word to the file I’d saved. By the time I’m ready to get back to it, I can’t quite pick up where I left off. The momentum is gone and, along with it, my original train of thought. So, I start over. I hammer out a couple of chapters and then along comes life. And so it goes, month after month, year after year.

I do the same thing in my business. I’ll get on a roll, doing the things I need to do each day, better and stronger than ever before. I’ll make a little progress and think maybe this is it. I’m on my way! Then, along comes life. I take a night off to catch up on housework, then along comes a really busy day at work, then grocery shopping and yard work, and next thing you know my goals are at a standstill.

The one thing I hear most from other people when we talk about goals is, “I just don’t have time.” I get it. We can’t just drop everything and work on a new project that isn’t paying the bills, and no matter what those other chores will still need to be done. But here’s the question we all need to answer. Could we find time for something fun, even if it isn’t moving us closer to our goals?

The answer to that question determines the probability of our success. No matter what we try to do, life will get in the way and old habits will always be waving from the sidelines. But if we do the right things long enough and consistently enough, they become our way of life. And in the process, success becomes a way of life. We learn to work through those obstacles instead of giving in to them.

It’s never too late to get back on track. That’s been a running theme in this week’s posts, and it wasn’t really an intentional thing. It just worked out that way. The question is whether that theme will find its way into our daily lives. It’s easy to get started toward a goal. It’s just as easy to stop. When we do anything long enough, it becomes a habit. And as we all know, habits are hard to break.

The key is forming the habits that will lead us closer to our goals and then feeding those habits every day until they become a way of life. What happened yesterday is history. It’s what we do today that counts. The moment you begin moving in the right direction, your goal becomes that much closer. Make the time. Find a way. Success isn’t convenient. But it sure is a nice place to end up.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Little Changes Can Make a World of Difference

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

I’m a little tired today. The past two nights, for whatever reason, I’ve awakened from a reasonably sound sleep for no good reason other than my brain decided to get active way before it’s supposed to. You know how you get a song stuck in your head and it won’t go away? Well, when that song comes along at 3 in the morning and it’s Janis Joplin, you might as well just get up.

Yet still, I snuggle up a little longer, hoping to recapture even a few more minutes of sleep before it’s time to get up and face the day. Not that there’s anything I don’t want to face – I just don’t want to do it until it’s time. And at that point in the morning, another five minutes of sleep is worth any amount of tossing and turning to achieve it. Believe me, I tried.

But you know how it goes. No matter how late it gets, it’s never too late to try one more time. And whatever extra we gain as a result seems to make a huge difference in the rest of our day. Okay, in the case of sleep maybe not so much, but you get the idea. Sometimes it’s more about perception. And sometimes, it’s just a basis for comparison. A little more is better than none at all.

Yesterday we made that point in terms of nutrition … the premise that, no matter what choices you’ve made in the past and how poor those choices may have been, it’s never too late to turn things around. Granted, the later we wait, the less impact those changes will have. But at some point in life, an extra 5% is worth whatever it takes to achieve it. Kinda like those last ten minutes of sleep.

One of the worst inventions in the history of man is the snooze button. Instead of setting the alarm clock to let us enjoy a deeper sleep until it’s time to get up, we set it a half-hour earlier so we can hit the snooze button three times and fool ourselves into believing we’re getting a little extra sleep every day. We know better, but it still feels like a small victory.

But there’s another kind of snooze button we need to hit a little earlier – the one that says “you’re getting older, and time is marching on.” I get a dose of that reality every time I look at the balance in my retirement account. It’s like looking at a stack of bills and realizing there’s not enough in the bank to cover them. If I had to retire today, I’d have to die within a year, or I’d be broke.

I came to the realization several years ago that my retirement won’t be a simple matter of sitting back and waiting for a monthly check to arrive. It’ll be working at whatever I’m still able to do while I wait for a few smaller checks to come in. A little here, a little there – after a while, it can add up. And the bank really doesn’t care where it comes from, as long as it’s enough.

I think most of us are in the same boat, at least to some extent. And if you think you’re not, you may want to take a closer look. Think back to the money you made thirty years ago. Then think if you had to live on half that amount today. That’s pretty much how retirement works. You cut your income in half, and then as time goes on and prices keep increasing, your pay stays the same. Fun, huh?

Now, how much difference would a little bit extra make? It’s a natural tendency to look at a few hundred dollars and think, “I could never live on that!” Nobody said you have to. But at some point, that little bit extra would make a world of difference. And the truth is, that point is here. It’s today. If you could save just $300 each month, in thirty years you’d have more than $300,000.

Income doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Like that extra ten minutes of sleep or those midlife nutritional changes, a little extra here and there adds to the total. And the total is what matters most. Would you rather have one big retirement check from a single source, or several smaller checks that add up to the same amount? Considering how many businesses go bankrupt each year, I think I’ll go for Door #2.

The choices we make today will have an impact later in life, and it’s never too late to do things a little differently. But thirty years from now, do you think you might wish you’d made some better choices today? I’m pretty sure we’d all have the same answer. The difference is, are we willing to do anything about it?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success is a Series of Last-Minute Miracles

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

The month is a little more than half-over. Depending on your perspective, that can be a good thing or a challenge. For those who depend on a monthly check to arrive in the mailbox, it puts you that much closer to payday. For those of us with monthly goals, it means crunch time is fast approaching. Especially if you haven’t even started. And for some folks, it’s just another day.

I guess there’s something to be said for living one day at a time, with no real burning desires or goals to work toward. It’s a peaceful existence, one that doesn’t take a lot of thought and doesn’t run much risk of disappointment. But you have to admit, it is a little passive. Like riding in the backseat and hoping the driver wants to go the same place you do. Otherwise, it could be a long day.

Goals are what make us get up a little earlier and work a little later. And I know, unless you’re already doing those things, it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. In talking with people, one of the greatest objections I hear when it comes to working toward their goals is, “I’m already busy enough. I don’t have time for anything else.”

I get it. We’re all busy. And the last thing anybody wants to think about at the end of a long day is getting out and working more. But that’s what it takes. One thing all star athletes have in common is the inner drive to keep going when others would say “that’s good enough.” While others head to the locker room for a nice long shower. They stay out there and give a little bit more. Every. Single. Day.

And make no mistake. They all miss goals on a regular basis. At different points in his career, Babe Ruth was known as the king of strikeouts. During five seasons, he struck out more than any other player in the American League, whiffing at the plate 1,330 times in his career. He also hit 714 home runs, a record that would stand for 40 years. Which do you think people remember?

We all miss goals. All that means is we’re setting goals high enough that it’ll take a little extra effort to reach them. If you never miss a goal, you’re setting the bar too low. Try a little harder. Reach for something that’s a little out of reach and don’t stop until you get there. Swing at the fast pitch. Throw the long pass. You may miss more times than you score, but those wins will be well worth celebrating.

In a CD by one of my favorite motivational speakers, he talked about receiving an email from a protégé who had set an impressive goal for the month but was writing to let his mentor know he wouldn’t make it. He tried to cushion the fall by saying, “I’ll still reach this lower goal, but I won’t be able to do what I said I was going to do.” Does that sound familiar?

And I’ll never forget that speaker’s advice. He simply said, “You set a goal and told a lot of people you were going to accomplish that goal. It’s okay if you come up short as long as you go down swinging. But don’t pull the ripcord at 25,000 feet.” That last sentence hit me right between the eyes. Don’t pull the ripcord at 25,000 feet. I think we’ve all done that more times than we’d care to admit.

We all love the story of a team that goes into the last few minutes of a game they were certain to lose, only to fight back and win in the final seconds. All because they refused to lay down and accept defeat. Failure is never certain until we stop trying. If we pull the ripcord too soon, we may soften the fall. But we’ll never know how much closer we could have gotten to an amazing achievement.

Set your goals high. Get up a little earlier. Work a little later. If what you’ve been doing all these years hasn’t put your dreams within reach, go the extra mile. And once you start, don’t let anything stand in your way. Fight through to the very end. You may come up a little short, and that’s okay. It’s still closer than you were, and with every step you take, your dream is that much closer to reality.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

With Each New Day Comes a New Chance to Succeed

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

I had a nice weekend. Saturday, we got to meet with some good friends, including one we don’t get to see very often. They’re business associates, so we share a lot in common and spend a fair amount of time helping one another. In a world where most other businesses are in cut-throat competition with one another, it’s nice to be able to toss around ideas with people who are willing to share their best.

Our time together also made me come face to face with the fact that I’d set some goals leading up to this weekend, and I missed the mark completely. I’d like to say it was because of forces completely beyond my control, but the fact is, I just didn’t do the things I needed to do. It happens to the best of us, so I guess I’m in good company. But that’s not where I want to be.

And, as I thought through the many excuses I could offer, I was actually happy to accept blame for coming up short. Because, if this were truly due to some external force that has the power to keep me from accomplishing my goals, that would mean I have no power to overcome it. But I do have that power, and the only thing standing in the way is myself. This is mine to own, for better or for worse.

So, along comes a brand-new week with a brand-new chance to make things happen. What happened last week and all the weeks before is in the past. I can’t change that. But I can change what happens today. You can, too. Today can be a wearisome first day at the office, or it can be the beginning of great accomplishments. It’s whatever you want it to be.

My wife and I went out dream-building Saturday. I knew I’d missed my goal, and I felt the need to re-focus. We drove to an RV dealership in a neighboring city to check out the new models. Sadly, the inventory at that dealership wasn’t worth the drive, so we’re going to another one this weekend. Dreams are important, and you have to feed them. Without a dream, we’d never take the first step.

And with that dream revitalized, I woke up this morning thinking about my goals instead of the work that awaits at the office. Make no mistake, that work will take first priority when I get there, and I’ll do it well. But work only accounts for eight hours – the rest of the day is mine, and I get to use that time any way I want. You just have to find something that’s worth the effort. I’ve found mine.

Along with that renewed vision, I also renewed my goals. We’re allowed to do that. And therein lies part of the problem. We always know that if we miss our goal this week, another week is just a few days away. That’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives us a fresh opportunity to get moving in the right direction. On the other hand, it provides cover when we come up short.

I think the key is to forget about next week and just focus on today. Believe me, if you accomplish all your goals by the weekend, next week will take care of itself. There will be plenty of new things to fill our time, and with each of those new goals we’ll inch ever closer to our ultimate objective – the dream. Nothing is ever out of reach as long as you keep moving toward it.

If you’ve missed some goals in the past, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means you haven’t succeeded yet. Failure is admitting defeat. It means you never plan to try again. But success is always out there waiting to be claimed if you want it badly enough. All you have to do is refocus and get moving again. Keep doing the things you need to do, and success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

As Long As There’s Hope, The Dream is Still Alive

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

It’s hard to believe the weekend is here again. Or, depending on your perspective, it could seem like it took forever getting here. For myself, that feeling changes through the week, and sometimes even throughout the day. It just depends what kind of day I’m having. Can I get an amen?

We all have good days and we all have some pretty lousy days. Between the stress of work, bills to pay, errands to run, and chores stacking up, some days can try our very soul. Throw in kids testing our patience and the occasional (I hope) disagreement with our significant other, and sometimes it feels like we’ll never get back on top. Then along comes a good day to bring it all back into balance.

It would be nice if life worked that way but, for most of us, a good day here and there doesn’t really bring everything back into balance – it just makes it easier for us to endure those other days as we wait for another good one to come along. Or maybe even a few in a row. Wouldn’t that be something?

Hope is what gives us the strength to carry on through those tough days. Hope that we’ll get this project finished on time. Hope that we’ll mend our relationships. Hope that we’ll lose that extra weight or get through this current illness. If it weren’t for hope, there’d be no sense trying.

If you took a jar, filled it with fleas, and then put a glass cover on top, the fleas would try to escape. They’d jump up, bump into the glass, and fall back down. In time, they’d realize the cover was there and jump just short of it. At that point, you could remove the cover and the fleas would stay in the jar. They’d never jump out, because they’d never know they could. They’d just stay in that jar and die.

It’s the same with hope. If you thought you could never accomplish a goal, you wouldn’t even try. If you tried and failed enough times in a row, it would be easy to quit. And if you didn’t think all your effort would someday lead to a more enjoyable existence, you’d probably stop trying. Meanwhile, that glass cover may have been removed, allowing you to jump as high as you want. If only you knew.

Every night, my dog wants to get in bed with me. He doesn’t really want to sleep there – he just wants to snuggle for a few minutes. And before any of you “no dogs in the bed!” types get your feathers ruffled, it’s my dog and my bed. He gets a bath, and he’s never had a single flea. Besides, he’s not a pet – he’s a member of the family.

Anyway, every night he stands at the end of the bed and whines as he makes anywhere from three to ten false starts at the single jump that’ll put him where he wants to be. It’s like he’s looking up at that mattress, wondering how we keep raising it higher every night, and his little brain is saying, “I think I can, I think I can!” Finally, he works up the nerve and makes the jump. He does this every single night.

It’s cute, but it illustrates an important point. The goal is right where it was from the beginning. It hasn’t moved and it’s not like we’ve surrounded it with a moat and stone towers. It’s just as accessible every night as it was the night before. All that’s changed is an eight-year-old dog’s confidence in his ability to reach the top.

We’re not so different. We see a goal and decide it’s something we want. We reach out and it’s not quite close enough. So, we take a step or two and we’re still not there. Then something gets in our way and we have to deal with that. Then something else comes along, and something else after that. After a while, we don’t reach out quite as far, because we’re not quite sure we’ll ever get there.

But here’s the thing – the goal hasn’t moved. It’s still right there where it was. And, unless we’ve taken a step backward, we’re no further away than we were before. What stops us from reaching that goal isn’t the obstacles that pop up along the way – it’s simply our perception of those obstacles and the power we think they wield. It’s a lack of hope.

No matter what kind of day you’re having, your goals are still out there waiting to be achieved. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. And when the sun finally comes up, you often find yourself even closer to your goal than you’d imagined. As long as you stay focused and never lose hope, you’ll get there. And just think how much better it’ll feel when you do!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Begins With a Dream, But Habits Drive the Outcome

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

By lunchtime today, the week will be half over. That means you can celebrate the halfway point of all those things you wanted to do this week. You’re getting close, and the rest is just a downhill slide. By this time Friday, you’ll be looking at a short list of things to finish before you reach your goal. And they all lived happily ever after.

If it’s only that last sentence that sounds like a fairy tale, congratulations. You’re among the fortunate few. For the rest of us, everything in that paragraph has the makings of a fairy tale, including the part about the week being half over. We all know better. The week will continue through the weekend, and we’re nowhere close to being halfway to our goals for the week. We’re lucky if we even started.

If that’s your version of reality, you’re in good company. I’m sure there are statistics on this, but I don’t really feel like looking them up because they’d be pretty dismal. I’d venture to say most of us miss our goals on a fairly regular basis. Yet we get up each day, breathe in and out, and life goes on. In fact, after a while, missing goals becomes just a normal part of life. It just becomes a habit.

Now, I guess if you never set any goals in the first place, you wouldn’t have any reason to hang your head. You can’t miss the target if you never take the shot. And for some people, that’s their built-in defense mechanism against disappointment. “I know I’ll never accomplish that. Why make myself feel like even more of a failure? I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing. It’s not that bad.”

And, therein lies the problem – “it’s not that bad.” We not only allow ourselves to get comfortable with our current circumstances and convince ourselves we’re happy about it. We may have distant visions of a better life, and we may even dream a little. But what if, in the process of trying to build something better, we lose what we’ve got? “Things aren’t so bad. Don’t rock the boat.”

It’s all a matter of habit – something to which we’ve become completely accustomed to the point that we don’t even think about it. Everything from what time we get up each day to how we comb our hair, brush our teeth, and even the order of body parts that get washed first in a shower, is habit. You do the same thing the same way every day, and it becomes a normal part of life.

The same is true of our circumstances. We may think they’re controlled by external forces, like our family heritage, our neighbors, our co-workers, and most of all, the company payroll clerk. “If only I had more money, I could change this!” “If only they’d give me that promotion.” “If only I’d been born into a wealthy family.” “If only …” Yeah, fill in the blanks. The end result is pretty much the same.

Because, at the end of the day, it’s just an excuse for not doing anything to change our circumstances. It’s a habit. It allows us, at least in our own mind, to place the blame on some other person, thing, or event. “It isn’t my fault!” Well, okay. If that makes you sleep better at night, hang onto those excuses. But make no mistake, life won’t suddenly change just because it feels sorry for you.

It’s one thing to be content with your life. That’s a goal we should all strive to achieve. But being content doesn’t mean we can’t want something even better. It doesn’t mean we can’t set an even stronger example for our children. And it doesn’t mean we can’t get up each day and try a little harder to achieve even more in life. Being content isn’t living – it’s just a comfortable path to the end.

And it all comes back to habits. Are you in the habit of setting goals or avoiding them? Are you in the habit of working toward those goals or sitting there thinking about it? Are you in the habit of accepting accountability for your circumstances or making excuses? The answer to each of those questions feeds into another important habit – the habit of success.

Yes, success can become a habit, one that consistently leads us to bigger and better things. And it’s a habit every one of us can develop the same as we developed the habit of going to work. Success begins with a dream. It means setting aside those feelings of comfort and contentment and working toward something better. And it means doing that every day until we reach our goal. It’s a habit.

It’s been said that success occurs when our dreams are bigger than our excuses. Embrace your dreams and step over those excuses. Leave them behind for the next person. You’ve got bigger and better things to do.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Never Too Old to Dream

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

I was chatting with some friends last night and, as often happens with this group, our conversation drifted to the topic of dreams. Not in the sense you might think, with a roomful of people sitting around a table, eyes aglow as each described their greatest goal in life. But in the sense of growing older and a common sentiment that, as we continue to age, we hope we never stop dreaming.

That conversation started as we shared stories of our own parents, and even ourselves, in which the fire just kind of died out over the years. Not completely, at least in our own instances, because we all still have dreams we’re working toward. But sometimes the dream can be as simple as not allowing age and all its associated challenges to get in the way of living.

I know, for my wife and I, we just don’t go out anymore. We don’t visit friends, we don’t invite friends to visit us, we don’t get together with others for a Saturday outing or go out for a night of dinner, drinks, and music – all things we used to enjoy, but somehow over the years they just faded into the background. Now, we pretty much sit around the house. Real party animals, huh?

And, looking back, I can’t really put my finger on a point in life when that changed. But if I had to take a guess, it would be 1988, when I got out of the Navy and we moved back home. That’s 31 years for anyone who’s already run out of fingers and toes to add it up. I can’t recall a time since then when we’ve done much of anything outside the home except shop and take the occasional vacation.

Now, to some people, that sounds like Heaven on earth. I get it. We’re not all wired the same way, and we all have different interests. But in our case, and I think I’m speaking for both of us, we miss it. We would desperately love to get out and do more, just for the fun of being around friends. But when you allow yourself to stop enjoying that side of life for so long, you begin to forget how.

My mother-in-law was one of those people who could make friends anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. I remember one time walking down a street past a historic home where the owners were sitting on the porch enjoying a beautiful day. She said hi, they said hi, one thing led to another, and the next thing I knew they were offering to give us a tour of their home. Wow.

So, how does that fit into the topic of dreams? Well, Jane always imagined a more affluent life and all the things that go along with it – possessions, friends, entertaining, you name it. And, for her, touring the home of somebody who was enjoying that lifestyle would somehow satisfy her own dream. She could live vicariously through others and did so for most of her life.

We all have dreams. Yet, much as my wife and I somehow put a lid on our socialization skills, people tend to shut down those dreams as they get older. Or, maybe the dreams don’t really go away – they just change. At the age of 90, a bigger house probably isn’t as important as the ability to step outside and take a walk. At that age, I imagine most people’s dreams involve their dreams for others.

Make no mistake – there are things I want in life and experiences I want to enjoy. But, as I get closer to the age of retirement, my dreams are more focused on what I want for my daughters and grandchildren. When I look at new opportunities today, I don’t think so much of how they could benefit me as how they could benefit my family. As Dad would say, that’s just part of growing up.

It’s easy to look at things as we get older and think, “That really wouldn’t interest me.” But let me ask you a question – if somebody had presented you with that same vision thirty or forty years ago, would you have been grateful for the opportunity? Is it something you may have acted upon? Could it have changed the course of your life, and possibly led you closer to where you’d like to be today?

And you know, as we look at these things through the eyes of those we care about the most, we sometimes get our second (or third) wind and think, “I’m not that old – why can’t I do that?” Few things make me smile quicker than the image of old folks with white hair boogie-boarding or skydiving. These are people who never stopped dreaming. These are people who live. These are the people I want to be. How about you?

That’s all for now. Keep those dreams alive and have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved