When Fear Clouds Your Dreams, Find Those Rays of Sunshine

Good morning! It’s Hump Day. I hope your day is off to a great start.

Well, by the end of the day the week will be half gone. Depending on your perspective, that could be good or bad. If you’re having a particularly tough day at work, the weekend can’t get here soon enough. But if you’re not making the desired progress on your weekly goals, it’s coming too fast.

I talk a lot about dreams. That’s because I want you to focus on your own dreams enough to decide whether they’re important enough to do something about them and, if they are, to find the inner drive to get up and do it. There is literally nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it.

But dreams, like anything else, come with a cost. That cost can manifest itself in a dozen different ways. Attaining our goals takes work. It takes time. We may need to learn new skills, or step outside our comfort zone. Others may scoff or maybe even ridicule us. And the final attainment of that dream may involve elements of a life we’re not entirely sure we want.

Back when I had just gotten out of the Navy, my wife mentioned that she’d read about jobs in Australia that paid a lot higher wages, and for Americans working abroad the income was tax-free. It was tempting. I’d been to Australia, and it was beautiful. And the thought of that much money was hard to overlook.

But it would mean leaving our extended family and moving halfway around the world. It was a price I just wasn’t willing to pay. Even now, I complain about winter weather every year and dream of life in a place where snow is only found on postcards from the north. But both of my daughters and all four grandchildren live within twenty minutes of my home. I’d have a hard time leaving them.

Sometimes, it’s not even the reality of what will change that competes with our dreams, but the fear of what might change. How will attaining our dream affect the people we care about? How will it impact our career? What if we get where we want to be, only to find out it’s the last place we want to be? Fear can fuel the imagination faster than fresh logs on a fire.

Sometimes the attainment of our dreams involves changes we may welcome on the surface but may include consequences we’re not quite so thrilled to pursue. And it’s that fear, or even the reality of those changes, that can hold us back from chasing our dreams.

And sometimes that fear isn’t about the attainment of our dreams, but in somebody close to us pursuing their own. It’s said that Neil Diamond dropped out of college to chase his dream of being a professional entertainer. I can imagine his parents weren’t too happy about that. But it was his dream, and sometimes we have to simply accept what we can’t quite understand.

Part of that involves a closer examination of our dreams. Maybe not so much dreams, but our visions of how we want our life to be. Which specific part of our own life will change because of their dream – not only the attainment of that dream, but their pursuit of it? How will it impact our own life, and are we willing to make that sacrifice? More importantly, are we willing to hold them back?

If we look deep enough, we can often find compromise that wasn’t readily apparent. My dream of moving south comes with the cost of leaving our grandchildren behind, and that would certainly impact us all. But it would give them a place in the sun for vacations, and it’s not like we couldn’t just get in the car and come back for a visit.

For every challenge, there’s a solution. When I began comedy, I took my wife along on some of the trips so we could share the experience together. It was a way for her to share my dream while enjoying her own dream of seeing places she’s never been. And she was able to see firsthand my excitement in performing. It didn’t remove all her concerns or minimize her own sacrifice. It was simply a compromise. And it made me appreciate coming home that much more.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Crunch Time, and the Ball is in Your Court

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

Yes, it’s Saturday and here I am. Surprise! I normally don’t write on the weekends, but we’ve been on a topic most of the week that I wanted to finish while it’s fresh in your mind and mine. Okay, and a friend asked me to write this today instead of waiting till Monday. This one is for you Katie.

Our common theme this week has revolved around a few interrelated premises. First, moving forward takes faith in yourself and your ability to reach your goal. Second, if you keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing, the results will never change. And finally, to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

In talking with people about their dreams, the discussion always ends up in the same place. “I’d love to do that, but it takes money.” In other words, “I can’t afford it.” And that’s okay. If we could afford everything we want, there would be nothing left to desire. And desire is what drives us to do a little more each day.

People tend to get squeamish about money, because we’re taught that we should appreciate what we’ve got and that it’s selfish to want more. But we’re also taught that laziness is one of the seven deadly sins. So, which is it? Are we supposed to simply accept life as it is today?  Or are we supposed to get up and work to make it a little better?

The answer to that question has to come from within. If you’re happy with life as it is today and don’t want anything more, just keep doing what you’re doing. That doesn’t make you lazy. It just means you’re content. But if you want something more, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with working to achieve it.

When we begin to put our dreams on hold or accept the reality that what we’re doing just isn’t going to make it happen, it all boils down to one simple question: “Are you open to other ways of making money?”

Notice, the question isn’t “Do you want more money?” Sure, we all do. It isn’t even, “Are you willing to work harder to make more money?” Most of us are doing that anyway. Besides, we’ve already established that if what you’re doing today isn’t getting you visibly closer to your goals, you need a different approach. So, let me ask again. Are you open to other ways of making money?

Think about that for a moment. “Are you open …?” That doesn’t mean, are you willing? Most of us are willing. It means, is your mind open to things you may not have considered? “… to other ways …” This isn’t about working harder at what you’re already doing. We already know that’s not getting the job done. It’s about trying something new.

I remember reading in the early 1970s that sanitation workers in New York City were making $30 an hour at a time when the minimum hourly wage was $1.65. In today’s dollars, that would be $130 an hour. Now, do you think sanitation work is glamorous or exciting? Probably not. I’m pretty sure those guys didn’t think so, either. But how well could you live on that kind of money?

Sure, there’s a limit to what we’re willing to do, but within the bounds of decency and the law, where would you draw the line? Is it more important to have a career that’s the envy of all your friends, or to end each day in a comfortable home surrounded by a healthy family with plenty of food on the table, no bills to worry about, and the ability to escape it all for a couple of weeks each year?

Are you open to other ways of making money? This isn’t a philosophical question. It’s something each of us needs to answer for ourselves, right now. If the answer is no, then take another look at that list of dreams and start deciding which ones you’re willing to cross off. If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for?

Are you willing to try something different? Are you able to find personal pride in working to make your life better, even if others think it’s a waste of time? Are you willing to spend the next few years of your life doing the things most people won’t do so you can spend the rest of your life doing the things most people can’t do?

Do you want to dream, or live your dreams? That’s really what it comes down to. And the answer to that question, or rather the inevitable result, depends on your answer to all those other questions. Read them again. Today is the day you can begin to make a change. It’s all up to you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Soar With the Faith of a Baby Bird

Good morning. It’s Hump Day! We’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off well.

As I was shaving this morning, I heard the sound of birds outside greeting the new day. It’s been a long winter here in southern Ohio, so that’s a sound I haven’t heard in a while. Okay, there are some stubborn species that have never heard of flying south for the winter, but this is typically a sound we associate with springtime. It’s about time.

As I listened to them chirping at one another, two thoughts came to me. First, I’ve never seen or heard of a bird that wakes up in the morning with a scowl on its face, grumpy about the interruption in its sleep. They all seem to wake up happy and full of life, eager to face the new day. Seems to me we could learn a thing or two from that.

I also thought about the little ones taking their first flight. That has to be a scary experience. It’s hard enough to leave the nest for the first time, but that’s when they realize just how high in a tree the nest really is. “Thanks mom! You expect me to step out of this thing and just flap my wings. What if it doesn’t work???”

Years ago, I saw a picture of a baby bird staring over the side of the nest getting ready for that first flight. The caption read, “It can because it thinks it can.” Just as a small child sees its parents walk upright, a baby bird sees its mother fly in from the big blue sky with food for the whole family. There’s never any doubt in their mind that they can do the same thing. It just takes a leap of faith.

Faith is the unwavering belief in something for which we have no physical proof. It means to know something deep down inside that others may doubt. It’s the ability to see into the future and know the outcome before you take the first step. And, for a baby bird, it means flapping your wings just a little harder to turn that long drop to the ground into the miracle of flight.

A friend often asks, “What goals would you set for yourself if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I’ve quoted her before, because I think they’re powerful words. If a wizard waved a magic wand over you and told you that you could now accomplish anything and everything your heart desires, which of your dreams do you think you’d tackle first?

Sure, the first couple of times you might go into it with the mindset that this may work, and it may not. After all, our lives have mostly been a mixed bag of wins and losses. But, unlike a baseball game, we can step up to the plate as many times as we want, and when the game appears to be over, we can declare extra innings. It’s not over until we say it’s over. We just keep playing until we win.

I was listening to a motivational CD yesterday where the speaker said that every time a baseball player steps up to the plate, he expects to get a hit. He stands there because he knows the right pitch will come his way. He swings because he knows he can hit the ball. He never expects to strike out. Yet the Hall of Fame opens its doors for the player who can get a hit one time out of three.

That means the best players return to the bench seven times out of ten. And all they’re thinking about is their next time at bat, and that their own batting average proves they’ve got what it takes to hit the ball and get on base. They don’t step up to the plate knowing they’ll get a hit. They do it because they have faith in their ability to succeed.

You have the ability and the power to succeed at anything you set out to do. Okay, I don’t suggest jumping off a tree limb and flapping your arms, because there’s this thing called gravity that can mess up your day. But you get the idea. There are very few things in life that you can’t accomplish if you have the faith and courage of a baby bird.

So, again, what would your goals be if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would you keep doing what you’re doing today, or do you think you’d set your sights just a little higher? We all dream of things we’d like to have or goals we’d like to accomplish. They may seem a little far-fetched, and others may get a chuckle out of your ambitions. But the only thing holding you back is your own self-doubt.

Remove that doubt and all things become possible. All it takes is a little faith. You can do this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Are You Waiting For?

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

Now that the weather has warmed up, what’s changed in your life? Okay, I guess if you live on the other side of the equator, we could ask the opposite question. But the same premise applies. What’s different in your life because of the change in the weather? Do you suddenly find yourself with less time to do the things you want to do?

Something I hear from people a lot is, “I’m just so busy! Between work and the kids and sports and gardening and my book club and Game of Thrones … I just don’t have the time to take on anything new.” I get it. We’re all busy.

Today’s message loosely ties with yesterdays in the simple fact that when we consider our goals and the things we need to do to accomplish them, it usually means trying something new. Or, more accurately, it means adding something new. Your schedule is already crammed full, and now that dream is demanding a little of your time as well. What gives?

More often than not, the time is there if we really want something. If you kept a vacation brochure at your desk for some exotic location, people at work might get the idea that’s something you’d like to do. And through the day, whenever you had a few minutes to catch your breath, you’d gaze wistfully at that brochure, dreaming of the day you’d be in that picture. That’s how dream-building works.

So, what if your boss came by and made you an offer. “Give me five extra hours each week for the next year and I’ll send you on that vacation, all expenses paid. Split the time up any way you want, but give me a good five hours each week.” Would you do it? Sure you would. Odds are, you’ve put in those extra five hours most weeks anyway, between skipping breaks and working through lunch.

We can always find time when the reward is guaranteed. But, given the opportunity to put in that same amount of work doing something for ourselves, where maybe we could take that vacation not only next year but twice every year, it’s amazing how hard it is to find the time. “I’m just too busy.”

Something I’ve learned over the years is that we’re only as busy as we allow ourselves to be. Sure, earning an income means putting in a forty-hour week, sometimes longer. And when you factor in everything from getting dressed in the morning through the evening commute, you’re already putting in an extra 8-10 hours a week. If you typically eat lunch at your desk, add another 5 hours.

Beyond that, there are other things that demand our time. Family is at the top of the list, especially kids. But do you actually spend all those remaining hours before bedtime interacting with family, or do you have those moments when everyone else is busy doing their own thing and you’re left to your own thoughts?

The time is there, but sometimes we have to be a little creative. What if you could step away for lunch and use that time for yourself? What if you could take a notebook to the soccer game and draw up some plans? What if you could make a few phone calls while the kids are doing their homework? What if you could meet an associate for coffee after work while the traffic dies down?

We all get 168 hours each week. Some of those hours are already spoken for, but if you’re being completely honest, you probably have at least half of those hours available for whatever you want. Sleep will naturally take up some of that time, and we all need to find time to rest.

But as we discussed a couple of weeks ago, you can accomplish a lot in fifteen minutes. Do that twice a day and you’ve just found three and half hours every week that you didn’t think you had. Add in an extra hour each day on the weekend and maybe a half-hour in the evenings, and now you’re up to eight hours. What could you do with an extra workday at your disposal?

No matter how young or old you are, no matter what’s going on in your life or what’s about to settle down, there will never be a “good” time to take on something new. There’s only today. And the longer you delay that decision, the longer it’ll take you to reach your dreams.

If there’s something you want, make the time. You may be surprised how easy it is once you get started. And with every day, every hour, every fifteen minutes, you’re that much closer to your goal. The time will never be better. You just have to make it work for you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Relax and Dream a Little!

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

Do you have any plans for the weekend? I hope you’re looking forward to two days of fun and relaxation. As I said yesterday, we should work to live, not just to exist. Ants work to exist. But our creator decided we’re worth more. A lot more. We should be working for some of life’s more enjoyable experiences.

At work, we affectionately refer to Thursday as “Friday Eve.” But as I was telling somebody yesterday, lately it seems Friday is just the weekend’s Monday. That’s when all the work we didn’t get finished during the week (or that somebody else forgot to assign) hits like a ton of bricks. It seems everybody is scraping their plate right onto yours.

By the end of the day, we NEED a weekend. We go home too tired to do much of anything except slump down in a recliner and watch TV until bedtime, promising ourselves we’ll get up tomorrow morning and do something enjoyable. You know, like grocery shopping, laundry, mowing the lawn, or painting the porch railing … fun stuff.

But if you don’t do the work that needs to be done at home, who’s gonna do it? The answer to that question, for most of us, is nobody. It just won’t get done. So we spend our weekend doing all the things we didn’t have time to do during the week, and when Sunday night rolls around and we’re thinking of those fun things we wanted to do, none of them even made the list.

It’s important that we take care of the things that need to be done. It’s also important that we carve out some time for ourselves, to relax and enjoy some of what we’ve worked for. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Dinner and a movie can be nice, or a backyard cookout with family and friends. It could be as simple as taking the kids for ice cream that doesn’t come out of your own freezer.

But as you’re doing that, try something different. Instead of talking about school or work or any of the other things that need to be done at home, take some time to talk about dreams. Share some of yours, and let others share some of theirs. Okay, don’t do this during a movie – they frown on that. But the time is there anyway. Make it fun!

I’ve mentioned this before, but my dad always used to tell me, “Boy, you’re a dreamer!” He didn’t say it in a condescending way, but it was somewhat of a reminder that my goals were a bit lofty. Still, the message it conveys can often be misinterpreted. Instead of, “I hope you can accomplish all of that”, it can sound a lot like, “Get your head out of the clouds!” Is that the message we really want to send?

We should encourage one another to dream. Not just our kids, but our family, friends, co-workers, and maybe even our bosses. One of our upper-level managers at work loves fast cars. And he’s taken a couple of trips to one of those “driving experience” venues where you put on a suit & helmet and take a high-powered race car out on the track for a few laps. I bet it’s exhilarating.

Now, let me tell you, if I wanted to get him to dream a little, all I’d have to do is drop a brochure for a race car driving school on his desk. Or I could just sit down and ask him about his last experience. I can guarantee you his eyes would light up. I’ve seen it happen several times. And I’m pretty sure that, for the rest of the day, some of that excitement stays with him. It has to.

My wife and I often find ourselves talking about our dreams. It sure beats complaining about work, or what we’re going to do about that slow-running bathtub drain. It brings us closer together, because it highlights our similarities instead of our differences. We’re happier. And, because we turned our dream into a goal, everything we do is focused on making it happen.

A close friend often asks, “What would your goals be if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It’s a powerful sentiment, because the truth it implies is that there’s absolutely nothing you can’t accomplish if you set your mind to it.

Don’t just work to exist. Work to enjoy more of what life has to offer. And when you get a couple of days off, let yourself experience a little bit of that lifestyle. Work will be there when you come back. It’s not going anywhere. But think of how much more energized you’ll be when you know why you’re doing it and what’s waiting for you at the end.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Recharge Those Batteries!

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

It occurred to me as I was getting dressed this morning, thinking of the things I need to do today, that I’ve spent a lot of time writing about work and doing the things we need to do and making up for lost ground when we start to fall behind. I guess it’s natural that we would think that way, because it’s pretty much the way we’re programmed from childhood.

But you know what? There has to be some kind of reward for all that hard work. And, no offense to the employers in the group, but I’m not talking about a work reward where you get a pat on the back, a new title, and even more responsibility. Sure, those things are important. But in a 168-hour week, we should only be spending about a fourth of that time at work. The rest of the time we live.

If you were to die today, your employer would be looking for your replacement before your funeral. Now, that sounds grim and maybe even a little cold-hearted, but that’s just the way it is. None of us are indispensable, at work or at home. We all like to think nobody could live without us but drive past any cemetery and you’ll have all the proof you need. Life goes on.

So, if you’re not putting in all this effort to save the world, why are you doing it? I ask people all the time what they want in life, and very few can give any kind of specific response. “Oh, I want to be healthy and have my family close by, to do well in my career, and retire someplace warm.” Yawn. Seriously? You can’t be a little more specific than that?

And the truth is, we spend so many of our waking hours working – either on the job or off – that we forget there’s a whole big world out there just waiting to be enjoyed. So, when we think of the things we’d like to do with that time, it takes conscious effort to bring them to the surface. We have to dig down deep, and even then, it’s not always easy.

Work can be a lot more enjoyable when you know why you’re doing it. A friend once told me that he visited a couple to discuss a business proposal and he’d asked them to tape a picture of their dream to the refrigerator before he got there. When he arrived, the refrigerator was plastered with the monthly bills. That was the extent of their dreams – simply to get through this month and on to the next.

Granted, the bills need to be paid. But beyond that, we all need something that excites us, something we truly enjoy. And I don’t know of anybody who enjoys paying bills. That’s a necessity of life, much like using the restroom.

So, let’s look at this in reverse. Instead of telling me what makes you get up and go to work each day, tell me what makes you want to go home. Not what makes you want to leave work – that could be as simple as escaping a really bad day on the job. But what makes you want to go HOME? What are you going to do there that’s so much more enjoyable than work? Hopefully, a lot.

That may be as simple as going to watch your child’s ball game or sitting on the porch reading a good book. It may be a weekend camping trip or a picnic in the park. It could be dinner with that special somebody, or lunch with friends after church. Or it could be just sitting around the table playing cards and feasting on really unhealthy snacks.

But give yourself time to think a little more, and you’ll come up with a whole list of reasons you’d like to come home. A Caribbean cruise, a European vacation, a new house with room for the kids to run and play, a motorcycle trip across the country, a motorhome trip to the next county, or a trip to watch the next Super Bowl live.

Work without a goal is just work. But when you know your “why” – the thing that excites you enough to make you get up and want to work – the days go by a lot faster. Take time each day to focus on your dreams. And at the end of a long day, relax or do something fun. It’ll rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul. And it’ll give you something to look forward to as you begin the next day.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When One Wins, We All Win

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off just right.

Ever have one of those nights when you were so excited you just couldn’t get to sleep? That’s been the story of my life for the past couple of weeks. It’s been a common theme, and you would think after a while the thought train would just slow down and whatever was keeping me awake would begin to fade.

I guess if it was the same exact thing every night, that would be the case. But it’s a little different every night, and I finally figured out why. Ladies, relax – I’m not going “there.” Yes, this is about an active imagination, but one of a completely different kind. It’s about seeing not only the dreams, but the possibilities. It’s about visualizing the means of accomplishing those dreams.

And here’s the secret – it all comes from focusing on somebody else. It comes from listening to a friend share a thought, concern, problem, or dream, and then taking an active interest in helping them come up with solutions. Because, in doing that, you inadvertently stumble upon some of the answers to your own challenges.

We’ve talked before about this concept of success through helping others succeed. When you take a vested interest in somebody else’s dreams, their dreams become your own. Not in the sense that you want the same things for yourself, but the two of you share a common goal of seeing them succeed in their own quest. And you know what they say – two heads are better than one.

Employers like to encourage us to think outside the box. As a business analyst, I often ask people why they do things a certain way. Is that the only way to do it? Is there a legal or regulatory compliance issue in doing it differently? Or is that just the way it’s always been done? Quite often, the answer is hiding behind door #3.

We laugh at images of people walking into the same door over and over, each time hoping the door will magically open. It’s even funnier when there are two doors and the one they’re banging into is clearly marked “Out.” All they’d have to do is take two steps to the side and the other door would open on the first try.

It’s easy to get tunnel vision, especially when we’re so focused on a goal (like getting inside that door) that we can’t see the possibilities right next to us. Because we’re trained to do things a certain way. In fact, we hammer it into our kids’ heads – “There’s only one way to tie your shoes! Get creative, and you’ll just make a mess. Do it the way I showed you!”

So, it’s only natural that when a person is trying to work toward a goal, they tend to get stuck on a certain path. And the road to success is rarely a straight highway with no intersections. More often than not, we have to get off that highway and take some of the less traveled roads to get where we want to be. But unless we’ve been down those roads before, we may need a little help.

And here’s where it gets to be fun. When you’re trying to solve your own problems, your willingness to try something new is pretty slim. You want to stick to the tried and true method. You know, the one that got you exactly where you are. But when you’re helping somebody else solve their problems, you can step back and view the landscape from a much higher level. You can see beyond the trees.

In helping somebody work toward their own goals, your brain is a little more willing to think outside the box and come up with ideas they’d have never thought of on their own. That gets them excited and, next thing you know, they’re thinking outside the box. And the two of you are coming up with solutions to problems you don’t even have. Today.

But you never know what you’ll run into down the road. And, believe me, the day will come when one of those ideas the two of you hammered out in a moment of desperation will be exactly what you need to overcome your own challenges. With every idea you come up with for somebody else, you come up with a few more for yourself. And that’s pretty exciting.

If you thought I was going to tell you how to fall asleep faster, I’m sorry. But hopefully, you’ll sleep a little better knowing you helped a friend, and you’ll wake up more energized knowing exactly what you need to do next. And it all comes from taking an active interest in somebody else and helping them achieve their own dreams.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved