If You Have to Think Anyway, Think Big!

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

I remember a day almost thirty years ago when my youngest daughter was sitting on Dad’s living room floor with a Toys R Us catalog, pen in hand, carefully thumbing through page after page. It was about a month before Christmas, so we all knew what she was up to. Well, we thought we knew.

Dad finally looked over and chuckled and said, “If you have to look through a catalog to find something you want, you must not want it all that much.” She just shrugged her shoulders and replied, “I’m not looking for things I want – I’m crossing off the things I don’t want.” That, my friends, is the very essence of thinking big. No sense messing around with small potatoes – go for the gold.

I’m currently reading, or I guess I should say re-reading, The Magic of Thinking Big. It was the first motivational book I ever read, back in the day. The original copyright was 1959, two years after I was born. And two chapters in, I’m finding that it’s every bit as relevant today as it was way back then. I suspect it’s always been that way. It just took until 1959 for somebody to put it in writing.

The concept is pretty simple. We think all the time. We think of things as they are happening all around us, we think of what to expect next, and we think of how we would like things to be. We envision a future. We dream. We want. These thoughts are going through our head every second of the day. And if we’re going to think anyway, why not think big?

Every modern convenience, every medical advance, every technological achievement, was the result of somebody looking at things as they were and thinking of something better. Some of those came as the result of gradual improvement, but most were the result of thinking big.

The first cell phone I ever saw was on a cartoon back in the 1960s. It may not have been under development at the time, but somebody had already dreamed that it would someday be a reality. It takes unlimited vision to imagine such things. Or, what corporate executives like to call “thinking outside the box.” Don’t be constrained by what is – think of what could be.

We all have dreams. But how big are yours? Take a look around. Much of your life, as it exists today, was once a dream. You dreamed of driving your own car. You dreamed of living in a comfortable home. You dreamed of a job that would pay the bills. You worked to achieve these things and celebrated at least a little when you achieved them.

Maybe what you have today isn’t exactly what you dreamed of, but here’s the real question – did you ever dream of anything much greater? As you were looking at homes, did you look for what you really wanted, or what you thought you could afford? Did you apply for the job you really want to have, or the one you think you’re qualified for?

Okay, we all have to live within certain boundaries, but only for the moment. I live in the home I could afford at the time. But that doesn’t mean I have to live here forever. I look at waterfront homes and think, “Man, would that be nice!” Well, it would. And I could find out if I really wanted to badly enough. It would take time, but I’ve got time. I’ve got the rest of my life. And so do you.

Get out this weekend and take a drive. You know, in that part of town. The part where the homes are bigger, the cars are a little nicer, the lawns are nicely manicured, and the streets are always freshly paved. You know the difference between their life and yours? They didn’t limit their dreams to their current reality – they dreamed of something better. And just like you, they’re still dreaming.

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. You’ve heard those words before. All it takes is imagination, belief, conviction, and effort. And here’s the thing – you had to employ every one of those elements to achieve the life you’ve got. Imagine where you could be if you’d just stretched that a bit.

If you have to think anyway, think big! The CEO of your company works about the same number of hours as you do. It takes the same amount of effort to create their lifestyle as it did to create yours. You can achieve any goal, no matter how great or how small. So, don’t let your imagination hold you back. Think big. Dream big. Then chase those dreams. You’re closer than you think.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let the Job Description Keep You Out of the Game

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

Yesterday at work, I was asked to go through my job description, line by line, and indicate whether I actually do all those things on a fairly regular basis. On the one hand, it can feel like you’re ratting yourself out on the things you don’t do. But in reality, it’s a good exercise to go through, especially as we’re trying to hire more people on the team. It lets the bosses know what we really do each day.

I learned years ago that job descriptions are little more than a wish list dreamed up by eager managers with a little help from somebody in Human Resources who has absolutely no idea what’s required in that role. Nothing against HR reps, that’s just the way it is. The finished product usually covers most of the important items, but with a lot of fluff.

Have you ever looked over a job description and talked yourself out of it without even applying, simply because it lists a bunch of things you’re not sure you can do? I almost did that thirty years ago. It was a job as an electronics technician, and in everything on the job description I had the experience. All except one – “Must be able to use a spectroscope.” I’d never heard of one, much less used one.

I started to talk myself out of applying, and finally thought okay … I can learn how to use just about any piece of test equipment. If I get the job, I’ll just go in, take one look at it, and say “We used a different kind in the Navy. Can you show me how to use this one?”

Well, I got the job, and over the course of almost ten years, I never saw a spectroscope in that company. They didn’t own one. As it turns out, the manager who wrote the job description didn’t know much about the job. He was thinking of an oscilloscope, and couldn’t remember the name, so he wrote the first thing that came to mind – spectroscope. I’d used dozens of different oscilloscopes.

Had I put too much emphasis on that one line in the job description, I’d have never even applied for that job. I worked there for almost ten years and, during that time, transitioned from electronics technician to technical writer, a career change that’s taken me in a completely different direction and has led to where I am today. And I could have chickened out and missed it all.

The same thing happens when we look at people who have attained a level of success that’s higher than our own. We’d like to live like they do – a bigger house, nicer cars, better vacations, more family time, and a daily lifestyle that comes with having the means to make each day whatever you want it to be. Wouldn’t that be nice?

But as we look at these people, we begin to justify why they’re where they are and why we’re not. We think maybe they’re a little smarter or got a better education in the things that count. Maybe they were born into wealth and all they have to do is maintain it. They’re younger, better looking, more popular, or just plain lucky. There has to be something they have that we don’t.

And the truth is, they don’t have a thing on you except a little bigger resume of accomplishments. You’re writing their job description as you think it should be, with qualifications that would make them laugh. They know better. They know there’s nothing all that special about their abilities that led them to success, other than the willingness to work past their shortcomings and get the job done.

These are the people who, if they’re being completely honest, would look at you and say, “You have everything it takes to be right where I am. You have all the experience, all the knowledge, and all the ‘special gifts.’ All you lack is the acknowledgment of your own abilities, and the confidence to do something about it.”

Some people will always achieve more than others. We can’t change that. But to look at those super-achievers and think they have something you don’t is like talking yourself out of a dream job because of one line in the job description. You’re up to the task. You have what it takes. And whatever you don’t know, you can learn. Give in to your dreams. The life you want is waiting for you to claim it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Throw Out Your Dreams Because of a Little Rust

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

It’s Monday, and you know what that means. Back to the old grind. For some of us, that grind is a lot more demanding than others. But, at least for now, it’s our chosen way of making a living. Some days we have to remind ourselves that we once dressed up and put our best foot forward to get this job. Hopefully this won’t be one of those days, and we’ll be reminded instead of why we wanted this job.

I think we all go through the range of emotions with any job. There are days when we love it, and days when we wonder why we even got out of bed. It’s the same with most things in life. Relationships can be that way. We start off trying not to do or say the wrong thing, hoping the other person will respond positively toward us. Hopefully, after twenty or thirty years, we still feel that way.

But there will be days when we wonder if it was all worth the effort. I’m not just talking about jobs and relationships. Anything we’ve ever wanted, that we built up our hopes to achieve, will have its ups and downs. It could be that way with a new car. You love it until the first time something breaks. Or that business you’ve been building. There will be days when you wonder if it’s worth the effort.

But, until you park that new car on the curb and leave it to gather rust, anything that breaks can be fixed. In the insurance industry, they like using words like “totaled.” That basically means it’s wrecked to the point that it’s not financially economical to make the necessary repairs. That doesn’t mean the repairs can’t be made. Just that the insurance company chooses not to do it.

Every day, there are people browsing through junkyards all across the nation, looking for that old car that somebody walked away from decades ago. It’s banged up. The fenders are smashed. Parts are missing. It’s a pile of rust. The windows are all broken, the interior is gone, and to all the world, it’s junk. But to that one person, it’s a thing of beauty, just waiting for somebody to bring it back to life.

One of my dreams is to have a garage big enough to restore an old pickup truck or VW bus. Or both. After all, when the first one is finished, I’ll still have all those tools and the time to tackle something new, right? I don’t necessarily have all the skills to do that, but I can learn anything. And what I can’t learn, I can hire out. I just appreciate old cars and I believe just about anything can be restored.

That’s a dream I’ve had for a long time. And quite honestly, I’m no closer to that goal today than I was twenty years ago. But, just as an old car can be restored and made new again, so can our dreams. All it takes is a little loving care, and we can put those dreams back on the road as well. And if we do it right, they’ll be even better and stronger than they were on the showroom floor.

For the past two weeks, my lower back has had me just about crippled. Just getting out of a chair and taking a few steps is painful and slow. And I know it may never be as good as it once was, but I refuse to accept that this is as good as it’ll ever be. There are things I can do to make it better. There may be things the doctor can do. But giving up is not an option. This body has a lot of good years left in it.

And the same is true of most things in life. If your job sucks, do something about it. If your relationship is on the rocks, work on it. If your car is messed up, fix it. And if you can’t because the repair expense is bigger than your bank account, earn a little more.

Granted, some problems just can’t be fixed. There will be times when the best option is simply to walk away. Find a different job, get out of a toxic relationship, or trade in the old car. And sometimes, you find that the dream you’ve been working toward just no longer excites you. That’s okay. Just make sure it’s your decision, and not something you reluctantly accepted.

Dreams, like old cars, can be brought back to life any time we want. All it takes is a renewed commitment and a little effort. Find the value in those dreams – the job, the relationship, the old car, the new life. Fix what’s broken and polish up what’s still good. It may not look like much right now, but just think how beautiful it’ll be in the end.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Envision the Life You Want – Then Go Build It

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

I was listening to a motivational speaker not long ago who made a bold statement that I didn’t quite agree with. He said that no matter where you are in life, you’re exactly where you want to be. Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but this is not the life of luxury I’d always dreamed of, and I’m working to change that. Clearly, this is not where I want to be. Can I get an amen?

But then the speaker went on to explain that presumptive statement. He said maybe this is not exactly where you want to be, but it’s where you’ve worked your whole life to be. Because everything we’ve done to this point has led us to exactly where we are. Any change along the way would have put us in a different position today. Okay, it hurts, but he makes a good point. I did this.

Every decision we make in life, even the little ones, stack up like Lego® blocks to build the life we now enjoy. At least I hope you enjoy it. After all, you built it. And if you think back, you can probably see some of those decisions and how they affected the direction of your life. Some of those decisions may have been forced on you, but they affected the outcome regardless.

An architect sits in an office and creates a vision – a drawing of the perfect structure, something that will fill a purpose and create beauty both at the same time. There’s a certain amount of ego involved. Every architect wants to outdo the others and create something that will dazzle everyone who sees it.

At first, it’s nothing more than a series of drawings. Then along comes a team of workers to dig a hole. All they have is a blueprint telling them how big to make the hole. They may not have any idea how the finished building will look. But the hole they dig will form the foundation for that building, and any mistakes at this stage in the game could have a profound effect on the finished product.

And so it goes with each team that comes along. Steel workers bolting and welding one beam to another, vertically and horizontally, one floor on top of the other. Gradually the building begins to take shape. Along come the masons to work their magic, and then plumbers, electricians, interior finishers, glass and flooring installers, and all the other teams that make it happen.

The finished product is the sum of all the effort that went into its construction. Every beam, every block, every piece of glass, they all form the building as it exists today. And any change along the way would have changed the outcome. The architect could have come along at any time and said, “Change this” and the building we see today may look entirely different.

The same is true of our lives. We are the architects. We are the ones who envision something so grand it defies the senses. Or maybe not so grand – after all, some buildings are a little more ordinary than others and that’s okay. They all serve a purpose.

We are also the builders of that life – we lay the foundation, we put the blocks in place, we create the internal structure that holds it all up, and when the time comes, we put on the finishing touches that complete the project. The life we enjoy today is exactly the life we’ve built. That doesn’t mean we don’t want something better. People move into nicer houses all the time. But it’s where we are now.

The first step in moving forward is acknowledging our role in being where we are now. It may not have been the life we’d envisioned, but it’s the life we built. And if we can acknowledge that, it opens our eyes to the reality that the project isn’t yet complete, and we have the power to change our current direction and build something better if we so choose.

Just as the things we’ve done to this point have created the life we now enjoy, the things we will do today and beyond will create the life we enjoy tomorrow. We may not be able to tear down what’s been built so far, but we can renovate it and add a little flair. And any time we want, we can build on top of that to create something bigger.

Every day, we build our future life whether we want to or not. If you’re happy to stay right where you are, make the most of it. But if you want something better, you have the power to make it happen. And it all begins today.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Are You Waiting For?

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

Have you ever stopped to think about where you thought you’d be at this point in your life, and then compared it to where you are? Hopefully for most of us, the gap isn’t all that large. I’d like to think most of us have accomplished at least some of the things we wanted to do by now. But for many of us, myself included, the gap is pretty large. There’s still so much to be done.

Maybe that’s just my impatience kicking in. Because, in all honesty, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot. And some things are meant to come later, or at least that’s what we’re taught. We work for 45 years and then take a really long vacation. And if we’re lucky, we actually get to go a little further than the front porch in the process. I’ve seen mine before. It’s not all that special.

For some people, the concept of putting in all those years up-front for a few years of enjoyment at the very end is as appealing as a root canal. Especially when they realize their physical abilities and stamina are at an all-time high during those years they’re supposed to be working and, by the time they retire, all that stamina will have been long since used up.

For them, the answer is simple. Put in a little extra in the early years when everyone else is out partying and get started on that long vacation early. Like, thirty years early. By the time everyone else is halfway through their work life and still has little to show for it, they’re off enjoying a lifestyle most of us could never imagine. They didn’t want to wait. And they didn’t have to.

Well, here’s the deal – I’ve worked my 45 years and retirement is still a distant goal. Oh, I’m getting closer. And days like I’ve had this week, using a cane to get around because my back needs all the help it can get, I know it may come sooner than the bank thinks it should. We don’t always get the option to choose our retirement date. Sometimes, fate chooses it for us.

And I’m coming to realize that retirement may not be quite what I’d imagined. I see commercials and pictures of old folks jumping out of airplanes and racing around on jet skis, and that’s the image I’ve had all these years. Oh, I’m sure I’ll try some of those things. But I’ll probably spend a week in traction afterward.

The sad fact is, all these years we’re working and saving for a brighter day, we’re missing some of the brightest days along the way. They’re here, right now, and we’re trudging through them hoping to find something better down the road. And I think, at least for most of us, there will be brighter days down the road. I just hope we’re able to enjoy them when the time comes.

My wife and I decided several years ago our retirement will involve a motorhome and a new mailing address several times a year. We’ve talked to people who have enjoyed the nomad lifestyle, and I’m starting to notice a trend. Many of them are a few years older than we are, and they all say the same thing – “Back when we had ours, we absolutely loved it.”

Now, that could mean they had one and got tired of it after a few years. It could mean they blew all their money on the first one and couldn’t afford to replace it when things started to wear out. Or it could mean they’ve reached an age where physical limitations have brought their days of galivanting across the country to an end. I hope that’s not the case, because I’m almost as old as they are.

And therein lies the problem. We find something we want, a burning desire, and go through life promising ourselves that one day we’ll find a way to enjoy it. “Someday.” Famous last words. Well, not necessarily last words, because there comes a point in life where “someday” turns into “I should have.” That’s usually when we’re sitting in a wheelchair in the day room of a nursing home. Lovely.

I’m not suggesting you quit your job and start that long vacation today. But unless your life’s goal is to die with a bunch of money in the bank for everybody else to fight over, get out and enjoy it! If you wait for the perfect time or opportunity, it’ll never happen. Find a way. Make it happen. We’re all headed for the same destination. Reach yours with memories to share and stories to tell.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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