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

Focus Your Effort for Amazing Results

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

So, the weekend is here and hopefully you’ve got something fun planned. After all, it is what we seem to spend all week working for. And I know, for some of you the weekend is when work really heats up. But you get a little reprieve while the rest of us are enjoying Monday, so it all works out. Either way, I hope you enjoy your time off, whenever it comes.

I listen to motivational audios most days, and in some of them the speakers are young people with names that sound even younger. Names that weren’t so common back when I was in school, with youthful voices to match. They’re full of excitement and energy, and don’t appear to have a care in the world. And somehow, they all beat me to retirement. What’s up with that?

These are people who are still sound asleep each day as I begin my morning routine. They get up whenever they feel like it, or whenever their kids wake them up. They take their time with breakfast and get dressed if and when they feel like it. They go to morning aerobics classes, have lunch with old friends, take the kids to the park, and pretty much do whatever they want most of the day.

And best of all, they plan work around their vacations instead of the other way around. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but that lifestyle sounds pretty appealing to me. And believe me, they’ve earned it. They’re not rock musicians or movie stars. They’re just ordinary people like you and me who decided they wanted something more and were willing to get out and work for it.

And the thing is, they didn’t have to take on another fulltime job to make it happen. A laser is nothing more than a highly focused beam of light. It can travel great distances and, depending on the type of light and how it was generated, it can cut through steel with precision that’s just not possible by any other means. It’s all about focus – putting the energy where it counts most.

And when you can find something that works, something where you can generate a little extra income or pay off some bills a little early, all you have to do is focus that energy to get extraordinary results. It doesn’t have to take up all your spare time, because you’re not trying to do everything all at once. You’re focused on one thing at a time with a precision that magnifies your effort into something incredible.

But it all has to start with the basics. A laser pointer is essentially a battery, an LED, and a lens. None of them on their own are all that extraordinary. But when you put them together in just the right way, the result is pretty impressive. And that’s how it is with the things we do for ourselves. A little extra effort, focused on the right things, can accomplish a lot of work with the precision of a laser.

If you throw enough mud on a wall, some of it will stick. And if the goal was to cover the entire wall in mud, sooner or later you’ll get there. The end result won’t be very pretty, and some areas will be a lot thicker than others. But if you could find a way to spray that mud in a fine stream, you could cover the entire wall a lot faster and with a much more impressive result. Focus.

Put that same premise to work on your personal goals, and you can achieve some incredible results with a lot less effort than you’d imagined. All it takes is focus and commitment – honing your effort to whatever produces the best results and sticking with it no matter what. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So, instead of looking at your goals as a huge job that’ll take up all your waking hours for the next fifty years, figure out how to focus that effort and do the work that produces results. You may need to adjust the lens a little along the way. But once you dial it in, nothing can stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Be Your Own Best Employee – You’re Worth It!

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! The week is almost half-over!

As I was working on a particularly mind-numbing task yesterday, I was reminded of something my mom always used to say – “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” She was usually referring to the way I would clean. Move a few things around, toss some dirty clothes in the hamper, and wipe some dust off the dresser with my bare hand. Voila! It’s clean! Can I go out and play now?

Make no mistake, there are some jobs where it’s a lot easier to be diligent than others. When I’m putting new brakes on my wife’s car, I take my time and do the job right. When I’m putting brakes on my own car, I may take a couple of shortcuts. I’m tough. I can take a hit. And if all I’m doing is cleaning bugs off the windshield, only one side matters anyway. I don’t want her to see everything in the road.

Okay, what are the odds she’ll spit in my food tonight? Sometimes I write these things without thinking. But the point is, there are jobs we do well, and other jobs where quality just isn’t that much of a concern. And maybe that’s okay if you’re spreading butter on a piece of toast. But for most other things, if we have to do the job anyway, why not do our best?

I’ve often asked myself a really tough question – if I had the chance to retire early, on the condition that I had to pay somebody out of my own pocket to do my job, how demanding would I be? Would I be happy with somebody else doing the same amount of work I do today? Would I be happy with the same level of quality? Or would that person be looking for another job?

Hopefully, the answer to that question is positively yes – I would be thrilled to have an employee who’s as dedicated and diligent as I am. If we have to think about that for more than a few seconds, we may have some room for improvement. After all, I’m betting you didn’t go into your job interview and say, “Don’t sweat it – I’ll come in around 8:00 and do enough to keep you off my back.”

We all know better. And I believe most of us give our best on the job, or something really close to it. Because, in the corporate world, there are managers who watch what we do and write appraisals every year. There are pay raises to consider, and maybe even a promotion. And there’s always somebody knocking on the door telling the boss they can do the job better.

But how diligent are we when it comes to the things we do for ourselves? You would think the answer to that is obvious. “When I’m working for myself? I ROCK!!!” And that would make sense, because the fruit of our labor isn’t going into somebody else’s pocket or making life easier on somebody we may not even know. This is for me! Now, move out of the way and let me show you how it’s done!

Is that how it works? Or is it more like, “I know I need to do this, but right now I’m busy with too many other things and I just don’t have time. I’d do it tomorrow, but tomorrow is bowling night. And there are a bunch of football games on TV this weekend. Maybe next week.” Sound familiar?

So, let’s take that earlier question and frame it around your own goals. If you were paying somebody else to do the work that needs to be done to achieve your personal goals, would you be happy with the amount and quality of work you’re putting in yourself? Or would they be looking for another job?

No matter what you’re doing, put your best foot forward. Do the things that need to be done, when they need to be done, whether you want to or not. And do them well. When you’re working for yourself, you always earn what you’re worth. If you want a little more, do a little more. Your future is in your hands. Make it something you can be proud of.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Fear of Success Stand in Your Way

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

Years ago, I was working on an invention. It was one of those things that has eluded mankind for centuries and, if successful, would have revolutionized the world of machinery. Imagine, if you can, free energy – an engine that operates with no source of power other than itself. The idea was brilliantly simple. And, as it turns out, it was simply not possible. At least not in that form.

I remember my dad telling me that if it worked, I would be a billionaire. That’s a lot of zeros with a capital B. As I explained it to my daughters, along with strict instructions not to share that information with anybody, my youngest began to realize how our lives would be changed, even everyday things like going to a public park. And I’ll never forget what she said next.  “Daddy, I hope it doesn’t work.”

We talk a lot about dreams and success, and how fear of failure can keep us from taking the steps necessary to succeed. But there’s another factor that plagues us almost as much – fear of success. No matter how badly we want things to change, there’s a certain comfort in knowing what to expect each day.

Success means change, and that means moving into the unknown. It means moving toward a life we may be able to imagine, but with the realization that we can only imagine parts of it. The rest will unfold as we move closer to our goal, and there may be elements of that life we hadn’t considered. That may not deter us from chasing our dream, but it does add a level of uncertainty in the outcome.

It’s been suggested that, if you were to divide all the wealth in the world equally among every person alive, within five years all that money would be right back where it started. That’s a sobering thought. And I know what you’re thinking. “Not me! Give me that kind of money, and I’d be rich for the rest of my life!” That’s what people think when they win the lottery. Yet 70% end up broke within a few years.

Part of that is simply the concept of working for something, knowing you’ve earned it and the appreciation of that reward when it comes. In “The Miracle Equation”, Hal Elrod talks about entitlement, the belief that we deserve something we want for one reason or another. It’s often interpreted in the negative sense as the belief that the world owes us something more than what we’ve earned.

But entitlement also means focusing on a goal and working toward it relentlessly, no matter what results you may achieve (or miss) along the way, and knowing that because of all that work, you deserve whatever it is you’re working toward. It’s a sense of validation that we all need as we move toward our goal. Why do you deserve the life of success? Because you’ve worked for it.

As we move toward that goal, we’ll undoubtedly discover new things we’d never considered at the outset. It’s like taking a trip across the country. You map it out and can even visualize all the big cities and attractions you’ll encounter along the way. But the true magic of the journey is all those little treasures you never knew about until they were right there in front of you.

And make no mistake – you’ll have to go through a lot of detours and treacherous terrain to reach some of those treasures. But you get through because the goal is bigger than any immediate hazard. You know what’s waiting at the end, and inconveniences become little more than speed bumps. With every mile and every setback, you’re that much more resolved to reach your goal.

And it’s that resolve that carries you through the unknown – both along the way and once you reach your final destination. Success is rarely everything we thought it would be. And there will undoubtedly be some surprises once you reach that goal, some better than others. But it’s the experience you gain along the way that will enable you to deal with those issues once they arise.

If you put an indoor plant on the front porch in the heat of summer, it probably won’t survive. The change is too rapid, and the plant doesn’t have time to adapt. But that same plant, growing in an outdoor flower bed from springtime through the summer, will thrive all season long. And, depending on the type of plant, it may even survive a harsh winter and bounce back next year all on its own.

Success involves change. There’s no getting around that. But in making the changes necessary to achieve success, you prepare yourself for any unplanned changes that come as a result. It’s that gradual progression that enables you to adapt. And it’s the knowledge that you deserve whatever success you can achieve, simply because you were willing to work for it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Make Excuses or Achieve Results – You Can’t Do Both

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

Have you ever set a goal and, halfway through you begin to have that sinking feeling you’ll never make it? It’s even worse when the time is half gone and you haven’t really even started. You get that panicky feeling, and then start to formulate a plan. A plan to get back on track, a plan to get as much done as possible, or a plan to bow out with a handy excuse. At this point, anything will do.

Hopefully that’s not how it works, but all too often we take door number 3. It’s the easy way out. Besides, it was your goal anyway. It’s not like anybody is holding you to the fire, and your job certainly isn’t on the line as a result. You can always just set another goal next month. Right?

We can be very forgiving of ourselves when we miss goals, but we’re not so gracious when somebody else misses theirs. When the cable company says their technician will arrive before noon, and nobody shows up until late in the afternoon, we’re not too happy about that. And odds are we’ve already made several phone calls to complain. At that point, we don’t want excuses – we want results.

But what happens when we miss a goal we’ve set for ourselves? Excuses are not only applicable, they’re a welcome reprieve. That project at work took longer than expected. The car needed new tires. The weather didn’t cooperate. People we were supposed to meet didn’t show. And my personal favorite – “I just ran out of time.”

Okay, if you’re getting the idea I’ve dropped a few excuses over the years, you’re right. I’m no different than anybody else. None of us wants to accept, much less admit, that we came up short because we didn’t try hard enough. There has to be a reason, some other person or force of nature that’s to blame. Otherwise, it’s all on us.

That probably works when we’re explaining it to somebody else, but how well does it work when we say it to the person in the mirror? Sure, the excuse is real. We’re not making it up. And it really did complicate matters a bit. But is that the real reason we didn’t reach our goal? More often than not, it was just a speed bump that we decided to use as a parking bumper.

I talked yesterday about putting forth the effort – just doing what needs to be done, regardless of the results. Jeff Foxworthy, one of my favorite comedians, once shared some thoughts on looking for something we’ve lost. We look high and low, under beds and in the closet. All that time, it’s nowhere to be found. Then finally, there it is … in the last place we looked. Well, duh!

His point was pretty simple – we always find everything in the last place we looked. You wouldn’t keep looking for something after you’ve found it. “I have it right here in my hand, but I want to keep looking just to be sure.” It’s an amusing observation, but it also illustrates another point. You keep looking until you find what you’re looking for. If you stop halfway through, you’ll never find it.

That seems to happen a lot with keys. They even make key fobs that beep when you ping them from your cell phone. If you can find your cell phone. They tend to walk away from the last place we saw them as well. But hey, if there’s another phone in the house, you can always use that one to call your own. Unless you’re like me and the ringer is on silent.

Okay, that was fun, but you get the point. When you’re looking for something you desperately need, you don’t stop until you find it. And the closer you get to crunch time, the harder you look. You enlist help, you pick things up and move them, you flip things over, you do whatever it takes to get the job done. Failure is not an option.

When we approach our personal goals with the same sense of relentless commitment, two things happen. First, we get a lot closer to our goal than we would have with a bag full of excuses. We may not reach our goal, but we’ll get close enough to finish it up with just a little extra effort. And just as importantly, we become the kind of person who doesn’t quit. We become that person who sees everything through no matter what.

Excuses are handy, and they may make you feel a little better at the time. They may even provide a certain amount of cover in explaining failure to others. But at the end of the day, they’re just excuses. Double up your efforts and you won’t have time to worry about excuses. You’ll be too busy racing toward that goal.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Focus on the Effort – The Results Will Come

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

It’s Monday again, and you know what that means. Play time is over and it’s time to get back to the old grind. I say that as if we spend a lot of our weekend playing, and as if going to work on Monday means we’ll work that much more than we did during our “rest” time. But we all know better. The work continues, no matter what day it is. All that changes is the location.

I guess for some folks, things like shopping and cooking burgers on the grill are relaxing. I’d like to meet those people and learn a little about their secret. Because for me, anything that doesn’t involve a sunny beach is work. Any more, even sleeping feels like work. All night long, I’m waking up to adjust my CPAP mask to get it to stop hissing. I think my face changes shape as I sleep.

And I’m pretty sure if I could spend my days on a sunny beach, that’s exactly what I’d do for the first week or two. If I felt really industrious, maybe I could do it for a month. But after a while, I’d find myself looking for other things to occupy my time. Because there’s always that part of us that needs to feel productive. I guess that’s what happens when you work for 45 years.

But more and more, I’m seeing younger people who have decided that working for 45 years isn’t all that glamorous. At least, in the traditional sense. A lot of these folks have a college degree, so it’s not like they can’t find a job. But they’ve decided that life is short (it is) and that waiting until your body is old and frail to get out and enjoy life just doesn’t make sense (it doesn’t).

Some of them work a fulltime job from home, and home is wherever they want it to be. Some travel around and find a different job wherever they happen to be. They may be freelance writers, web designers, software developers, or anything in between. The ways in which they earn an income are as varied as the people doing it. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

The one thing all these people share in common is a burning desire to live life on their own terms, to the extent possible, and a commitment to making that happen. Employers are learning that, when people work from home, they tend to be more productive and take less time off. And the reason is simple. They don’t want anything to jeopardize that working arrangement.

And the truth is, it can be a lot harder to find a job like that than it is to actually do the work. I’ve done a lot of freelance writing over the years, and it’s not for the faint of heart. For every hour I spent working on an assignment, I spent several hours looking for work and dealing with the inevitable rejections and shady employers looking to get something for nothing. It’s a lot of work.

But we tend to be short-sighted when it comes to these things. It’s easy to focus on the short term, with immediate results. You get a job or an assignment, and then get paid. Mission accomplished. But keeping that job requires a little more forward thinking. You have to look at the big picture and put in some extra effort now and then to build a reputation and keep what you’ve worked so hard to find.

But we’re not always so energetic when it comes to things where the payoff isn’t so immediate. We get an idea, visualize the potential rewards, figure out a plan, and take the plunge. Then reality hits. All that work you did last month, and you didn’t make a dime. If you’re lucky, you at least broke even. But how long would you work like that without some kind of tangible reward?

In most cases, the answer is not long. But sometimes, that’s exactly the kind of commitment it takes. It’s called paying dues. And the greater the potential reward, the more dues you’ll have to pay to get there. And that’s not easy to do when the results just aren’t there, or worse yet, when you seem to be sliding backward. It happens. And that’s when it’s time to dig in and work even harder.

The path to success doesn’t change based on results. All we have to do is follow it. There may be speed bumps and detours along the way, but if we stay focused on the effort, the results will come. And at some point, it won’t take as much work to achieve the same or even greater results. All you need is a goal and the determination to make it happen. The rest is simply a matter of time.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Earn What You Deserve, and You Deserve What You’ve Earned

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off just right.

So, the year is half over … how are you doing on your goals for the year? Yeah, I know. I didn’t even set that one up with a light jab. I just went straight for the knockout punch. But it’s a question we all need to answer if we want to accomplish anything worthwhile.

And I’m not even talking about New Year’s resolutions, because we all know how that went. According to Forbes Magazine, only 8% of us have accomplished our resolutions for the year. The rest of us gave up long ago. I made a resolution once to never again make a New Year’s resolution, and I even broke that one. Go figure.

I’ve made a little progress toward my goals for the year. Not nearly as much as I’d envisioned by this point in the year, but it’s a step in the right direction. And sometimes, that’s the hardest part. It’s easy to make a decision, to commit to making a positive change. Doing something about it takes a little more effort. And that’s where most of us fall short.

The problem is largely in our minds – we know what needs to be done, but maybe we don’t think we can actually do it. Or we blow it out of proportion and make it a lot more dramatic than it really is. After all, who wants to celebrate tying their shoes every morning? If I’m going to spend my time and energy on something, it’s got to be something BIG!

Another thing is that sense of entitlement, or the lack of it. We know what we want. We’re even willing to work for it. But do we really deserve it? After all, everybody around us is right about where we are in life. What makes us so special? Why should we have anything more than the people who are doing exactly what we’re doing every day?

Well, if we’re going to put forth exactly the same amount of effort as everyone else, then we haven’t really earned anything better. That kid who studies hard every day, puts forth their best effort, and turns in every assignment on time, deserves an A. And then there’s that kid who goofs off all day and would love to get an A, but knows deep down he doesn’t deserve it.

It’s when we question our entitlement to enjoy a better life that we find it hard to put forth the effort. We dream about it, but deep down there’s that nagging reminder that, for most of the people enjoying that life, they already put forth the effort. They did the work and now they’re reaping the reward. And here we are, still thinking about it.

What sets achievers apart from the rest of us isn’t heredity or education or upbringing or even blind luck. It’s the willingness to work for something better. It’s having a dream, believing in themselves enough to go for it, and following through until they reach their goal. And, just like that student in school working for an A, they’ve earned success. They deserve it.

And make no mistake, there will be some who scoff at their ambitions or try to take away that sense of entitlement for something they’re doing the work to accomplish. “Seriously? You’ve lived on this side of town your whole life! You never even went to college! What makes you think you deserve to live over there?”

And if nobody says that to us directly, we’ll fill in the blanks. Because our brain only knows what it’s been taught. Every bit of knowledge comes from something in our past – something we experienced, something we learned, or even something we saw somebody else try. And it’s hard to get our brain to think beyond what it knows.

But if you’re out there working for something you want, not letting anything stand in the way, you absolutely deserve the success for which you’re working. If that person sitting next to you thinks they deserve the same level of success as you, then maybe they should be out there working for it as well.

Dreaming is easy, and it’s really not so much of a stretch to believe we could someday achieve our dreams. But that element of entitlement, of knowing we’ve earned the success we desire, comes from putting forth the effort. The harder you work, the more deserving you feel, and that makes you want to work even harder.

You deserve whatever level of success you desire and are willing to work to achieve. Life isn’t always fair, but it tends to show a preference for those who earn what they desire. Take that first step. It’s really not as big as it seems. Just do the work and believe in yourself. The reward will be that much sweeter knowing what it took to get there.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved