The Mood Won’t Strike Until You Poke It

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

Imagine, if you will, a surgeon with a patient on the table, doing what surgeons do. The patient is asleep, the incisions have been made, and the heart is fully exposed. Halfway through one of the most delicate procedures known to man, the surgeon puts down his scalpel, pulls off his mask, and says, “Sorry folks – I’m just not in the groove today. I’m gonna let this one slide. Go tell the family.”

I don’t believe that’s ever actually happened, but it would certainly change the day for several people, least of all the person clinging to life on the operating table. But you have to wonder how many times the surgeon was a little more tired than normal or had an argument with his wife before leaving for work. The patient has no idea, but it’s likely the surgeon isn’t at his very best that day.

No matter how good we are at what we do, there will always be days when we’re just not fully up to par. And it would be easy to just go back to bed until we feel more energized. But we know from experience that, when we put things on hold because we’re not fully in the mood, that mood never gets any stronger. We just waste the day beating ourselves up for not doing anything.

If you do that on the job, you’ll probably be invited to sit down with the boss for a one-on-one chat. The first time may be friendly and constructive, but if it happens too many times you’ll find yourself looking for someplace else to spend your days. Employers are pesky about these things. They pretty much expect our best every day.

But when it comes to your own priorities, those dreams that make you smile and inspire visions of a happier life, you’re in business for yourself. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the Vice President of Marketing, the Production Manager, and the company’s sole employee. Nothing gets done unless you do it yourself.

So, here’s the question … if you were paying yourself to work toward your dreams, would you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth? Or would you call yourself into the office, lay down the law, and issue an ultimatum? I think, if we’re being completely honest, most of us would say we’re a pretty good employee on the job, but not so good when it comes to our own priorities.

There are lots of reasons. After a full day on the job, it’s not easy to carve out time to go to work for yourself. It’s dinnertime, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and the kids need a little quality time as well. Monday night you go bowling, Tuesday is movie night, Wednesday you go out for ice cream, and on and on it goes. Who has time for anything else?

So, pick up the calendar and look for a day when you won’t be doing anything. I dare you. Even if you find one, something else will see that empty day and sneak in to fill the time. Another week goes by, another month, and eventually another year … and still you’re no closer to your dreams than you were to begin with. Yet somehow, we just keep giving ourselves a pass.

At some point, we need to become that grumpy boss nobody wants to see. We need to set goals and demand results. Not from other people – this isn’t their dream, it’s yours. If you want anything to happen, you have to make it happen yourself. Nobody but you will complain if you take a night off. Unless you hold yourself to the fire, nobody else will. It’s all on you.

You don’t have to be completely up to par every day, but you do have to be committed. A little effort is better than none at all, and when you take those first steps, it’s easy to get in the groove and keep going. Success happens when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. Make the time, and make the time count. The reward is yours to enjoy.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

One Person’s Struggle is Another Person’s Dream

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

I always say “good morning” but that’s just from my perspective. For some of you, the workday is half over and some of you are getting ready to climb into bed. That could be due to your work schedule or your location on this planet. It’s nice to know my words reach people literally around the world each day. It’s also very humbling.

As I write each morning, I try to think about the words and phrases I use and remind myself that not everybody in the world understands exactly what I mean. A co-worker from another country once asked me to explain what “Hump Day” means. It’s easy to assume everyone knows it means the half-way point in the week. But I’m sure somebody had to explain it to me once. Then it made sense.

We all approach life from different perspectives. Some were born to privilege and thought everybody had a swimming pool and tennis courts in the back yard. Others were born on the other side of the tracks, and to them, a swimming pool was any body of water bigger than a bathtub. It’s just a matter of what we’ve come to accept as everyday life.

The same is true on the job. To me, a hard day is working through challenging issues and people who don’t respond to email. To another person, it’s coming home with sore muscles from too much physical labor. And, as a comedian once reminded me after I’d suffered a particularly brutal show, to a cop, a bad night at work means he’s got people shooting at him. It’s all a matter of perspective.

I remember once when I was being sent to Chicago to do some work for my company. I had requested a cash advance to cover my travel expenses, because I didn’t have any extra money in the bank. I asked several times during the day, and my request fell on deaf ears. Finally, I told them to make sure I was booked in a hotel with a restaurant so I could charge my meals to my room. I was broke.

The manager who was sending me on the trip said, “Just charge it to your credit card and we’ll reimburse you when you get back.” That’s great for some people, but I didn’t have a credit card. At that point in my life, no bank was stupid enough to give me one. When I told him I didn’t have one, he gave me an incredulous look and said, “You don’t even have a Master Card?”

I found out last Friday that my job may be ending in a couple of months. I’ve known for a while this day may be coming, and I have to admit it’s been a little difficult adjusting to that reality. Then I went to church Sunday and we were asked to pray for two women in a rehabilitation center, and one whose brother suddenly passed away last week. All of a sudden, my problems began to shrink.

It goes along with the old saying about a man who was sad because he had no shoes until he met a man who had no feet. No matter how bad we think we’ve got it, somebody else has it worse. I try to remind myself of that in the morning when traffic suddenly comes to a halt because of an accident. Sure, it’s an inconvenience. But somebody’s day is starting off a whole lot worse than mine.

It works the other way as well. When we’ve worked to achieve a certain level of success, whether it’s on the job, as a parent, as an athlete, or even as a writer, it’s easy to get a little smug and think we’re special. We find ourselves in the presence of others who aren’t quite as accomplished as we are, and we puff our chest out just a little further. Life is good, and we have a right to be proud.

It’s good to be proud of our accomplishments. But if we allow that to go too far, it’s easy to overlook the reality that some who have accomplished much less have worked every bit as hard as we have, if not harder. If effort alone could make a person successful, every plumber and mechanic would be rich, and corporate executives would be sweating out this month’s bills.

Most of us go through life only truly understanding our own perspective. We think we know what it’s like for others, but we really don’t. Even if you’ve been at rock bottom, it’s easy to forget how that feels when you’re back on top. And it’s easier still to assume everybody else can climb up as quickly as you did. And it’s just as easy for them to assume you got all the lucky breaks.

Perspective is an amazing thing. The same rays of sun can tan the skin and damage crops. It’s just a matter of how we look at it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Up Now – You’re Almost There!

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

Have you ever given somebody a gift, not quite sure if it’s what they really want? You did the best you could and hoped it would hit the mark, but you just weren’t sure. Know the feeling? And then, they open it up and it’s the best surprise ever. Their eyes light up, their face begins to glow, and you know all the searching for that perfect gift paid off. It’s a good feeling.

It’s the same when you’re on the job and you’re just not sure if what you’re doing is exactly what the boss wants. Then you hand over the report and wait for the verdict. Especially if it didn’t take that long to complete, you’re pretty sure it came up short somewhere. But then you get a thumbs-up that says it was exactly what was needed. Whew! Time for a fresh cup of coffee!

That happens all through our lives. Sometimes you get the results immediately, like when the wrapping comes off a gift or you tell a brand-new joke onstage. Let me tell you, that one can be brutal. If its good, the payoff is exhilarating. If not, it can throw the rest of your night into one big disaster. And there’s nowhere to run. You have to finish the job and take the blows as they come.

As a comedian, I quickly learned how it feels to stand in that spotlight and deliver my best material to an audience that’s looking at their watch. If you’re lucky, they keep their opinions to themselves. But you have to work through that to get to the nights when they’re howling at everything you say. In the beginning, you wonder if it’ll ever happen, and if it’s worth all the trouble it takes to get there.

Sometimes, the results aren’t so immediate. You can put in your best effort for years before you find out if you did the job right. Parents, can I get an amen? It’s one thing to watch your kid tie their shoe for the first time and pat yourself on the back for being such a great teacher. But wait till they hit their teenage years or move out on their own. That’s when the real report card comes in.

Thankfully, with most things, we’re able to measure our success along the way. I sit here each morning and hammer out 800 words to (hopefully) brighten your day. Some days are better than others, and it’s usually the ones I’m not really sure of that get the best response. And going back to read it again is about as effective as telling the same joke twice, hoping it’ll be better the second time around.

I see people at work who are unsure of their position, praying they’ll measure up and do the job well. More often than not, they’re a lot more capable than they realize. And maybe it’s that uncertainty making them try harder that makes them so good. It’s usually the slouch who thinks they know it all that gets blindsided when the boss calls them in for a conversation nobody wants to hear.

If we approached everything thinking we can’t get any better, we never would. And, in the process, we’d eventually slide backward into a place of comfort that doesn’t require the extra effort it took to get good in the first place. On takeoff, the plane’s engines are at full throttle. As it climbs, the pilot gradually eases back until the plane reaches the desired altitude. At that point, it just cruises.

Cruising can be a good thing, if you’re happy with your current pace and trying to conserve energy. But sooner or later, another plane will zoom past because its throttles are set just a little bit higher. Then, when you get to your final destination, you find that the best parking spot is already taken by the pilot who wasn’t content to ease back and just cruise.

I find myself in that position a lot. I’ll work hard to get something going, and when I finally get some traction, I pat myself on the back and take a well-deserved breather. And with the throttles set on cruise, guess what happens? I sit back in my place of comfort as the world zooms past. The only way to catch up is to step on the gas and get back in the race. I’m guessing I’m not alone here.

We’ve all read the story of the tortoise and the hare. The rabbit would race to get ahead, then sit back until the tortoise crawled past. Then the race was on again. Granted, there was more than one tortoise in that story, so there was a little deception going on. But the point of the story is don’t get so cocky at anything that you don’t think you have to try.

Whatever you do, give it your best every day. The reward will always be worth the effort.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It Takes a Single Drop to Begin Filling a Bucket

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend and your day is off to a great start.

Today is my youngest grandson’s birthday. He’s four. To the rest of us, he’s a little boy with his whole life ahead of him. He’s got lots of growing to do, and lots of things to learn. But from his perspective, this is the oldest he’s ever been. He feels all grown up, because he really has no other basis for comparison. Especially if he looks at how grown up his grandpa is. We’re not so different.

And I like it that way. I’ve always said that aging is inevitable, but growing old is a matter of choice. I can’t turn back the clock no matter how badly some of my body parts wish I could. But I don’t have to let the years control my personality. People always like to say “act your age.” Well, I don’t wanna! So there!

Age is relevant only from the perspective of how many years we’ve been on this planet, and how many more years we may have left. It’s a measure of experience. My car insurance company likes my age. I’ve been driving long enough to slow down a little and not make so many stupid mistakes. My health insurance company, on the other hand, isn’t quite so thrilled. They wish I was a little younger.

It’s all a matter of perspective. I remember at the age of twenty, calling my supervisor an old man. He had to be pushing 27 at the time. I laugh today when I think about that because, with 62 only a few months away, I realize that even this isn’t really old. Or maybe I’m just kidding myself. That’s okay. I choose not to be old. I just wish my body would just step up and play along.

Perspective is important, because it’s what allows us to form a basis for comparison. I make a decent living, and we don’t really worry about day-to-day expenses. In fact, according to some, we’re doing pretty well. But we went into an upscale grocery store not long ago and, looking at the prices of “dry-aged” steak, I began to feel just a little impoverished. Do people really pay that much for food?

But to a person making a little more than I do, it’s no big deal. They buy what they want because they can. And here’s the thing – that meat is at least three times as expensive as anything in my grocery store, but I doubt many of those people make three times as much as I do. They don’t have to. They just have to make a little extra.

If your employer offered you an extra $200 a month, you’d feel pretty good. Because, if the bills are paid and things are going well, an extra $200 would let you buy that fancy steak once in a while. It would let you order what you want off the menu instead of what your wallet says you should eat. It might even let you take an extra vacation each year.

Now, what if there was a string attached – you get the extra money, but you have to work an extra hour every day. Hmmm.  An extra hour every day, and there are 22 workdays in a month – that’s not even $10 an hour! Now that extra $200 isn’t sounding so great. It’s all about perspective. You look at the hourly rate and suddenly forget all the extra freedom it could bring.

But what if that extra money was just the start? What if you gained the skills necessary to double that extra income in a month or so? Now your perspective may be changing a little. Because if you can take a little extra and double it, what’s to stop you from doubling that as well? All of a sudden, the issue isn’t how much you get paid – it’s how much you can earn.  

To most of us, a year is a pretty short amount of time. To my grandson, it’s a fourth of his life. To most of us, $30,000 a year isn’t much to brag about. But to somebody already making that much, an extra $15,000 would change everything. And to a person making ten times that much, it may not even be worth the extra effort. Perspective.

When you look at where you are, where you want to be may seem a long way off. But even a small step in the right direction puts you closer. Keep taking those steps and the time will come when the distance you’ve covered is more than the distance that’s left. And one day, it’ll only take one more little step to reach your goal. Same effort, same distance each time. But what a difference it’ll make.

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

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