You Can’t Make Excuses if the Right Person is Listening

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

For most of us, this is a busy time of year. Last-minute shopping, holiday baking, and those clandestine late-night missions to wrap gifts. Normally, telling my wife to stay out of the kitchen would be met with a resounding, “You got it!” But let me set a gift on the table and reach for a roll of wrapping paper, and it’s, “Who’s that for?” Damn.

Okay, if you truly believe I’ve wrapped a single gift so far, you don’t know me at all. It’s not even Christmas Eve! I’ll get to it. Of course, the wrapping job and amount of tape is a direct reflection on how much eggnog I’ve consumed to that point. I’ve never been great at wrapping, and when it comes to ribbon & bows, you might as well ask me to do a French braid.

For the record, I have no idea what a French braid is, but it sounds pretty complicated. All the more reason my granddaughter won’t let me practice on her hair. Odds are it would end up in a knot that won’t come out without scissors. And, since the last time I cut my wife’s hair, I have been expressly forbidden to attempt such a thing again.

Okay, a little back story.  At some point in the early 1980s, my wife wanted her hair shortened up a bit and asked if I could do it. Women’s haircuts were always more expensive, and money was tight. So, I picked up the scissors and went to work. It turned out beautifully. My mom even told me I’d missed my calling. Granted, it took two hours, but I was proud.

So, a few months later I tried again. Well, have you ever heard the term “beginner’s luck?” Yeah. Let’s just say that’s a very real phenomenon. Kinda like the first time I landed a small plane. But that second time can really put you in your place. Her hair ended up so short it took a year to grow back out, and no two strands were trimmed to the same length.

So, I don’t cut hair anymore. And, for the most part, I don’t wrap gifts. My youngest daughter usually does it for me. She’s a little, shall we say … rigid … when it comes to that. Okay, she’s a perfectionist. And that’s okay, because she lives up to the name. All I have to do is put a finger on the ribbon as she ties the bow. I can do that with my eyes closed!

But you know, there are things we do well and other things we’re better off leaving to somebody else. I cook pretty well, but my wife runs circles around me when it comes to baking. She can cross-stitch, and I can build a frame. I can fix cars, and she can tell me every little noise it makes afterward. I can mutter under my breath when she does, and she can hear every word.

That’s why we make such a good team. What one can’t do, the other can. We both know that, which is why we don’t make too many excuses. She can say “BS” just as easily as I can. And that’s okay. Sometimes we all need an accountability partner to keep us in line. Somebody who knows just enough about what we’re doing to call us out when we do it wrong or not at all.

That’s something my business mentors are always preaching – get an accountability partner. If you never share your dreams and don’t tell anybody your goals, then nobody can call you out when you don’t achieve any of them. Here’s a little tip … if you want to lose weight, don’t tell anybody who can see every morsel of food you put in your mouth.

On the other hand, if you’re serious about losing weight, then sharing that goal is one of the best things you can do. The same is true of just about anything worthwhile. My business isn’t one that runs itself (go figure). I have to actually do certain things to keep it running and help it grow. But without an accountability partner, it’s easy to get lazy.

Whatever it is you’re trying to do, success is a lot more likely if you have somebody watching over your shoulder. And maybe that somebody can be you. If so, you’re one of the fortunate few. The rest of us need somebody else. Somebody we trust, who’s empowered to say something when we slack off. And preferably, somebody with a vested interest in our success.

How we got from wrapping gifts to accountability partners is beyond me, but that’s how my brain works some days. The point is, set goals and then share them with somebody who will help keep you on track. It may not guarantee success, but it’ll certainly improve your odds.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can’t Make Mistakes Unless You Try

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

Well, if you read yesterday’s post about the work I did on our new car, I’m pleased to report that my wife drove it all the way to the grocery store and back, and almost everything is working the way it was before. Almost. Okay, a couple of red lights are on. Something about sensors being blocked. Aw, c’mon! It’s just sensors! Besides, at least we know the lights work.

Yes, I’ll have to take a look at that. I’m sure we missed a connector somewhere. That’s minor compared to the first problem she reported. Seems the car wanted to just take off and go all on its own. Like really fast. Apparently, somebody installed the floor mat on top of the accelerator. Somebody who looks a lot like me. At this point, I’m not sure she trusts me to put gas in it.

Okay, so things didn’t go exactly according to plan. That’s par for the course, even if you’re an expert, which I’m not. It’s a little scarier when it comes to a car not slowing down like it’s supposed to. On the other hand, we know the brakes still work. That’s the part I actually messed with. Okay, that and the entire front frame of the car. But let’s not go there.

I’ve often said the only people in this world who never make mistakes are the ones who never do anything in the first place. Okay, I usually say that when I’m the one who made the mistake, but you get the point. If you try, anything at all, sooner or later you’ll screw something up. That’s inevitable. The best we can hope for is to minimize the damage and do better next time.

Now, I know what you folks are thinking. Why did I work on the car, but my wife was the first one to get behind the wheel and give it a test drive? Because sometimes you’re the one who packs the parachute, and sometimes you’re the one who uses it. I don’t know! We finished late, I was tired, my back hurt, and I never took it for a spin. So, shoot me.

It’s a lesson I learned years ago. Test your work. Don’t put away the tools until you know the job was done right. It not only gives you peace of mind, but there’s something a little gratifying about hitting the brakes and the car actually stops. Especially when there’s a bag of “extra” hardware in the console between the seats. Don’t ask.

The point is, we all make mistakes. I could easily have blamed the floor mat installation on my son-in-law, but I’m pretty sure that one was my fault. It’s certainly not the first mistake I’ve ever made, and if I live to see dinnertime, I’m sure it won’t be the last. On the other hand, one more mistake like that and I may not live long beyond dinnertime. But that’s another story.

What’s important is that we raise our hand, own up to the blunder, and move on. It’s really hard to argue with somebody who says, “I did that – it was my fault.” Oh, you may still have a few choice words, but arguments tend to stop when both sides agree. And with that out of the way, you can focus on the root cause, make corrections, and move forward.

Because that’s the ultimate goal, no matter what went wrong – moving forward. There was something you were driving toward in the first place, a goal or dream, or maybe just a trip to the grocery store. Something got in the way. Are you going to let that ruin your day and bring your plans to a grinding halt? Or are you going to fix what’s broken and keep going?

Fixing a problem begins with acknowledging its existence, and the role we played in its evolution. We can point fingers all day, and others may very well share some of the blame. But until we look in the mirror and fix the only person we truly can fix, the problem will never go away.

I got lucky on this one. Fixing the floormat was easy and, as it turns out, those warning lights were just system alerts triggered by cold weather and a fogged-up windshield. Nobody got hurt, and we’re ready to continue the adventure. A month from now, we won’t even remember this. Well, I won’t.

Mistakes will be made. Some will be a lot bigger than others, but most are easily corrected if we just take ownership of what went wrong and continue moving forward. Success is what happens when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. Blame never solved anything. Get up, dust yourself off, and take a bow. Whatever mistakes you’ve made, they won’t be your last.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can’t Take Credit if You Won’t Accept Blame

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

It’s Monday, and you know what that means. Okay, you know what you would like that to mean. Back to bed for another hour or two is what I’m thinking. I actually slept pretty well for a change, but only if we’re grading on a curve. You know, like when the teacher said, “Everybody failed this test, so I guess I have to give you all a C.” Like that ever happened. We just got extra homework.

I had a couple of teachers who could accept credit for the whole class getting it wrong. But that didn’t happen very often. Most blamed it on excessive talking and the entire class, including the teacher’s pet, not paying attention. Oddly enough, that was a great life lesson because it prepared us for the rules of accountability in the “real” world.

And we all know how those rules work. It’s like an old country song written from the perspective of a truck. “There’d be no truck drivers if it wasn’t for us trucks … no double-clutching, gear-jamming, coffee-drinking nuts.” Okay, it was a little cute. In one line, the “truck” laments, “If we’re on time he takes the credit, when we’re late I get the blame …”

If you’re nodding your head right now and thinking about anything other than that old song, we need to talk. Because either you’ve been subjected to that philosophy, or it’s your mantra. And I get it. Accepting responsibility for failure is never an easy thing to do, especially if there’s somebody else you can blame. “What do you expect when you work with morons?”

Sadly, we’ve all heard that excuse a few times too many. And to be fair, I’ve worked for some great people over the years. People who, when things go wrong, step up and say, “I must not have explained it correctly. Let’s figure out what went wrong and fix it.” People like that, you’ll follow to the ends of the earth. That’s why they’re called leaders.

But I’ll never forget the day a manager called me into his office to complain about shipping delays that were caused by something my team was not allowed to touch. Yet still, he still gave me a stern warning that, “If we don’t start shipping something in the next two weeks, I won’t be here anymore. And I won’t be the first to go!”

That same manager admonished me when I spoke with him about declining morale. “This company does not have a morale problem … YOU have a morale problem!” He wasn’t referring to me personally, but to the guys who worked for me. If they weren’t happy, it was my fault. Got it. “Can I make some changes, then?” “Not if you want to keep your job!”

We’ve all worked for people like that. When I was in the Navy, we called it “hiding under their shoulder-boards.” It was a reference to those little gold bands on an officer’s shoulders. The more bands they had, the more damage they could cause and the less any of us could complain. Thankfully, most learned a thing or two about leadership on the way up. Most.

So, here’s the question. What kind of leader are you? When things go right, do you puff out your chest and tell everybody how great you are, or do you acknowledge those who helped make it happen? And when things go wrong, do you accept responsibility, or pass the buck? Not just on the job, but in life. You know, where it really counts.

If you want an honest answer to that question, ask your kids. Or just look at how you interact with them. When they mess up, do you look for fault in them, or yourself? There could be any number of reasons they didn’t do as expected. And make no mistake, at least half are factors they control. But where does that leave the other half? Ah, now it’s getting real.

And odds are, if you’re that way with others, you’re the same way with yourself. Any mistakes you make can never be your fault – something or somebody else must be to blame. That’s the only possibility, because you do everything right and would never make such a bone-headed mistake. But beyond the bravado, you know the truth. We all do.

Excuses may hide your flaws (for now), but they also block your ability to rise above those shortcomings. Success isn’t about doing everything right the first time. It’s about learning from our failures so we can grow into the person we need to be. One who not only has the ability to succeed, but for whom success is the only natural result.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’ll Never Have More Time Than You Do Now

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

A friend from the Republic of Georgia once asked me what “Hump Day” means. We come across these expressions and think everybody knows what they mean, but that’s not always the case. And, with an international audience, it taught me to pay a little closer attention to the jargon I use. Simply put, it’s the day ogres like me groom the hair on our humped back.

Okay, I’m kidding. My humped back isn’t from being an ogre. That just keeps other people away from me. Six months ago they called that repulsion – now it’s social distancing. Kinda like used cars are called pre-owned automobiles and house trailers are mobile homes. It’s all in the packaging. Hump Day is just the middle of the week – we’re over the hump and the weekend is coming.

It’s funny how we spend five days longing for the weekend, just to spend that time recuperating from the week that got us there. Oh, we have plans. We start making them the weekend before. You know, when we were going to be doing something fun, but the weather wasn’t perfect and there was work to be done and we had to go shopping and … yeah. Been there.

Besides, we were tired! It was a long week and we needed the rest. That’s our excuse every time we don’t do the things we wanted to do. “I’m too tired.” I hear that a lot from people as they’re explaining why they’re not doing anything about their dreams. Oh, they’ll get to it someday. You know, later in life when they’re not so tired all the time.

It’s like we think we’ll magically go over some imaginary hump a few years down the road and automatically have all this extra time and energy on our hands. “After this project ends.” “After the holidays.” “After we get moved into a new house.” “After the kids move out of this one.” Color me stupid, but that just sounds like a whole bunch of excuses.

And the truth is, we all get started on these things at pretty much the same point in life – after it becomes important enough to do something about it. The problem is, that point never comes for many of us, and when it does, it often comes in the form of a foreclosure letter or being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Now it’s important! Now we have to do something about it.

We all have to set our own priorities. I tried to stop smoking several times over a period of 23 years. Every time my wife or doctor begged me to stop, I tried. Well, not every time. But it wasn’t until the day I woke up and couldn’t breathe for two hours that I finally gave them up for good. That was 22 years ago. Thankfully, I did it soon enough to enjoy the benefits.  

But that illustrates my point pretty well. We have plans, things we’d like to do. And we always have the best of intentions. “One of these days …” Sound familiar? “When I retire …” That’s a convenient time because nobody can really define when that’ll be. Besides, we may not even live that long. Sure would suck to do all that work for nothing. Wow. How do you argue with that?

So, here’s a novel idea. How about making retirement come a little sooner? How about getting started on the things you want to do now so you’ll have more time to enjoy them? Let me clue you in. I don’t care how old (or young) you are, you will never have more time and more energy than you have right now. Never. This is as good as it gets. It’s all downhill from here.

If that sounds a little grim, it’s supposed to. These may not be the best days of your life, for any variety of reasons. But there will never be a better day to start making your days better. Sure, you’re tired. You have a lot on your plate. And who has the money anyway? I get it. We’re all tired. We all have a lot on our plate, and money is always tight. Get over it.

Tough words, I know. But time is marching on. Today is Hump Day – for this week, and for the rest of your life. We’re all cresting a hill, and we can either put our foot on the accelerator or let the forces of nature take control. We’ll reach the bottom either way. The question is, will we still have the time and energy to keep going once we get there?

Make today count. Put aside your ego. Rearrange your schedule. Open your mind to new ideas. To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. And the sooner you get started, the sooner you can start enjoying the life of your dreams.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Take A Bow – You’ve Earned It!

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

The other day, my daughter had an especially challenging day with her little ones. They’re 15 months apart, and the oldest is in kindergarten, so you can fill in the blanks. Some days one is good and the other makes up for it, and the next day they switch. But every now and then, they put their minds together in a seek and destroy mission on the sanity of any adult in the house.

Now, take that and put it on steroids, and that’s the kind of day she had. At one point, she just sat at the bottom of the stairs in tears. She’d had all she could handle. My granddaughter, sensing her anguish, went to her and in the sweetest voice said, “Mommy, we’ve decided we should apologize to you for him making me do that.” Folks, that’s about as good as it gets.

I raised two daughters, and the one thing I can tell you is they never do anything wrong, at least not on their own. It was always somebody else’s fault. As Erma Bombeck observed, when the kids are upstairs and things don’t seem right, ask the girls what they’re doing and they’ll say, “Nothing.” Ask the boys and it’s, “We just threw the cat down the stairs and it was neat!”

Don’t get me wrong. I love girls. I raised two, and I still have a mostly full head of hair. It’s gray, mind you … completely. But I wear that as a badge of honor. Still, with two grandsons, I can definitely see a difference. Boys are a little less emotional about getting into trouble. They’ll confess to just about anything. Unless they get into politics, and then all bets are off.

I think as a parent, one of the things I tried to instill in my daughters the most was a sense of accountability. Not responsibility – that just means you were supposed to do something, and you didn’t. But accountability means the buck stops here. It means I screwed up and I’ll take the heat for it. Nobody made me do it – I did it all on my own. Now, can I have my phone back?

Accountability also works the other way. It means, “I did the work. While everybody else was out playing, I made the sacrifices and I made this happen. I’ve earned the reward.” That’s a hard pill for most of us to swallow. It sounds self-indulgent, and nobody likes a showoff. If you blew it, we expect a detailed commentary ending in a formal apology. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

And I think that’s why so many people have a problem with success. Oh, we love winning. We just have a problem with the entitlement that goes with it. “Well, things just worked out, I guess. It could have just as easily gone the other way. I just got lucky.” That last one is my personal favorite. It implies that you did nothing to influence the outcome – it just happened.

We expect accountability from our kids when they step out of line, and hopefully we’re leading by example. “Well, kids, we have to move. The bank is taking the house because I lost my job. It’s not my fault the boss can’t handle a little criticism. He needs to toughen up!”

Most of us do a better job than that. And I doubt we’d accept such an excuse from one of our kids. We need to teach them a sense of accountability. We need to instill a sense of humility as well. But we should also teach them that it’s okay to be proud of their accomplishments. And that begins by allowing ourselves to feel a little pride as well.

We’ll never work very hard to accomplish anything if it doesn’t give us some sense of fulfillment. To accomplish great things, you must first accept that you are deserving of great things. We can be gracious and proud at the same time. And it’s the combination of those two characteristics that will set a positive example for others as they also celebrate your success.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The More We Adapt, The Faster We Grow

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

Well, it’s the last day of the month. If you live in my world, that means a whole new set of bills to pay. Those things just never seem to go away. I’ve paid for my house twice already, and still owe half of what I borrowed. I’m apparently in the wrong line of work, because when I earn a paycheck, I only get it once. I think it’s a scam. They just keep sending a bill until you catch on.

This is also the time when we measure our accomplishments for the past month against our goals. And if you need a hand with that, the boss is more than willing to help. Somehow, they don’t quite understand the concept of “almost.” Then comes that loaded question – “Do you remember when I asked you to (insert missed goal here)?” Don’t answer. It’s a trick.

But how about those things you were planning to do for yourself? Okay, you may get a pass on that if it involved getting out of the house and spending time with people. Today. But what was your excuse last month? How about the past several years? “Well, there may be a pandemic out there waiting to happen, and just to be on the safe side, I had to put my plans on hold.” Right.

Okay, enough about pandemics. I guess if somebody has actually been using that as an excuse, they can finally rise up and loudly proclaim, “I told you!” The rest of us have to come up with something better. And the truth is, there is nothing better. Or worse, for that matter. The bottom line is we’re still just making excuses. If that was your goal, congratulations. You win.

A friend often says that success has no regard for the validity of your excuses. Okay, so right now, we have a good one. And it still doesn’t matter. Because, while we’re complaining about the raw deal we’re getting, other people are adapting and moving forward anyway. You play the hand you’re dealt. A pair of twos can still win, especially if the other guy folds.

Right now, companies around the world are doing something they’ve never considered – paying employees to work from home. All those big, glamorous office buildings are sitting empty while we work in our PJs. And yet, the job is still getting done, sometimes better than before. Why? Because that’s our only choice and the job still needs to be done.

I read a story once about a frog that tried to hop over a deep rut in the road and came up short. He tried and tried to jump out, but the rut was too deep. Another frog came along and tried to help, but it was no use. Finally, the second frog went for help as the first frog sat at the bottom of the rut and cried. “I’ll never get out of here!” I think we’ve all been there.

Well, the second frog couldn’t find anyone to help and, as he was going back to deliver the bad news, along came the first frog, happily hopping along. “Wait, is that you? How on earth did you get out of that rut?” The first frog replied, “I had to – there was a truck coming.”

When the chips are down, we find ways to adapt. Hopefully this isn’t the new “normal.” But what we’ve come to know as normal has changed forever. And the tricks we learned now, when we had to jump just a little higher, will take away some of those excuses that have been holding us back. The question is, will we make the most of new opportunities, or make new excuses?

Whether you’re able to work from home or not, this is where the rubber meets the pavement. We can adapt and move forward or sit around and accept whatever fate throws our way. The company’s goals will be met, whether that’s now or later. But what about your own goals? Will they survive?

A new month is about to begin, and in 30 days, we’ll be right where we are now, with a fresh set of bills and that nagging question in the back of our mind – did I make the most of the time I had, or am I still making excuses? This is one bill we can pay early. And the sooner we get started, the easier it’ll be to pay.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s the Cards You Play That Make a Winning Hand

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

I made muffins for my little ones today. I know, I’m such a nice grandpa. Go ahead, you can say it. On days when my daughter works, she drops them off early (really early) and my grandson has learned that it’s my job to make breakfast. Usually he wants eggs. Sometimes with bacon, sometimes with sausage. And other times I get away with dressing them with a little cheese and a piece of toast.

I’ve always been amazed at how quickly kids learn. You know, the one-plus-one stuff and how to spell their own name. But along with the three Rs, they figure out pretty quickly how to game the system. If you want a hot breakfast, you put in your order early. If you want Grandpa to customize the menu, you climb up in his lap and give him a hug. That’s all they’ve got, so they put it to good use.

One of the greatest lessons we will ever learn is to play the hand we’re dealt. Kids learn it from the time they figure out how to stick out their bottom lip and well up with tears. Until you’re earning more money than your parents, that’s the best thing in your arsenal. My oldest daughter did it when she was six minutes old. I told her it wouldn’t work, but I’ll let you in on a little secret – it does.

Well, sticking my bottom lip out doesn’t seem to work anymore. When I told my wife my job was coming to an end, she had all kinds of questions. “Did you do something wrong? Were you socializing too much? Did you swipe the last cup of coffee and sneak away without making a fresh pot?” No, it’s just business. They don’t need me anymore. “Well, did you at least stick your bottom lip out?”

That’s why I could never be a cop. Somebody blows through a school zone at twice the legal speed, past buses with their lights flashing, and it’s off to the races. This guy is going to jail! But when you get to the car, it’s not the teenage daredevil you expected. It’s a young woman with a baby in the back seat, tears streaming down her face. Like that’s gonna work. Then she sticks out her bottom lip. Damn.

It’s too bad we don’t use that same strategy when it comes to battling the odds to get something we really want. I’m not talking about climbing up in Grandpa’s lap and tugging at his heart strings – this is about using our skills to achieve our goals. It’s about overlooking our weaknesses and focusing on our strengths. It’s about acknowledging that our greatest strength is our ability to overcome weakness.

How many times have you heard somebody whine about their age? “I’d love to do that, but I’m just too old!” “I wish I could do that, but I’m not old enough.” Okay, get a clue. Unless you’re trying to buy liquor next-door to a police station, age isn’t holding you back from anything. It’s an excuse. And it’s a good one, because nobody can ever argue your age. Especially when your hair is as gray as mine.

Age is one of those things we can’t change, and the best excuses in the world are the ones over which we have no control. When the kids are little, it’s easy. “We can’t afford that.” Case closed. Until they get a little older and you tell them money is not a limited resource, and if they want more all they have to do is earn it. “You mean you lied about those sneakers?” Busted!

No matter what it is you’d like to accomplish, you can come up with a dozen excuses for not getting it done. Or, you can play the hand you were dealt, make use of the things that work in your favor, and quit worrying about the rest. You can lose weight. You can get a better job. You can move to another state. What you can’t do is sit there and complain.

So, climb up in Grandpa’s lap, stick your bottom lip out, and then ask him to teach you how to make your own breakfast. You stand a better chance of getting what you want and, once you learn how, you can do it again any time you feel the urge. Breakfast, or life? You decide.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can Always Find Time – It’s How You Use It That Counts

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

It’s Monday, and you know what that means. Bouncing out of bed, eyes aglow with anticipation, and a protein smoothie to start the day. Yeah. That’s how my day starts. Don’t ask my wife, just take my word for it. Okay, okay. It’s more like slumping out of bed, eyes half-shut, feet trudging, and six extra cups of coffee. If you’re lucky, that’ll keep you awake till the 10:00 meeting.

But let me ask you this. What did you do over the weekend that was so much better than Monday? Be honest. You did laundry, you went grocery shopping, you cleaned the house, you watched reruns of movies you didn’t even watch twenty years ago, and you yelled at the kids for not “enjoying” the weekend as much as you. Are their rooms clean yet? I rest my case.

Don’t get me wrong. I know some people who live it up on the weekend. Alcohol may or may not be involved, but they don’t waste a minute bemoaning the fact that it’s only two days long. There are places to go, people to see, and things to do. Fun things. And guess what? The whole time they’re out of the house, the mess isn’t getting a bit worse. Unless they have a cat. Cats love to mess things up.

These are the people who spend a few hours during the week doing the stuff that seems to consume an entire weekend for the rest of us. They pick up a few things around the house, run a vacuum cleaner, wash a load of laundry, and do the grocery shopping before Friday. Then, when the weekend comes, they have all kinds of time to sit around and complain that there’s nothing to do.

Okay, let’s keep this in perspective. First of all, if they’re like most of us, they pick things up and pile them in a closet. They keep the kids off the carpet while they’re running the vacuum so they can track in stuff from the other rooms as soon as it’s done. They wash a load of laundry, forget to throw it in the dryer, then wash it again tomorrow (and the next day). And, like, grocery shopping is EVER done?

This is why for most of us, as soon as we think of something we’d like to accomplish, that built-in excuse pops up like a Jack-in-the-box. “I don’t have time!” We like that one. It can be used in any situation, whether it’s cleaning the garage, planting flowers, writing a book, or drying the clothes we just washed. We’re just too busy. “Woe is me! You have no idea how little time I’ve got!”

Well, get over yourself. We all get 168 hours each week. Except that one week in March when we only get 167 hours, and boy do we love to complain about that one. We’ll milk that lost hour for a whole week. “You don’t understand. I’m tired enough as it is, and then to lose an hour of sleep in the middle of the weekend?” Funny, we sure don’t make up for it in November. “It’s too cold!”

If there’s something you really want to do, you’ll make time for it. Whether that means an hour here and there through the week, or eight hours on the weekend. You rearrange, you set things aside, you turn off the TV, and prioritize what’s most important. And you do it for one simple reason – there’s something you want more than to spend the rest of your life complaining about short weekends.

All it takes is a goal – a vision of something more pleasant than two days of whining about how tired you are as you catch up on all the other things you couldn’t find time for during the week. Whether that vision is as simple as two days of curling up with a good book, or as ambitious as retiring to the beach twenty years early, it’s not hard to find something worthy of that extra hour in the evening.

Excuses come easy when there’s something we really don’t want to do. Oh, we want the result – just not the effort that goes into it. So, here’s my challenge for the week. Find something you want. Focus on it. Get pictures. Then see if you can find one hour in the evenings to do something about it. If you want something badly enough, the time is there. It’s how you use that time that counts.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Build On Your Successes, Not Your Mistakes

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

Today will be a day of recuperation for me. Through a combination of age, weight, and not taking very good care of this body, I’ve got a condition doctors lovingly refer to as degenerative disc disease, along with a couple of other things I can’t quite pronounce. Combined, it means my lower back is pretty much gone, and it’s not going to get much better. Thankfully, it’s usually not nearly this bad.

With something like this, you resign yourself to the reality that some days will be better than others and try not to overdo it on the good days. Well, okay. That’s what sane people do. When I have a good day, my brain says, “You can beat this! Just get up and stretch it out a little.” And other days it just says, “Have fun, because you’re gonna pay for this one.”

I remember a time when that was my mentality about a lot of things. You’re out for a drink after work and the next thing you know it’s dinnertime. You call home and say, “Just a little longer.” Then it’s getting dark and you call to say, “Let me finish this drink and I’ll be home.” By now she’s fuming, and your inebriated brain says you’re in trouble anyway, so you might as well enjoy it.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all done that from time to time, in various ways. Maybe it’s a day on the job when you’re just not feeling it. Your work is stacking up and there’s no way you’ll get it all done. After a while, your brain starts making excuses. “Take it easy. There’s no way you’ll get all this done, no matter how hard you try. You’re in trouble anyway. Save your energy for tomorrow.”

Okay, we probably don’t do that on the job very often, because if we did, we wouldn’t be on the job for long. But how often do we do that with our own goals? You know there’s something you should be doing (or not doing) and there’s that nagging voice in your head that says you deserve a little fun. “All work and no play …” You know the rest of that one. It’s a song that plays in our minds a lot.

I know the things I need to do to make my back a little better. Exercise would be at the top of the list. Not anything intense – just walking or even a little stretching. Yoga would be great, or even swimming. I know all this. I just don’t do it. On the other hand, I know I have to lose weight. But that cheeseburger last night was just too good to pass up (not to mention the birthday cake later).

And it’s not like I’m doing things blindly, with no concept of the price I’ll pay later. I stood at my desk yesterday for a full five minutes talking myself into a healthy lunch instead of take-out from a local Thai restaurant. I knew the implications of making the wrong decision. And I made the right choice. This time. But how many times do we make the wrong choice, fully aware of the consequences?

We all make mistakes. That only makes us human. But when we allow those mistakes to pile up, simply because “I’ve already messed up anyway,” it’s that much harder to get back on track. And as we see ourselves slipping further from our goals, we begin to justify not even trying. Why bother if, after all that extra effort, you’ll just come up short anyway?

Yesterday we talked about those small steps – seemingly insignificant, but added together they can make a huge difference. It’s the same when we do the things we shouldn’t do. We may get away with it a few times, but after a while it catches up. And that’s when we find ourselves in a hole with nothing but a shovel to dig our way out.

I didn’t do anything intentional to mess up my back. But I did do a few things that I probably could have put off once I knew things were headed in the wrong direction. Just like I’ve done a few things I didn’t need to do instead of working on the things I should be doing for my personal goals. We all do it. And we all pay a certain price. The question we have to ask is whether that price is worth it.

Sure, we can always turn things around and get back on track. But it’s easier to keep a train moving than to get a train moving. We’ll slip up now and then, and that’s okay. What’s important is that we correct our mistakes instead of letting them become an excuse for making even more mistakes. Every step we take leads us in a certain direction. Make sure it’s the direction you want to go.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Begins With a Dream, But Habits Drive the Outcome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved