Success Never Makes Excuses

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

In case you’re trying to figure out this “daily” posting strategy of mine, you’re not alone. If you do figure it out, let me know. Seems I start every day with the best of intentions, and then the day tells me exactly how it plans to go. I’ve tried citing the day for insubordination, but so far it doesn’t seem to care. It just laughs and says, “Keep up!”

So, I write when I can. If that’s how I made my living, I’d have to be a little more proactive. You know, like writing my post the night before when I’m still reasonably awake and there’s nothing good on TV. I thought living in an RV would somehow add to my free time, but as it turns out, we still do pretty much the same things we used to. We just do them someplace else.

Granted, I still work every day, so it’s not like we’re on a permanent vacation. But I have a feeling retirement will be pretty much the same. At least I hope so. I’ve seen what happens when people retire and find a recliner that fits their butt more perfectly by the day. No thanks! I want to be on the move as long as I’m physically able.

Which means if I want to write a daily post, I have to carve out the time. If I want to finish my first book, I have to carve out even more time. And then there’s my day job, my personal business, grocery shopping, emptying tanks, grilling dinner, and that semi-annual wax job that’s coming due this month. Do we see a bit of a trend?

Life seems to have little regard for any plans we’ve made. It has plans of its own. It’s like getting married and realizing that poker night isn’t a shared priority. Not that poker night was ever a thing with me. I only say it to sound macho. Anybody who knows me isn’t fooled by that a bit. Somewhere along the way, Lethal Weapon turned into Steel Magnolias. I’m just saying.

And in much the same way that life has little regard for our plans, success has little regard for our excuses. It’s pretty simple. You either do it, or you don’t. There’s really no in-between. It’s like that unfinished book in my computer. Okay, I have a few of them. That doesn’t make me a multi-published author. It makes me a guy who started a bunch of stuff he hasn’t finished.

Now, if my only goal was to write, I’ve accomplished that. Over the past two decades, I’ve written a few thousand copyrighted pieces. Some have even been published in newspapers, magazines, and other people’s books. But if you do a search on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you won’t find anything with my name. They pretty much insist you actually finish the book first.

And therein lies the challenge. Success isn’t some predefined entity that eagerly awaits our arrival. It’s a personal status we each define for ourselves. We decide what it means, how it looks, and when we’ve arrived. And we do that at the very outset, when we’re still just dreaming about it. Everything from that point on is just a step in the process.

I can see a book with my name on it. That’s success. I can make that part happen. I can see a successful business with regular monthly income that’ll let me continue this lifestyle indefinitely. That’s success, and I can make that part happen. The problem is, I can also let a dozen other things get in the way and rightfully point to them as a barrier to my success.

Excuses do a good job of explaining why something didn’t happen, but they don’t really soften the blow. Especially when I know that I could find that extra hour each day to do what I need to do. I could get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later, work through lunch, take the laptop outside in the evening, or skip a couple of television shows. And I can’t make excuses for that.

You see, life doesn’t care if we succeed or not. And that’s a hard pill to swallow. But in order to work past that, we have to accept a couple of fundamental truths. The first is that we define success in our own terms … nobody else defines it for us. We decide what’s enough. And second, we have to accept that success is ours to achieve. Nobody else can do it for us.

We’re all busy. We all have other things fighting for our time. We’re all living in the age of Covid, and none of us can do a thing about the weather. Success doesn’t care. It’s simply a goal we set for ourselves. It doesn’t matter what’s standing in our way. It’s what we do about it that counts.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who’s Keeping Track of Your List?

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

Well, another week is behind us. Almost. I guess there’s still a full day to go. I saw a meme on Facebook a while back that showed a disheartened face with the words, “When you’re ready to go home and the boss reminds you that you still have eight hours to go.” Still, it’s Friday. That’s like telling a kid there’s only a week left until Christmas.

Time drags, except when you’re on vacation. I’ve often wondered how that is for retired people. Several times I was talking to my dad and he’d ask, “Is today Saturday?” When you don’t have to work, you get to ask questions like that. The best I get is waking up on Thursday, thinking it’s Friday. “Yes!” turns to “Damn!” in three seconds flat.

Friday is a day of celebration, no doubt. It’s also the day when we start making a mental “to-do” list for next week. The first five or thirty-six items on the list are easy – just start with everything you didn’t get done this week. “Well, that one will have to wait. But I have to get it done Monday. No excuses!” Famous last words.

I still have an 8-foot mud flap in the RV that I was going to install before we left. But it was cold outside, and I need some additional hardware to install it. At our first campsite, I was going to rearrange all the storage bays. Six weeks later, that’s still on the list. My freelance assignment is overdue, I’ve run out of vitamins, and we still need to get an oil change. And the list goes on.

Okay, in my defense, I do have some valid excuses. We spent four weeks visiting Dad and then planning his funeral. We’ve been visiting relatives we don’t often see, I work during the day, and it’s been raining. For any day of this trip, I can tell you exactly why I didn’t get anything done. Can I just cross off a few for good intent?

Okay, some things truly will go away on their own. Ignore the oil change long enough, and you won’t have to worry about it anymore. Let the car payment slide, and you won’t have one much longer. Procrastinate on your tax returns and … sorry, that one doesn’t go away. But you get the point. Vanishing problems aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

On the other hand, there are some things that just aren’t as critical. If you can’t find time to weed the flower bed, nobody else will even notice. After six years of weeds, I learned my lesson. Don’t plant flowers. It takes a lot of time, you end up dirty and sore, and by mid-summer it’ll all be weeds anyway. So, just let the weeds grow. In fact, water them and they’ll die.

But, when time is running short, those are the tasks we always seem to do first. They may be personally rewarding, but at the end of the day all those other things we needed to do are still sitting there, waiting for a spot on next week’s list. Sometimes we need a little motivation. Run the clippers up the back of your head, and you’ll find time for that haircut. Trust me.

When my mother-in-law moved in, my wife’s sister knew that painting the inside of her closet would be low on my list of priorities. So, she slapped a wide patch of contrasting paint on the closet wall, then left the rest for me. Well, two can play that game. I think it’s about time she should paint her living room.

No, I wouldn’t do that to somebody else’s house. But sometimes, we do need that extra incentive to get things done. My business mentors have suggested getting an accountability partner. Somebody you trust enough to share your dreams, and who knows you well enough to call BS when you’re making excuses.

Share your goals. “By this day, I will (insert your favorite lie here).” Put it in writing, and then slip it into their pocket. Tell them to call you every week to see how you’re doing. You may be able to fake success on social media, but your accountability partner knows better. Sooner or later, you’ll either get on the ball or call it quits.

We have accountability partners on the job. We have them at home. And we have some we don’t even know in police cars and courtrooms. They all hold us to task, in one way or another. Find somebody who will do the same when it comes to your dreams, and you open a whole new world of opportunity.

Excuses make us feel better, but they don’t bring us any closer to our dreams. Make yourself accountable. Get things done. There will be plenty of time to rest when you’re finished.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Make Money or Make Excuses – You Can’t Do Both

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

Well, the verdict is in. Our washing machine has a faulty RF line filter. Unless you’re into electrical stuff, that means nothing. In layman’s terms, it’s fried. And it may or may not be my fault. That all depends who’s paying the bill. I say it was defective, but the manufacturer may have other ideas. All I know is that repairman sure knows his stuff. And the bill reflects it. $523 just to tell me it’s broken. Wow.

The good news is we can get it fixed. Next week. Which means all the dirty clothes that were in it are back in the closet. The nice thing about camping is that people don’t notice smells quite as much. That’s probably due to the multitude of odors that are so prevalent in campgrounds. Like the smell that hit my wife’s nose when I emptied our tanks this morning. Phew! By comparison, I smell fine.

Yes, we’ll have to find a laundromat today. Always have a plan B, right? And a little extra in the bank, because none of these things are cheap. A friend once told me that emergencies have no regard for your dreams, but they know exactly how much you have in savings and the estimate will always come in just a little higher. Can I get an amen?

Thankfully, we’ve got this one covered. Ten years ago, a similar repair would have brought us to our knees. A recent survey revealed that only 39% of adults could afford an unexpected $1000 expense. And for many of them that expense would wipe out their savings completely. Well, guess what? With $250 “service fees” and labor at $135 an hour, you can blow through $1000 in an instant.

Financial experts suggest we should have enough money in savings to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. We’ve all heard that, and we’ve all said the same thing. “On what planet???” You might as well tell us to grow wings and fly. Sure, that looks good on paper. But when you’re barely making ends meet, it’s a little hard to fathom.

Yet, when you ask people why they don’t make more, they pretty much say the same thing … “If I knew how, I would!” Okay, so let me show you how. “Well, yeah, but I don’t have the time for something like that. I’m too busy already. And my brother-in-law said his neighbor’s cousin tried something similar and failed. Besides, I’m up for a cost-of-living raise in a few months. We’ll be fine after that.” Really?

Thankfully for some people, excuses are cheap. Otherwise, they’d go broke just telling you why they’re going broke. If $10 were deducted from their bank account every time they uttered a lame excuse, they’d be overdrawn by dinnertime. And then they’d whine about the overdraft charges. When, all along, they could have used the same amount of energy to actually fix the problem.

You can make money or make excuses – but you can never do both. I didn’t dream that one up. It’s been around a while, but it’s as true today as ever. And sooner or later, we all have to answer this question – which one will make your life better? Which one will make the problems go away? Excuses may buy you some time, but sooner or later you’ll have to pony up. Or give up. It’s your life.

You know one thing you almost never hear? “I make enough – I don’t need any more.” We ALL need more. Things can change in an instant, and what we know today may not be what we’ll live tomorrow. And even if things don’t change, is there nothing else in life you want that you don’t already have? “Sure, if I had the money!” Seems this is right where we started.

We all think our situation will change with time, but it never works out that way. Pay off the car, and it needs repairs. Pay off the house, and the kids are headed to college. Pay off college, and the kids are having grandkids. Get a promotion, and your property tax goes up. Get all that under control, and it’s time to retire. You know, on half-pay (if you’re lucky). And that’s when the medical bills get real.

The question is, what will you do about it? Will you fix the problem, or spend your days in a rocking chair explaining that it’s the best chair you can afford? There are dozens of ways to make more money, and just as many excuses for why you can’t. Take control now, and you won’t need those excuses. Open your mind, and you may find the answer right there waiting for you.

Money can’t fix everything, and there’s something to be said for enjoying what we have. But sooner or later, you’ll need more. We all do. Fix the problem today, and you won’t even have to think about it tomorrow.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity Knocks, But You Still Have to Open the Door

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

It’s the first day of February. For those of us here in the US, tomorrow is a special day. It’s the day we watch a clown in a top hat translate the squeaks of a large rodent into prognostications about the weather that the most experienced meteorologists with the most sophisticated equipment can’t guess beyond the next few hours. Let me answer that for you right now. It’s gonna be cold!

For those of you in parts of the world that don’t rely on folklore to tell you if you need a jacket, here’s the basic premise. The clown in the top hat takes a groundhog out of a fake log. If the groundhog sees his shadow (it’s sunny, or the TV lights are especially bright), it means an early spring; no shadow means we’re in for at least six more weeks of misery. High-tech, huh?

And we don’t stop when it comes to groundhogs. When I first moved back to Ohio, everyone was talking about the wooly worms. “Did you see the fur on that one? We’re in for a cold winter!” “See which way the geese are flying? It’s about to snow!” “My dog was scratching his butt on the ground this morning. It’s gonna storm tonight!” Or maybe his butt itches. It’s hard to tell.

One my granddaddy taught me is that, when the trees show the back side of their leaves, it’s about to rain. That one is based at least a little bit in science. The shiny side of a leaf doesn’t absorb much water, so trees flip their leaves over to let the porous side catch the rain. Or the wind is blowing hard enough to flip them over. I’ve never actually asked a tree.

It’s an effort to explain the unexplainable, which means it’s probably very explainable to some people, but not to us. You know, smart people. The ones who can explain the molecular structure of a carbon atom but can’t balance a checkbook. That’s a different kind of smart. And then there’s my grandson, who hasn’t mastered either. He’s too focused on shoes.

It’s normal to be amused, if not somewhat enlightened, by folklore. After all, Granddaddy lived to be in his 90s and was pretty smart, so he couldn’t have been wrong about everything. It’s also why we gaze suspiciously on black cats and kids are afraid to step on a crack in the sidewalk. Except my youngest daughter. She finally confessed that she jumped on every crack in the county.

While folklore may have at least some basis in fact, superstition is simply a way of passing the buck for things that don’t go as planned. “It was just bad luck.” Couldn’t have been anything we did, right? You know, like blowing money at the carnival instead of paying bills. Or sitting in front of the TV instead of searching the online job boards. “Nobody wants to hire me. I just can’t catch a break!”

Well, as I’ve suggested in the past, if you want better luck, you have to do something about it. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. And, since opportunity is always there, luck is the natural result (or consequence) of our preparedness to make the most of opportunities as they arise. Let’s face it, the right person can turn a pile of manure into a mountain of gold.

Yet, when you ask somebody why they’re still right where they were ten years ago, the answer is usually the same – “I’m waiting for the right opportunity.” Oh, the “right” one. Got it. Because all those other opportunities just weren’t worth your time, especially the ones that required you to step out of your comfort zone a little and actually … you know, work for it.

Now, that may sound harsh, but if you give it a moment of thought, you’ll realize we all do that to some extent. We want something better, and we know we need to work for it. But work at what? That’s where we get hung up. All too often, we close our eyes to opportunity because it’s not exactly what we were looking for. “What would my friends say?” I don’t know. Are they paying your bills?

To be fair, every opportunity isn’t for everybody. We have to find something that fits our values and, to some extent, our comfort zone. As long as we realize comfort is a constraint that holds us back. It keeps us from trying new things. And that’s okay if you’re happy the way things are. But if you want new things, you have to try new things. That part will never change.

Opportunity is there. The question is, what will you do about it? Will you take advantage of opportunity, even if it’s not exactly what you’d imagined? Will you achieve your dreams, or make excuses? Luck doesn’t just happen – we make it happen. Make yours work for you.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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