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

Give It All You’ve Got – Even if You Come Up Short, You Still Win

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

I was watching my youngest grandkids the other day, simply amazed at how much they’ve learned. To hear them talk, to watch them play, to hear them sing complete songs and spell out words – it’s incredible what they’ve been able to master in such a short time.

I thought about those first days in school, when the teacher taught us the letters of the alphabet, to sound out simple words, and to add with our fingers. It was the basics of what we’d need to know to complete complex mathematical equations and read anything that’s put in front of us. Or even to sit at a computer at 6:00 in the morning and hammer out a mildly coherent motivational message.

We were proud of those accomplishments. I remember feeling pretty grown up at the ripe old age of 6. Because with every success, every little thing we learned, every little mistake we had to overcome, we learned a much more valuable lesson – there was absolutely nothing we couldn’t learn. It gave us the motivation to take on even bigger challenges. And look at us now.

In his book, The Miracle Equation, Hal Elrod makes a point our teachers knew way back in kindergarten … the purpose of a goal isn’t to accomplish that particular goal, but to become the kind of person who can accomplish any goal. Once you know how to add small numbers, you can add any set of numbers. Once you can sound out a few small words, there’s nothing you can’t read.

I’m sure the teacher’s goal wasn’t to make us memorize the multiplication tables as much as learning the mechanics of multiplication. They wanted us to know enough about how the process works that we could tackle any problem, and how to work any problem to the end. It formed the basis for areas of math I never really learned, but long after a building crumbles, the foundation is still there.

My first week in the Navy, we were taken to the gymnasium for a run. The goal was simple – we had to run for ten minutes. It didn’t matter how fast we ran. It didn’t matter how far. All they cared about was that our feet were moving in some kind of generally recognized running pattern for ten minutes.

Later in my training, distances and times became more important. But the whole purpose of that first exercise was to teach us how to run – to begin building the foundation of a person who could run any distance. And make no mistake, several of us couldn’t run the entire ten minutes. But along the way, we learned how to pace ourselves and work through those moments of sheer exhaustion.

Have you ever been given an impossible assignment – something you know you won’t be able to accomplish, but you still have to work like crazy anyway? Maybe you surprise yourself and beat the odds. Maybe you pull it off and accomplish the impossible. And maybe you don’t. But, along the way, you tapped into a couple of important characteristics – focus and determination.

It’s the same focus and determination that taught us the alphabet and how to perform simple addition. It’s the same focus and determination that taught us how to sing a song or play an instrument. Believe me, there is nothing “successful” about a person’s first attempts at playing a violin. It can literally wake the dead. But all that screeching helps them become the kind of person who can master one of the world’s most beautiful instruments.

When you tackle a goal, you flex those invisible muscles that allow you to accomplish any goal. You may not achieve your desired objective every time. But let’s say your goal was to build a house by a certain date, and when that date arrived, you’d completed everything but the roof. Would you stop? Or would you work even harder to finish what you’d started?

Every marathon runner knows the fastest two parts of the race are at the very beginning and the very end. You burst out of the gate, full of energy and conviction. As the race wears on, you’re not thinking about the end – you’re only focused on that next mile. But once the finish line is in sight, you get a burst of energy that pushes you to run a little faster toward that once elusive goal. You’ve made it!

Set goals for yourself – challenging goals. Work toward them as if failure isn’t an option. Give it everything you’ve got. You may come up a little short, and that’s okay. The work you’ve done still stands. And along the way, you’ve become the kind of person who can accomplish any goal. Success at anything you choose to do is no longer just possible – it’s inevitable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Do You Want To Be Good At?

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope you’re gearing up for an awesome weekend.

Weekends are supposed to be about rest. That’s what the boss likes to tell us. “Go home and relax – I need you back in here Monday ready to roll.” Well, that would be great, except the boss isn’t married to my wife. She thinks Saturday and Sunday belong to her. And all those jobs I put off during the week because I was too tired from working … well, they’re not going away on their own.

Okay, I say that tongue-in-cheek. Partly because most of the jobs I have to do at home are of my own creation. I decided they need to be done, and I’m the one who picked this weekend to do it. Also, I like eating dinner that’s cooked by somebody else and, if I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that you don’t pick on the cook before the meal.

Do you ever feel like life is just one job after another, and the work never really gets done? It’s like a boat with a slow leak. You grab a bucket and get all the water bailed out but sit there a while and it’ll fill right back up. I think most women know exactly how that feels. I can build a shed and I’m done with it. But cooking and cleaning are never really done. It just looks that way.

I attended a business conference in March, and something the speaker said really stood out. He said if there’s something you need to do on a repeated basis, get good at it. Because when you get good at it, you don’t have to work nearly as hard. It becomes second nature, and instead of just swinging at those fastballs, you begin to connect. After a while, you hit more than you miss. Nothing to it.

I think it’s that way with anything in life. The more you do something, the better you get. We’re all born with a set of natural talents, and no two people are alike. But just as you were able to learn your job and get good at it, you can learn anything you want and be better at it than you were in the beginning. After a while, you don’t even have to think about it. It just happens.

The question is, what do you want to be good at? Do you want to be good at your job? Do you want to be a good cook? Do you want to be a good parent? Do you want the best-looking lawn in the neighborhood? Do you want to be a good driver? Do you want to be the kind of person others look to for guidance?

You can be good at anything. Maybe not good enough to make a living at it – I’d love to be good at golf, but I’ll never be good enough to join the PGA tour. And that’s not my goal. I just want to be better than I was last time. I want to hit that one perfect drive, or a putt that curves perfectly into the hole. And just once, I’d like to get out of the sand with a single stroke. Is that too much to ask?

None of us can be great at everything. The key is figuring out those things we want to be great at, and those things we’d like to do well. I want to be great at my job. I want to be great at my business. But cleaning the basement is something where I’d be happy to just get the job done. I don’t even care if my approach is all that pretty – I just want the final result to be good.

Find the one thing in life that’s most important to you right now and get good at it. Odds are, there will be more than one, so pick a few. Just don’t try to do it all at once. And whatever you choose, practice it until it becomes second nature – something you could do with your eyes closed. Except driving. Keep your eyes open for that one.

The better we become at anything, the less effort it takes to achieve the desired results. And the more we do the things that intimidate us the most, the more comfortable they become. We may never come to love those tasks, and there may always be an element of reluctance. I don’t enjoy doing laundry, but I’m good at it. And that sure comes in handy on laundry day.

If there’s something you have to do over and over, get good at it. Whether it’s on the job, around the house, in family life or in building a better life, the better you are the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes, the more likely you are to just dive in and get it done. Then you’ll have that much more time to do something nice for yourself.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved