Success Rewards Consistent Effort

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

You know how you go to the grocery store just to pick up that special flavor of ice cream, only to find they’re sold out? That happens a lot at my local store. They’ll have forty-two varieties of cheese puffs, but not the brand I want.  Any more, I just take my shopping list to the Customer Service desk and tell them, “Here’s a bunch of stuff you don’t have. Trust me.”

It’s pretty much the same when you head south to escape the cold and the cold follows you south. Sure, it’s not snowing, but nighttime temperatures have been below freezing almost every day, and the furnace needs an all-night babysitter. Every morning the windows are iced over – on the inside. Manufacturing defect, they say. I have another name for it.

There are just times in your life when you expect things to be a certain way, and anything less is unacceptable. Not disappointing, because that suggests that maybe you expected too much to begin with. You know, like it’s your fault. Unacceptable means somebody, or something else is completely to blame. You got the shaft, and karma isn’t the least bit sorry about it.

Karma … there’s a word we use a lot. It usually means somebody is about to have a bad day. It’s a form of retribution for something we’ve done to somebody else, and we can’t even blame them when it happens, because they had nothing to do with it. You know, other than praying for karma to teach us a lesson. Try proving that one in court.

But karma sometimes works the other way around. Do nice things for people enough times in your life, and somehow nice things will come your way. Help enough other people to succeed, and success smiles on you. Put in a little extra effort every day on the job, and eventually the right people will notice. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it’ll happen.

Karma, if you break it down to basic terms, simply means what goes around comes around. Good things happen to good people. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. You reap what you sow. I could probably quote a few other tidbits of karmic wisdom, but you get the point. Life’s rewards are usually proportional to the effort we put in. Usually.

That doesn’t mean it you’re a good person, the store will always have your favorite kind of ice cream, or that the sun will break through every cloud just because you deserve it. Nice people suffer heartache and disappointment like anybody else. And just because a person is having a run of bad luck, that doesn’t mean they deserve it.

But success generally comes to those who pursue it the most. That doesn’t mean they work harder or faster, or that they invest more money than the rest of us. It simply means they work with a level of consistent determination that will not be denied. Go to one store, and they may not have the ice cream you want. Go to enough stores, and somebody is bound to have it.

It’s the law of averages. If you do the right thing enough times, sooner or later it’ll pay off. How many times? Well, unless you can give a definitive answer to that question, you need to try at least a few more times. The answer is different for each of us, and for each different goal we pursue. Even with the weather, sooner or later it’ll turn nice. Even if you live in Alaska.

If you have a dream, or maybe even just a simple goal, you know what it takes to achieve it. You know the things you need to do. Sure, you can buy a lottery ticket and hope for the best, but odds are you’ll get there a lot faster if you consistently do the things that need to be done.

Success never comes fast enough when there’s something we want. And “law of averages” is the last thing you want to hear when you keep running into roadblocks. But, as a friend often says, nine out of ten things we try will never work, but that last one will make you rich.

Is ten times enough? Fifteen? Twenty? The only way you’ll answer that question is to keep trying. But if you stop after the first try, or the first store, or the first week at a southern destination, you’ll never know what may be waiting just around the bend. If the dream is worth having, then give it a fighting chance. You may be closer than you think. 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

You Can Only Achieve What You’re Willing to Change

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

I think it was Mark Twain who said everybody complains about the weather, but nobody is doing anything about it. I thought about that yesterday as I drove for six hours through varying intensities of rain, only to arrive at our destination in time for the tornado warnings to go off. And I did pretty much the same thing everybody else does when that happens. I hunkered down and prayed.

And the whole time, I was thinking about family and friends in the great white north, battling blizzard conditions on top of a bed of ice. It sure makes the rain a little more palatable. In fact, if it were a little warmer, I might have gone outside to dance in the rain. I’m kidding. Anybody who has ever seen me dance knows how that would end. “Group, this is Dave. He’s going to be here awhile.”

But, back to the original issue – we complain about the weather, but we never do anything about it. You know, except complain more. “It’s too hot! It’s too cold! It’s muggy! I’m freezing! Who can drive in this stuff?” Whine, whine, whine. And we’re good at it, too!

The point Mark Twain was trying to make is that there’s nothing we can do about the weather. I beg to differ. We can move. Having lived in two completely different climates, I’ll take hot over cold any day. Never once have I had to go outside and shovel sunshine. Besides, that’s why God made swimming pools.

Yet, when you suggest that to somebody who’s miserable in their current surroundings, they can immediately come up with a laundry list of reasons why change isn’t practical. “This is where my roots are. I hate my job, but it pays the bills. The house is too small, but it’s all I can afford. Besides, the kids …” Yeah, if all else fails, blame it on the kids. They’re not listening anyway.

Change is hard. It’s scary. It’s stressful. It takes planning, and preparation, and accepting the possibility of failure. “What if I end up worse off than I am now?” That’s a very real fear, and not without basis. Failure doesn’t just happen on its own. We have to try something first, and sometimes we crash & burn. That’s all part of it.

Would a new job offer better possibilities than the one you have today? Maybe. Could the company decide to restructure and get rid of all the new folks? Yep. It happens every day. The same is true of just about any change we decide to make, whether it’s moving to another state, taking a promotion, starting a business, or buying a car. All you can do is roll the dice and hope for the best.

Change never comes without risk. Get over it. If you want safe & sound, just keep doing what you’ve been doing. At least you can count on that, right? Until the company shuts down, the market crashes, a tornado wipes out the neighborhood, or somebody pretends to be you and cleans out the bank. I don’t worry about that one. If anybody ever steals my identity, they’ll give it back. Trust me.

Sure, change is scary. Almost as scary as staying the same. The most successful people in the world have dreams, things they’d like to achieve or some change that would make life even better. The difference is, they’ve already embraced change, which is why they’re so successful to begin with. Success isn’t a talent we’re born with. It’s a mindset we develop over the course of a lifetime.

Success is nothing more than some level of dissatisfaction with the way things are, and a willingness to do something about it. Every modern convenience was borne of somebody’s dissatisfaction with the status quo. Every job was created because somebody saw a need and did something to fill it. And every beach house was built because somebody said, “That’s where I want to live!”

If there’s something you want, some change that would make life more enjoyable, what are you waiting for? Do something about it! I’m not suggesting you just chuck it all, abandon the house, and go live on the beach. But if living on the beach fits your dreams, then make it happen. Save some money. Start a business. Find a better job. Put the wheels in motion today. That part you can control.

Change makes all things possible. Roadblocks turn into speed bumps and obstacles become launch pads. We may not be able to choose the changes that are required, but we can decide which ones we’re willing to make. Embrace change, and destiny is no longer a matter of fate – it’s whatever we want it to be.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Is Health a Part of Your Dreams?

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

One of the last things I promised my dad, while he was still coherent enough to understand, was that I’d lose weight and get healthy. Granted, we had differing ideas on exactly how that’s done. Dad was always a firm believer that weight is 100% related to what goes in your mouth. I tend to believe it takes a combination of both diet and exercise. Which is why I’m still fat.

Not because I’m wrong – but because that’s two disciplines at once, each a beast of its own and a tall mountain to climb. I can modify my eating. I can exercise. But doing both at once is like standing on my head while juggling chainsaws. Sooner or later, you grab a Big Mac by the wrong end and fall completely off the wagon. And once you do, it’s all so easy to go back to old habits.

Just before he went into the hospital, Dad’s doctor gave him a diet and Dad decided it would be the magic elixir to restore my health, vitality, and youth. The only problem is that diet included no red meat – ever. Okay, I know red meat isn’t the best thing for your health. But Dave without any red meat isn’t good for anybody’s health. Trust me on that.

Years ago, I lost 40 pounds. I was going to the gym most days, and my diet consisted of a modified version of what I’d been eating. By modified, I don’t necessarily mean abbreviated, though smaller portions were part of my strategy. I just made a few small changes, things I could live with for the long-term. You know, until I wasn’t living with them anymore.

I didn’t fall off the program because I got bored with it, or it was too hard to follow. By then, I truly enjoyed working out and didn’t miss any of the things I’d given up in my daily consumption. But life has a way of throwing a knuckleball when you least expect it. In my case, it was the birth of a granddaughter, and all the subsequent evenings in the hospital, complete with fast-food dinners.

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and several weeks to fully accept it. Old habits, on the other hand, can be picked up in twelve seconds flat. That’s how long it took me to wolf down that first hot & juicy (translate – lukewarm & greasy) cheeseburger. Throw in a large order of fries (it was going to be a long night) and I was right back where I started. Four months later, so was my weight.

So, why is a motivational writer talking about health and fitness? Because health and fitness are a big part of a complete and fulfilling life. That’s not to say sick and disabled people can’t be happy – they can, and many have learned to enjoy an abundant life despite the challenges. But I think every one of them will tell you they’d rather be healthy as well.

Dreams, the kind that motivate us to get up and do something, rarely involve sitting in the sand as everybody else is racing into the water. Few people have visions of rolling down the boardwalk in a wheelchair or cruising the campground on a mobility scooter. We want to walk, and climb, and run, and dance. Okay, maybe not so much running. It’s not as fun as it looks.

Does that mean a strict diet with smells and flavors that would make a catfish vomit? Does it mean running (literally) to the gym every morning for a three-hour workout followed by tofu bacon and cream of quinoa? Does it mean celery sticks for lunch and a protein shake for dinner before the evening run? No. But it does mean making a few sensible choices.

Those choices begin in the grocery store, and end on a dinnerplate. They begin with turning off the TV and taking an evening walk instead. They begin with eating healthier foods and supplementing to make up the difference. It’s about habits – things we do without even thinking about them. And the best way to form healthy habits is to make small changes and build from there.

Some habits need more of a big-bang approach, like smoking and drinking where cold-turkey is often the best way to go. But for other habits, especially those that aren’t inherently unhealthy (you know, like eating), small changes can get you on the right track. Once you get used to those changes, add in something new. One step at a time, one day at a time. One win at a time.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Nice Goal! But What’s In It For You?

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

I need to go shopping. I know, that’s not something men say very often. But I need a suit. One that actually fits. I’ve got plenty of jackets with non-matching pants, but the buttons won’t close and the pants are mix and match. You know, like navy blue against plaid, or vice-versa. Fashion has never been my thing. My wife can attest to that.

I’ve been talking about buying a suit for years. “When I finally lose this weight, I’m gonna buy myself a nice suit.” It finally occurred to me that, if I’d just bought the suit the first time I thought about it, the damn thing would still fit, and it would probably be worn out by now. Can I get an amen?

How often do we do that? We condition one goal on another, as some sort of reward for doing something we know deep down we’ll never do. But who wants to buy a nice suit right before they lose weight? Then you just have to give it away and go buy another one. Boo-hoo! I doubt many women would even give that a moment of thought. “I lose weight AND get to go shopping? Yeah!”

So, as a consequence, I’ve spent the past 20 years going to dressy functions looking like I just stepped out of the Goodwill store. And, for good reason. I think that’s exactly where most of my suit jackets came from. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, or shopping at Goodwill. They’re in pretty good shape. And, according to my wife, thirty years ago they were right in style.

But let’s be honest. Men’s fashions don’t change much. From year to year, they pretty much stay the same. Okay, the powder-blue leisure suit I wore for my high-school senior picture is a little dated, and the white shoes & belt would draw a few laughs. But the jeans I buy today look exactly like the ones I bought in 1976. They’re just a lot bigger.

Okay, back to the original point – conditioning something we want on a goal we may or may not ever achieve. We think it’s motivating. Doctors even feed us that crap. “Promise yourself you’ll buy a new article of clothing for every ten pounds you lose.” Okay, but do I have to return it when I gain the weight back? I’ve lost the same ten pounds a hundred times. Give me a break!

There is something to be said for dangling a carrot on a stick, especially when you’re trying to do something challenging or unpleasant. And let’s be real, dieting is not at the top of our list of dreams. Losing weight, sure. That’s the pleasant part. I tried telling myself that if I’d eat right for six months, I’d reward myself with a lower bathroom scale reading. The scale had other ideas.

Now, ask me if I actually ate right for six months. No, don’t. We both know the answer to that one. I know what I need to do, but doing it takes a little more willpower. And that’s especially true when the reward part isn’t materializing the way we’d planned. “Ten pounds this month, ten pounds next month, nine the month after that, by Christmas I’ll be back in onesies!” Right.

Rewards are an important part of goals as long as the goal is realistic, and the reward is proportional to the effort. A new car may motivate you to make a few phone calls to build your business, but if those phone calls only net an extra $4 profit, that’s not going to buy much of a car. On the other hand, it’s not realistic to think a few extra phone calls will quadruple your income.

But a couple of phone calls a day, over the span of a few months, could set the wheels in motion for something much bigger than you’d ever imagined. A couple of hours each week learning a new skill could put you in line for a promotion later in the year. And, according to my doctor, if I lose a pound a week, I’ll eventually get to my goal weight. Too bad I didn’t start that two years ago.

It’s the small changes that make the biggest difference. But we have to repeat them every day, without fail. That takes patience. It takes faith. It takes constantly reminding ourselves why we’re doing it in the first place. And that’s where the reward comes in. What will YOU get out of this? What will be YOUR reward when it’s all over?

Get a picture of that reward and hang it someplace you’ll see it several times every day. And if you need a suit sooner or your car dies before you reach that goal, do what you have to do. But keep working toward the goal. Find another reward, something even better. Now that you know how to achieve those rewards, the sky is the limit!

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Just Change Your Habits – Replace Them

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

I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of the year. I don’t call it a resolution, because in 1998 I resolved to never make a New Year’s resolution again. It’s the one time I’ve been able to follow through beyond January 10, and I’m not about to give in now.

So, this one is technically a commitment. Okay, it’s more of a pipe dream, because so far I haven’t done a single thing to accomplish this goal. One look at my waistline and you’ll be able to guess what it entails. I want to start eating healthy and lose some weight. You know, in the sense that “some weight” can be interpreted to mean “something around 100 pounds.” Give or take a few.

I’ve promised myself I’d make these changes since a few weeks after Moses parted the waters. I’ve made that vow every time my pants slip below the biggest part of my belly and head for the floor. I’ve said it every time my lower back spontaneously combusts from standing in a checkout line. Okay, I say it every time I have to bend over and tie my shoes. Some days I’m happy to just sit up.

And, don’t get me wrong. I am trying. Well, I intend to. You know, right after the potato chips and Twizzlers are gone. I had oatmeal for breakfast yesterday. Does that count? I mean, come on. Any time you can get somebody this big to skip the bacon and eggs for a single serving of oatmeal, that should be worth six pounds by itself. How many healthy things do I need to eat?

I have good intentions, and I know the things I need to do. I just have trouble putting it into practice. It’s like the guy who goes into McDonalds and orders two Big Macs, a large order of fries, an apple pie, and a diet soda. If you think I’m joking, you should see me make a salad. It starts off healthy. But by the time I’m done adding eggs, bacon bit, cheese, and creamy dressing, it might as well be a hot fudge sundae.

It all comes down to habits. Years ago, I lost almost forty pounds by making small changes over time, changes I could live with for the long haul. There were some food substitutions, like egg whites instead of whole eggs, rye bread instead of white, and meal bars instead of fast food. Throw in a little portion control, and the pounds started slowly coming off.

What happened? Well, my new habits gave way to old ones. When my youngest granddaughter was born, we spent the better part of a week going to the hospital every day after work, and it was dinnertime, and there was a Wendy’s on the way and … well, you get the picture. Within six months, my all that “lost” weight magically reappeared.

Anybody who thinks habits are hard to form has never given in to a habit they’d previously broken. I smoked cigarettes for 23 years. And, like most things I do, I didn’t smoke just a little. The day before I quit, I smoked three full packs. And truly, that’s been the one bad habit I broke without ever going back. Quitting was easy. I did it six times.

The last time was 23 years ago, and so far, I haven’t gone back. There’s one simple reason. I know that, for the rest of my life, I’ll be a chain-smoker in remission. And one cigarette is all it would take to undo two decades of success. Habits are that strong. They’re like an ex-girlfriend you can never seem to shake. And all it takes is a single text message to get the whole thing started again.

Breaking an old habit isn’t enough. We have to form new habits to take their place. And the new habit needs to be one that doesn’t leave us feeling empty or deprived. If I were to give up fried chicken forever, that decision would be doomed to failure. It just isn’t going to happen. But I can use an air fryer instead of a deep fryer. I can cut it down to one piece instead of four, and monthly instead of weekly.

The first step is identifying the unhealthy or counter-productive habit we want to change. Then we have to find something to take its place. And it doesn’t even have to be a direct substitute. Like putting away the leftovers after a meal instead of leaving them out for a grazing. Taking a walk instead of an after-dinner drink. Or reading a book instead of surfing the internet.

Habits are simply our default response to a given situation. But defaults can be changed any time they no longer support our needs and needs change every time we dare to dream. Match your habits to your needs, and every dream becomes that much more attainable.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable

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

Normally at the start of a new week we’re full of anticipation about all the great things we’ll accomplish. Okay, more like mixed feeling about all the things we’ll witness. After last week, I think we’ll all be content to make it to Friday intact. Let’s face it, some parents go into the school year knowing they’ll never receive that congratulatory letter from the principal about their kid’s scholastic achievements.

It’s all about expectations – those visions we have of a certain outcome based on what we’ve seen to this point in time. Both of my daughters were capable of honor-roll performance, and I had a strong desire that they’d always do their best. But there were those days when I was happy just to see them get on the bus. You learn to accept life’s little blessings as they come.

I was listening to a motivational speaker a few days ago, and he talked about the progression of our expectations. Very often, new ideas immediately go into that circular file labeled “impossible.” The objections start before the idea is fully developed. “There’s no way this can work! If it were that easy, everybody would be doing it!” Giving up is easy when we don’t have any skin in the game.

But then we give it a second look, and maybe even test the water just a bit. It’s like a baby standing next to a coffee table, letting go for a few seconds at a time. It’s a leap of faith, backed by a lifetime of experience that says, “Sure, other people are doing it, so it’s not impossible. But in my case, it’s improbable. I’m just not as smart, or as strong, or as (insert your favorite attribute here) as they are.”

This would be a good place to examine why we consider new ideas in the first place. We don’t change the things we do simply for the sake of change. We have a goal. It could be as simple as finding an easier way to do a routine task, or as grand as achieving a lifelong dream. And a lifetime of experience has taught us that doing exactly what we’ve been doing isn’t producing the desired result.

Something needs to change. But that same lifetime of experiences is nagging at us the whole time, adjusting our expectations to nothing more than we’ve come to know. “What makes me think I can do this? What I want is for special people, and I’m not that special. Besides, I’ve lived my whole life without it.” Sound familiar? It’s a self-defeating attitude that seeks to avoid any form of disappointment.

But if the goal is strong enough, we give in and take that first step. We may keep one hand on the table, because we know how easily we can fall. But lo and behold, here we are still standing! The floor didn’t rise up to slap us, and odds are if we try another step, we may succeed yet again. This isn’t just possible, it’s probable! Sure, we’ll fall down. But the odds of success are moving into our corner.

Finally, we enter the realm of “inevitable.” You do something enough times to realize that, as long as you keep taking the right steps, you will eventually end up where you want to be. It’s no longer a matter of luck – it’s a law of nature. Success isn’t something you have to control. It happens because you’ve put something in motion that you can’t stop. All you have to do is meet it at the other end.

As we begin a new week, it’s inevitable that we’ll encounter experiences over the next few days that we can’t begin to anticipate. Some will be good, some not so good. And a lot of that depends on our expectations. If we expect good things, good things happen. We’ll still encounter our share of challenges, but challenges are a lot easier to manage when you expect to win.

I’ve said this before, but a professional baseball player expects to get a hit every time they step up to the plate. It doesn’t matter that, two-thirds of the time, they have to take that lonely walk back to the dugout. They’ve felt success. They know what’s possible. And they know that, as long as they stand at the plate and swing at enough good pitches, a base hit is inevitable. Maybe even a home run.

Focus on the dream and do the things you need to do. Nothing is impossible if even one other person has done it, and it’s only improbable if you don’t give it an honest try. That only leaves two other possibilities – probable, and inevitable. Expect great things this week, and great things are that much more likely to happen. Stare down that fastball and swing for the fences. Then get ready to run!

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

Not Until You Eat Your Brussels Sprouts!

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

Well, it’s been a week. I know, understatement of the century. That’s a nice way to avoid the more descriptive response, one that involves a legendary British detective and a lack of manure. Don’t spend too much time thinking about that one. I already did.

Thankfully, this week is coming to an end. Hopefully it’s not an indication of what 2021 has in store for us. If it’s any comfort, a year ago we welcomed the New Year with reasonably mild weather, no pandemic (that we knew of yet), and little more than a mild hangover to remind us of the preceding year. Then it all went to hell.

So, maybe this year will work in reverse. Get the bad stuff out of the way now so we can get to the good stuff that much sooner. You know, like those steamed Brussels sprouts for dinner. Mom didn’t make dessert very often, but every time she did, dinner included something I wouldn’t feed a skunk. I tricked her. I came to enjoy liver. I just never let her know it.

There’s something to be said for paying our dues and earning life’s rewards. There’s something to be said for skipping some of that obnoxious stuff, too. I’ve often said the best way to cook spinach is with coconut oil. It’s a lot easier to scrape into the trash that way.

Okay, if you’ve ever seen me try to run, you can fully appreciate the result of that thinking. I’ve always been one who wants to skip right to the good stuff and pay my dues later. You know, way later. Like when I’m too old to enjoy the fun stuff and don’t have anything else to fill my days. Besides, old people have to read books and eat healthy stuff. That’s the law.

Well, here’s the thing. Somewhere along the way, I got old. It happened while I was sleeping, because I certainly didn’t notice it while I was awake. I was too busy partying. I always figured we live life backward anyway. Retirement should come first, while you’re still young enough to enjoy it, and then you work yourself into an early grave. Okay, the first part sounds nice.

Of course, life has other plans. As long as there are bills to pay, kids to feed, and nobody is willing to send me to exotic locations so I can write about them in my spare time, the work part has to come first. And believe me, it has. When I got my first job at the age of 15, Mom tried to talk me out of it. “Once you start working, you’ll work the rest of your life.” File that one with “Don’t spit into the wind.”

Yes, Mom knew exactly what she was talking about. Aside from a few very brief periods of unemployment, I’ve been working nonstop for 48 years. When you’re 15, that’s inconceivable. Besides, by the age of 19 I was supposed to be a rock star and I’d have paid servants to do all that other work.

Well, strangely enough, it rarely works out that way. Most of us will work most of our lives, whether as a paid employee or an even harder working slave to the home. That’s just the way it goes. And if we want that phase of our life to end early and yield to a more relaxing and recreational existence, we have to eat a few extra servings of pungent green vegetables along the way.

It would be nice if we could just wave a magic wand and skip right to the good stuff. Or even put in a few hours of extra work and suddenly find success. But it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, we have to beat our head against a brick wall for a long time before we see any appreciable results. And maybe that’s too much to ask. If so, modify your dreams. It’s really that simple.

But if there’s something you want, something you don’t have the ability to accomplish this instant, then resign yourself to the fact that you’ll have to work for it. The sooner that work begins, in earnest, the sooner that dream will materialize.

And here’s the thing – if you focus too heavily on results, especially in the beginning, frustration sets in and success becomes that much more elusive. Focus on the goal, and just do the work that needs to be done. It doesn’t matter if you got the desired results today, or any day. Success isn’t linear, and it doesn’t have to be. It just has to happen.

If you have a clear dream, you know the things you need to be doing. Get through the hard part now, and you’ll be enjoying the reward that much sooner. 

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Stop Now – You May Be Closer Than You Think

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

“Trust me.” Those two words can evoke a multitude of different emotions, largely dependent on who’s doing the talking. “You have nothing to worry about. Everything will be alright.” Are you feeling that little twitch in the pit of your stomach? It usually means one of two things. Either there truly is nothing to fear, or we’ve completely overlooked the most immediate danger. That last one can bite hard.

As I shut down for the day last Thursday, I did so knowing that my employment contract was expiring in a few short hours. I also knew a contract extension was in the works, but not yet formalized. You know how these things go. Nobody is in a hurry until the clock runs out. Unless you’re the one waiting for some reasonable assurance you still have a job. Then it can’t happen quickly enough.

For what it’s worth, I’m planning to continue working this week, with only intestinal reassurance that I’ll continue to be paid. Yes, it’s a leap of faith. But I believe in my managers, even when they utter those dreaded words, “Trust me.” Sometimes, you have to look beyond the obvious and have confidence in what’s waiting down the road. Like dessert. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I have little doubt most of you came into the new year with dreams for a brighter future. Hopefully you’ve transformed some of those dreams into actionable goals. You know, specific tasks you plan to accomplish by some self-imposed deadline. Unless your goal is simply to pay this months’ bills. In that case, the deadline has been pretty much established for you.

Okay, so let’s assume you have a goal. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for it to magically happen, right? You know, it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve tried that approach, it never seems to work. I guess I’m just not wishing hard enough. I know what I want is attainable, because I’ve met people who have done it and they’re no smarter than me. Yet, they all say the same thing. Get busy!

Then they utter those dreaded words – “Trust me, Dave. Keep doing the work and the results will come.” Okay, when? Next week? Next month? Next year? And please, while we’re at it, define “results.” Seems to me failure is one of two possible results. Sure, success is another possibility, but between the two there are a whole lot of other potential outcomes. Which one is at the end of my rainbow?

If you nodded your head even once in those last two paragraphs, welcome to my world. Trust is a difficult thing, especially when what you want is pretty far out there and you’re not seeing immediate results. And then, as if you needed any discouragement at all, you can always count on somebody you admire to rub a little salt on the wound. “Are you still wasting your time with that? Get a life!”

Well, the best things in life don’t always come easily. In fact, the greater the reward, the harder you’ll have to work to achieve it. And you may never fully achieve the exact level of success you desire. If you want guarantees, send in a stale bag of chips for a refund. But one thing you can be sure of – unless you’re willing to put forth some extra effort, you’ve already reached the pinnacle of your success.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said that to have something you’ve never had you must do something you’ve never done. What old Tom forgot to mention is that, more often than not, you have to keep doing it. If you’ve ever played a musical instrument, you understand this concept. If you’ve ever allowed your kid to pick up a violin or brass instrument in the confines of your home, your reward is in Heaven.

It’s not enough to just take the first step. You have to keep on stepping. At first, it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. Nothing goes according to plan. But, as a friend often says, ninety percent of what you try will never work, but that other ten percent will make you rich. And here’s the thing – none of us can control when that ten percent kicks in. It happens when it happens.

It’s hard to keep going when you’re not seeing results. Sometimes you have to work through a lot of failures to find success, and success almost never comes on a linear path. There will be curves, potholes, detours, and roadblocks, but the journey continues as long as you keep trying. Trust yourself and trust your plan. It may not happen as quickly as you’d hoped. But none of that matters once you get there.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

New Year, New Day … It’s How You Use It That Counts

Good morning, and happy New Year’s Eve!  I’m not sure we EVER thought it would get here.  Hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ve had a lot of fun reading the humorous (and sometimes not-so-humorous) farewells to 2020 on social media. It sure beats the political discourse that seems to work its way into every conversation from thunderstorms to family recipes. Well, call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather see pictures of puppies. Okay, and I watch Hallmark movies, too. So there.

Now that I’ve officially crumpled up my “man card,” let’s move on. It was faded anyway. But this is the last day of the year. It’s the day we bid farewell to what has, for most of us, been one of the worst years ever. And it’s my last chance to write something meaningful (if not at least a little funny) this year. Starting tomorrow, I get 365 chances to get it right. Buckle up!

Like many of you, I had things I needed to get done this year that just never floated to the top of the pile. As a consequence, I get to go outside today in near-freezing weather and finish up a couple of those chores. Every warm day we’ve had this winter somehow got filled with other things. You know, like sitting in front of the TV in my pajamas. Now I have to pay the piper.

Looking back on this year, it hasn’t been nearly as bad for us as it could have been. I got hired into my current job a week after the nation shut down for Covid, and I’m still employed today – “today” being the operative word.  My contract expires in 14 hours, so all bets are off on whether it gets renewed in time. Guess I’m not the only one who didn’t get it all done in 2020.

As we reach this point in the year, most of us are saying pretty much the same thing. “I had the best of intentions, but life just got in the way. Other stuff came up, time was short, and I just didn’t get it all done. But I did my best!” Uh huh. So, if we gave it our very best this year, what makes us think next year will be that much better? “Because it won’t be 2020 anymore!”

It’s easy to view external factors as the driving force behind success and failure. Oh, we like to take credit for accomplishments, but when it comes to something that didn’t go quite right, it’s a lot easier to look for a scapegoat. And believe me, with 2020 behind us, finding a scapegoat is a piece of cake. It’s right there in living color. So what?

Let’s get real for a moment. 2021 is just a number. It’s one year in our lives that begins in less than a day. Will tomorrow be magically different just because you can write a new number on your checks? If you’re like me, you’ll get that wrong for a month anyway. But what about the day after tomorrow, and the days after that? We can’t blame 2020 forever.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Seems I’ve heard that somewhere before. We don’t need a new year, a new month, or even a new day to start working toward our dreams. Tomorrow is a figment of your imagination. It’s the day that never comes, because once it gets here, it’s “today.” Okay, that was a lot funnier in the second grade. But you get the point.

That said, we do have one shot at beginning a new year and a new day all at the same time. After that, you have to wait another year. And given that a good percentage of the world will be hung-over by this time tomorrow, I’m betting all those plans for the new year will come with a headache-induced caveat … “tomorrow.” Yep. Tomorrow. The day that never comes.

So, try something different this year. Start now. Get your plans in order and start filling in dates on the calendar. Do it early, before you spike the eggnog. Go to sleep with your dreams clearly in focus. Then, when you wake up tomorrow, pick up those plans and get moving. “But nothing is open on New Year’s Day!” Perfect. That means no distractions. Just you and your goal.

If you’ve been waiting for the new year to begin, it’s here. Make the most of it. Use all 365 days to accomplish your dreams. My hope for each of you is that, at the end of 2021, you can say, “There goes one of the best years of my life. Not because it was an inherently good year, but because I made it so.” Then, take a bow and have a drink. You’ve earned it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved