Get Out Of Your Head – You're Making a Mess!

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

Have you ever come up with an idea, something that excites you beyond belief, and you just can’t wait to get started? It usually happens early in the morning or later in the evening. You know, as you’re getting ready to go to work or to bed and there’s nothing you can do about it for at least eight hours. By then, you’re already starting to have doubts. Naturally!

And it’s not because the idea changed. It’s the same as it was when you first thought of it. The timing hasn’t changed, aside from the eight hours you spent talking yourself out of it. Your bank balance is pretty much the same, unless you polished off a bottle of wine as you enjoyed some late-night shopping. So, what’s different now? Why is that great idea suddenly so bad?

It’s simple. You got inside your own head and killed the dream before it even got a chance to breathe. Way to go! You just saved yourself years of agony and millions of dollars, not to mention the ridicule of all those people whose opinions matter more than your own. Thank God you came to your senses in time! This could have been a catastrophe.

So, you go back to whatever it is you were doing. You know, something you had already decided wasn’t quite good enough, which is why you came up with the idea in the first place. You wanted something better. Something that would get you out of bed every morning with a smile on your face, just thinking of all those people who said you could never do it. You rock!

And maybe the idea wasn’t perfect. It happens. But you’ll never really know unless you give it a try. And then keep trying until you get it right. From the beginning of time, people dreamed of soaring with the birds. Oh, they tried. Some with less fanfare than others. I mean, jumping off a cliff while madly flapping your arms certainly makes a statement. Yet, here we are.

Motivational speakers always tell you to be careful who you let inside your head, because people can kill your dreams. They don’t mean to. It just happens. But sometimes, the worst person you can let inside your head is yourself. If killing our own dreams were an Olympic event, some of us would have enough gold medals to fill an entire room. You should see mine.

So, why? Why is it that we look so desperately for something to make life better, and then pass on everything that comes along? Or worse yet, we get started just long enough to convince ourselves it was a bad idea to begin with, and then we share that insight with everybody we know. “Don’t fall for that one. I tried!” No, you didn’t. All you did was trip over the first excuse.

But if clear the clutter out of the way, you can usually see past the negativity. Sometimes, the one thing that stops us from moving forward on anything is other people. We like to think we’re free spirits, but we rely on other people’s opinions like a teenager relies on their cell phone battery. What will they say? They’ll laugh. I just know it! How will I ever hold my head up again?

Well, get a clue. Unless they’re paying your bills, they don’t have an opinion – all they have are excuses. And the whole time you’re licking your wounds and wondering why this just didn’t work, they’re sitting in front of the TV with a beer, never giving it a second thought. Not because you let them get inside your head – because you let yourself get inside.

Until we can take ownership of our failures, we can never get on the path to success. And those failures begin and end inside our own head. The path may stray outside for others to dump their litter, but once we accept that litter as our own, the dream begins to die.

Other people can only litter your path with the garbage you give them. If you throw it away yourself, they’ll never get the chance. It’s your dream. It’s your life. It’s your head. You set the rules. And as long as you play by those rules, you’ll always come out on top.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Choking on Change? Take Smaller Bites

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

I think today I need to do a little research on inflammation. Something is causing my belly to swell. And before you go where we both know you’re about to go, I’m not gaining weight. Okay, I’m 12 pounds higher than I was a month ago, but I’m not gaining now. At least not since yesterday. So, it must be some kind of allergic reaction to something I ate. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

When I put my pants on this morning, or rather, when I tried to put my pants on this morning, the buttonhole had moved to the left. Not that much, but enough to make me twist and dance. An inch may not seem like much when you’re measuring area rugs, but it may as well be a mile when you’ve bent over, sucked in everything, and you’re still an inch short in getting your pants buttoned.

And they don’t make buttonhole extenders to close that gap. If you get on a plane and you’re too fat to buckle your seatbelt, they’ve got extenders for that. Not that I would know from personal experience. I guess I could just put on a belt and tighten it up like a noose. Then if I put on a really long shirt, nobody would know, right? If I had a shirt that long. They all shrunk. Don’t say it.

But it can be dangerous wearing clothing that’s a little too tight. And no, ladies, I’m not talking to you. Tight is good (to an extent). But if you have a body like mine, don’t do it. I was in a meeting once, wearing a dress shirt that was a little too snug, and when I reached for my pen a button popped off. I don’t mean it fell off and landed in my lap. It shot across the table so everybody could see.

Shirt buttons are relatively harmless in that regard, but if the metal button on my jeans were to fly off, especially under that much pressure, it could bring down a small plane. And never mind how many times I’ve sat down at work to the welcome sound of thread popping in the seat of my pants.

Yes, I need to go shopping. The problem is, most stores only carry clothing in “common” sizes, and apparently, I’ve reached the lower end of the “uncommon” bracket. No, I’m not huge. Well, depending on who’s standing next to me. I look pretty big next to those hardbodies in the gym, but next to Rush Limbaugh, I’d be invisible. Maybe I just need to make some new friends.

Okay all joking aside (well, most) the bottom line is I need to lose some weight. I’ve been saying that for several years, if you define “several” in terms of decades. This all started when I got out of the Navy, and it shot through the roof when I quit smoking. I remember my doctor telling me he’d rather I were 100 pounds overweight than smoking. All my brain took from that conversation was I had another 50 pounds to go.

And, before anybody says “Keto,” just don’t. In study after study (you know, those not paid funded companies selling pork rinds and cheese sticks), the Keto diet ranks dead last or close to it in terms of safety, heart health, usability, and bad breath. Okay, I threw that last one in from personal experience. Anybody who’s ever experienced “Keto breath” knows what I’m talking about.

So, the first order of business this morning is to buy a bigger pair of jeans. Thankfully there’s a Walmart nearby and nobody will even notice my pajamas. Then, I have to get serious about taking this weight off. Not the 12 pounds I’ve gained, but the whole enchilada. There I go talking about food again.

Losing weight is hard. Like anything else in life, it means doing something differently – making changes that you know you should make, but wish you didn’t have to. And we face lots of those decisions all through life. It’s easier if you set a goal and then work toward it. But I won’t lie, the goal alone doesn’t make the change any easier. Success, even just a little, makes the difference.

It’s okay to set a big goal, with the end result clearly in sight. But break that goal down into smaller, more manageable bites (food again), and celebrate those small wins. With each one, you’ll become that much more confident you can make it to the end. Focus on the small wins, and the bigger ones will come. Make that your goal for today. I did. But first, I need to go shopping.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dream Feeding 101 – Fake It Till You Make It

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope today is everything you want it to be.

When a realtor is trying to sell a house, they often select a day to just open it up to the public, in the hopes that somebody will walk in and say, “This is the one!” Okay, what they’re really doing is getting names and phone numbers so they can sell something else, but we don’t tell the homeowners that. They think it’s all about them. That guest register and stack of business cards tells the real story.

And, as any realtor will tell you, the majority of people walking through the house are just there to see how the other side lives. The more expensive the house, the cheaper the cars lining the street. Put a mansion on open house and it’s a pretty sure bet you’ll see a family pull up in a Jed Clampett jalopy, dressed in tattered clothing, and asking questions like, “Does the bank verify income on this?”

I can imagine that’s how the RV dealers feel when the Glardon family comes to visit. Granted, it all started with dream-building … loading up with the look, smell, and feel of the real thing so you can go home and figure out how to make it happen. The only thing that beats sitting in the driver’s seat is taking it for a spin. Dealers know this. That’s why they hide the keys. You have to take a chaperone.

Well, last weekend we went again, and this time it was real, honest-to-goodness, getting down to final decisions, almost ready to really, really do it, shopping. We had two we were seriously considering and wanted to see both in the same day. Well, and to collect a few more brochures. There are still two rooms in the house that don’t have any.

We’re serious at this point – as serious as you can be while you’re still looking for a job. Funny, the salesmen don’t even care about that. “With your credit score, the bank won’t verify employment on this amount.” Nice try. And, believe me, it’s tempting. But there’s that whole thing about actually paying for it when the bill comes due. Banks are a little particular about that. Trust me, I know.

But here’s the thing. If you wait until all the pieces are in place and life is just perfect to even start finalizing your dreams, you’ll never get there. Okay, a job is an important part of that equation, but it’s not the only part. The biggest part is the dream. Knowing exactly what you want, down to the last detail, is the most important part. Get that part out of the way and you’ll figure out how to pay for it.

And, as you’re working that out, there’s nothing wrong with buying a few accessories. Just ask my wife. We already have eating utensils and a coffee maker, and a list of other things we’ll need. Every time we go to the store, we find other things we’ll need. I haven’t told her yet, but at some point, we’ll have to learn about “rapidly dissolving toilet paper.” That or dig a hole in the woods.

I know a man who wanted an airplane. It wasn’t just a dream – it was a passion. He didn’t even know how to fly, but he knew someday he would own an airplane. So, he built an airstrip. Then he put in tie-downs for the plane he didn’t own, bought a fuel tank and had it filled with airplane fuel. He still didn’t have money for the plane, but now he had no choice. That’s what I call commitment.

In sixty-two years, I’ve learned a few important things about life. First, if there’s something you really want, getting older won’t make it any better. You can always wait for the perfect job, for the kids to grow up, to pay off the house, or to win the lottery. And, let’s be honest here. You probably have a better chance of that last one happening than getting everything else in life just perfect.

When a dream becomes a part of you, it turns into a passion. And passion is something we’ll chase until there’s no more chase left in us. Feed those passions. Figure out what stands in the way and move it. Everything in life comes with risk. It also comes with opportunity. And opportunity can turn your dreams into reality. Live today. There will never be a more perfect time.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Makes You So Special?

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

One of the things that amuses me most about kids is their perception of “fair.” It’s not fair they have to go to bed. It’s not fair they have to do homework while the other kids are playing. It’s not fair they have to clean their own room. It’s not fair that they only get one shot of bourbon in their sippy cup. Okay, that last one may not be entirely legal, but tell me you’ve never considered it.

As toddlers, we learn about fair play quickly. What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine. We share. Toys, germs, broccoli, and mom’s lipstick. Funny, mom is all about sharing until you start sifting through her purse. And the other kids? Well, it depends who’s bigger. When you’re the little guy, you share. Everyone else receives. Those are the rules.

Somehow, we carry this slanted idea of fairness into adulthood. When I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it was fair that I was always the one to clean toilets. Nobody else took their turn. I mean, they had no qualms about using those toilets, but I was the one who got stuck cleaning them. No fair!!! Okay, I never actually said that. I only look stupid. Besides, there were lots of other toilets on that ship.

But then I put a couple of stripes on my sleeve, and things changed. All of a sudden, I got to sit there and sip coffee while the new guy got stuck cleaning toilets. And the whole time his face was screaming “no fair!” I did my best to hide my smile. Fair? You bet it is! Go get yourself some stripes! That’s your job now! Until the new guy goes on vacation. Then … well, you know. “Oh, Daaave!!!”

It’s that warped sense of fairness that holds us back in real life. On the job, in relationships, in society, and in business. We expect to be treated fairly. And we may even try to set a good example, but only until somebody else gives us the shaft. “Leftovers again??? And you think I’m gonna fix the brakes on your car? Yeah, hand me the toolbox!” Okay, in my defense, she never actually hit anything.

On the other side of that equation is the notion of entitlement. You want something, some form of reward that you haven’t yet achieved. Maybe it’s a promotion or a new job. Maybe it’s a bigger house. It could be as simple as a weekend without the company cell phone, or as grand as a new boat. But, do you really deserve it? I mean, everybody else would like a little of that action, too. Right?

One of the biggest things that holds us back from reaching our full potential is the feeling that we’re no more deserving of that success than anybody else. It’s hard to look a person in the eye when they’ve been working in the same job as you for the past ten years and, two years in, you’re applying for a promotion. Why you? How is that fair to them? You almost feel guilty even trying.

No matter what it is you want to accomplish, the first thing you have to get past is that feeling that you may not deserve it. Unless you break the law or sacrifice your moral values along the way, you deserve whatever level of success you can achieve. And if you do step outside the law, you still get what you deserve. Try looking the judge in the eyes and crying, “No fair!” I dare you.

Beyond that, if you’re willing to take a risk, make the sacrifices, do the work, and put up with other people’s BS along the way, you deserve whatever your heart desires. And what about that other person? Well, they could have the same thing as you. In fact, once you achieve your goals, you can show them how. Sometimes we do more for others simply by leading the way.

There is nothing in this world that is above your level of privilege. Sure, if you were born into a “normal” family you may have to work a little harder. But that only means you’ll appreciate your success that much more. Never sell out your dreams simply because you’re not sure you’re worthy. You are. Get that in your head now, and there’s not much that can ever hold you back.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Embrace Your Starting Point … Even If It Sucks

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

Yesterday I went back to the gym for the first time in (inaudible mumbling) days. Okay weeks. Alright, months. Let’s just air it all out right now. It’s been less than a year, so that’s where I’m stopping. And don’t ask when I was there last because I’m not even sure the YMCA computers keep records that long. Let’s just say it’s been a while.

This isn’t part of a New Year’s resolution. It’s more about spending too many hours sitting around the house every day. And that whimper I hear from the bathroom scale every morning. Last time I stepped on it the digital display just said “ERR”. I guess that beats “OUCH” but not by much.

Add in several years of lower back pain that’s getting worse with time, and the fact that I have to pay my grandson to carry a couple of 40-pound bags of salt to the basement, and it’s painfully obvious I have to do something. The only problem is they expect you to pick those weights up by yourself, and there isn’t a motorized exercise bike in the place. Only a set of pedals. Seriously?

The treadmill would be great, but you can’t just stand there. I’ve seen too many videos of what happens when people fall behind on that device, and it’s not pretty. But there is some perverse sense of satisfaction in standing with your feet on the side rails and watching the display rack up the miles. I can burn off 6,000 calories without even breaking a sweat.

Okay, we all know it takes a little more effort than that. I joke about fitness and my weight because it beats crying about it. And I think we all need to do that a little more. There’s nothing worse than trying to get out of a yoga pose as some anorexic diva complains about her belly fat. The first step toward self-improvement is accepting yourself just as you are. Only then can you get better.

We all have our own starting point, no matter what it is we’re trying to accomplish. For some, that starting point is at least a few degrees better than most of us would be thrilled with as a final goal. And that’s okay. I can’t set their goals any more than they can set mine. We can set expectations, but those are imposed. Kind of like the boss telling you when an assignment is due.

And make no mistake, those expectations have to be met. But in terms of goals, they’re little more than a mandate by somebody who’s less interested in your priorities than their own. On the job, that’s to be expected. Needs of the company have to be met. But off the job, we need to set our own expectations. And once we’ve established those expectations, they need to become goals.

The key is to approach those goals as if you’re being paid to succeed. And in every sense of the word, you are. But ask yourself at the end of the day if you met the expectations of the job. If you were paying yourself to do this, would you still have a job tomorrow? Or would you be sitting outside the boss’ office with a herd of penguins doing a Texas two-step in your belly? Be honest.

No matter what personal goals you hope to accomplish, start with these two truths in mind. First, you are perfectly acceptable just as you are. You don’t have to measure up to anybody else’s standard. And second, you have the ability to do anything you desire. Whether it’s fitness, weight loss, improved health, a stronger relationship, or increased wealth, it’s waiting to be claimed.

The ability to laugh at your predicament is a healthy start to working toward improvement, because it means you’ve accepted the reality of that situation. You’re not kidding yourself or anybody else. From there, it’s just a matter of deciding which way you want to go. The only thing standing in your way is your own desire. Okay, and a few non-motorized exercise machines.

If you want the machines (or the world) to move, you need to do the pushing. You can do this.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved