Make Success the More Attractive Option

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

In Sunday’s sermon, our pastor pointed out the fact that it, according to studies performed by somebody who at least claims to know, January 12 is the date by which most New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside. That means if you got through the day yesterday with your resolutions still intact, you’re above average. Kinda sobering, isn’t it?

This doesn’t mean that most people fell off the wagon and had a bad day in the first twelve days of the year. It means they simply quit trying. Out with the new, in with the old. It wasn’t that important anyway. Besides, there’s always next year. And the year after, and the year after that. Yet, according to a Quinnipiac poll, about 75% of Americans are optimistic about a brighter future.

Well, not to be the bearer of bad news, but the words “brighter future” imply change. That means we can’t keep doing the same things we’ve been doing and expect better results simply because we’re good and we deserve it. If we want our future to change, we have to change our present. That could be simple or extreme, but the longer things stay the same, the longer they’ll keep staying the same.

I guess what troubles me the most isn’t that people slip up and fall off the wagon on their resolutions so early in the year. Falling down is a part of moving forward. We all do it. But, if the people who conduct these studies are correct, it means that the majority of people stopped even trying to get back up. They fell down, possibly into a comfortable position, and just decided to stay there.

When we decide to make a change, we often give ourselves an out … a place of refuge in case things don’t go according to plan. My wife wanted to sell our house, buy a motorhome, and hit the road. I want to buy a less expensive motorhome and keep the house. You know, just in case. Now, you can decide for yourself which of us has the better plan. But it does illustrate my point.

One school of thought says before you make a drastic change, have a fallback plan. Give yourself an out in case you need it. Of course, that gives you the option to chicken out when things get a little rough. On the other hand, nothing says commitment like jumping off a cliff in a glider you designed and built yourself. It’s called sink or swim. Success is the only option. Other than … you know.

But most of the changes we decide to make aren’t that clear-cut. If your goal is to go on a diet and lose weight, what happens if you fail? Well, you go back to eating the foods you’ve always loved and never have to exercise. If your goal was to quit smoking, failure means you get to avoid nicotine withdrawal and foul mood that goes along with it. You simply go back to what you were doing.

Unless we find a way to make failure more unpleasant than success, we’ll never change anything. “I’ll donate five dollars to a rival political party every time I use the F-word.” That’ll get your attention! Especially if you commit and don’t give yourself a free pass just because you slammed your finger in the car door. Or you accidentally broke the yolk on your egg. You know, whatever.

The best way to make failure more unpleasant than success is to focus on why you want to make a change. See yourself in a smaller bathing suit by summer. Better still, go online and order one. Commit. Get rid of all the ash trays. Commit. Write a check to you least favorite politician. Then deposit that money in your vacation account. Every day, you get to decide which is more important.

If you’ve made it to this point in the year without completely giving up on your goals, you’re ahead of the game. The odds of success are already in your favor. That doesn’t mean you haven’t slipped up once or twice. It means the dream is still stronger than the urge to give up. And as long as you keep your priorities lined up that way, there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving your goal.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don't Wait For Luck – Make Your Own

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

A few days ago, I stumbled across a video montage of people who were involved in close calls that almost resulted in disaster. There was the guy walking down the street and a speeding car slid into a light pole inches away. Another person stumbled off a train platform and was pulled to safety with less than a second to spare. You know, the kind of videos that make you go, “WOW!”

Thankfully, luck was on the side of each of these people and they lived to tell the story of what could have been their final moment. Some would say they were the beneficiary of divine intervention, that it just wasn’t their time. I won’t argue either way, except to say something or someone was there to save them from certain death. And that, my friends, is the textbook definition of luck.

We tend to attribute lots of things to luck. One person just seems to catch all the lucky breaks, and another attracts nothing but bad luck. Casinos invite you to try your hand with Lady Luck. Game operators at the carnival call out, “Do you feel lucky today?” And what about the lottery, the ultimate test of luck? You put down a few dollars and wait for random numbers to pop up.

And then there’s the person who started out working alongside you in an entry-level position, but through several promotions and pay raises, now enjoys an office instead of a cubicle, tropical vacations instead of tent camping, and a home on “that” side of town. Meanwhile, you’re still struggling to pay the bills. Yes, some people seem to get all the luck.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but luck has nothing to do with it. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. It’s the result of recognizing an opportunity and being in a position to capitalize on it. That may mean learning new skills, taking a few classes, or simply going out of your way to meet the right people. But without that preparation, luck will simply pass you by.

Sure, we’ve all seen cases where somebody got a promotion simply because of their last name. The boss’ kids will always have some level of preference when it comes to promotions. But, in most cases, they have to be up to the task, or they’ll get passed by. Business owners don’t achieve success by putting imbeciles in positions of leadership. If they do, they won’t be successful for long.

More often than not, if we’re really honest, we can look beneath the surface and see a pattern of preparation that puts one person in a position to succeed while others around them feel left out. Sure, we have names for the people who come in early, stay late, and always have the report on the boss’ desk early. But when opportunity comes along, who do you think will get the first shot?

Success isn’t a matter of luck. It comes to the person who can spot an opportunity and is prepared to capitalize on it. Winning the lottery is luck. It takes no skill, and no preparation other than buying a ticket. Ever wonder why nearly 70 percent of lottery winners are bankrupt in less than five years? There’s your answer. Success takes a little more effort.

I talk a lot about dreams and goals, and hopefully you think about those things just as much. And make no mistake, the opportunities are there. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. But unless you’re prepared to capitalize on those opportunities, they’ll move on to somebody who is. And preparation begins with an open mind.

How many times have you seen somebody achieve incredible success in the most unlikely venture? Odds are, they weren’t the first to be exposed to the idea or opportunity. But they approached it with an open mind and put in the effort while others scoffed at their ambitions or simply looked away without a second thought. Was it luck? Or was there a little more to it?

For any goal you may have, or any level of success you wish to achieve, the opportunity is there. Find that opportunity and you’re halfway there. Maybe you’re ready today, maybe not. But once you know how to succeed, it’s easy to put the remaining pieces in place. Don’t rely on luck. Success comes to those who make their own luck. It’s there waiting for you. What happens next is up to you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Forget the Resolutions – It's Time to Dream!

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

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve. Not only the last day of the year, but the last day of the decade. Twenty years ago we were all freaking out about global devastation as our computers mysteriously lost their ability to know what day it was. I wondered about all those poor souls whose lives depended on a computer-driven cardiac pacemaker. That had the potential to be a midnight we’d never forget.

By some estimates, companies spent today’s equivalent of more than $400 billion to combat the perceived threat of what was commonly known as the “Y2K bug.” For those of you too young to remember, it was pretty simple. Computers used to use a two-digit date format (e.g., “99” instead of “1999”), because nobody really expected them to last long enough to see a new century. They did.

So, all of a sudden, we were faced with the prospect of a device that was supposed to be smarter than a three-year-old suddenly thinking it was operating in the year 1900. It was kinda like that NASA probe that crash-landed on Mars because a bona fide rocket scientist calculated the descent speed in feet per second rather than meters. Oops!

Well, we rang in the year 2000 without any of the disasters that could have been caused by computers run amok. And a lot of the people working in the IT industry on programs to prevent those disasters were suddenly out of work. So, they went home and invented social media. And here we are.

As we ring in the New Year, our minds often turn to our hopes and dreams. It’s not like we can’t dream any other time of year, but this is when we really stick our neck out and go for the gold. “I’m gonna quit smoking, lay off the booze, stop chasing wild women, lose 200 pounds, and become a millionaire!” Okay, alcohol is usually at the root of those aspirations, but you get the idea.

This is a time when we dare to dream just a little more. Because we’re not talking about what we plan to do tomorrow, or even next week. Besides, for a lot of people, tomorrow will involve an ice bag and a lot of aspirin. But it’s easy to make plans when you’ve got a whole year to get started. And therein lies the problem. The end of January comes, and you say, “But I still have eleven months!”

Then comes February, and March, and April.  By June you’re saying, “As soon as summer break is over, I’ll get started.” Then comes September and the kids are back in school. And guess what? You still haven’t made a step in the right direction. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Well, this time we get not only the start of a new year, but a new decade. Now, if you took that to mean you’ve got ten more years to get started on your goals, we need to talk. The idea is to get everything done long before then so you can start on something else. Because, trust me, nothing you can dream of today can hold a candle to what you could potentially do ten years from now.

What stops us from dreaming, or at least halts those dreams before they ever take flight, is one simple question … how on earth can I ever do that? It’s been said that when there’s a will there’s a way. Sometimes we don’t have to know how we’ll do something. We just need a goal. In a little over three hours, my job will come to an end. I don’t know how I’ll find another one. I just know that I will.

So, instead of worrying about the details of how you’ll accomplish your goals, take a day or two to just focus on the dream. Put it in writing. Get pictures. Fill in all the details. Make that dream so crystal-clear in your mind that you can see and feel it wrapping closer around you with each passing day. It doesn’t matter how you’ll do it. What matters is knowing the end result.

I’ve asked this question several times in the past – what would your goals be if you knew you couldn’t fail? For the next two days, approach your dreams from that perspective. Put failure out of your mind and just focus on the goal. Then see what kind of ideas pop up over the coming days. You already know what to do. All you need is a reason to do it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day, and a safe and happy New Year!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Winter Blues Got You Down? Then Get Busy!

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

Well, winter is in full swing here in Ohio. I know, some of my friends in the great white north are saying, “You just now figured that out?” And to others in the southern states, all this means is a light jacket in the morning. Regardless of where you live, it’s gotten noticeably colder. And change isn’t something we all handle with a sense of complete grace.

I first heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a couple of years ago. I guess it’s been around since the first caveman had to hibernate for the winter, but we live in an age where every human emotion has to have a name. It’s like bipolar disorder. It’s nothing new. I knew people in high school who could flip in an instant. We just had other names for that.

But that feeling of cabin fever, of being stuck in the house forever, of breathing the same air all day and never getting any fresh oxygen to replace what we’ve used, and staring glumly out the front window, is all part of what we’ve come to know as SAD. I guess that’s an appropriate acronym. I wonder if the person who named it did that on purpose?

According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms are pretty clear – oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, and low energy. Check, check, check, and check. Causes can be anything from a disruption to your normal circadian rhythm to reduced serotonin and melatonin levels. But before you medicate yourself, talk to your doctor. Odds are, you just have the winter blues. But you never know.

Oddly enough, the Mayo Clinic also lists symptoms for summer SAD. Seriously? What would that be? Suntan? Sand in your toes? An urge to plant flowers or eat ice cream on the front porch? I guess I’ve never considered any of that to be an ailment. Funny – one of the symptoms they mention for summer SAD is weight loss. Guess that’s why I don’t understand. I’ve never had it.

Call it what you want, I think it’s mostly just the natural human tendency to resist change. Whether we like the way things are or not, change throws our system out of whack. That’s why so many lottery winners are bankrupt within a few years. The change is too sudden, and they can’t handle it. So they subconsciously do everything imaginable to get back where they were – their comfort zone.

Okay, so being broke is a comfort zone? That’s hard to digest, especially for people who are broke and desperately want things to be different. But there’s a certain level of confidence in what we know, good or bad. We know what to expect each day. We know how to handle it. And we know how it will affect us. Sometimes, change is a little more intimidating than just going with what we know.

Two things can help us adjust to change. First is making the change slowly, so we can adjust as it occurs. Anybody who has ever quit smoking cold-turkey knows exactly what I mean. Trying to taper off slowly may not be as effective, but it’s certainly less stressful. It’s the sudden change of quitting on the spot that brings on those powerful cravings and mood swings. So, whenever possible, slow it down.

Secondly, you need that feeling that you deserve the change – it’s something you’ve worked for, a goal you’ve been trying to achieve, and you’ve made the necessary sacrifices to make it happen. It’s not change that was thrust upon you, like the onset of winter. It’s something you wanted badly enough to earn it.

If winter isn’t having the desired effect on your emotional health, the best thing you can do about it is find something else to occupy your time. Instead of staring out the front window, play some games or put a puzzle together. Pick up a hobby. Read a good book. Better still, write one. Start a business. Anything constructive will take your mind off the weather and give you something to feel good about.

Yes, Seasonal Affective Disorder is real. Most of us feel it to some degree, even if we love playing in the snow. The key is to find something better to occupy your mind. Make it something constructive, and when the snow melts, you’ll somehow feel you’ve earned it. Now, if we could just find a way of making us feel we’ve earned winter. I’m not sure I can spend that much time on the beach.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who Do You Trust?

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

As I was waking up this morning, it occurred to me that a year ago I was sitting on the couch recovering from brain surgery. And here I am a genius again! What a difference a year makes. Okay, in all fairness, they only took a small piece and apparently, I wasn’t using that part anyway. It’s been said that we only use 3% of our brain. The rest is just sitting there waiting for something to do.

A few things amazed me about that whole ordeal. First was how quickly you can go from carefree and healthy to a very real danger to your life. Somehow, my brain had worn a hole in the bottom of my skull and spinal fluid was leaking into my inner ear. Which means that part of my brain was exposed to anything that made its way into my ear. So yes, I was the textbook definition of an airhead.

Another thing that amazed me was how quickly I recovered. The surgery itself only took two hours.  I spent a night in recovery, a day in ICU, and a day in a regular room. Two days after the surgery I was home. Thirty years ago, I’d have been in the hospital a few weeks. That’s partly due to insurance companies trying to save money, but it’s also because of advances in medical technology.

Finally, it amazes me that I could walk into a hospital of my own free will, put on a gown, lie down on a bed, and let a complete stranger cut a hole in my head. I believe that has to be the epitome of trust, and I’ve ridden in a car with my grandson. Believe me, you don’t fall asleep on that ride.

Sure, I’d met the surgeon once before, but how often do we put our complete faith in people we’ve never even met? We’d like to think they know exactly what they’re doing, but even an airline pilot has checklists and a flight manual to make sure nothing is forgotten. And think of the ground crew who have never flown a plane in their life and are probably getting paid barely above minimum wage.

All through our lives, we place varying levels of trust in people we don’t know. Even a trip to the grocery store involves trust. We see other cars coming our way and trust that they’ll stay in their own lane. We drive through green lights trusting that nobody else will run a red light. And we park our car between two painted lines, confident that whoever parks next to us will do the same.

So, where is that leap of faith when it comes to doing things for ourselves? We see somebody living the life we’d like to enjoy, and think they must be pretty smart. No smarter than us, mind you, but they’ve obviously found some secret to success that we never thought of. Yet, as soon as they say, “It’s simple … let me show you,” our defenses go up. It must be some kind of scam.

Granted, there are people out there who don’t deserve our trust. But, by and large, human beings are pretty honest. And when somebody, especially a friend, offers to help you achieve some of your own dreams, odds are they’re being sincere.

So, all that’s left is your ability to trust the person best able to make these things happen – yourself. And that’s where we usually come up short. We look at an opportunity and think, “Yeah, it may work for some people, but I could never do that.” Yes, you can. I don’t care what it is, if one person on this planet can achieve success at anything, so can you. It’s just a matter of how badly you want it.

You can’t do anything in life without placing a certain amount of trust in others. You flip a switch expecting the light to come on. You turn on a faucet expecting water to flow. But it’s the trust you place in yourself that will allow you to move from where you are to where you want to be. Instead of looking for excuses, look for possibilities. Make it happen. You’re closer than you think.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Mood Won’t Strike Until You Poke It

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

Imagine, if you will, a surgeon with a patient on the table, doing what surgeons do. The patient is asleep, the incisions have been made, and the heart is fully exposed. Halfway through one of the most delicate procedures known to man, the surgeon puts down his scalpel, pulls off his mask, and says, “Sorry folks – I’m just not in the groove today. I’m gonna let this one slide. Go tell the family.”

I don’t believe that’s ever actually happened, but it would certainly change the day for several people, least of all the person clinging to life on the operating table. But you have to wonder how many times the surgeon was a little more tired than normal or had an argument with his wife before leaving for work. The patient has no idea, but it’s likely the surgeon isn’t at his very best that day.

No matter how good we are at what we do, there will always be days when we’re just not fully up to par. And it would be easy to just go back to bed until we feel more energized. But we know from experience that, when we put things on hold because we’re not fully in the mood, that mood never gets any stronger. We just waste the day beating ourselves up for not doing anything.

If you do that on the job, you’ll probably be invited to sit down with the boss for a one-on-one chat. The first time may be friendly and constructive, but if it happens too many times you’ll find yourself looking for someplace else to spend your days. Employers are pesky about these things. They pretty much expect our best every day.

But when it comes to your own priorities, those dreams that make you smile and inspire visions of a happier life, you’re in business for yourself. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the Vice President of Marketing, the Production Manager, and the company’s sole employee. Nothing gets done unless you do it yourself.

So, here’s the question … if you were paying yourself to work toward your dreams, would you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth? Or would you call yourself into the office, lay down the law, and issue an ultimatum? I think, if we’re being completely honest, most of us would say we’re a pretty good employee on the job, but not so good when it comes to our own priorities.

There are lots of reasons. After a full day on the job, it’s not easy to carve out time to go to work for yourself. It’s dinnertime, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and the kids need a little quality time as well. Monday night you go bowling, Tuesday is movie night, Wednesday you go out for ice cream, and on and on it goes. Who has time for anything else?

So, pick up the calendar and look for a day when you won’t be doing anything. I dare you. Even if you find one, something else will see that empty day and sneak in to fill the time. Another week goes by, another month, and eventually another year … and still you’re no closer to your dreams than you were to begin with. Yet somehow, we just keep giving ourselves a pass.

At some point, we need to become that grumpy boss nobody wants to see. We need to set goals and demand results. Not from other people – this isn’t their dream, it’s yours. If you want anything to happen, you have to make it happen yourself. Nobody but you will complain if you take a night off. Unless you hold yourself to the fire, nobody else will. It’s all on you.

You don’t have to be completely up to par every day, but you do have to be committed. A little effort is better than none at all, and when you take those first steps, it’s easy to get in the groove and keep going. Success happens when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. Make the time, and make the time count. The reward is yours to enjoy.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Perfect Stand in Your Way

Good morning! It’s Friday Eve! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

There’s always been an inside joke in show business, where a man asked a New York taxi driver how to get to Carnegie Hall, and the driver responded, “Practice, practice, practice.” I guess if you’re just looking for a seat in the audience, all you have to do is get dressed and buy a ticket. But if you’d like to enjoy the view from the stage, it takes a little more work.

A lot of things we do every day have become second nature. From brushing our teeth in the morning to tying our shoes, driving to work, and even doing our job all day, we’ve done it all so many times it takes little or no conscious thought. Depending on your job, that may not be a problem. But when somebody is cooking a meal they expect me to eat, I expect them to open their eyes now and then.

It’s what we’ve come to refer to as “phoning it in” … going through the motions without really being in the moment. I’ve done comedy shows where I just didn’t feel like I was really on my game. I didn’t bomb, but I didn’t rock the house, either. And when the show was over, I really couldn’t remember any particular moment onstage. I was just on autopilot, and it showed in the audience’s response.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? You’re in a meeting at work, talking to a customer, giving a new employee some training, or even helping your kid with their homework, and you realize halfway through you’re just phoning it in? You know the subject matter so well, you don’t even have to think about it. But in not thinking, you never really do your best. It’s just good enough.

Practice can get you to that stage, but too much practice can result in a lackluster performance. You don’t miss any of the notes – you could do this in your sleep. But it can become so automated, you forget the most important part of the job – yourself. If all a person wanted was to hear perfect music, they could buy a CD. They pay for a live performance because they want the best of you.

In my business, we encourage newer folks to scrimmage. Everybody who knows football knows what it means to scrimmage. It’s a game the team plays against itself, where nobody wins or loses, and nobody keeps score. You simply practice. You run your plays, work out the kinks, find those opportunities for improvement, and just get really good at whatever at the game.

Through scrimmaging, you reach that point where you can read any situation and adapt on the spot, finding the opening you need to rush through to the goal line. And once you reach that point, you’re ready to do it for real. You’ve fine-tuned your game to the point that you’re unstoppable. Success is simply a matter of stepping onto the field.

The problem is, some of us get so good at scrimmaging, we never move beyond it. We just keep practicing. “As soon as I get really good at this one part, I’ll be ready!” There’s nothing wrong with that, if your goal was simply to practice forever. But if you ever intended to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice, you have to take that leap of faith and step into the game. The real game.

Practice teaches you new skills and gives you confidence. But sometimes, we need a little less confidence and a little more faith. Confidence says, “I’ve got this!” Faith says, “I can handle this.” There’s a difference. And the more confident we become, the more we’re apt to just phone it in. We don’t do it on purpose. It just happens.

When you’re trying to learn a new skill, practice until you’re no longer dangerous. There’s a reason teenagers have to practice driving so long before they’re allowed to do it alone. But once you reach that point, stop holding yourself back. For every situation you can practice, there are ten more you never considered. And the only way you’ll ever get good at them is just to get out there and do it.

Know enough to know what has to be done. Know how to do the job safely and with an acceptable level of expertise. Then stop practicing and get in the game. There’s a whole new world waiting for you if you just take that next step. Be a little scared. Step outside your comfort zone. Somewhere out there lies the answer to your dreams. Find it. And once you do, don’t let anything stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved