Every Success Begins with Courage

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

Over the weekend, there was news of a retiree in Florida who was walking his puppy along a body of water when a small alligator shot up on the bank, grabbed the puppy, and ran back into the water. The elderly man jumped in the water, dragged the alligator to shore, and wrestled the puppy from its jaws, all without losing his cigar. I’d say he gets the badass of the year award.

The story had a happy ending. The puppy escaped with a minor injury, the man had a few lacerations from the alligator’s teeth, and the alligator is back in the water, a little more leery of anything that’s tough enough to strut around on two legs. I’d say that’s a win all the way around.

I was listening to a motivational CD last night where the speaker quoted a line from a movie that summed up this story perfectly … “All it takes is twenty seconds of insane courage.” Okay, in this case, I’d say it was more like a half-second, which makes it all the more insane. But you don’t always have time to think. Where alligators are concerned, that’s probably a good thing.

Some of you probably remember that quote as coming from the movie, “We Bought a Zoo.” The line was spoken by Matt Damon as he encouraged his son to throw caution to the wind and express his affection to the girl of his dreams. As one who’s been there in years gone by, I can certainly relate. Trust me when I say I crashed & burned on that one several times.

But the premise holds true through a lot of things in life. Fear is the greatest obstacle holding us back from accomplishing a lot of our dreams. Even if that dream is simply to get the landlord to accept a late payment, it takes a mountain of courage sometimes to pick up the phone and make that call. But it takes twenty seconds (or less) to dial the number.

I’ve never been good when it comes to the phone. I’ll do anything to accomplish my goal without having to talk to anybody. And those who know me probably find that really hard to believe, because once I start talking, I never shut up. But real people don’t respond with, “Press 1 to listen to obnoxious music for an hour while we decide whether to answer your call.”

Of course, they do this with repeated assurances that your call really is important and will be answered in the order in which it was received. And don’t dare bump a button on the phone or mutter soft curses out of sheer frustration, because it’ll respond with, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand your request.  Please check your attitude and try again later.” And then it hangs up.

Okay, I’m drifting way off topic. We were talking about courage. Specifically, how twenty seconds of courage is all it takes to begin moving toward your goal. Courage to do what? That depends on what you hope to accomplish. But regardless, until you take that first step, nothing happens, good or bad. A year from now, you’ll still be thinking about it.

And the problem with that is we don’t always have a year to debate and build courage. When an alligator grabs your puppy, you have microseconds. Other problems may leave a little more breathing room, but sooner or later you have to take the plunge. There is no other option if you want anything to change.

Thomas Jefferson once said if you want something you’ve never had you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. There’s no other way. That may mean asking a friend for help, inviting a customer to your store, sharing a business presentation, taking a new job, moving to a new city, or a hundred other things. And they all begin with twenty seconds of courage.

If you’ve been putting off that conversation with the boss, schedule the meeting. If you’ve been thinking of asking somebody on a date, dial their number. If you want to share a business idea with a potential partner, make the invitation. It takes twenty seconds to initiate action on any of these goals, but once you take that first step, it’s that much easier to continue.

We all like to think we’re fearless, or at least not too easily intimidated. But the thing we fear most is whatever our mind conjures up in the moments before we need to take action. It may be as real as a hungry alligator, or as imaginary as a trusted friend waiting for the opportunity to humiliate you. But until you muster up that twenty seconds of courage, you’ll never know.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

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

The weekend is over and it’s back to the old grind. You ever notice how, when we want a new job, we’ll do anything and everything to get it? We send out resumes, we dress up, we interview … we’d rub ourselves down with alcohol and jump through flaming hoops if that’s what it took. But once we’ve got the job, all we think about is the alcohol. Go figure.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Or, as Erma Bombeck so eloquently observed, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. I’m sure there’s some hidden motivational gem in there – I just haven’t figured it out yet. But I have noticed several clumps of bright green grass in my back yard that coincide with the dog’s potty habits. Move on, Dave.

We always want what we don’t have, and when we’ve got it we want something else. That’s human nature. It begins not long after we first open our eyes and realize somebody else has something we don’t. It could be a scrap of toilet paper, but it’s the most awesome and fun-looking scrap of toilet paper on the planet. And if we get our hands on it – in the mouth it goes.

This concept is on full display with my two youngest grandchildren. Okay, they’ve stopped eating toilet paper, but if one has a toy – any toy – it becomes a conquest for the other to get it away from them. They know the rules of sharing … it’s yours until you put it down. And if the other yawns or scratches their nose, it’s gone. Not very quietly, I might add.

And as soon as that toy is gone, the one they were playing with swaps hands, and the cycle repeats itself. They both strut around with their new treasure, until the other looks away from theirs for just a second. It’s their first lesson in legal justice – possession is nine points of the law. And if all else fails, it simply comes down to which one can throw the best punch.

You’d think we’d outgrow that as we get older, but we really don’t. We want what’s in front of us until it’s not in front of us anymore. Oh, we’re proud of our accomplishment and we revel in it for a while. Until something shinier comes along. Then we immediately launch a plan to get it. Thankfully, biting and pulling hair isn’t part of the plan. Most times.

And you know what? That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful, or that you’re never satisfied with what you’ve got. It simply means you can still dream, and you’ve still got enough inner drive to achieve even greater goals. Okay, it means you can wish for it. Sometimes, we’re a little lacking when it comes to motivation. And that’s what stops most of us dead in our tracks.

In business, I hear people all the time saying, “I could never succeed at something like that. It’s just not who I am.” Fair enough. But you know what they say … behind every successful man is an astonished woman. So, let me ask you this. How many times in your life have you succeeded at something to the point that you shocked even yourself?

If you have a job, you succeeded at something most of us don’t really enjoy, where the odds of success are stacked against you because there are several, maybe hundreds, of other people trying to knock you out of the running. And they may not punch and pull your hair, but they’ll do anything possible to stack the odds in their favor, because only one person can win.

But success is not a zero-sum game where one person has to lose in order for another to win. And even though you may keep score, nobody else does. Oh, maybe if they think they can laugh at you for still being in the hunt. You know the quickest way to shut people like that up? Quit. Give up. They’ll stop talking on the spot, because now you’re just like them.

Now, if the message you took from that is to stop trying, we need to talk. Nobody’s opinion matters besides your own. And in chasing your dreams, you’ll encounter lots of other people with the same goal. But unlike that one position the company is hiring, any number of people can achieve the same dream. Unless the dream is to beat everybody else, and then you’re on your own.

It’s fun to win, but winning means somebody else has to lose. And sometimes, that somebody is you. Find something where there’s room for everybody, where there’s no hair-pulling to hold you down, and give it all you’ve got. Success is easy once you learn how to create your own.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Own Limitations – Don’t Let Them Define You

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

Have you ever thought about the advice we give kids, about how they can conquer the world and be anything they want if they only work hard enough? “There’s nothing you can’t do!” Then they try to climb the refrigerator shelves to reach the cookies purposely placed out of their reach, and the rules suddenly change. So much for ingenuity.

All through our lives, we’re told to dream big and aim high. I saw a sign on somebody’s desk once that read, “Aim for the moon – even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Well, if you think there are stars orbiting the moon, maybe we’re getting at the root of the problem.  That’s not to say you’re doomed to failure, but a Mensa scholarship probably isn’t in your future.

We all have limitations. Some we were born with, and some we’ve developed along the way. Sorry, but that’s just a fact of life. If you’re three feet tall in high heels, odds are you’ll never be a star basketball player, no matter how badly you want it. And star football players know all too well how quickly certain injuries can end their career or seriously limit their ability to compete.

So, aside from natural ability and devastating loss, what stands between us and the goals we so strongly desire? Why can’t I, at the age of 62, become an avid runner and win the Boston Marathon? Well, first of all, I can’t find anybody who’s willing to chase me that far with a snake. The motivation has to come from somewhere.

But let’s be honest. The real reason I’m not a marathon runner is because I never wanted to be. As a kid, I despised basketball and soccer because there’s too much running. And that carried into my adult years. A friend once asked me to join him for a 5k run. I said, “Why would I run that far when I can do it faster in a car and smell decent when I get there?”

And let’s be honest here – if my parents had told me that I could accomplish any goal in life if I’d just run every day, I think I’d have chosen Door #2. It was never my thing. On the other hand, my parents did encourage my artistic side, both in music and in writing. That was my passion and, apparently, it’s also my strong suit. The writing, not the music.

In our jobs, there are things we need to do well just to stay employed. We need to be even better if we hope to advance. That doesn’t mean you have to be the absolute best. It just means you have to be better than average. And no matter what you do (for a living or otherwise), if you have the basic skills to do the task, you have the ability to do it better.

Having gotten a taste of what it’s like to live in an RV, I think I can do it better. In fact, I’d like to become one of the best campers on the planet. That’s my goal. But so far, nobody is offering to pay me to camp, so I have to get good at something else along the way – earning an income on the side. And building a decent campfire without gas. Just keeping it real.

I have all the tools in place to live my dream, including the side income. Well, the ability to earn that income. But there are things I need to do to develop that ability and become better at it. I don’t have to be the best – I just have to be better than I am today.

And we all have that ability, whether it’s our job, a business, a hobby, a relationship, our physique, or even the way we sing. It’s okay to focus on the dream as long as you also focus on just doing a little better along the way. Instead of shooting for the moon, aim for that next step. Being the best is awesome, but it’s more important to be your best.

There are limitations to what we can accomplish, but find those limitations yourself instead of letting others dictate them to you. If there’s something you want, go for it. Give it everything you’ve got. You may still come up short, but isn’t that better than not coming up at all? Do one thing better each day and your dreams will make up the difference.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Well, How Did Those Plans Work Out?

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

As I sit here in complete peace and quiet, my wife is at our daughter’s house getting her kids ready for school. One is in kindergarten, one is in first grade. Oh yeah, and they have a 20-year-old brother. Don’t ask. I told my daughter she did that completely backward. I’ve tried calculating her age when these two get into their teenage years. I ran out of fingers and toes.

I remember when our oldest was born and people would say, “You’re so young to be starting a family.” Okay, I was 22, my wife was 18 – they were talking to her. And my response was always the same. “We’re doing this now so that, when we get older, our kids will be grown and moved out and we’ll have all that time to ourselves.” Read that again. Now you can laugh.

Oh, she moved out. On her 18th birthday, as we were putting candles on a cake, she was packing her bags. It wasn’t a pretty day. But in a little over a year she was home. A year later we became grandparents. At least she did it while we were young. By the time he grew up, we’d still have plenty of time for ourselves (more laughter).

Meanwhile our youngest graduated high school and took off to college. We were so proud. A year later that excursion ended. Well, the actual college part of it. I was still paying for those classes five years later.

All the while, we were doing the parent thing for a third time. My grandson was my best buddy. We did everything together – amusement parks, trips to the “guy store” (Sears), basketball in the street, and his first rock concert. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my grandparents, and I wanted him to have a different experience. Then he grew up.

I knew it was coming the first time I took him to football practice and, as he was getting ready to get out of my truck, I said, “Hey! Where’s my kiss?” He looked at the team assembled in front of us, then looked at me like, “Are you nuts?” The look in his eyes said it all. I settled for a half-hearted hug and accepted a sad reality. Grandpa wouldn’t always be the center of his universe.

Life changes. And yet, the more it changes, the more it stays the same. I’ve lost count of how many times our daughters have moved back in “for a week or two.” Since the first one moved out in 1998, we’ve had an empty nest for a total of about five years. And just about the time our oldest granddaughter was feeding herself, along came two more.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Forty years ago, I really thought we’d be out traveling the country by now, retired and wealthy, flying back to see the kids whenever we started missing them. Okay, forty years ago I still thought I’d be a rock star. Yeah, that never happened.

Now, as we plan what I hope will be a long winter escape in the motorhome, I think of the life we’d be leaving behind. The kids, our house, family dinners, babysitting, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, trash night, the neighbor’s dogs … uh huh. I won’t even be looking in the mirror for semis.

But I know that, about a month into that trip, we’ll start missing home. A month later we’ll wonder why we ever left. Two months later we’ll come home and immediately start planning our next trip. Because that’s what life is about – planning the next trip and reminiscing about the last one. Or figuring out what went wrong. That one seems to happen a lot.

I’ll never forget what my dad told me right before I left for the Navy. He said, “The two best duty stations in the world are the one you just left and the one you’re going to.” Okay, he told me a few other things as well, but we won’t go there. Suffice to say most of Dad’s lessons were pretty much on the mark. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

No matter what plans you’ve made, life will have a say in their execution. And even when things go just the way you’d planned, you find that it’s not always what you thought it would be. But as long as we continue to dream, nothing is ever permanent. The outcome can be whatever we want it to be. And even that can change.

Life isn’t measured in years – it’s measured in the experiences we have and the memories we make. Nothing ever goes completely according to plan, but there’s beauty to be found in those diversions. Just keep your eye on the goal and never give up. And when you get there, just think of all the extra stories you can tell.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who’s Keeping You On Track?

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

For those of us here in the US, yesterday was a holiday. A day to celebrate workers all across the nation. And how do we celebrate that day? Well, by shutting down the office and taking a day off. I think we need more holidays like that. How about just celebrating Boss’ Day a couple of times a week? They work too hard anyway. They’ve earned it.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. I like my manager. Though I do have to admit, when all the senior managers take a day to go to a management “retreat” there’s a completely different song in the air. Sure, people take an extra coffee break, and maybe a little longer for lunch. But the work still gets done. In fact, it seems to get done a little faster and better.

Now, I’m not suggesting we should get rid of managers. They serve a vital role in the company. Besides, without them, we’d be the first ones to catch hell any time something goes wrong. I know, we do anyway. But with a good manager, you never hear about half the problems they have to answer to every day. They take the heat, find a solution, and move on.

When things aren’t going right, it’s easy to place blame. Where that blame falls depends on your rung of the corporate ladder. For those of us at the bottom, it’s easy – somebody higher up is responsible. For those at the top, it’s easy to blame further down. And those in the middle can throw the blame in any direction they want.

But regardless of where you are or how big you are, it all comes down to accountability – the buck stops here. We’ve all heard that before. But how often do we say it? “Boss, I’m sorry. You gave me a job to do and I let you down. It was my fault.”

I’m guessing we’ve all said that at least a time or two. At work, it’s not so easy to pass the buck. The boss knows who was assigned to do the work, and how well the job was done. Okay, so maybe there were extenuating factors – lack of parts, computer went down, somebody else didn’t do their part, or just solar flares. That was always one of my favorites. Prove me wrong.

On the job, there’s always somebody to hold us accountable. You can’t make empty promises, and excuses will only work for so long, because sooner or later the boss will call you on it. But when it comes to the things we want for ourselves, we’re pretty much free to do whatever we want. “I didn’t do it because I didn’t feel like it!” Try that one at work.

All through life, we have somebody to hold us accountable for the things we need to do. That may be a manager at work, a professor in college, your spouse, your kids, or even your local homeowners’ association. They LOVE to hold people accountable. If you don’t believe me, park a junk car in your front yard for a week or two.

But when it comes to your own goals and dreams, who holds your feet to the fire? We like to think we do a pretty good job of that ourselves, but the truth is most of us pretty well suck at it. It’s easy to start a new project, but sometimes we need a little help with the follow-through. Because other priorities step in in and before you know it, nothing is getting done.

Maybe you’re one of those who’s self-motivated and never stops for anything. If so, rock on! More power to you. If you’re like the rest of us, you may want to consider enlisting a little help. Not help in doing the work, but somebody to make sure you do – somebody who will listen to your excuses, and then tell you why they don’t fly – somebody who will keep you on track.

Your accountability partner doesn’t tell you what to do – they just help you keep track of your own promises. It’s your dream, not theirs. You set the goals. You do the work. Their sole purpose is to keep you honest, and let you know when you’re coming up short. They don’t judge, and they don’t punish. That’s your job.

We’re all accountable to somebody. If you find that being accountable to yourself isn’t enough, you’re not alone. Find somebody who will drive you to succeed. Commit to yourself, and to them. And maybe you can even return the favor.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall …

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

Have you ever had that feeling something is happening right under your nose, something sinister that you would never allow? It’s like parents smelling incense from a teenager’s room, or noticing that the bottle of vodka in the freezer is all of a sudden … you know, frozen. It’s almost like somebody is refilling it with water to keep you from knowing how much is gone.

That’s how I feel every morning when I look in my closet. It’s full of clothes that are a perfect fit for somebody who’s carrying around a bunch of extra weight. And judging by his fashion sense, he’s old, too. Like really old. There’s only one plausible explanation. I think my wife is having an affair.

Okay, before she reads this and smacks me in the head, I guess I should take that back. I know the clothes are mine, simply because they fit. Well, they used to. They’ve shrunk. Not in length, but in the waistline. How does that even work?

And when it comes to fashion, let me share a little story. Several years ago I had a part in a movie. It never saw the big screen, but it was fun going through the process. I played an older comedian who was mentoring a younger comedian. Right up until the scene where they found my body slumped over the table with a very real-looking bullet hole in my head.

As I was reading my lines the day before our first shoot, the wardrobe director asked if I knew where I could get my hands on a button-down sweater. You know, “Like the old men wear.” Yes, it was a low-budget film. That wasn’t the worst part. I had two sweaters just like that hanging in my closet. Right next to my powder-blue leisure suit.

It reminded me of the time when I went to the vision center for an eye exam. As I was trying on a pair of glasses with large squared lenses, a very attractive female clerk gently took them off my face and put them back on the rack. “We keep a few of these around for the old men. Let’s try something a little more fun.” Wham! A two-point shot and I didn’t even see it coming!

Age is one of those things that sneaks up on us. It happens while you’re sleeping. I offer that scientific observation based on the fact that my hair is no grayer at the end of the day than it is when I wake up, but every morning it seems a little less colorful than it was yesterday. And the problem is, the older I get, the more I sleep. Damn.

The same is true of weight. I know, there are people who can eat a single donut and say, “I feel bloated!” Yes, Karen, those extra 150 calories went straight to your gut. Everybody duck! The button on her pants may fly off at any moment. It could put an eye out. Seriously. I read it on Facebook!

Okay, there are days when we feel a little older and temporary bloating is a real thing. But the long-term trend is something we rarely notice until it becomes … well, noticeable. With women, age is easy to conceal. With men, it’s a little more obvious. Checkered shorts, black knee socks, and leather sandals? Give him a pair of wraparound sunglasses and send him to Golden Oaks.

Think back over your career. Were there times when you felt you just weren’t making any progress? You’d wake up each day and think, “Here we go again. Same stuff, different day.” Yet somewhere along the way, things changed. Odds are, you’re not still doing the same things you did when you first started working. You grew. It may have been slow, but here you are.

Now, think of your dreams – things you’ve been slowly working toward for several years. It’s hard to notice any real progress from one day to another, but when you look at where you were a month ago, or maybe a year ago, you’ve probably gotten closer, even if you weren’t trying as hard as you could have.

One of the hardest things about achieving long-term goals is the lack of noticeable results from one day to the next. It’s that way with savings, weight loss, education, muscle-conditioning, business-building, and just about anything else you can imagine. You may notice small gains over time, but it’s hard to see progress on a daily basis.

But the progress continues as long as you keep working at it. We barely notice each mile in a 1000-mile trip, but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting there. Just keep going. Do what you need to be doing, and stick with it. And one day when you least expect it, you’ll realize you’re just about there. Almost like magic.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time is What We Make of It – Make Yours Count

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

It’s been a crazy week for me, and the calendar says it’s barely started. I think we talked about this last week. Just lots going on, between work, cleaning my dad’s house, my brother in the hospital, and taking the motorhome in for warranty work. Oh, and that freelance assignment I was supposed to have done two weeks ago. When it rains, it pours.

It seems a lot of my posts center on this topic – too much to do, and too little time to get it all done. And yet, at the end of the week, we still fill those 168 hours doing something. Maybe not what we’d planned on doing, because life has a way of spotting extra time. “Oh, you thought were getting all this done? Yeah. Hold my beer!”

It keeps us on our toes. It sparks our creativity. It makes us talk like a drunken sailor. It’s been said that you never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. Wrong! I learned to swear when my sister learned to drive. She taught me all the words. The Navy taught me how to use them in proper context. And time (or lack of it) was one of those contexts. Still is.

Dad always used to say “first things first.” Okay, that’s a simple concept for people who can tell the kid to go cut the grass. It’s easy to get the important stuff done when you can delegate the rest. That’s why the boss always looks so impressive and the rest of us are running around looking like Keith Richards on a three-day binge.

But there are some things we just can’t delegate. I’ve had help with the house cleaning, and I’m thankful for everyone who’s pitched in. But I have to do the freelance work myself and the boss says I can’t subcontract the work he’s paying me to do. I’d send somebody else to the hospital to visit, but I’m pretty sure my brother would catch on. And nobody else is driving that RV.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here, because that’s the best way to work through trying times. No, I wouldn’t try to farm out the work I get paid to do. And I’m happy to spend time with my brother, even if it is in such a clinical setting. And someday, I’ll teach my wife to drive the RV. You know, after I put the first dent in it. I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s been waiting for.

Leadership is a word we often misconstrue to mean bossing people around, when what it really means is taking the bull by the horns and making things happen. It’s a word employers like to throw around, and for good reason. Every successful company needs leaders. And not everybody wants to be a leader. That’s why we have pay scales.

But leadership applies to most areas of life, including the parts where we’re doing things for ourselves. You know, chasing our dreams. It’s an important part of life, and one we all too often ignore for the sake of all those other things we have to do. You know, now. Right this minute!

And part of leadership is being able to categorize work into a few different buckets. In my final years in the Navy, I was the leading petty officer for my division. I sat at a desk and looked important. And I shuffled papers. Lots of papers. The officers were so impressed.

On my desk, I had three stackable baskets. You know, “In, “Out,” and “Pending.” Well, mine said, “I don’t want it,” “I’ll get to it later,” and “I’m hoping you’ll forget about it.” Guess which one stayed full? And once a month, I’d sift through the papers in that bottom basket. Nine times out of ten, nobody had ever mentioned them again. They went straight in the circular file.

Sometimes, people will dump work on your plate simply because they can. It’s up to us to decide which tasks are important, which ones we can give to somebody else, and which ones we can set aside. And here’s the important part of this whole post – your dreams NEVER go in the “set it aside” bucket. Find time. Make time if you have to. But dreams always take a priority.

They may not take top priority, and you probably won’t find anybody else willing to do the work for you. They have dreams, too. But as long as you’re willing to let other priorities steal all your time, you’ll never do anything for yourself.

Working hard will get things done. But are you getting the right things done? A cemetery awaits us all. We may not be able to change the destination, but we can certainly choose the path. Make time for yourself. Make it count.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Everyone Has an Opinion – Some Are Just Better Than Others

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

It’s the last day of the month. Time for some know-it-all like me to pop in and ask if you’ve accomplished all your monthly goals. I haven’t. I’m just trying to live vicariously through you. I’m hoping at least one of your will send me a message telling me you did everything you set out to do so I can call you one or two bad names and then focus on outdoing you next month.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but isn’t that the way it feels sometimes? You do something good, something productive, and you’re afraid to tell anybody because you don’t want them to think you’re rubbing it in. It’s better to succeed in silence. Almost like an army advancing on a strategic target. The last thing you need is somebody else’s attention.

Besides, it’s fun to spring a surprise on people. “Hey, boss, remember that report you were looking for somebody to do? I saved you the trouble. It’s all done! Here, I even put your name on it!” Okay, there’s a difference between initiative and brown-nosing. We’ll talk about that some other time.

But what happens if you let the boss know you’re working on it before it’s actually done? “Hey, where’s that report you said you were working on? You know it’s due tomorrow!” It doesn’t matter that you’ve worked till midnight every day and will probably pull an all-nighter tonight. You’re no longer the hero coming in to save the day. You’re just another hurdle.

And that’s something at work that can get you noticed and maybe even set you up for a promotion. You want the recognition. What if you keep it to yourself and then, just as you’re about finished, you find out the boss quietly assigned it to his favorite protégé? You turn yours in a day early and the boss says, “Who told you to do this? Don’t you have other work to do?”

Well, is it any wonder we don’t let the cat out of the bag when we’re working on our dreams? Especially big ones. It’s okay to tell people you’re hoping to spend a week in Florida this winter. But tell people you’re looking to buy a vacation home on the beach, and let the games begin. “Seriously? With whose money? Planning on winning the lottery next week?”

It doesn’t even matter if you’ve got a plan. In fact, that makes it worse because now people know you’re serious. Now your mental stability is on the line. And we all know what happens if you share your plan. “Seriously? You fell for that? My cousin’s neighbor’s brother-in-law tried that. It doesn’t work!”

So, you keep it to yourself and silently plod along. You make mistakes, more than you might have, because there’s nobody to help avoid it. And the more of those mistakes you make, the more you’re convinced everybody else was right. You really aren’t cut out for success. Or maybe you are, but whatever you’re doing is just plain ludicrous. It’ll never work.

Those last three words have blocked more people from their dreams than you could ever imagine. “It’ll never work.” Never mind that other people have made it work, or that there are people out there with a track record of success who can help you over the rough spots. It’s easier to just quit while you’re ahead.

Except, you’re really not ahead, are you? That dream, that burning desire, is still there. You may have poured a little water on it and turned some of the smoke into steam, but it’s still there fighting to build back up and roar to life. But much like a fire, you can only water it down so many times before it dies completely.

And where are all those helpful friends who made you feel so bad in the first place?  “Aw, man, that’s really tough. But you had to know it wasn’t meant to be, right? Come on over and we’ll have a beer. Can you pick some up on your way?”

When friends hand you a bucket of water for your dreams, pour the water on them and find somebody with a little fire of their own. Hang around people with similar dreams, and maybe even a few who have already accomplished theirs. They’ll be just as willing to help as all those other people. The difference is, the help they give will steer you to succeed, not fail.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to succeed. You have to do most of the work, but the more successful people you have in your corner, the better your chances of success. Don’t work in silence, and don’t keep your dreams a secret. Share them with the right people and let all those others sit back in amazement.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Until You Take That First Step, It’s All Just a Dream

Good morning. It’s Friday!!! I hope your day is off to an awesome start.

It’s been a long week. I know, we established that fact yesterday, but I think it bears repeating. It’s been a really long week! Okay, it’s been four days. The same four days that precede every Friday. But there are times when you’re pretty sure somebody snuck in a couple of extras just for you. Okay, I’m done whining. For now.

On a brighter note, I’ve gotten up every morning this week to send out some words of inspiration. I had slipped into a habit of letting other things get in the way, and it feels good to have accomplished my goal for the week. That’s assuming I actually finish this post and send it out. But the first few words are always the hardest. After that, it gets easy.

It takes a lot more energy to get your car up to speed than it does to maintain that speed. Not that the arresting officer really cares about that, but it’s worth noting. For that matter, it takes more energy to start your car than it does to run it for the next several minutes. And I’m like a car. A really old car with a carburetor and manual choke. And leaded gas.

Work fascinates me. I can sit and stare at it for hours. I didn’t make that one up, but it sure seems to fit my personality sometimes. And thankfully, I have all kinds of other things to do instead. Productive things. You know, like surfing the internet, reading social media, watching TV, staring out the window. Or my personal favorite, planning the work. I do that a lot.

By the time the day is done, I can curl up in bed with a smug grin on my face, knowing I’ve stayed busy all day and truly deserve a night of uninterrupted sleep. Well, apparently my body knows the difference, because I haven’t had a night of uninterrupted sleep since 1982.

There’s nothing quite like setting a goal and achieving it. And, as we’ve discussed in the past, a goal is something that you, and you alone, can control. If the outcome depends on anybody else, it’s a dream. But dreams can be distilled into goals that, if we accomplish them religiously, can influence the outcome and stack the odds in your favor.

Like eating fried foods and chocolate. If your dream is to gain weight, all you have to do is set a goal of eating more junk. Voila! You win!!! On the other hand, if your desire is to be healthier and lose some weight, your goal may be to eat more fruits and vegetables. I know. Blech! There are pills that will help us lose weight. Can’t we mix them with chocolate? Don’t say it … I know.

But the problem with any goal is that you have to actually do something to achieve it. And, more often than not, you have to do two things – you have to do what you need to do and stop doing what you shouldn’t. Which is why you see people dipping strawberries in a fountain of milk chocolate. They got the first part right – just not the rest.

The first step is always the hardest. Whether it’s cleaning a room, chopping down trees, changing your diet, or starting a business, nothing happens until you put forth the effort. Once you get started, it’s easy to find distractions … oops!  I mean, it’s easy to keep going. Yes, distractions are everywhere. But if you stay focused on the objective, it’s not hard to finish.

I’m getting ready to take on a few very large projects. Some are a lot more enticing than others, but they all need to be done. I’ve thought about them, and I’ve planned them down to the last detail. There’s only one thing left to do – as a popular comedian often says, “Git ‘er done!”

Once you take that first step, the next one is that much easier. And the more progress you make, the more clearly you can see the end. That doesn’t mean another job just as big won’t be waiting for you. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Set a goal, find the time, and make it happen. Sometimes, just getting out of the chair is the hardest part. But once you get started, your focus changes and things get done. Like this post. I’m done. All it took was sitting at the keyboard and shutting off the internet. Do what needs to be done and stop doing the rest. Now my day can begin. Hopefully yours as well.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Is It Friday Yet???

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

You know how you go through the whole week thinking it’s a day later than it really is, and then you wake up on Tuesday realizing it’s not Friday? Okay, Monday was a long day. So were the others that followed. Today is Friday, right? Pleeeeze, somebody tell me it is!

Mom used to always say, “Stop wishing your life away!” Okay, that was usually when I’d make comments about wishing I was older or that Christmas would hurry up and get here. When you’re nine, those things are pretty important. Now? Not so much. Christmas comes fast enough, and I’d be thrilled if the aging thing would slow down a little.

It’s not that I mind getting older. I’m perfectly happy to have lived this long, and I hope to be a lot more wrinkled and gray before it’s all over. I’ve earned this. That’s not to say I deserve it, because I’ve been pretty hard on this body over the years. Every now and then it reminds me.

I’ve often said the closest I come to weightlifting is standing up after dinner – if I want to sweat, I’ll eat a plate of Buffalo wings or bend over and tie my shoes. The end result is pretty much the same. Yes, I say that tongue-in-cheek, because I know the damage I’ve done over the years. But you know, sometimes you have to laugh at yourself. Besides, it beats others to the punch.

Aging is a double-edged sword. It’s a badge of honor, proof that you escaped danger enough times to tack on a few more years. But it also comes with the realization that you may not have as much time left to do all the things you wanted. We talked about this yesterday, and I won’t go into that now, other than to say it’s a time of reckoning.

My grandson was telling his girlfriend the other night that I’ve had a picture of a motorhome on my desk for several years, as a reminder of my dream. He’s right. On that picture it says, “If not today, when?” It’s still there, even though we bought an RV earlier this year. It’s a daily reminder that the dream is only half-fulfilled. Now we need to hit the road.

My dad, who has spent 88 years managing finances from a safe and practical approach, shocked me when he said, “I’m glad you bought this now instead of waiting until you were too old to enjoy it.” I about fell over. But he made my point perfectly – there’s a certain age for all of us where we crest that hill, and things start to move downward. It’s just a fact of life.

I’m not there yet. I’ve still got plenty of good years left, or so I hope. But you never know when life will throw a knuckleball. You’re driving to work, and somebody takes your spot in the road. You get a hearing test and find out you need brain surgery. Your company closes. A pandemic strikes. The economy tumbles. Any of a thousand things that can instantly change your life.

And that’s when it hits you that you still had things you wanted to do. Odds are, you’re not done yet. But you may have to re-assess your capabilities and tailor your dreams to fit. And that, I think, is probably one of life’s greatest sorrows. Because you’ll always know if you’d just started sooner, you might have been able to do it all.

We can’t go back in time and start sooner. Today is today, and in a few short hours it’ll be gone. And sure, the opportunities you have today will probably still be there tomorrow. But every day we fail to capitalize on those opportunities is one less day we can enjoy the rewards. And it’s that much closer to the day we may no longer be able.

Aging is one of life’s greatest blessings. If we’re lucky, we reach that certain age having accomplished most of our goals. I can’t imagine much that would feel better than looking back over a lifetime of accomplishments, with just enough spark left inside to take it one step further.

Yes, life is passing by quickly enough. Instead of living for Friday, maybe we should make the most of the days leading up to it. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Make things happen today and you won’t have to wish you had later.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved