Sometimes, You’ve Just Gotta Bend the Rules

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

Have you ever had something you really wanted to do, and everybody tells you that you have to earn it first? You know, pay your dues and all that happy stuff? It’s like sitting down to dinner as a child, staring at the chocolate cream pie sitting in the middle of the table, just beyond the pile of steamed Brussels sprouts on your plate. That, my friends, is the definition of cruelty.

I tried pinching my nose, mixing them with mashed potatoes, and spitting them into a napkin. Okay, a paper towel. We weren’t a napkin-and-china kind of family. And believe me, Mom caught onto that one real fast. It was like she had some kind of magical powers, X-ray vision to see inside a crumpled-up paper towel. Or maybe she was doing the same thing herself.

No matter what we want, there’s a price to be paid. Ask anybody what that price is, and you’ll get pretty much the same answer, because they all asked the same question and got the same answer. It’s like some sort of conspiracy. “Let’s make them all think the only path to happiness is a life of toil and sacrifice!” Um … can I see what’s behind Door #2?

I was chatting with a friend about this very topic this morning. She said we’re supposed to work and save and sacrifice until we have at least $1 million in our retirement account before we can even think about enjoying what we’ve been working for. Those are the rules, and we’re not supposed to even challenge them. And she didn’t like the rules any better than I do.

But who made the rules? They certainly never consulted me. I could have given them a few suggestions that would have made their heads spin. But 117 years ago, a couple of brothers in Ohio had the insane notion that men could fly. Seems to me that one worked out pretty well. Sometimes, rules are made to be broken. Rules, not laws. Apparently there’s a difference.

All our lives, we’re told to get a good education, climb the corporate ladder, and save for retirement. And that’s a great plan, for some people. But it doesn’t work for everyone. After 13 years of school, I couldn’t think of going back for more. So, I joined the Navy, and spent the next two years in school. They pretty much insisted on it.

Then I tried my hand at climbing the corporate ladder. That’s when I learned one of life’s most valuable lessons. Some ladders are a lot shorter than others, and some people get to skip a few rungs along the way. Worst of all, most of us find at some point in our lives that we’ve been scrambling like crazy to climb a ladder that’s propped against the wrong wall.

So, what if we were to try something a little out of the ordinary? What if we were to build our own wall, burn the ladder, and put in an express elevator instead? Who says we can’t retire until we’re 65? Who says we have to have a million dollars in the bank first? Who says you can’t live the dream until your body makes more noise than your first car?

What if somebody had suggested an alternate plan, way back when we were younger. Sure, get a good job. But while you’re at it, build something else on the side, something that will continue to supply income long after you decide to retire? Would you have followed their advice? Have you already done that? Are you willing to try it now? Nothing like putting you on the spot.

No matter what the destination, there’s always more than one way to get there. If you stick to the same path everybody else is on, it’s a lot more crowded and you miss all the fun along the way. Sure, you’ll have to stick your neck out a little and take a few risks. But you may just get there sooner, before all the good spots fill up. Isn’t it worth a try?

There’s nothing wrong with getting a good education and building a career. But if you’re working for that day when somebody else tells you it’s okay to stop, you may be working a long, long time. And that’s okay if it’s what you want. But if you want something better, to live your dreams while you’re still young enough to enjoy them, you may have to buck the system.

A new year is beginning, and along with it, a new opportunity to shape your future. You can decide, right now, whether you’ll continue to climb that rickety old ladder or find a faster way to the top. I guess it all depends what’s waiting for you when you get there. If it’s important enough, you’ll find a way. It all starts with a dream and the audacity to achieve it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Sideline May Feel Safer, But It’s Pretty Hard to Score

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

Well, Christmas is behind us, and that means just a few more days of 2020. I don’t know of too many people who will shed any tears over the passing of this year. Tears of joy, maybe. You know, like when my wife handed me a brand-new guitar Christmas morning. I cried a little. So, there, I said it! My daughter is still in shock. She hasn’t blinked in three days.

Somebody shared a post Saturday that said, “It’s 364 days till Christmas, and my neighbor already has his outdoor lights up!” Yeah, I would be that neighbor. In fact, mine will likely be up until April, or until my grandson needs some cash, whichever comes first. I’m betting on him to win that race. In fact, he may come through before the end of the week.

Sure, it’s funny, but it’s something to think about. In a few short days, 2020 will be in the mirror and we’ll have 12 months to try and undo all the things we messed up this year. You know, so we can arrive at this point in 2021 and say, “Next year, it’s gonna be different!” Seems to me I said that a year ago. And a year before that, and a year before that, and … you get the picture.

And you know, I really can’t complain about my life to this point. I have a great job, a roof over my head, food on the table, and an RV for those times when we need an escape. My health is good, I can still crawl under the car and get back up, and, as of this moment, none of the bills are late. Of course, the new stack isn’t here yet. The Postal Service says they’re “in transit.”

There’s a meme making its rounds on social media, suggesting we should not openly declare that 2021 will be our year. Instead, we should sneak in quietly while nobody is looking, and just blend in with the wallpaper. That way, we can get through most of the year completely unnoticed. Because, you know, bad things never happen if you’re invisible.

That may be true to some extent, but in my experience, trouble seems to have no problem finding me, no matter how well I hide. It’s like sitting in the back of the classroom, hoping the teacher can’t see that far. But they can. And they all know the only reason we’re sitting in the back is because we weren’t prepared for class in the first place.

So, while we may escape a few of life’s challenges by fading into the background, we also shield ourselves from the very thing we do want – success. I don’t care who you are, there’s something you want that you don’t have today, material or non-material, and there’s a part of you that will never be completely fulfilled until you achieve it.

So, yeah, you can hide from 2021 and all the bad karma you think is waiting for anybody bold enough to stand up and say, “Enough of this! It’s my turn to win!” But, in doing so, you accept the very existence you were hoping to avoid. Maybe you’ll get through the year unscathed. But you’ll be sitting there a long time waiting for that winning lottery ticket to drop out of the sky.  

Never once have I seen an ad on TV for the local water plant. They don’t come looking for us, because they don’t have to. If you want to turn on the faucet and get water, you have to call them. Good fortune is pretty much the same. It doesn’t have to come looking for us, because there are enough other people already in line. If you want a piece of the action, you have to get in the game.

Will 2021 be “your” year? That’s up to you. But I can assure you, if you try to sneak in and find a seat in the back of the room, you’ll miss a good portion of what could have been in your future. Sure, some of it will be unpleasant. Some may even be catastrophic. But catastrophe seems to know where you are anyway. Doesn’t it make sense to stack the odds in your favor?

You have dreams and goals. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t. The question is, what will you do about them? Will you quietly take a seat in the back and hope good fortune comes looking for you, or will you go out and find it yourself?

Every new year is a new opportunity. It’s what we make of those opportunities that counts. Make 2021 the year that you won’t be denied. Reach for your dreams and don’t let anything stand in the way. Then let’s get together a year from today and see how we all made out.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can’t Make Excuses if the Right Person is Listening

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

For most of us, this is a busy time of year. Last-minute shopping, holiday baking, and those clandestine late-night missions to wrap gifts. Normally, telling my wife to stay out of the kitchen would be met with a resounding, “You got it!” But let me set a gift on the table and reach for a roll of wrapping paper, and it’s, “Who’s that for?” Damn.

Okay, if you truly believe I’ve wrapped a single gift so far, you don’t know me at all. It’s not even Christmas Eve! I’ll get to it. Of course, the wrapping job and amount of tape is a direct reflection on how much eggnog I’ve consumed to that point. I’ve never been great at wrapping, and when it comes to ribbon & bows, you might as well ask me to do a French braid.

For the record, I have no idea what a French braid is, but it sounds pretty complicated. All the more reason my granddaughter won’t let me practice on her hair. Odds are it would end up in a knot that won’t come out without scissors. And, since the last time I cut my wife’s hair, I have been expressly forbidden to attempt such a thing again.

Okay, a little back story.  At some point in the early 1980s, my wife wanted her hair shortened up a bit and asked if I could do it. Women’s haircuts were always more expensive, and money was tight. So, I picked up the scissors and went to work. It turned out beautifully. My mom even told me I’d missed my calling. Granted, it took two hours, but I was proud.

So, a few months later I tried again. Well, have you ever heard the term “beginner’s luck?” Yeah. Let’s just say that’s a very real phenomenon. Kinda like the first time I landed a small plane. But that second time can really put you in your place. Her hair ended up so short it took a year to grow back out, and no two strands were trimmed to the same length.

So, I don’t cut hair anymore. And, for the most part, I don’t wrap gifts. My youngest daughter usually does it for me. She’s a little, shall we say … rigid … when it comes to that. Okay, she’s a perfectionist. And that’s okay, because she lives up to the name. All I have to do is put a finger on the ribbon as she ties the bow. I can do that with my eyes closed!

But you know, there are things we do well and other things we’re better off leaving to somebody else. I cook pretty well, but my wife runs circles around me when it comes to baking. She can cross-stitch, and I can build a frame. I can fix cars, and she can tell me every little noise it makes afterward. I can mutter under my breath when she does, and she can hear every word.

That’s why we make such a good team. What one can’t do, the other can. We both know that, which is why we don’t make too many excuses. She can say “BS” just as easily as I can. And that’s okay. Sometimes we all need an accountability partner to keep us in line. Somebody who knows just enough about what we’re doing to call us out when we do it wrong or not at all.

That’s something my business mentors are always preaching – get an accountability partner. If you never share your dreams and don’t tell anybody your goals, then nobody can call you out when you don’t achieve any of them. Here’s a little tip … if you want to lose weight, don’t tell anybody who can see every morsel of food you put in your mouth.

On the other hand, if you’re serious about losing weight, then sharing that goal is one of the best things you can do. The same is true of just about anything worthwhile. My business isn’t one that runs itself (go figure). I have to actually do certain things to keep it running and help it grow. But without an accountability partner, it’s easy to get lazy.

Whatever it is you’re trying to do, success is a lot more likely if you have somebody watching over your shoulder. And maybe that somebody can be you. If so, you’re one of the fortunate few. The rest of us need somebody else. Somebody we trust, who’s empowered to say something when we slack off. And preferably, somebody with a vested interest in our success.

How we got from wrapping gifts to accountability partners is beyond me, but that’s how my brain works some days. The point is, set goals and then share them with somebody who will help keep you on track. It may not guarantee success, but it’ll certainly improve your odds.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who Invited Murphy???

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

It was another busy weekend. I spent three hours Saturday doing what would have taken a normal person an hour – wiring the taillights on our car so they work with the RV’s lights. It’s simple. Pop out the taillights, connect the new harness, and put everything back in place. Oh, and then you have to run the wires to the front of the car. That’s when Murphy stopped by.

For those who don’t know, I’m referring to Murphy’s Law, which simply states that whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the absolute worst time. Anybody who has ever picked up a screwdriver has met Murphy. I know him on a first-name basis, but I can’t print that here. It’s Christmas week, and I’m sure Santa Claus is watching.

Yesterday I brought the RV home and hooked it all up. The good news is all the lights did exactly what they’re supposed to do. I guess there is at least some value in reading the instructions. On the other hand, when I went to connect the towbar I found out the hitch on the RV is a lot higher than I thought it was. Luckily, they make adapters for that. Really expensive ones.

Once this part comes in, I should be ready to hook everything up and go for a test spin. Yes, I’m planning to test it before we hit the road. Have you forgotten about Murphy already? And if there’s one thing Murphy loves, it’s a brand-new car and owner-installed modifications that aren’t covered under warranty. “It was that way when I bought it!” Nice try.

Not like it matters anyway. If you take a car in for warranty work and it’s something the service tech can’t see with the naked eye, the answer is the same … “They all do that.” Really? Because I’ve owned a lot of cars and this is the first time the steering wheel has fallen off in my lap! Extreme, but you get the idea. Either way, it’s your fault and stupidity isn’t a covered repair.

Yes, Murphy is like the devil himself – he’s everywhere all at once, just waiting for the chance to mess things up. And they team up. Any time the devil wants me to say bad words, Murphy says, “Hold my beer.” On the other hand, it is a good way to keep the neighbor kids in their own yard. Nobody under the age of 16 is allowed outside when Dave’s working on the car.

I think it was Mark Twain who said that at certain times, profanity provide a relief denied even to prayer. I’m pretty sure he worked on a car once or twice. He’s also the one who said we never really learn to swear until we learn to drive. So, it’s not bad manners or upbringing or embracing our inner heathen. It’s cars. Get rid of the cars and we’ll all live in harmony.

But you know, things will sometimes go wrong. Not because you deserve it, or the gods are against you, or you bit off more than you can chew. It’s because any time we do anything, there’s an inherent probability that it won’t go exactly according to plan. Airlines don’t tell you that as you’re boarding the plane. There’s a reason why.

That’s why planes have so many redundant systems. We anticipate problems and have a backup plan just in case. I’m sure most pilots never leave the ground without a pretty good feeling about getting safely to their destination. If something goes wrong, they flip a switch and keep going. After they say something you’re not allowed to hear. Murphy talks to them, too.

As you launch any venture, you have to accept the possibility of setbacks. Things will break, prospects will hang up, and the probability of mistakes is directly proportional to the amount of money you can’t afford to waste. That’s all part of it. But if we turned back at the first sign of trouble, we’d never accomplish anything. This isn’t a Sunday drive – it’s a quest.

Murphy has been there all through your life. He was there when you first tried to sit up, he was there when you learned to walk, and he was there two days ago when I tried to route four wires to the front of my car. Murphy will always have something to say, but we have the final vote. As long as we stay focused on the goal, success is inevitable.

The greater your goal, the more obstacles you’ll encounter. Some are more prominent than others, but only you can decide the extent to which they stand in your way. Don’t let Murphy steal your dreams. Once you reach your destination, none of those bumps will matter anyway.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Easier to Win With 4 Railroads Than a Boardwalk Hotel

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

In two weeks, this year will finally be over. Now I know how it must feel for a prisoner to enter his final stretch behind bars. Except, for most of us, 2021 will pick up pretty much where 2020 leaves off. It’s like leaving work on Thursday after a really tough week. You know something good is on the horizon, but the last thing the boss says is, “See you tomorrow!” Damn.

Okay, I guess waking up on January 1 and realizing you still have a job is probably nothing to complain about. It sure beats the alternative. But let’s be honest. This year has been like living in a Stephen King novel and when you finally reach the end, you find out he’s written a sequel.

Yes, January will look a lot like December, except every check we write will be dated with the wrong year. Normally the gym would be loaded with overweight people in brand-new workout attire, but I have a feeling even that will be missing this year. At least we have an excuse. I mean, can you imagine wearing a mask on a treadmill?

Yes, I know – people in the gym don’t have to wear a mask. All the more reason to stay away. Just following doctor’s orders. And yes, I know, I could walk around the block a dozen times instead. But there’s white stuff on the ground, and it doesn’t appear to be melting nearly as fast as I’d hoped. And what’s under that white stuff gets harder with every passing year. Boom!

Still, January is a time of rejuvenation. It’s a new year, we have new goals, and a fresh outlook on the promise of a much better year. We set goals and refer to them as resolutions, but they’re mostly just pipe dreams. Oh, we mean well … we just don’t give enough thought up front to what it’ll take to achieve them. It’s like biting into a jawbreaker. The really sour kind.

Our goals for the new year usually fall into a few predictable categories – improved health, a more pleasant persona, and getting out of debt. With few exceptions, our hopes for the new year usually fall somewhere into one of those realms. You’d think after a few years we’d have the follow-through perfected. But most of us never get beyond the starting gate.

Part of the problem is that, in our quest for instant results, we set unattainable goals and then try to buck the system to accomplish them. My doctor keeps telling me to set a goal of losing 1-2 pounds per week. Seriously??? At that rate it’ll take the better part of two years! I’m lucky to dream up this year’s resolutions, but making plans a year in advance? Give me a break!

So, we set about looking for shortcuts to achieve our goals faster and, in the process, we just sit here spinning our wheels until early February when we run out of gas and go back to what we’d been doing. “I’ll pay off these bills in no time! I’ll walk to work, shut off the cable, pack a sandwich every day, and quadruple the payment on my credit cards! It’ll work!”

We can even do the math to prove it. Just like that 30-pound weight loss every month. A pound a day … that’s not so much! And, really, it isn’t. For a day or two. But beyond a few days, it’s neither healthy nor sustainable. The same is true of most things we’d like to accomplish. Fast & furious is a great way to crash and burn. Sometimes we have to slow down to speed up.

Put a plan in place, one that builds on a solid foundation and achieves measurable but moderate goals every week. No matter how much money you make, you could easily double that in the coming year. That part is easy. It’s the willingness to start small and build that gets in the way. We want results, and we want them NOW!

Friends, 2021 could be the year you break out and set yourself on a path of achieving your most treasured dreams. But the rules have changed, and you have to play within those rules to win. You can’t do it the way you would have last year, or even at the start of this year. You have to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

As I said yesterday, our world has changed and we’re not going back. You have to adapt to the present if you want to succeed in the future. Our dreams may be the same, but the means of achieving them are different. Open your mind, set attainable goals, and work with 2021 instead of against it. How do you achieve huge success? One small win at a time.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can’t Make Mistakes Unless You Try

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

Well, if you read yesterday’s post about the work I did on our new car, I’m pleased to report that my wife drove it all the way to the grocery store and back, and almost everything is working the way it was before. Almost. Okay, a couple of red lights are on. Something about sensors being blocked. Aw, c’mon! It’s just sensors! Besides, at least we know the lights work.

Yes, I’ll have to take a look at that. I’m sure we missed a connector somewhere. That’s minor compared to the first problem she reported. Seems the car wanted to just take off and go all on its own. Like really fast. Apparently, somebody installed the floor mat on top of the accelerator. Somebody who looks a lot like me. At this point, I’m not sure she trusts me to put gas in it.

Okay, so things didn’t go exactly according to plan. That’s par for the course, even if you’re an expert, which I’m not. It’s a little scarier when it comes to a car not slowing down like it’s supposed to. On the other hand, we know the brakes still work. That’s the part I actually messed with. Okay, that and the entire front frame of the car. But let’s not go there.

I’ve often said the only people in this world who never make mistakes are the ones who never do anything in the first place. Okay, I usually say that when I’m the one who made the mistake, but you get the point. If you try, anything at all, sooner or later you’ll screw something up. That’s inevitable. The best we can hope for is to minimize the damage and do better next time.

Now, I know what you folks are thinking. Why did I work on the car, but my wife was the first one to get behind the wheel and give it a test drive? Because sometimes you’re the one who packs the parachute, and sometimes you’re the one who uses it. I don’t know! We finished late, I was tired, my back hurt, and I never took it for a spin. So, shoot me.

It’s a lesson I learned years ago. Test your work. Don’t put away the tools until you know the job was done right. It not only gives you peace of mind, but there’s something a little gratifying about hitting the brakes and the car actually stops. Especially when there’s a bag of “extra” hardware in the console between the seats. Don’t ask.

The point is, we all make mistakes. I could easily have blamed the floor mat installation on my son-in-law, but I’m pretty sure that one was my fault. It’s certainly not the first mistake I’ve ever made, and if I live to see dinnertime, I’m sure it won’t be the last. On the other hand, one more mistake like that and I may not live long beyond dinnertime. But that’s another story.

What’s important is that we raise our hand, own up to the blunder, and move on. It’s really hard to argue with somebody who says, “I did that – it was my fault.” Oh, you may still have a few choice words, but arguments tend to stop when both sides agree. And with that out of the way, you can focus on the root cause, make corrections, and move forward.

Because that’s the ultimate goal, no matter what went wrong – moving forward. There was something you were driving toward in the first place, a goal or dream, or maybe just a trip to the grocery store. Something got in the way. Are you going to let that ruin your day and bring your plans to a grinding halt? Or are you going to fix what’s broken and keep going?

Fixing a problem begins with acknowledging its existence, and the role we played in its evolution. We can point fingers all day, and others may very well share some of the blame. But until we look in the mirror and fix the only person we truly can fix, the problem will never go away.

I got lucky on this one. Fixing the floormat was easy and, as it turns out, those warning lights were just system alerts triggered by cold weather and a fogged-up windshield. Nobody got hurt, and we’re ready to continue the adventure. A month from now, we won’t even remember this. Well, I won’t.

Mistakes will be made. Some will be a lot bigger than others, but most are easily corrected if we just take ownership of what went wrong and continue moving forward. Success is what happens when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. Blame never solved anything. Get up, dust yourself off, and take a bow. Whatever mistakes you’ve made, they won’t be your last.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Invest Your Time Wisely and You’ll Have More to Spend Later

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

I’d ask what you’ve got planned for the weekend, but I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of shopping, cleaning, and laundry. Or, what the boss affectionately refers to as “rest.” I’ve never quite understood that. We work all week so we can take two days off and work even harder? I think somebody’s been spiking the Kool Aid.

I try to do laundry during the week. I work in the basement anyway, so it’s not really any extra trouble. Yes, I said that out loud, with full knowledge that my wife may actually read this. That’s okay. She cooks and vacuums and sprays air freshener every time I walk through the room. I’m beginning to think that has something to do with me.

I don’t see how single people do it. I mean, yeah … there’s only one person making a mess so there’s only one person to clean up after. Half the people, half the mess, right? Wrong! That logic completely overlooks the dust that collects on every surface, upside-down or right side-up. I get how dust settles on tables and shelves. But how does it “settle” on the bottom of the bed?

And while we’re at it, how do windows get dirty when nobody is touching them? My grandkids leave fingerprints now and then, and the cat licks the front door glass. Don’t get me started on that one. But I’m talking about places they can’t reach. Places I can’t even reach. I think it’s the residue from all that air freshener.

Okay, I have absolutely no idea where I’m going with this. My weekend will largely consist of ordering components to attach to the new car so we can tow it behind the RV. Which means taking a set of tools to a brand-new car to install those components. Those tools include a drill and a saw. Don’t ask. My wife isn’t allowed to be home while I do that.

Don’t get me wrong. She knows I can do the work. I’ve done a lot of work on our cars over the years, and never once has she actually hit anything as a result. Still, there’s something about hitching a brand-new car to the RV using brackets that I installed at home, and then dragging it halfway across the country. Hopefully, “dragging” is a metaphor. That could be bad.

So, there’s a really busy weekend in my future. The instructions say it’ll take three hours. That’s three hours for a body shop mechanic with a lift that goes up and down on a whim, and a chest full of air tools that never break. For me, it’s six days. I learned my lesson when I decided to do a bathroom remodel “over the weekend.” That was ten years ago, and it’s still not done.

Thankfully I have another car out front that I can drive to the hardware store fourteen times while the new car is strewn across the driveway in pieces that will inevitably get stepped on or lost. And I’ll end up buying a whole new set of tools by the time it’s finished, one tool at a time. Over the years I’ve collected enough tools to build a space shuttle. I just can’t find them.

I remember announcing a few years ago that I’d never crawl under a car again. Then I saw the estimate to have this done professionally, and that sentiment went right out the window. Besides, there’s something to be said for knowing how it was done. You know, in case I ever need to go back later and fix what wasn’t done right the first time. Like that ever happens.

I’ve had a little fun with this, but you get the idea. Sometimes, a job is the reprieve we get from all that resting the boss thinks we do every weekend. Unless you’re independently wealthy, keeping up a home and car takes work. And even with your best effort, something will come along and mess things up when you need it the least. That’s life.

All we can hope for is to keep the major chores to a minimum and maintain as we go. Yes, maintenance takes time. But it takes less time to polish than it takes to refinish. Mopping is easier than scrubbing, and oil changes are easier than rebuilding an engine. Sure, it’s still work. But it’s less work. And all that extra work gives you more time down the road.

More time for what? Well, hopefully there are some things you’d like to do for yourself. You have goals and dreams, right? But you never have time to do anything about it? Well, now you do. Put in a little extra effort today so you’ll have a little more time tomorrow. Then spend that time on yourself. You’re the one who earned it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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