The Success You Achieve Is Never Less Than You Expect

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

Yesterday I worked from home. It’s a benefit that’s available in my job, one that I rarely take advantage of, but it’s nice to have the option. No traffic, dress any way I want, and lunch is only a few steps away. Besides, it gave me the option to cook breakfast for my little ones. That’s always a special treat for them. Times like this go by fast and you can never have them back.

I guess that’s what it feels like to be retired. Okay, aside from that part about going downstairs to the office to work all day. I know people who retired early, some in their thirties. That doesn’t mean they stopped working completely. Just that they stopped working at a job that requires their physical presence every day and found something that offered a little more freedom.

And make no mistake, these people are earning much more money than most of us will ever dream of, simply because they were willing to do something most people won’t. I’m sure they put up with their fair share of ridicule and doubt. I’m sure there were days when they wondered if all that extra work would ever pay off. But it did, and because of that, they have choices most of us will never have.

In yesterday’s post, I touched on two important premises. First, the notion that success occurs when our dreams become bigger than our excuses. Dreams give us something to work for, a goal to achieve. They make us get out of bed a little earlier and work a little later. Excuses are simply a free pass for not doing the things we need to do. Except they’re not really free – they end up costing a lot.

The second premise I touched on was the habit of success. This is something we’ve talked about before, and you’ll probably hear more about it over the coming year because somebody we all know is writing a book about it. It’s simply the idea that small successes, repeated over and over, build a mindset that can no longer see the potential for failure. It can only visualize success.

Thomas Edison tried hundreds of different designs before he developed a practical, working light bulb. Others were able to produce light, but only for a few seconds before the filament burned out. At some point, they all gave up. Instead of building the habit of success, they gave in to failure. Edison continued, and we all know how that turned out.

What drives a person to keep trying in the face of so many failed attempts? It’s simple. He didn’t see any of those early attempts as failures, because each time he learned a valuable lesson – he learned what doesn’t work. And if you keep eliminating all the different things that won’t work, you eventually reach a point where all that’s left is what WILL work.

Commitment is an absolute requirement in building the habit of success. You have to know, from the very start, that nothing will keep you from reaching your desired goals. That doesn’t mean nothing will go wrong, or that obstacles won’t stand in the way. It simply means you won’t allow those things to keep you from doing what you set out to do. You will succeed, no matter what.

Belief is another important factor. Would you set out on a trip across the country if you had no confidence in your ability to complete the trip? Probably not. The expectation of failure is enough to keep most of us from ever embarking on a new venture. And the stronger that expectation is, the less likely we are to even consider it.

But when success is the expected outcome, we’re not so reluctant to try. And the stronger our expectation of success, the more determined we become. We dodge the potholes, ease our way across speed bumps, and roadblocks simply put us on a different path that may prove to be more enjoyable than the one we’re on. The obstacles are the same. All that changes is our reaction to them.

And that reaction is driven by one thing – the expectation of success. When you succeed at everything you do, you expect to succeed at anything you do. Give that some time to sink in. It’s important. When you can look back at a track record of success, no matter how minor, you begin to expect success in everything you do.

We all have that track record of success. You learned to walk. You learned to talk. You learned to read and write and master the multiplication tables. Arriving at work on time is a success. Every job you complete during the day is a success. And the more we focus on those successes, the less we think about failure.

There is nothing you can’t accomplish if you commit yourself to a goal and believe in the outcome. Build the habit of success and nothing will ever stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Begins With a Dream, But Habits Drive the Outcome

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

By lunchtime today, the week will be half over. That means you can celebrate the halfway point of all those things you wanted to do this week. You’re getting close, and the rest is just a downhill slide. By this time Friday, you’ll be looking at a short list of things to finish before you reach your goal. And they all lived happily ever after.

If it’s only that last sentence that sounds like a fairy tale, congratulations. You’re among the fortunate few. For the rest of us, everything in that paragraph has the makings of a fairy tale, including the part about the week being half over. We all know better. The week will continue through the weekend, and we’re nowhere close to being halfway to our goals for the week. We’re lucky if we even started.

If that’s your version of reality, you’re in good company. I’m sure there are statistics on this, but I don’t really feel like looking them up because they’d be pretty dismal. I’d venture to say most of us miss our goals on a fairly regular basis. Yet we get up each day, breathe in and out, and life goes on. In fact, after a while, missing goals becomes just a normal part of life. It just becomes a habit.

Now, I guess if you never set any goals in the first place, you wouldn’t have any reason to hang your head. You can’t miss the target if you never take the shot. And for some people, that’s their built-in defense mechanism against disappointment. “I know I’ll never accomplish that. Why make myself feel like even more of a failure? I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing. It’s not that bad.”

And, therein lies the problem – “it’s not that bad.” We not only allow ourselves to get comfortable with our current circumstances and convince ourselves we’re happy about it. We may have distant visions of a better life, and we may even dream a little. But what if, in the process of trying to build something better, we lose what we’ve got? “Things aren’t so bad. Don’t rock the boat.”

It’s all a matter of habit – something to which we’ve become completely accustomed to the point that we don’t even think about it. Everything from what time we get up each day to how we comb our hair, brush our teeth, and even the order of body parts that get washed first in a shower, is habit. You do the same thing the same way every day, and it becomes a normal part of life.

The same is true of our circumstances. We may think they’re controlled by external forces, like our family heritage, our neighbors, our co-workers, and most of all, the company payroll clerk. “If only I had more money, I could change this!” “If only they’d give me that promotion.” “If only I’d been born into a wealthy family.” “If only …” Yeah, fill in the blanks. The end result is pretty much the same.

Because, at the end of the day, it’s just an excuse for not doing anything to change our circumstances. It’s a habit. It allows us, at least in our own mind, to place the blame on some other person, thing, or event. “It isn’t my fault!” Well, okay. If that makes you sleep better at night, hang onto those excuses. But make no mistake, life won’t suddenly change just because it feels sorry for you.

It’s one thing to be content with your life. That’s a goal we should all strive to achieve. But being content doesn’t mean we can’t want something even better. It doesn’t mean we can’t set an even stronger example for our children. And it doesn’t mean we can’t get up each day and try a little harder to achieve even more in life. Being content isn’t living – it’s just a comfortable path to the end.

And it all comes back to habits. Are you in the habit of setting goals or avoiding them? Are you in the habit of working toward those goals or sitting there thinking about it? Are you in the habit of accepting accountability for your circumstances or making excuses? The answer to each of those questions feeds into another important habit – the habit of success.

Yes, success can become a habit, one that consistently leads us to bigger and better things. And it’s a habit every one of us can develop the same as we developed the habit of going to work. Success begins with a dream. It means setting aside those feelings of comfort and contentment and working toward something better. And it means doing that every day until we reach our goal. It’s a habit.

It’s been said that success occurs when our dreams are bigger than our excuses. Embrace your dreams and step over those excuses. Leave them behind for the next person. You’ve got bigger and better things to do.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Never Too Old to Dream

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

I was chatting with some friends last night and, as often happens with this group, our conversation drifted to the topic of dreams. Not in the sense you might think, with a roomful of people sitting around a table, eyes aglow as each described their greatest goal in life. But in the sense of growing older and a common sentiment that, as we continue to age, we hope we never stop dreaming.

That conversation started as we shared stories of our own parents, and even ourselves, in which the fire just kind of died out over the years. Not completely, at least in our own instances, because we all still have dreams we’re working toward. But sometimes the dream can be as simple as not allowing age and all its associated challenges to get in the way of living.

I know, for my wife and I, we just don’t go out anymore. We don’t visit friends, we don’t invite friends to visit us, we don’t get together with others for a Saturday outing or go out for a night of dinner, drinks, and music – all things we used to enjoy, but somehow over the years they just faded into the background. Now, we pretty much sit around the house. Real party animals, huh?

And, looking back, I can’t really put my finger on a point in life when that changed. But if I had to take a guess, it would be 1988, when I got out of the Navy and we moved back home. That’s 31 years for anyone who’s already run out of fingers and toes to add it up. I can’t recall a time since then when we’ve done much of anything outside the home except shop and take the occasional vacation.

Now, to some people, that sounds like Heaven on earth. I get it. We’re not all wired the same way, and we all have different interests. But in our case, and I think I’m speaking for both of us, we miss it. We would desperately love to get out and do more, just for the fun of being around friends. But when you allow yourself to stop enjoying that side of life for so long, you begin to forget how.

My mother-in-law was one of those people who could make friends anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. I remember one time walking down a street past a historic home where the owners were sitting on the porch enjoying a beautiful day. She said hi, they said hi, one thing led to another, and the next thing I knew they were offering to give us a tour of their home. Wow.

So, how does that fit into the topic of dreams? Well, Jane always imagined a more affluent life and all the things that go along with it – possessions, friends, entertaining, you name it. And, for her, touring the home of somebody who was enjoying that lifestyle would somehow satisfy her own dream. She could live vicariously through others and did so for most of her life.

We all have dreams. Yet, much as my wife and I somehow put a lid on our socialization skills, people tend to shut down those dreams as they get older. Or, maybe the dreams don’t really go away – they just change. At the age of 90, a bigger house probably isn’t as important as the ability to step outside and take a walk. At that age, I imagine most people’s dreams involve their dreams for others.

Make no mistake – there are things I want in life and experiences I want to enjoy. But, as I get closer to the age of retirement, my dreams are more focused on what I want for my daughters and grandchildren. When I look at new opportunities today, I don’t think so much of how they could benefit me as how they could benefit my family. As Dad would say, that’s just part of growing up.

It’s easy to look at things as we get older and think, “That really wouldn’t interest me.” But let me ask you a question – if somebody had presented you with that same vision thirty or forty years ago, would you have been grateful for the opportunity? Is it something you may have acted upon? Could it have changed the course of your life, and possibly led you closer to where you’d like to be today?

And you know, as we look at these things through the eyes of those we care about the most, we sometimes get our second (or third) wind and think, “I’m not that old – why can’t I do that?” Few things make me smile quicker than the image of old folks with white hair boogie-boarding or skydiving. These are people who never stopped dreaming. These are people who live. These are the people I want to be. How about you?

That’s all for now. Keep those dreams alive and have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

We Value Ourselves as We Value Others – Think Big!

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

I slept a little later than normal today. It happens, especially when you don’t use an alarm clock. I haven’t used one in the past 20 years. Which is probably no big deal, because I never woke up to one before that. I was late for everything. But two days after I stopped smoking, I started waking up all on my own, and early. Real early. There’s something to be said for the ability to exchange oxygen.

But that’s a topic for another day. Today I want to continue with some of what we’ve been talking about this week – this idea that we all deserve the success we desire. Dreams are where it all begins, and dreams are often where it all ends. There’s a whole cemetery full of unfulfilled dreams, and it lives within the minds of everyone who ever let one of their dreams die.

To be fair, some dreams need to die. Some things we want may not be in our own best interest, or in the best interest of those we care about. Some can be downright destructive. And others may seem attractive on the surface, but the more we think about them, the more we realize it’s probably not what we really want. So, it’s no great loss when those dreams fade away.

But the greatest obstacle to achieving our dreams isn’t money, or skills, or even just plain luck. We can earn more money, build more skills, and change our own luck. But it’s hard to do any of those things with that nagging voice in your head that says you’ll never attain your goal because you don’t deserve it.

This is often the result of mistakes of the past, or even choices we made over the years that have led us to where we are now. I never went to college. I got my technical training in the Navy. But when I look at all the successful people around me, most of them have an advanced degree. So, what makes me think I deserve their level of success?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years. Most weren’t simple mistakes – they were just bad choices. Things I did with the best of intent, but knowing deep down it wasn’t the best thing to do at that point in my life. And we paid the price for those mistakes. One bankruptcy, two foreclosures, a failed business, and all the heartache that goes with it. Why do I deserve anything better?

It all begins with how we perceive our own value, and that begins with how we perceive those around us. If I look down my nose at everybody who’s ever suffered financial loss, who have lived in poverty most of their life and keep making the same mistakes, my perception of those people becomes my perception of myself. It’s like that big mirror just keeps popping up every time I form an opinion.

That’s one of the reasons I scrubbed my social media “friends” list a couple of years ago. It wasn’t so much that I got tired of all the negativity, politics, and downright despicable comments from others. I got tired of how it was affecting me. Because every time I caught myself thinking any negative thoughts, I automatically associated myself with my opinion of those other people.

The first step in improving our opinion of ourselves is improving our opinion of those around us. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything they say and do. It doesn’t even mean we need to like them. But unless we value others, we can never value ourselves. And valuing ourselves is the foundation of knowing we deserve something better.

You probably wouldn’t pack your golf clubs and drive three days to reach an exclusive members-only country club, knowing the whole time you don’t qualify for membership and couldn’t afford it even if you did. It’s that way when we begin chasing a goal that would elevate us to a level we’re not sure we deserve. Maybe we should just be content to stay right where we are and make the most of it.

If you’re happy where you are right now, that’s okay. Nobody says you have to change a thing. But make no mistake – whatever level of success you’d like to achieve in life, you deserve it. Don’t worry about the past. You can’t change it, and we’ve all made mistakes. But you can change your future. The success you deserve tomorrow begins with what you do today.

You are a person of unmeasurable value. You have gifts to share with this world that you may not have even discovered. And you deserve the best this world has to offer. It all begins with how much you value yourself and others. Because, when you can reconcile in your mind that anybody else is deserving of success, you automatically put yourself in the same category.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Lies Just Beyond Your Comfort Zone

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

When was the last time you tried something completely new? Maybe it was something creative, like knitting or woodworking. It could have been something as complex as learning to write software code, or as simple as using a new cell phone. Okay, that last one isn’t always so simple. But you get the idea. We try new things all the time. And rarely are we as good at the outset as we’d like to be.

I remember learning to drive. It’s one of the simplest things we do – in fact, judging by some people on the road, it takes no brains at all. But in the beginning, it wasn’t so easy. And for those like me who had to learn in a car with a manual transmission, just getting the car to go uphill from a dead stop was nothing short of a miracle. But we learned. And all these years later, it’s second nature.

I talk a lot about goals and dreams. There’s a reason why. Unless you’ve already accomplished everything you want in life, you have goals. They may not be in writing, and they may not even be all that well defined. But to accomplish anything new means to set a goal and work toward it.

To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Those of you who have been with me a while have heard that before. It’s one of my favorite quotes, originally attributed to Thomas Jefferson. And if you think about it, there are really no exceptions to that rule. You can’t move ahead without breaking new ground.

The problem with breaking new ground, much like learning how to drive a car with a manual transmission, is that the first few times out can pretty well suck. You dump the clutch and stall the engine. You let it out too slow and roll backward. You hit the brakes in a panic and stall the engine. You miss gears, grind gears, and at least once you accidentally try to shift into reverse.

It’s all part of the learning process. And getting the car rolling is the hardest part, because once you have momentum on your side, it’s easy to shift into the next gear. Eventually I got good. Good enough, in fact, that I learned to drive a 13-speed semi. I could even parallel park that rig between two other trucks. There’s another driving lesson we’d like to forget.

What stops us from moving toward our goals usually isn’t a reluctance to actually do the work. We know the reward is worth the effort. It’s the realization that we have to try something new. Maybe we’ve done something similar, but that hasn’t led us to our goal on its own. So, we have to do something we’ve never done before. And that can be scary.

Back in the 1980s, I wanted to learn woodworking. I picked up a little saw and a piece of pine and made a paper towel rack. That came out pretty decent, so I made a spice rack. That one was a little more complicated but came out a lot better. And with each successive attempt, I got better. Finally, I learned to build clocks and furniture. Was it worth the effort? Absolutely.

That’s not to say I didn’t have to throw some pieces in the trash and start over. And there’s nothing like finishing what you think is a masterpiece, only to watch the joints separate the first time the weather changes. You make mistakes, and you learn not to repeat them. Eventually, I got a job building furnishings for world-class yachts. It just took time, practice, and a lot of patience.

In any worthwhile pursuit, you’ll have to try new things. Because the fact is, if what you’ve been doing all along hasn’t led you to your goal, it’s never going to. We all know the old saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If we want things to change, we have to do something different. We have to be willing to learn. And we have to be willing to make a few mistakes.

Sometimes, that “something different” is so different you can’t even imagine yourself doing it. It’s never been your thing, and it would stretch your comfort zone beyond anything you’ve ever experienced. Good. That’s what it takes. Your comfort zone has led you right to where you are today, and it’ll never take you any further. But if you give it a little tug, it’ll stretch. Trust me.

Even Beethoven once struggled to play Chopsticks. If there’s something you want to accomplish, all that’s standing in your way is that comfort zone. Set it aside and be willing to fail. Each time you do, you’ll get better and better until success is simply a matter of making the decision to try.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Thoughts Are Just Words – We Dream in Pictures

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

I’ve missed you folks. I spent last week visiting my dad in what was supposed to be sunny Florida (more on that later). Normally I’d get up each morning on vacation and hammer out a few words, but this time I just let the vacation consume me every day. I guess I needed it. I hope you don’t mind.

It was nice getting away for a few days. I grew up in south Florida and, even though we weren’t quite so far south, there’s something to be said for palm trees and sunny days. And, though the sun did shine at least part of the time every day, afternoons were all about rain. It may have put a damper on my plans, but according to my dad they needed it. Old folks tend to think that way, you know?

We did get to the beach once. I succeeded in getting us lost on the way over, which is completely unacceptable to me. I should be able to smell salt air from a distance of fifty miles, but my sniffer let me down this time. By the time we got there, the clouds had caught onto our plans. We made it to one souvenir shop before the skies opened up.

But it was still enough to rekindle the dream. After a visit to the beach a few years ago, I told my wife we shouldn’t have done that because now I know how badly I’ve missed it and I want it back. We both grew up in south Florida, less than ten miles from the beach. It has a way of getting into your very soul, and it’s something that, no matter how far away you live, it never really goes away.

And that’s a good thing. Sometimes we forget how much something truly means to us, and we need that reminder. The smell of salt in the air, the warmth of the sun on your face, listening to the waves crash on the beach – if my preacher is even halfway right about the beauty of Heaven, it’s got one big, magnificent beach. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

And, in putting ourselves in those places, we not only remember how much we once enjoyed it, we allow ourselves to imagine having it back. Dreams are what drive us to do bigger and better things, to step outside the day-to-day routine and work for something better. And nothing feeds a dream like actually putting yourself in it – rain or shine, the effect is pretty much the same.

Another thing we learned on this trip is that, even though hotels can be pretty comfortable, there’s something to be said for knowing where you’ll sleep each night and having all the creature comforts close at hand. And I’m pretty sure the view through the mountains is even better through an 8-foot windshield. Our plans for buying a motorhome are that much closer to reality, simply from allowing ourselves to dream.

But dreaming alone isn’t always enough. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to experience the reality of attaining your dream. If it’s a bigger house you want, go on a home tour or visit some open houses. If it’s a fancy car, boat, or RV, go to a car, boat, or RV show. Sit in the driver’s seat. You’ll immediately feel the lure of the open road.

And, if all else fails, find some pictures of whatever it is you want. Thoughts are fluid, and we can dream up pretty much anything we want. But thoughts evaporate as quickly as they materialize. Pictures hang around as long as the tape holds up. And when that picture is right in front of you every day, it’s easier to solidify it in your mind.

There’s a reason you can get free brochures for just about anything you could ever want. The people who create and sell those things know one important fact about consumers that we sometimes forget – we think in pictures. There’s a reason you don’t hear many ads for resort vacations on the radio. The words may provoke thought, but it’s the pictures that drive you to action.

Make a list of your dreams and put it someplace where you can see it every day. Then start finding pictures. And don’t get too hung up on the “perfect” picture, because you may overlook a lot of even more perfect pictures along the way. Allow your mind to wander. And if you find something you like better, add it to the list. Voila!

It’s easy to focus on our current reality. It’s there every day, whether we want it or not. But when you allow yourself to dream, you imagine something better. And anything you can do to feed that dream brings it that much closer to reality. We only work for the things we think we can have. You have to believe it before you can achieve it. From there, anything is possible.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Just Git ‘Er Done!

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

It’s the weekend again, and for most of us that means a couple of days to relax and rejuvenate before we have to get up and face next week. For others, it’s the two busiest days of the week, working to take care of all of us who don’t feel like cooking, want to be entertained, or need to go shopping.

And for some of us, it means tackling that big project we’ve been putting off, simply because there’s never enough time during the week. I know people who actually take vacation just to stay home and work. That doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me. And it can make the weekend feel like it didn’t even happen. Seems to me there has to be an easier way.

But more often than not, we get to the end of these big projects and realize they weren’t quite as big as they seemed. Sometimes, it’s just the thought of it that was so daunting. Once we get started, things move along a little more quickly than we’d thought, and before long we’re finished with time to spare. Right. “And they all lived happily ever after.”

With me, projects always seem bigger than they were supposed to be. A simple faucet change on the sink turns into a major plumbing renovation because things that haven’t been touched in years are now being … well, touched. Throw in a little rust and corrosion, and things start to break. Big things. The ones that take five times as long to fix as the original repair and cost ten times as much.

Thankfully, I don’t have to mess with plumbing that often. And most other jobs around the house are pretty straightforward. If putting in a flower bed is the project of the week, you can pretty much plan the entire project and it’ll unfold as you’d imagined. Dig, pull weeds, dig again, plant flowers, dig again, pull more weeds, plant more flowers, lather, rinse, and repeat.

More often than not, our biggest hurdle is just getting started. And let me tell you, when that time comes, I get busier than I’ve ever been – doing anything BUT what I was supposed to be doing. I get up and make breakfast. For everybody. Then I wash dishes. Then I go to the store and lay out all the stuff I’ll need. Then I go back to the store for something I forgot. Then I make lunch. And on and on it goes.

Does that sound like anybody you know? I think most of us do that to some degree. By the time we get started, our brain is saying, “It’s too late – you’ll never get this done. You should have started earlier. Now you’ll just have to wait and do it next weekend.” It’s a rational solution to the fact that we just didn’t do what we knew we needed to do when we needed to do it. It’s an excuse.

And really, all we needed to do was just get started. Get all the materials ahead of time and have them ready to go. Get up early and have a light breakfast. Then put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves, and dig in. Odds are you’ll get it done sooner than you think, and now you can sit back and enjoy not only a little rest, but the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve truly earned it.

All too often, we let things slide that we could just as easily get done. We make them out to be bigger than they really are. We come up with a dozen other things we have to do first. And, more often than not, these are not things we need to do on the job. They’re things we need to do for ourselves. They’re the things that stand between us and whatever goals we’re trying to accomplish.

The loftier the goal and the longer it’ll take to reach it, the easier it becomes to put things off. But the longer we put things off, the greater the chance we’ll never get started in the first place. And five years from now, we’ll be left with the reality that, if we’d started five years ago, we’d be enjoying whatever it is we wanted in the first place.

If there’s something you want to do, something that’ll bring you closer to your own goals, just do it. Set aside the time and dig in. You’ll probably find that it was a lot easier than you’d thought and, armed with that small success, you’ll be ready to take on the next one. Then simply lather, rinse, and repeat. That goal is closer than you think.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved