The Team That Always Wins

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

Last night I was supposed to meet with some good friends. It’s something I look forward to every week, part of my regular Monday routine. But part of being a friend is knowing when you probably shouldn’t share germs freely with everyone you know, especially one who’s elderly and has been having health problems of her own. So, I stayed home for the good of the group.

These folks I was supposed to see are more than just friends. They’re people with whom I share a common goal, and we help one another in that pursuit. We share ideas, we pat one anther on the back, we hug and pray together, and at the end of the night we all go back to our own world for another week, just a little more energized and ready to take on the world.

There are reasons more and more companies are so focused on the team concept. Instead of looking for a single superstar who can leap tall buildings and stop a speeding locomotive, they want people who can work together to help others accomplish their own objectives. Because, when those objectives are aligned toward a single goal, the team is pretty much bulletproof. Okay, enough of the Superman references.

I work on a diverse team, each of us with our own unique skills. Individually, we’re pretty much experts in what we bring to the table. But none of us, on our own, could come close to doing the job as quickly or as well as we do together. We each have our niche, and when you put those special skills together, they complete a picture, much like the pieces of a puzzle.

Take a look at the people you work with. You may all share similar skills, but think about all the other people who make it possible for you to shine each day. It takes everything from managers to janitors, salespeople and supply clerks, executives and administrative assistants. Unless your company’s only job is to get people to show up every day, it takes a diverse set of skills to make it all happen.

And sure, you may be so good at your job that you could probably pitch in and do somebody else’s job as well. In fact, I’d be willing to bet there are few things you couldn’t learn pretty much on the spot if you had to. Children have been known to steer a car to safety when the driver is suddenly incapacitated. We do what we have to do.

But that doesn’t mean we’re really good at it. No matter how much we can stretch our abilities to fill in when the team comes up a little short, nothing beats a group of complementary talents all firing on eight cylinders. And in a scenario like that, there are no unimportant roles. Even the newest person on the team adds value in ways they may never even realize.

There are very few things in life that we can accomplish entirely on our own. And even if we could, it probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable. And there are few things more valuable than a friend whose only payback for helping you succeed is the satisfaction of watching you succeed. Somebody who doesn’t stand to gain a thing other than knowing you’ve achieved some of your own goals.

And, for as good as it feels having friends like that, it feels even better when you are that friend. How many times in your life were you able to help somebody else achieve their goals? It feels good, doesn’t it? And sure, there may be a day when the tables will turn, and they’ll be there to help you. But that’s not why you help. You do it for one simple reason – because you’re a friend.

In this life, we are blessed to have just a few people we can truly call a friend. There will be lots of others who are there when the sun is shining, but a true friend is the one who holds your umbrella when it isn’t. Cherish those people. They are the ones who will drive you to levels of greatness you could never have achieved on your own. And you are the one who can do the same for them.

At work and in life, there’s nothing as powerful as a team working together toward a common goal. And the more each person on that team dedicates their effort to helping the others, the faster you’ll all get to where you want to be.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Clock is Running … What’s Your Score?

Good morning, and happy Friday! We made it through another week. I hope yours has been awesome.

This morning I have a biometric screening at work – blood test, body measurements, all those things that normally don’t start the day off well for somebody with my physique. I’ll get the results in a few days and they’ll tell me the things I’ve done well and all the things I could’ve done better. That second list will be the longer of the two. No surprises there.

It’s important to get a measure of your standing from time to time, because that’s a measure of success. If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you need to go. I know about things like blood pressure, weight, and body fat. I measure them regularly. But the stuff on the inside is a little more of a mystery. This is where I find out how all the outward stuff is affecting the rest.

And when I get my results, I’ll know exactly where I stand right now, and what needs to be fixed. I already know how to fix those things. But sometimes, we need to know the current score in order to prioritize what needs to be done next.

It’s the same with anything you’re trying to accomplish. Project managers draft detailed project plans to set milestones and track progress through the life of a project. Banks send those statements every month that shows our progress toward saving more than we spend. And the GPS shows our progress toward a desired destination. And mine seems to say “recalculating” a lot. Just me?

It’s important to stop occasionally and take stock of where you are, what you’ve accomplished to date, and then reassess your next step. Whether you’re cooking dinner or playing chess, progress is an important measure of what you need to do to keep moving toward your goal. And it lets you know when it’s time to take an unscheduled turn or pit stop to get things back on track.

As we talk about our dreams and goals, it’s easy to just throw them out there with a simple one-word timeline – “Someday.” It’s a goal, and we plan to do it at some point in life. But with such a vague definition of when this is all supposed to happen, it’s pretty hard to track our progress along the way.

Let’s say your goal is a European vacation for the whole family. Twelve countries in five days. I’ve never understood the fascination with breezing across borders without slowing down to enjoy the scenery, much less sample the local cuisine. But some people seem to enjoy that.

You probably have an idea of how much that will cost. In today’s dollars, that is. You save a little every month for several years, and watch it grow. Every year, you see yourself getting a little closer. Emergencies come along and set you back. The car needs repairs. Your kid needs braces. Then there’s college, a new roof on the house, and all the other things that come along.

And by the time you have everything in place and you’re ready to pack up and go, inflation has more than doubled the price. Now you’re back to square one. Maybe not all the way, but how many more years will it take to make this happen? And how many other things will come along to mess up your plans even more?

Cemeteries are the resting place of unfulfilled dreams. All those things a person never had a chance to do are buried right along with them. And after the funeral, the family decides to pool their resources and take that vacation mom always dreamed of … you know, in her honor. And the whole time they’re saying, “Mom would have loved this!” Yeah, probably so.

The time for living our dreams is now – while we’re still alive and have the chance to do something about it. But we have to put measures in place, so we know where we are and what still remains to be done. And we have to check along the way to see if the goal has moved. Destinations don’t move around much, but what it takes to get there may change dramatically along the way.

Life is full of surprises, some good and some not so good. By knowing where we’re going and how far we’ve come, those surprises turn into detours rather than roadblocks. Instead of getting to the end of life and lamenting the things we never got to do, we can bask in the memory of the things we’ve done. And memories live on, long after our dreams have been laid to rest.

Dream, set goals, and make plans. But most importantly of all, make sure you’re getting closer as you go. You only have the rest of your life. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Perseverence (and Coffee) Can Make Everything Right

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.

Every morning, as I make my rather large cup of coffee, I have to run it in two batches – the first is 12 ounces and the second is an additional 8 ounces. It’s simply because my coffee maker doesn’t have a mega-cup setting, and I’m not about to start my day without a mega-shot of caffeine. Those who work closest to me can fully appreciate that.

But after the initial 12-ounce run this morning, my coffee maker decided that was it for now. I waited patiently, and then not-so-patiently, and still it wouldn’t reset itself for an additional brew. I finally gave it the computer-style reboot (pulled the plug) and it decided to work, after I reset the time and all those other fun things. I hope this was just a fluke. I kinda depend on this thing to start my day.

It’s just part of my routine. We all have one. As I get dressed each day, my dog is waiting outside my bedroom door, just to be sure I’m not going back to bed. I go to the living room, sit in the recliner, and he props up across my left leg for a morning hug. Then it’s outside for him, and when he comes back, he gets his morning vitamin and eats his food while I make a mega-cup of coffee. Every day.

We do these things so automatically, we rarely even think about them. Unless the coffee maker decides to test my aging heart, in which case I have to improvise. Or panic. It could have gone either way. We improvise first, and if that doesn’t work, we panic. Can I get an amen?

When an animal does something without thinking about it, we call that “natural instinct.” Okay, I’m not sure dogs have a natural instinct to start dancing around at 7:30 every night because the human is supposed to give them a treat at 8:00. I’m not even sure it’s a habit. If you want my opinion, he’s spoiled. But I only have myself to blame for that.

And how did 8:00 become the official hour for a treat? Because the human (me) did it a few nights in a row at the end of a particular TV show. It’s funny how habits are formed. I didn’t intent do make that a nightly thing with him. It just worked out that way.

I think it’s a little amusing – it takes us about three weeks to form a new habit. If there’s something you’re desperately trying to change, do it consistently for 21 days and it’ll become a part of your life. But, since every years of a dog’s life equals seven years of a human life, that means it only takes a dog three days to form a habit. I walked right into that one.

So, what happens when I go to his favorite cabinet and the bag of treats is empty? He understands “all gone,”, but he doesn’t understand “Daddy forgot to buy some at the store last week.” It’s treat time, and there’d better be something in that magic cabinet. If not, then open the refrigerator. There’s cheese in there. He’s not stupid.

Sometimes we have to improvise. And that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It’s time to start cooking dinner and you realize the roast is still thawed. So, tonight we have grilled cheese. Problem solved. But when you get halfway to work and the car starts flashing that dreaded “check engine” light, you don’t have a lot of options. That’s when even the most devout atheist begins to pray.

As I stared at the coffee maker this morning, I began to wonder if I’d have to start my day with a half-cup of coffee, and how my wife would feel when she had to start her day without. We don’t have instant coffee in this house, so my only Plan B is to stop by the gas station on the way to work. And I’m sorry, but that’s just not a truly acceptable substitute.

Things will happen to mess up the best of plans. You’re on vacation and you hit a detour. The hotel you’d planned to stay in is full. You get a flat tire on the way, and finally arrive at Wally World only to find the park is closed. It happens to the best of us. But somehow, you find the resolve to keep going.

Anybody can breeze through an easy day and come out looking good. It’s how we handle those not-so-easy days that makes us who we are. Just take a step back, assess the situation, and re-focus on the goal. There’s always another way to get there. All you have to do is find it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Best Dreams Are the Ones We Share

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

Every Monday, I get to spend a couple of hours with my two youngest grandchildren. At the ages of 3 and 4, they can be a handful. What I wouldn’t give for an ounce of the energy they expend so readily, with plenty more in reserve. Thankfully, most of that energy is heartwarming and entertaining. And when we do have a test of wills, they usually let me think I won.

It’s a fun age, mostly because they still crave interaction with the old folks. When I got home yesterday, I became a jungle gym as they took turns bouncing into my lap so we could sing a wacky song. As soon as one was done, they’d move out of the way for their sibling to take a turn. It was steady back and forth for a good fifteen minutes. After that, they just wanted to cuddle.

And I’ll be honest, at 61, my energy level just isn’t what it once was. Their older brother will be 19 in a week, and he got the best part of me in that respect. We were together all the time, and it was only in the last several years that Grandpa started to peter out a little. But I still tried to keep up. They’re only young once.

Then came the age of throwing a football, shooting hoops, and all-day outings to the local theme park. We did pretty much everything together and, even though he wore me out completely, it was some of the best days of my life. I only wish I had that much energy to share with his cousin and younger siblings.

I mention this because, as we talk about our dreams and things we want to accomplish, those dreams almost always include the people we care about the most. It’s no secret that I want a motorhome. That’s a personal goal that I plan to accomplish within the next year.

And I don’t want to park it in front of the house to make the neighbors jealous. Unless they happen to be on the front porch as we pull up long enough to pack for the next trip, they’ll never see it. Because we plan to spend our time traveling – meeting new people, seeing new places, and enjoying new adventures. Otherwise, I could just buy a lawn chair and yell at passing kids to stay off the grass.

But here’s the thing – when I think of the places I’d like to explore in that motorhome, I see my wife and grandchildren right there beside me. Okay, my daughters too, but they may have to sleep in a tent. Convertible dinettes are made for kids, not adults, and I’m not giving up my bed for anyone.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. But all joking aside, none of the dreams I have for my remaining years on this planet mean anything unless I can share them with the people closest to me. And I’d venture to say that’s true for most of us. Sure, there are things we enjoy doing alone. But, for the most part, it’s always better if we can share those things with somebody special.

Friday, I challenged you to define your dreams, to write them on paper and even try to get pictures. But, without considering the people you want to share those things with, they’re little more than words and pictures. There’s a reason cruise ship advertisements show families having the time of their life. It’s because nobody wants to buy a ticket for a ride on a boat. They want the adventure.

So, write your own commercial. Visualize not only your dream, but the people you want to share it with. Picture them enjoying every new adventure with you. Sitting by the campfire, snorkeling off the coast, hiking up a mountain trail, enjoying an afternoon cookout in the back yard, or simply gazing at a herd of bison or the majesty of the Grand Canyon.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk. I see it almost every day. But that picture alone isn’t enough. It’s the image of my wife gazing through the windshield at things she’s never seen before, and my grandchildren enjoying experiences they’ll remember a lifetime – those are the visions that drive me to make it happen.

Most dreams don’t mean much unless we can share them with others. So, as you picture your dream, be sure to include the people who make it important. Make them an integral part of it. Because, once you have that vision clearly in mind, there’s not much that can stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Into Every Life a Monday Must Fall

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

For a day of new beginnings, Monday seems to get a pretty bad rap. We spend all weekend bemoaning its pending arrival, and then start the day with pretty low expectations because, after all, it’s Monday. Nothing good ever happens on Monday. It’s a day when all the forces of nature (not to mention the corporate gods) are aligned against us. To hear people talk, you’d sure think so.

But Monday is the start of a new week. Okay, technically, Sunday is the start of a new week. I’ve never quite understood that because the Bible says that on the seventh day God rested, and that’s supposed to be Sunday. But according to the calendar, this is the second day of the week. I guess with all the time changes over the years, that one got lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of time changes, this is a Monday we tend to dread even more than normal because, for most of the United States, we lost an hour of sleep this weekend. When the clocks moved forward in the wee hours of Sunday morning, our normal wake-up time came an hour sooner than we’re used to. That’s worthy of at least a few complaints, right?

Okay, it’s understandable that Monday isn’t our favorite day of the week. It means the weekend is over, along with any rest you may have gotten during those two days. And it means we’re back to the grind, slaving away in the salt mines for the next five days. The countdown to Friday begins today. We even have a mid-week celebration for going over the hump.

Any time we wished for another day (usually birthdays back then), my mom would tell us, “Don’t keep wishing your life away.” And you know, she was right. Every time we wish for the clock to advance a little faster, whether it’s an upcoming vacation, a birthday, date night with somebody special, or simply next Friday, we’re wishing ourselves that much closer to the end.

It’s a grim thought, but most of us don’t tend to see it in that light. “I just want to get to the good part and skip all the bad stuff in the middle.” We’ve all felt that way at times, especially when the stuff in the middle isn’t so enjoyable. I don’t know of anyone who wakes up every day to another 24 hours of sheer bliss. Some days are better than others. It’s all part of this thing we call life.

There’s something to be said for making the most of each day, even Mondays. As I said at the start of this post, it’s a day of new beginnings. Last week is behind us and we get to start fresh. Even those tasks left over from last week don’t seem so bad, because we’re able to look at them with a pair of fresh eyes. Sometimes, the job that wouldn’t go away is over in just a few minutes.

It’s also a new day to begin working toward your dreams. In fact, if you spend a few minutes every morning (especially Monday) thinking about the things you want to accomplish for yourself and resolve to spend just a little more time this week doing that, you’ll find reason for a little excitement. And when you approach anything with a sense of excitement, it’s just automatically better.

Instead of thinking of all the work you have to do, think of all the things you’ll accomplish. Instead of looking at the five days that stand between you and your next weekend of rest, look at five days in which you can find a little time to work toward your own goals. With five days of leaving the house every morning, you get five days of coming home. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Every day is a new beginning. It’s a chance to do the things you couldn’t do yesterday, or even to launch into a brand-new endeavor that will make life that much more enjoyable. And even if it’s only a day to go to work and earn a paycheck, it’s still an opportunity to make the most of the time between waking up and going back to bed.

Each moment of our life is gone as fast as it came, and we can never have any of them back. That includes Mondays. As we race through our lives, it’s important to enjoy the moments that make up each day. Some will be better than others, to be sure. But it’s our ability to find the good in most situations that will make the bad times not so bad, and the good times even better.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Dream and Make It Happen!

Good morning, and happy Friday! The weekend is finally here!

I don’t know about you, but this has been an especially long week for me. I wrote a few days ago about frustrations on the job and, though they’re nothing major in the overall scheme of life, they can make the days really drag and send you home completely exhausted. It’ll be nice to have a couple of days to rejuvenate.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of things to do this weekend, courtesy of not getting them all done last weekend. It seems to work that way. Time runs out, but the work never really goes away. But that’s okay. I’ll get caught up and still find some time to enjoy what should be a mild improvement in the weather. And then Monday we’ll start all over. It’s the cycle of life.

One thing on my list for the weekend is to buy a new outdoor grill. Our old one rusted out in less than two years (thank you Sears), and we’ve developed a passion for grilled food over the years, so it’s pretty high on the list of priorities.

I know there have been studies indicating that grilling your food causes cancer. Well, so what? Everything causes cancer. I’m pretty sure the food itself, with all the dyes and growth hormones is a lot more of a problem than a couple of sear marks. Besides, it’s the only way I can get salmon at home. I’m not allowed to cook it inside. And salmon is healthy, right?

Beyond that, I have some freelance work to do and some things I need to do for my business. But I don’t mind because it’s part of building our future. I think for most of us, the paycheck from our daily job pretty much pays the bills and leaves a little left over for a couple of life’s conveniences. If you want to make a real difference, you have to do something extra.

It’s all about goals, and we talk about that a lot. Everybody has a dream. We don’t always share those dreams, and sometimes we can’t even articulate them that clearly in our own mind. But they’re still there, tantalizing us from time to time as a reminder that there could be more to life than what we’re currently experiencing. And that’s a good thing.

I know the Bible tells us to be grateful for what we’ve got, and to find a way to share some of that with others. It also tells us that two men had a talent (apparently the currency of the day) and, while one man spent his talent in one swoop, the other invested his talent and made ten more. Guess which one received more praise in the scriptures?

It’s okay to want something more. It’s even okay to go out and get it, as long as we do it in a way that isn’t detrimental to those around us. And there’s something to be said for being humble instead of rubbing our good fortune in people’s faces. Nobody likes a jerk.

If there’s something you want, a burning desire that won’t go away, get up and do something about it. You don’t have to work 100 hours a week to do it. Once the bills are paid, a little extra begins to add up. It only takes a few hours a week if you’re doing something productive. We’ve all heard the expression “work smarter instead of harder.” Well, there’s something to be said for that.

I’m a firm believer that we all have within us the ability to achieve anything we desire. Whether that’s learning a new skill, getting a college degree, enjoying more time with our family, or living on a tropical beach with nothing to do all day but soak it all in, you can do it. Forget where you’ve been. The past won’t get you a thing. It’s where you’re going that’s important, so make it count.

Take a little time this weekend to focus on your dreams. Write them on paper and describe them in vivid detail. Get pictures if you can. Then ask yourself what it will take to make those dreams come true. If it’s going back to school, do it. If it’s getting closer with your family, make it happen. And if it’s something that will require more money, get some. No more excuses – just do it.

No matter what you’d like to accomplish in life, the only thing standing in the way is you. If a person with two prosthetic legs can run the Boston Marathon, there aren’t too many limitations the rest of us can hide behind. Figure out what needs to be done. It’s probably easier than you think. But you just have to want it badly enough to make it happen.

That’s all for now. Have a fantastic day and an awesome weekend!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Some Things Really Can Wait

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend.

Mine was a mix of trying to cram in all the necessary errands Saturday so I could stay out of the snow Sunday, which means I probably spent more time in front of the TV than I should have. But I did use some of my down time to do a little business training, so I guess I can add that to the “accomplishments” list.

That’s not to say there aren’t things I should have done that I didn’t. Every Monday, as I drive to work, I look back at the weekend to make a mental list of the things I didn’t get finished. I’m sure we all do that at some level. There just never seems to be enough time to do all the things we need to do, plus a few of those that are just for our own amusement.

So, I begin most Mondays by adding to my “to-do” list for the coming weekend. Unless I can get lucky and knock out a few things in the evenings after work. But in all honesty, some of those things may never get done. That’s just the way it works.

And that’s okay. At least I hope it is, because there are jobs on my to-do list from 1997, and odds are I won’t be getting around to any of them this week, either. I’m pretty sure my wife gave up anyway. But the truth is, some of these tasks may not have been that important to begin with. Sometimes, we just think they are.

And it’s that way, both on the job and off – even for some of our personal goals. We’ll put something at the top of the list with all the best intentions of giving it our utmost attention. But other things can quickly take that top spot, and, after a while, we realize it may not have been so critical after all. Or we just run out of time. It happens.

And other times, we let something slide only to find later it really was a lot more important than we’d thought. And we come to that realization as the “Check Engine” light comes on, accompanied by a loud knocking sound and blue smoke pouring from the tailpipe. Maybe Dad was right about those oil changes. There goes next year’s vacation fund.

So, it’s important to revisit our to-do list from time to time. Some things can be put off a little while, and some can be erased completely. But there are some that absolutely need to move to the top of next week’s list, with no option for putting them off again.

The critical piece of the puzzle is knowing the difference. Unless you’ve got all kinds of time on your hands and the only thing on your to-do list is getting up every day for breakfast, sooner or later you’ll find yourself facing some tough decisions. Sometimes we’re aided in those decisions by something a lot more desirable, like going out with friends. But that’s not always the case.

Where it gets tricky is when we have things to do that will take more time than we’ll ever have in a single day. My garage is a perfect example of that. Or maybe I should say, the clutter in my garage is a perfect example of what happens when you put off doing anything until you can do it all. The mess just keeps getting bigger. And the sad part is, most of it can go straight in the trash.

If there’s something you need to do, whether it’s for work, a job around the home, something for your business, or a book you’ve been meaning to read (or write), you don’t have to do it all at once. But if you just throw your hands up in the air and turn on the TV because you only have six hours left and there’s no way you can do that job in six hours, guess what’ll still be on your plate next week?

Break those larger jobs down into manageable chunks, and then you won’t need a whole day (or longer) to get them done. Maybe an hour here and a half-hour there is enough. Sure, it won’t get done all at once, but unless you’re cooking dinner or performing surgery, odds are it doesn’t matter. Whatever you didn’t get done will still be waiting for you later. That, I can promise.

Make time for the things you need to do but remember things don’t always go according to plan. Other things will pop up – some more critical, some not. But as the day comes to a close, don’t beat yourself up over the things you didn’t get done. Celebrate the wins and re-prioritize the rest. And be sure to make a little time for yourself along the way. You’ve earned it!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved