Keep Swinging – You May Be Closer Than You Think

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

Well, the weekend is over and it’s Monday again. For most of us, that means a new week at work and a morning of facing all the things we didn’t get done last week. I guess there’s a reason so many of us aren’t overly fond of Mondays. But on the other hand, it’s a new week full of opportunities to do some of the things we’ve been putting off and start crossing them off the list.

I’m not talking so much about things you do at work. Trust me, somebody will be there to remind you about them, especially if you start falling too far behind. But what about those things you’ve been planning to do for yourself? You know, the ones that seem to slip from one week to the next, and by Friday, you’re just saying, “I’ll get started on this next week.” Well, it’s next week.

One of the problems with personal goals is that we go into them with the best of intentions, and we tend to aim high. Maybe a little too high. And when things don’t happen exactly the way we thought they would, we beat ourselves up and set the same goal again, only this time with a little more admonition than conviction. And trust me, friends, that admonition can wear you down fast.

It’s the same issue with New Year’s resolutions. We vow to make some huge change in life over the coming year. Part of our brain says we’ve got a whole year to get it done, so what’s the rush? But when February comes, and then March and April and May, and we’re still no closer to getting it done, it begins to wear on us. By June, we’ve pretty much given up. Besides, there’s always next year.

But what if we were to re-define success? What if, instead of actually attaining the final goal, “success” was simply movement in the right direction? Putting the goal firmly in front of you, establishing the mindset that you really can do this, planning a course of action, and then taking the necessary steps to make it happen – regardless of the actual results, isn’t that something worth celebrating?

It’s like chopping down a tree. You make the decision. You look at the tree and think, “I can do this.” You sharpen the axe, decide on a plan (like, which way you want it to fall), and take the first swing. A small chip hits the ground, but the tree is still standing. So, you swing again, and again, and again. Before long, the results of your effort begin to show. It gives you hope, and you continue.

Now, imagine that you’re swinging that axe blindfolded. You can feel the axe hitting the tree, but you can’t see the chips falling. Your arms are getting sore and blisters are forming on your hands. You begin to wonder if you’re even hitting the right tree. But, as any lumberjack will tell you, there’s no way of knowing which swing will finally bring the tree down. You just have to keep swinging.

We’ve all felt the same frustration with things we’re trying to accomplish. We put in the effort, but nothing seems to be happening. So, we re-assess our plan and move to another side of the tree. Maybe the wood is a little more “friendly” on that side. We swing several more times and the tree is still standing. Finally, in frustration, we move on to another tree or leave the axe to rust in the rain.

Progress isn’t always readily apparent, but any action you take toward your goal gets you closer. And, much like taking chips out of a standing tree, you never know when you’ll start to hear the welcome sound of wood fibers tearing away as the tree begins to fall on its own. From there, success is inevitable. The laws of gravity and physics take over, and all you have to do is get out of the way.

Meanwhile, you’ve been building up your arms for that next tree. You’ve learned a thing or two about how to swing an axe for maximum effect. Your experience tells you which side of the tree to hack away at first if you want it to fall in a certain direction. And, when you face that next tree, there’s little doubt in your mind it’ll eventually fall. Success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

With each step you take toward a goal, you’re not only wearing away at the final objective, you’re building the person doing the work – you’re transforming from the kind of person who can imagine a goal into the kind who can accomplish that goal. More importantly, you’re becoming the kind of person who can accomplish ANY goal. And that, my friends, is the true definition of success.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Freedom is a Choice You Make

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

Well, the weekend is finally here. For most of us in the U.S. it’s a three-day weekend. More than that, it’s a weekend to remember and honor those who laid down their life for this country, and the families they left behind. Having spent twelve years in the Navy, I know the risk our service men and women face every day, even in times of peace. It’s a dangerous job, and we owe them our respect.

Freedom is a word that means different things to different people. We often think of freedom in terms of the Constitution – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom to do just about anything that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. In fact, one of the founding principles of our country was the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But there’s more to freedom that we don’t often think about, simply because it goes against what we’ve been conditioned to think is “normal.” We learn at a young age, mostly by watching our parents, that life consists of getting up every day, going to work, coming home tired, and only taking time off on weekends or when the company says we’ve earned a vacation.

Worse yet, we’re expected to do that until we’re too old to keep working that way, which means we’re too old to do much of anything else except sit around the house and wait for the grandkids to come by. Maybe we take a long-overdue European vacation, but instead of climbing the 768 steps at Germany’s Ulm Cathedral, we’re left to gaze up and wonder what we’re missing.

I guess it’s no wonder young people are so heavily in debt, because the one lesson they’ve learned is if you want something in life, you’d better get it now. If there are things you want to do, you’d better not wait. And they’ve learned this, not by listening to their elders, but by watching them. Who wants to work every day for 45 years just to end up sitting on the porch watching squirrels?

That’s not freedom. Oh, we had the choice to do it that way and that’s the route most of us take. But we also have the freedom to choose something a little more fulfilling. I watched a TV show about RVs and the people buying them and was amazed at the number of young couples who decided to forego the traditional brick & mortar house with a fixed address and just experience life on the road.

You see, freedom goes way beyond the freedom to go to college, pick a major, and interview for the job we want. It goes beyond buying whatever house we can afford in a location that’s close to where we work. It goes beyond deciding what to do on our week or two of paid vacation. Freedom is the ability to decide if that life appeals to us at all and, if not, to enjoy life in our own way.

Granted, most of us will never enjoy that life. Not because we can’t, but because we never made it enough of a priority to do something about it. Sometimes it’s easier to just follow the crowd and do what everybody else does. Blazing a trail of your own takes courage, and the willingness to put up with a lot of naysayers along the way. But it also can lead to a life none of them will ever enjoy.

We’re taught at a young age that it takes money to buy food and pay the bills. That’s true. What we’re not told is that there are hundreds of ways to earn an income besides punching a clock every day for 45 years. And there are just as many ways to supplement our full-time income by doing something extra on the side so we can have the freedom to enjoy a little more along the way.

As you celebrate freedom and the people who made that freedom possible, remember that it goes well beyond a set of laws that tells you what you’re allowed to do. Freedom is the very personal choices you make each day, and the extent to which you allow others to make those choices for you. It’s about enjoying your life, in whatever way you choose. Most of all, it’s the courage to accept that freedom and make the most of it – today, and every day. It’s your life. Live it!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Where Do You Want to Be?

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

I was listening to a CD a couple of weeks ago where the speaker said that, for each and every one of us, where we are today is exactly where we want to be. And my first thought was, are you delusional? I want to be on a sunny beach with a Pina Colada in my hand and a bucket of shrimp by my side. He must have been talking to somebody else. You know, those “other” people.

But the more he talked, the more that statement made sense. Everything we’ve done in life has led us to where we are right now. Actions, some inadvertent but mostly deliberate, one stacked upon the other, have created the life we now enjoy. Or not, whichever the case may be.

I hope most of us are at least happy with where we are today. I am. Okay, contented is probably a better word. If nothing were to change between now and the end of my days, I wouldn’t complain too much. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want some things to be different. There is still a lot I’d like to accomplish, and if I were to miss any of those goals, I’d always feel I could have done better.

Yesterday we talked about the characteristics of successful people – belief, action, and resolve. They don’t just believe they can do something – they know it. Based on that knowledge they take action. They do something about it. And when something stands in their way, they either step over, go around, or kick it out of the way so it doesn’t mess up anybody else’s day.

But there’s one more very important characteristic that drives them to succeed – it’s the realization that, based on their belief, knowledge, and resolve, they deserve success. It’s no longer a matter of luck. They’ve put in the required effort, and the reward is theirs for the taking. Others may deserve it as well, but nobody else deserves it more.

Thankfully, for most of our goals, there’s plenty to go around. I want a motorhome. If there were only one motorhome on the face of the earth, my pursuit of that goal may be a bit selfish. But I’ve seen pictures and videos of factories where they churn these things out one behind the other. There are plenty for everybody who wants to work for one. And if they run out, they’ll just build more.

The other side of that equation is the type of effort it takes to succeed. What do you have to do, and how will it impact those around you? If putting myself in the driver’s seat of a motorhome meant I have to step on other people and take away their chances at success, I’d have to find another dream, because that’s just not who I am. Thankfully, most of us would feel the same.

There’s a difference between deserving something because you’ve worked for it or attaining a goal because you took from others to get it. Material achievement comes easy when you control all the cards. Put people in a position where they have no choice but to support your goals, and you’ll win every time. But that’s not success. That’s coercion, and it’s a sad way to live your life.

What I’m talking about is the feeling that you deserve whatever it is you’re working for simply because you’ve put in the individual effort to have it. You didn’t just dream about it. You got up off the couch when everybody else was relaxing in front of the TV and went about doing the things you need to do to succeed. And you’ve been doing it every day, whether you felt like it or not.

And it all began with an itch, a little dissatisfaction with things as they are today. That doesn’t mean you’re unhappy with the life you have. It just means you want to use your God-given abilities to take it to a little higher level. It means you’re not quite ready to lay down and quit. It means you have the drive to keep setting new goals and working to attain them. It means your masterpiece isn’t quite finished.

All your life, you’ve worked to be exactly where you are at this moment. “But this isn’t where I want to be!” I get it. Most of us feel that way. So, what you’re saying is, this isn’t where you want to stay. And the moment you begin working toward something different, you’re where you want to be – moving toward something better and deserving of the success it’ll take to get there.

The things you’ve done have put you where you are today, but it’s the things you’ll do that will move you forward – today, tomorrow, and every day. You deserve any level of success you work to achieve. Your future begins today.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Winners Always Win – And So Can You

Good morning. It’s Hump Day and we’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off just right.

As you look forward to your day, there are things you know will happen. They’re just certain. You’ll eat. You’ll have to use the restroom. Somebody will cut you off in traffic, and for a moment you’ll be upset about it. These things are as certain as the sunrise. Even when the sun is hiding behind clouds, you know it’s there.

Mom always used to say there are three things in life that are certain – death, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta. You can complain about them. You can even try to avoid them. But unless you choose to live under a rock, those three things will be a part of your life at some point. Okay, the first one happens regardless, but you get the point.

But good things happen, too. You woke up this morning. That’s always a good thing. Odds are the car will start when you turn the key. Traffic may be heavy, but you’ll get there. Somebody will smile at you during the day, and that odd person who wants to be everybody’s friend will stop by to say hi. Certain things are just … well, certain. You can count on them like clockwork.

Have you ever met somebody who just can’t seem to lose? No matter what they touch, it turns to gold. They get all the breaks. They have the perfect job, they live in the perfect home, and drive an awesome car. They eat cake and never get fat, they run and never get tired, and they always have the perfect solution to any problem. Nothing ever seems to bother them. Must be nice!

Part of it is perspective While you’re complaining about heavy traffic, they’re saying, “Where? I didn’t have any problems at all today.” And you know you both drove the same route. How is it possible that they didn’t hit any traffic? Well, maybe their perspective is a little different than yours. If they grew up in Los Angeles, any traffic that moves is pleasant.

It’s also possible that they were too busy singing along with their favorite songs on the radio to even notice the traffic. Or maybe they were listening to a motivational CD, where somebody else is telling them they can have anything they want, and then tells them how to do it. Sure, they see all the cars, and they stop at the red lights. But they’re too busy thinking about good things to notice the bad.

Successful people all share a few common characteristics. At the top of the list is belief. They don’t just think it’s possible they can accomplish a goal, they believe it’s a sure thing. Other people may get a chuckle out of their enthusiasm, but it doesn’t even faze them. They just keep doing what needs to be done and end up laughing all the way to the bank.

Armed with that belief, they do what it takes to succeed. It’s not hard when you know the inevitable result. If the boss offered to send you on your dream vacation at the completion of a project, how hard would you work to make that happen? On the other hand, if the boss said, “Hard work gets noticed around here,” the reward is a little less certain. Successful people keep the goal in front of them all the time. They know the outcome – they just haven’t attained it yet.

Finally, successful people don’t get mired down in the details. Yes, traffic is heavy. And how, exactly, is that impacting their ability to succeed? A year from now, as they check in at the airport for that dream vacation the boss never promised, will they even remember this morning’s traffic? No, because their mind is already too busy thinking about the next goal.

A friend of mine often asks what your goals would be if you knew you couldn’t fail. I have that little gem on a note at my desk. If you knew success was inevitable, as certain as sunrise, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta, what would your goals be? Do you think just maybe you’d be setting them a little higher?

You see, the successful person accomplishes all those amazing things for one simple reason – they decided to do it. They took that first step because they knew they could take the last. Every step in between is just part of the journey. And if heavy traffic gets in their way, they simply find a way around or use that time to plan the next move. Belief, action, and resolve. Those are the traits of a winner.

What goals would you set if you knew you couldn’t fail? You were born to win, and there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Aim high, believe in yourself, and don’t let anything get in the way. You’ve got this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Recharge, Then Get Moving!

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

To follow up on Friday’s post, I left the hospital later in the day and got to spend the weekend at home. I’ve got some follow-up appointments with a couple of specialists, but they pretty much confirmed what my wife already knew – I’m a little dizzy. But in my defense, she knew that years ago and married me anyway. Go figure.

I spent most of the weekend resting at home. I did a few things, including some of the cleaning and reorganizing I’ve been putting off, and I did a little work for my business. But I also spent a fair amount of time in a recliner just relaxing. It seems to have been the perfect mix.

We all need to recharge our batteries. Even those things we love to do, the things that excite us the most, still take a toll on our energy. And every now and then, we have to slow down long enough to build some of that energy back up. But a battery that spends its life on a charger isn’t of much use to anybody. It just sits there doing nothing all day. Sound like anybody you know?

The key is knowing when to turn the charger off and put that energy to use. It’s all about balance. The harder we work, the more often we need to recharge. But the more we just sit around and recharge, the less we’re able to get done. And after a while, sitting around becomes a drain of its own. When you need to get up and do something, the energy just isn’t there.

Do you remember the old nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries? They were the original rechargeable batteries, and they did an amazing job. But they had one inherent flaw – if you recharged them too soon and too often, it reduced the amount of charge they could hold. Manufacturers called that “battery memory.” After a while, the battery was just incapable of holding a full charge.

We’re not so different. When we let ourselves drain down too far, we slow down and our ability to perform is significantly weakened. Do that long enough and we just stop. But if we spend all our time on a charger, rejuvenating after every little bit of effort, there comes a point where that little bit of effort is all we can do. Some call it laziness. I think there’s a little more to it.

When you exercise, you strengthen muscles and build endurance. Do that regularly, and a few things happen. At first, it hurts. You go home tired and the next day you wake up sore. But after a while, it just becomes part of your day. Your body looks forward to the workout, and rewards you with more energy during the day and the ability to work longer and harder without wearing out.

Your mind is much the same. As the old saying goes, use it or lose it. A lot of what we do during the day isn’t entirely physical. In fact, even when you’re exercising, you’re thinking. But thinking about what? Are you focused on how tired you are and how bad you smell? Or are you thinking about the good you’re doing for your body, and the great things you can do once you get back in shape?

Sitting around isn’t an entirely bad thing. But put that time to good use. Turn off the TV and read a good book. By “good” I mean something that’ll rejuvenate your mind and spirit. There’s nothing wrong with a good romance novel if that’s your thing. But balance it with some positive reading as well. Every bookstore has an entire section devoted to self-help and motivation. Pick one up.

Or just sit quietly and think about your goals. What will it take to accomplish those goals? What do you need to do first? What’s standing in your way, and what can you do to fix that? Talk it over with someone who shares your dream. Two heads are better than one. You’re still resting your body, but you’re keeping your mind active. And an active mind can solve any problem that comes along.

And when the rest is over, get up and get moving. You do it at work every day. They don’t mind you taking a little break now and then, but they expect you to get back to it when the break is over. Do the same for yourself. Your job will reward you with a paycheck. But you can reward yourself with so much more. And after all that work, don’t you deserve it?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Adversity May Come, But the Dream Lives On

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

I’m writing to you from the last place I expected to be this morning – a hospital bed. We’re not really sure what’s wrong, but every time I sit up or even roll over in bed, I get extremely dizzy and try to pass out. But, I’m in good hands and we’ll get to the bottom of it.

Funny thing is, if I can sit for a minute or two I’m okay. This started when I woke up yesterday morning and I made it through the whole day, working, walking around, even driving. But the doc sent me here because of past heart issues, and the first time I tried to get off the bed for an x-ray, the dizziness hit again.

So the problem isn’t sitting up – it’s changing positions. I guess until we figure this out, the answer is that I need to learn to sleep standing up. Horses do it, so it’s not impossible. Okay, if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re taking life way too seriously, and that’s something I try not to do.

But sometimes we have to take it seriously enough to make the necessary changes. When I got the news about my brain surgery last year, that was a real wake-up call. It was a reminder that life keeps moving whether we’re ready or not. Those plans we made for “someday” won’t wait forever.

I started the week mentioning that I have a goal with a tight deadline. That deadline is coming closer by the day, and things like an unexpected hospital stay can really get in the way. But we have to pay the hand we’re dealt. My goal hasn’t changed. All that’s different is the playing field.

Adversity comes to us all, and it never checks to see when would be a good time to visit. It just barges through the door and makes itself right at home. We can either drop everything and cook adversity a nice hot meal, or just shove it to the side and keep doing what needs to be done.

I have little doubt I’ll be out of here later today. I’m sure there will be some more tests before I go, and some may not be all that pleasant. But the bottom line is I’ll do whatever needs to be done and makes the necessary adjustments going forward.

We can plan life to the smallest detail, but life doesn’t always respect our plans. What’s important is that we stay focused on the goal and never let anything stand in the way. The more we do that, the more those plans tend to come our way. We don’t need everything to work exactly as planned. We just need to make the most of what we’ve got.

Lots of things will come your way today. Some planned, some unexpected; some good, and some not so good. But as long as you stay positive and focused on the goal, none of those things can ever stand completely in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Only as Hard as You Make It

Good morning! I hope your day is starting nicely.

Have you ever gotten halfway into something and wondered why you put it off so long? It’s so simple, you should have done it weeks ago. Or maybe you’ve thought, “There has to be an easier way to do this! I’ll never get this done!”

All too often, we make things harder than they have to be. I’m a planner. I love to plan things out. I want to know exactly how things will progress and what to expect. All the tools and materials have to be right there at hand (except the ones I forgot, of course), and I’ll study the landscape for several minutes or longer before I get started. By then, I need a break.

Okay, that’s how we approach a job we really don’t want to do. Tell me I have to make a pitcher of Pina Coladas, and I’ll be right on it. Tell me the kitchen sink isn’t draining, and I have to draw up a set of blueprints. I’ll grab the plunger, run a coat hanger down the drain, or try any of a dozen other ineffective remedies to avoid what I know I’ll eventually have to do. Just take the drain apart, Dave!

And once I get started, it’s not really that hard. For me, the hardest part is getting down on the floor and situated in front of the cabinet so I can reach the drain. Once I clear a few things out of the way and put my wife’s favorite pan under the drain to catch the inevitable deluge, taking the drain apart is simple. Within three minutes, I’ve cleared the trap, put things back together, and all is well.

Hopefully you won’t have any drains to clean out today. Hopefully I won’t. But how many things during the day do you approach with an equal sense of enthusiasm? Things you know you need to do, and if you don’t get them done, they’ll still be there waiting for you tomorrow. Nobody is going to swoop in and do the job for you, and if they do it’ll be for their benefit, not yours.

I mentioned last year the concept of eating the frog. It’s pretty simple. If you’ll have to eat a frog sometime during the day, just do it. Get it out of the way first, and then the rest of the day will be pretty pleasant, by comparison. And if you have to eat a bunch of frogs, eat the biggest one first.

I didn’t dream up that little gem, but I think it carries a lot of wisdom. But it also needs some perspective. Because your willingness to eat the frog depends to a large degree on how it got there in the first place. Sometimes the boss sets it in front of you and said, “This is your job today – bon appetite!” In that case, you do what we’d all do. You pinch your nose and dig in.

But sometimes the frog is there because you went looking for it. You have a goal or dream, and it requires you to step outside your comfort zone and do some things you’d rather not do. But it’s the only way to accomplish your goal. So, you put the frog on a plate, grab the salt and pepper, get the proper place settings, put a napkin in your lap, say a prayer, and … the frog is still there. Damn.

Or worse yet, the frog hops away and now you have to chase it down and start all over. Because the path to success didn’t magically change while you were planning that first bite. You can plead, bargain, plan, and look for shortcuts all day long, but the fact remains – if you want the reward, you have to eat the frog.

And when you finally do, you often find out it’s not really a frog. It may not be filet mignon, but it’s usually not quite as revolting as we first thought. You may never come to truly enjoy it, but if you do it enough times, it just becomes a part of your day. You do it without even thinking about it. Then one day you look up and there’s the Emerald City, so close you can reach out and touch it.

Do the things you need to do. And when you come to one you’d rather not do, then get it out of the way first. Anything worthwhile is worth the effort. Keep your eye on the ball and don’t sweat the small stuff. Success isn’t always easy, and the path isn’t always smooth. But none of that matters once you reach the goal.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved