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

You Can’t Wear a Blindfold and See the Light

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

Yesterday, somebody mentioned that Facebook has gotten extremely polite lately, with fewer argumentative posts and a lot more pictures of babies and kittens. Somebody asked the question, “Is it possible they finally put a stop to the monster they created?” Because that’s how it works. When you can’t stop writing nasty letters, you blame the people who make pens.

Well, let’s agree on one point. Social media is nothing more than a platform on which we can share thoughts. There’s no inherent requirement that we pick fights or debase those who disagree with us. We do that all on our own. Social media just allows it. Kind of like a mother watching her two kids punch one another. “As soon as this is over, you’re both grounded!”

When I first started writing motivational posts, I noticed within a few weeks that my daily feed had gotten a lot more positive. People weren’t arguing. They weren’t looking for reasons to be offended. And it was entirely possible to celebrate a birthday without the conversation devolving into a political debate over which party wants us to live longer.

I remember thinking, “I’m making a difference! People are reading my posts and becoming more positive!” Okay, every writer wants to think they’ve touched their readers in a way no other person ever has. That’s why we do it. Believe me, it’s not for the money. And the last time I checked, there’s no line of groupies waiting by the front door.

After a day or two of basking in my newfound greatness, it occurred to me that just maybe the reason I was seeing so many more positive posts is that all of the negative people on my feed had unfriended me. One even offered the theory that maybe I’d joined a cult. You know, you could hand some people a bag of gold and they’d complain about the weight. Oh well.

The truth is, when I began sharing inspirational messages, I also cleared my “friends” list of anybody who couldn’t share a recipe without a political dissertation, whether I agreed with them or not. I needed a break. In a week’s time, I unfollowed close to 200 people. So, I guess it’s no wonder I was only hearing from positive people. They were the only ones left.

Dave Barry once wrote, “I can win any argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.” I think there’s a little more wisdom than humor in those words. Come to think of it, I haven’t been invited to a party in years. Um, hello?

But the point is simple. If you want to reduce the negativity in your life, change the channel. Step away from negative input and look for something a little more worthy of your time. “But I need to know what’s going on in the world!” Okay, but there’s a difference between consuming news and drowning in it. Especially when the “news” is somebody else’s biased opinion.

Your mind is like a computer. Every bit of input it receives is stored away in permanent memory that, at this age, I can’t seem to access as easily as I once did. But it’s there. And as new ideas are received, they’re validated against all that data we’ve stored over the years. If it matches what’s already there, it’s stored as “fact.” Everything else goes into the “BS” file.

That’s great if you’ve been filling your brain with positive thoughts. That becomes your basis of truth, and your brain will subconsciously seek out proof of that mindset. If, on the other hand, you’ve been filling it with negativity, it’ll seek validation of that as well. Either way, everything we see and hear is run through the filter we’ve already established in our mind.

It’s why one person sees a storm on the horizon, and another sees the blue sky overhead. They’re both looking at the same sky. The difference is one expects storms while the other expects sunshine. And expectations are nothing more than regurgitations of what our mind has been programmed to believe.

Shut out negativity, and your daily “feed” automatically becomes more positive. Challenges become opportunities. Despair yields to hope. And you realize that, behind every cloud, the sun still shines. It’s not about denying facts and living in a world of delusion. It’s about equipping your mind to work through life’s tribulations to find the happiness that awaits those who do.

As a technical writer, I had a sign over my desk … “Garbage in, gospel out.” Sure, it’s funny until you realize I wrote aircraft maintenance manuals. But our brains work pretty much the same way. Garbage in, gospel out. Make sure you’re storing information worthy of remembering. Your happiness depends on it.

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

If You Like Winning, Never Fight Change

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

It’s hard to believe the month is half over and Christmas is just over a week away. It seems we missed something this year. I think it’s all the holiday goodies people put on file cabinets in the office that I always sampled several times every day. It’s a convenient excuse for the traditional holiday weight gain. This year I got fat all on my own. Go figure.

Working from home isn’t something most of us ever really thought we’d see, at least on this scale. Some companies were warming up to the idea, partly due to a shortage of qualified workers in some career fields. A year ago, they were begging people to come to work. Then somebody sneezed, and now they’re begging us to stay home.

Our world is changing. Even before the pandemic, companies were beginning to offer “alternate work arrangements.” Stores were offering personal shopping service with curbside pickup. And people who couldn’t figure out the TV remote were ordering products and having them delivered right to their door.  I think my granddaughter was one of them. She’s six.

Malls have been shutting down and stores are looking more like warehouses. Drones deliver products, taxis drive themselves, and robots are flipping hamburgers. All of these things were in the works before Coronavirus. But what was once considered innovative is now a matter of necessity. And we’re powerless to stop it. The best we can do is hop on and enjoy the ride.

There are two kinds of thrill rides – the kind where you see what’s coming, and the kind where you’re in the dark, getting jerked around in every direction. The ride we’re on is a little of both. You don’t know everything that’s coming, but you’ve been through enough twists and turns to know what to expect. And then there are the bumper cars. They throw them in just for fun.

We may not know what to expect as we leave the station, but we know what awaits at the end. It looks pretty much the same as when we got on. Only now, we’re filled with the exhilaration of actually surviving the ride. Hopefully we’re still filled with the original contents of our stomach, but sometimes that’s part of the fun, too. “It was awesome! I almost puked!!!”

I think a lot of us have experienced that queasy feeling all through this year. We keep thinking sooner or later this will pass and things will get back to normal. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but things will never be the same as they were. Yes, this will pass, and we’ll be better able to handle the next crisis. But most of the changes we’ve made this year will never go back.

That doesn’t mean life will never be good again. Just that it’ll never be quite the same. And it’s what we make of those changes that will determine whether we come out on top or further behind. In 1986, when Microsoft issued its first public offering of stocks, computers were still an extravagance for quirky nerds. Yet, look at us now. Can you even imagine life without one?

Had you bought into the “craze” back then, you could have gotten shares of Microsoft for $21. A single share of that stock bought back then would be worth $33,600 today. All told, more than 12,000 people became millionaires, simply because they embraced change and believed in a geek.

And here’s the point – whether you believed in 1986 that computers would someday be part of our everyday lives doesn’t change the fact that they are. We can complain all day about a simpler time when people knew how to read maps and have fun without technology. And how do we share that message? We blast it out all over the internet. Duh!!!

You see, when change occurs, we play along whether we want to or not. When a tsunami strikes, we rebuild – we just build a little higher this time. When stores close, we shop online. And when industries collapse, we learn a new skill. We adapt. Life goes on.

Our world is changing, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Some of those changes are like gentle waves, and others come crashing in like a tsunami. But much like that rollercoaster, we know how the ride ends – we step off and move on to the next adventure.

We can cope with change or grow with it. One leaves you struggling for air, and the other will set you on a mountaintop. We may not be able to control the circumstances, but we can control our response to them. The ocean floor is littered with ships that tried to plow through the waves, but the smallest of boats made it safely across by simply riding on top of them.

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

You’re Learning – But Who’s Teaching?

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

My weekend was spent in a recliner, whining about my back, and taking pain meds pretty much around the clock. The good news is, after 8 hours of work, our car can now be towed behind the RV. Better still, we didn’t damage the car in the process. Of course, it’s still sitting in the driveway, so the jury is still out on what happens when we actually hook it up.

I’m not sure my wife has complete confidence in me. Probably because I told her about the emergency mechanism that will stop the car in the middle of the road if the entire trailer hitch falls off. If it does, you can blame that one on the factory. But sometimes, details aren’t entirely helpful. Now she has a vision I can’t quite get out of her mind. And I put it there. Color me stupid.

I have to say, YouTube is the greatest creation ever for those of us who need to do something we’ve never done before, especially where the cost of failure is so high. On the other hand, when they wheeled me into the operating room for brain surgery, I was relieved to see there wasn’t a “how-to” video queued up for that one. So, I guess I understand my wife’s concern.

Every day we do things without even thinking about them. They’re second-nature. Yet most of those things had to be learned at some point in our life. Some we learned on our own, others we were taught. I’m pretty sure I never showed my grandson how to climb the cabinets to reach what’s on top of the refrigerator. But I did teach him what happens when he does.

Mentors play a huge role in our lives. We often don’t even think about it, because they’re just there – some get paid, and others don’t. Some are a lot better than others. Some can lead you to incredible success, and some can only teach you how to fail. That’s why it’s so important that we try to choose our mentors wisely.

So, here’s something to consider. If you wanted to learn to fly a plane, would you ask your best friend, or look for somebody who’s actually flown a plane? You know, more than once. I took a few lessons in 1976, and even landed three times without crashing. Oh, I came close, but we eventually ended up on three wheels.  Want me to be your instructor? I didn’t think so.

Now, let’s say you’re looking to start a business. You have a dream, and some notion of how you plan to achieve it. All that’s left is putting the plan into motion. So, what’s the first thing you do? Well, you call your drinking buddy and ask his opinion, right? He’d never steer you wrong. Besides, he’s been out of work and looking for ways to make money, too.

Sadly, that happens more than we’d like to admit. We put our complete faith in the hands of somebody who, if they really knew how to make extra money, would already be doing it. Yet, when somebody comes along and offers to share what’s working for them, our first reaction is to shut down and run. “What’s in it for him?”

Well, that’s something to consider. What’s in it for the other person, and how much will it cost you? Valid questions, to be sure. But also consider the possibility that the other person just wants to help. Have you ever taught somebody how to do something for nothing more than the satisfaction of watching them succeed?

One of life’s greatest rewards is to become so good at something that we can pass it on to others. Because, in doing so, in watching somebody else succeed at something we’ve learned, we’re creating a legacy that will live on long after we’re gone. It’s validation that something important to us is also important to somebody else. It’s a gift we both give and receive.

When I tore the front end off our brand-new car Friday, I followed a video. Not the advice of a friend or a “how-to” manual written by somebody who’s never done the job, but a video of somebody actually doing it. And it didn’t cost me a penny to watch that video. It was there, free of charge, for anybody willing to tackle the job on their own.

Choose your mentors wisely. The ones you think have your best interests at heart aren’t always the best to teach what you need to know. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and put your trust in people and ideas you hadn’t considered before. Sure, you can still lose. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Is your dream worth the risk? There’s your answer.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can’t Take Credit if You Won’t Accept Blame

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

It’s Monday, and you know what that means. Okay, you know what you would like that to mean. Back to bed for another hour or two is what I’m thinking. I actually slept pretty well for a change, but only if we’re grading on a curve. You know, like when the teacher said, “Everybody failed this test, so I guess I have to give you all a C.” Like that ever happened. We just got extra homework.

I had a couple of teachers who could accept credit for the whole class getting it wrong. But that didn’t happen very often. Most blamed it on excessive talking and the entire class, including the teacher’s pet, not paying attention. Oddly enough, that was a great life lesson because it prepared us for the rules of accountability in the “real” world.

And we all know how those rules work. It’s like an old country song written from the perspective of a truck. “There’d be no truck drivers if it wasn’t for us trucks … no double-clutching, gear-jamming, coffee-drinking nuts.” Okay, it was a little cute. In one line, the “truck” laments, “If we’re on time he takes the credit, when we’re late I get the blame …”

If you’re nodding your head right now and thinking about anything other than that old song, we need to talk. Because either you’ve been subjected to that philosophy, or it’s your mantra. And I get it. Accepting responsibility for failure is never an easy thing to do, especially if there’s somebody else you can blame. “What do you expect when you work with morons?”

Sadly, we’ve all heard that excuse a few times too many. And to be fair, I’ve worked for some great people over the years. People who, when things go wrong, step up and say, “I must not have explained it correctly. Let’s figure out what went wrong and fix it.” People like that, you’ll follow to the ends of the earth. That’s why they’re called leaders.

But I’ll never forget the day a manager called me into his office to complain about shipping delays that were caused by something my team was not allowed to touch. Yet still, he still gave me a stern warning that, “If we don’t start shipping something in the next two weeks, I won’t be here anymore. And I won’t be the first to go!”

That same manager admonished me when I spoke with him about declining morale. “This company does not have a morale problem … YOU have a morale problem!” He wasn’t referring to me personally, but to the guys who worked for me. If they weren’t happy, it was my fault. Got it. “Can I make some changes, then?” “Not if you want to keep your job!”

We’ve all worked for people like that. When I was in the Navy, we called it “hiding under their shoulder-boards.” It was a reference to those little gold bands on an officer’s shoulders. The more bands they had, the more damage they could cause and the less any of us could complain. Thankfully, most learned a thing or two about leadership on the way up. Most.

So, here’s the question. What kind of leader are you? When things go right, do you puff out your chest and tell everybody how great you are, or do you acknowledge those who helped make it happen? And when things go wrong, do you accept responsibility, or pass the buck? Not just on the job, but in life. You know, where it really counts.

If you want an honest answer to that question, ask your kids. Or just look at how you interact with them. When they mess up, do you look for fault in them, or yourself? There could be any number of reasons they didn’t do as expected. And make no mistake, at least half are factors they control. But where does that leave the other half? Ah, now it’s getting real.

And odds are, if you’re that way with others, you’re the same way with yourself. Any mistakes you make can never be your fault – something or somebody else must be to blame. That’s the only possibility, because you do everything right and would never make such a bone-headed mistake. But beyond the bravado, you know the truth. We all do.

Excuses may hide your flaws (for now), but they also block your ability to rise above those shortcomings. Success isn’t about doing everything right the first time. It’s about learning from our failures so we can grow into the person we need to be. One who not only has the ability to succeed, but for whom success is the only natural result.

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