Don’t Let Skepticism Steal Your Dreams

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

So, yesterday afternoon when I finished work, I decided it was time for a swim. That’s one of the advantages of RV living, if you’re in a park with a pool. Especially if the pool is heated. That’s what it says on the park’s website – heated pool. What that means is they allow the sun to shine on it when it’s not hidden by clouds. I came back out so fast I didn’t even get wet.

I should have expected no less from the park that put me in a site where my living room slide is in the bushes and I can only open my water service bay door halfway because there’s a power pole right next to it. But right next to me are five empty spaces with tons of extra room. So, I did what any normal person would do. I left a crappy review online. So there!

Something I learned long ago is that RV parks and hotels aren’t always honest in their advertising. Go figure. They use wide-angle lenses for pictures of the pool, brag about amenities that are more like tripping hazards, and think the word “resort” means anything a step above the local truck stop. Last night my wife heard gunshots. I wish I was making that up.

It’s tough when all you have to go by is somebody else’s assessment of how great their place is. Nobody ever says, “It’s a bed with a bathroom. If you’re tired enough, it’ll do.” At least then I could make an educated decision. But I can’t stand dishonesty in advertising. All the exaggeration and half-truths. Which reminds me, I need to update my resume.

It’s funny how the rules change when we’re promoting ourselves. If you don’t believe that, read a few dating website profiles. There must be a book of adjectives some of these people are using, not to mention Photoshopping their head on a Chippendale model’s body. I’ve got a six-pack! Well, a four-pack … I drank two last night after I came back from the pool.

So, it’s no wonder people get skeptical when you try to sell them a product they’ve never used, or show them a business they’ve never seen. They know how it works. Most of them have a resume, too. You brag about the good parts and gloss over the rest. It’s like that asterisk on weight loss products that says, “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!

But as a consequence of our mistrust, however well-founded, we end up missing a lot of things that may have been much better than we’d imagined. Like that crawfish etouffee I ate last week. Sure, the waitress recommended it. She said it was her favorite. I think her boss was watching. But she told the people at another table that fried shrimp is her favorite.

So, yeah, I wondered if it was all she made it out to be. Much like those nagging questions about a business that promises unlimited income potential. If it’s that good, I wondered, why isn’t everybody else eating it? Maybe they know something I don’t. And why is the waitress over there nibbling a cheeseburger when nobody’s looking?

It’s hard knowing who to trust. I once interviewed at a place that offered a paltry $5.50 an hour to start. When I asked about advancement, the Human Resources rep assured me it would get better. “I’ve only been here a year and a half, and I’m already up to $6.25 an hour!” Wow!  All that in less than two years? Better sign me up twice, because that’s how much I’ll need to live.

Yes, that was a long time ago. But the premise is pretty much the same. The people who want you to say yes can give you a dozen reasons to say that, but it doesn’t mean things are working out that great for them. Take that business opportunity your friend offered to share. You already know he’s broke every payday, so why would you take his word for it?

Well, consider this. Maybe he’s just getting started. Maybe he hasn’t found his groove yet. Maybe he never will. That doesn’t mean the opportunity itself is bad. It just means he’s not making the most of it. Like that waitress nibbling on a cheeseburger. The crawfish etouffee is fine. In fact, it was awesome. It just wasn’t something she put to good use that day.

A little skepticism is normal, especially when the advertising is so great. But when we judge something new by somebody else’s experiences, we miss the opportunity to create our own. So, the waitress likes cheeseburgers and your buddy is broke. And the pool may be a lot colder than it looks. But shouldn’t you at least stick your foot in to find out?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If A Mountain Pops Up, Go Around It

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

One of the pleasures of starting a new job is working through all the computer access issues. “Yeah, we must have missed that one.” After the fifth time, you start to wonder if they wouldn’t be better to just start over. I’m on a first-name basis with half the Help Desk staff, and my access is still hosed up. On a bright note, at least I’m being paid for it.

This isn’t really a “new” job … I’m working for the same company, but as a direct-hire instead of as a contractor. To complicate things further, I previously worked for this company until a little over a year ago, when they eliminated my position. So, now I have at least two, and possibly three, profiles in the system. That’s when it threw a fit. “Good God! One Dave is enough!”

Yesterday I was stressed. Today, it’s comical. And the funny thing is, this company thought they were saving money by eliminating my “unnecessary” position. They sent me home for 2-1/2 months, and then brought me back as a contractor. Now they’re hiring me again. By the time all is said and done, they’d have been money ahead to just pay me for a 10-week vacation.

That’s how it seems to go with “brilliant” ideas. Things look great on paper, but lose their luster when the rubber hits the pavement. Like that time I tossed a firecracker out the back door at Burger King and it landed in a puddle. I picked it up and thought, “We use the microwaves to dry wet money.” I seriously wish I was making this up.

On most jobs, creativity is a valued trait. You know, during the interview. But once you get started, they don’t want a lot of innovative thought. “Just do what we taught you to do, the way we taught you to do it. Don’t get creative!” In the Navy, that wasn’t just a mindset – it was in the regulations. Any deviations had to be approved by COMNAVAIRGOD himself.

I guess I should say I never violated those regulations, but when you’re 2000 miles from dry land and facing the potential grounding of two entire aircraft squadrons, you do what needs to be done. In other words, post a watch on the shop door to let you know if the Lieutenant is coming, then drill a few holes, solder some wires, and make the problem go away.

The trick to something like that is you’d better know exactly what you’re doing, because when you’re talking about launching fully armed fighter planes off the pointy end of the ship, the stakes are pretty high. There is no “close enough.” Especially when you’re 2000 miles from dry land and there’s no place to hide when the you-know-what hits the fan.

Other times, there’s a little more room for error. That doesn’t mean you can just throw caution to the wind, but when you’re not dealing with unexploded ordinance, you have a little more freedom to try something new. In my job, I’ve often told junior employees, “It’s okay – we’re not building bombs.”

Yes, that last sentence just put me on a federal watch list. Oh well, they’re gonna be bored.

But the point is that you weigh the risks of failure with the potential gain. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Somebody calls you out for using too many Oxford commas? Been there. Yet, here I am, still gainfully employed. Go figure.

On the job, the risks may be a little higher than when you’re planting flowers at home. “Who puts petunias with hydrangeas???” But the worst that happens there is you suddenly become the topic of discussion at the next neighborhood meeting. So what?

When we’re working on something for ourselves, we tend to follow the same philosophy from the military which says there are two ways to do anything – the Navy way and the wrong way. If anything stands in the way of doing what we thought we needed to do, we just stand there and keep running into the wall like a Roomba with no reverse button.

But if we take a single ounce of that creative energy that allowed us to come up with a dream in the first place, it’s not hard to figure out a way around obstacles. And every time we do, we become that much more convinced nothing will ever completely stand in our way. Even wet firecrackers.

Half of success is believing you can succeed. The other half is facing obstacles as speed bumps instead of roadblocks. If anything you’ve done has brought you to this point, there’s something else you can do to move beyond. Find what that is, and you open a whole new world of opportunity, putting your dreams that much more within reach.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Chill Pill a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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

When was the last time you went … literally ANYWHERE … and thought, “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!” Unless you’re going to, like, the Social Security office, it’s not one of those things you’ll ever need to conduct any kind of business. It’s like that worn-out voter registration card that nobody ever asks for. You carry it because it looks important.

Okay, so put yourself five states away from home, and you get offered a new job. Awesome! And then they send you a bunch of paperwork to fill out, just because Best Buy has a sale on printers and the HR rep owns stock. You print the forms (after you spend six hours setting up the new printer), and then panic sets in … “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!”

Thankfully I had a copy buried in a file in my computer. Not where I would think to look for it, like in my “Employment” folder. No, I was much too sharp to fall for that! I stored it with my Key Lime pound cake recipes. Yes, I have more than one. Don’t judge.

Then I had to get it all witnessed by somebody who could look at my ID cards and verify that they’d seen them. Easy enough, right? Oh, and it couldn’t be my wife. I asked her to sign an ex-girlfriend’s name, but she refused. Sorry, it’s not like we have a lot of friends nearby. And the RV park manager refused. “I’m not getting into any of that!” Dude, it’s an employment form – not weed!

I realized later that I’d made an unfair assumption about him. You know … that he could read. Or maybe he’s just a jerk. You never know. But the bottom line is I had to figure out a way to get that form signed in time to start my new job. I sent it to my daughter. She signed it, I sent it in, and we all lived happily ever after. You know, until at least today. It’s still early.

Through that fiasco, I got a little more frustrated than I should have. Okay, I pitched a fit. It didn’t help that the printer wasn’t cooperating, I was having issues with my work computer, we’re out of ice cream, and the grill wouldn’t light. Can we say “Monday?”

I used to tell my daughters that stress is like a glass of water. When it’s empty, you can fill it halfway with room to spare. Even at the halfway point, you’re not in danger of spilling anything unless you walk like I do. But fill that glass all the way to the top, and all it takes is an obstinate park manager to run it over the top. Thankfully I brought my frustration home – to my wife.

Stress is a silent killer. Medical research suggests that as much as 90% of medical problems requiring treatment by a primary care doctor are stress related. Read that again, because it’s important. Ninety percent. And you know what that means, right? When your kid tells you to take a chill pill, it’s out of love and genuine concern for your long-term health. Right.

Stress is like a swarm of mosquitoes. It’s always there, and given half a chance, it’ll mess up the best of days. You can avoid it, but sooner or later it’ll catch up. And that’s not always a bad thing. A little stress keeps us on our toes and helps keep the adrenaline flowing. But, like that glass of water, it builds up fast. And when it does, something has to give.

To make matters worse, doctors treat a lot of medical conditions brought on by misguided efforts to alleviate stress. Alcoholism, drug use, even some sports injuries, are often the result of stress avoidance. Sports injuries? Absolutely! Some people run to escape stress. I’ve found stress runs a lot faster than I do, so I don’t even try. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

But instead of that evening cocktail, maybe we could go outside and take a walk. Not a brisk cardio walk, but a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Do you have a hobby? How long has it been since you’ve devoted any time to that? How about spending a little time focusing on your dreams? There is no stress in dreams, and if there is, we really need to talk.

The point is, if you give stress half a chance, it’ll wear on your soul and make mountains out of molehills. You can never escape stress, but you can manage it. Even if it’s just a temporary reprieve, that’s usually enough to get you back on track. Like taking a nap. The world and its problems are still there, but a little breather makes them that much easier to face.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Hit That First Bump Fast Enough, and You’ll Sail Right Over the Rest!

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

You know how there’s something on your bucket list that you’ve always wanted to do, and when you finally get to do it, it’s almost like waking up on Christmas morning to find out there’s no Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? Worse yet, your dream toy is there and it breaks the first time you play it. Oh well, at least you got new socks and underwear.

That pretty much describes my first visit to New Orleans. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for most of my life, and I have to be honest … a little Bourbon Street goes a long way. Thankfully, there’s more to the Big Easy than dive bars and live rodents. We went back a few days ago for a second look. The French Market and Riverwalk was thoroughly enjoyable. And no rats!

One of the things about traveling is that it’s full of surprises, some good and some not so good. Like that first stretch of interstate right after the “Welcome to Texas!” sign. They could have put up a smaller welcome sign and spent a few dollars on one that said, “Speed Limit 65 – Go Ahead – I Dare You!” We left the ground twice. In an RV, no less. Evel Knievel would have been proud.

It would have been really easy to take the next exit and turn around. But then I’d have to go over that same stretch of road again, so that alone made it worth driving the remaining 877 miles to get to the other side. Once we got past the torn-up pavement, the drive was mostly pleasant. In fact, some parts were beautiful. I guess there’s a reason people actually live here.

There are two sides to most things, and if we bail out at the first sign of trouble, we may never see the good parts. Ever met that person who changes jobs every six weeks because they had a bad day at work? “This place sucks! It’s hard work, and these rules are for the birds! I’m not enjoying this one bit!” Um, okay … you think maybe that’s why they call it a “job?”

Every job has its days. Every city has its slums. And every state has highway features that would bring a dirt-bike to its knees. Okay, not every state … so far, just Texas. Still, that’s not all there is to Texas, or New Orleans, or even the world’s worst job. There’s always another side worth exploring. And once you find it, you never really want to leave.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days, or some Texas-sized bumps in the road. That’s all part of it. But when those bumps pop up, you have two choices. Slow down or turn around. Or you can just floor it. If you’re going fast enough, that first bump will launch you over the next two or three. I’m just saying.

It’s the same when we’re chasing a dream. That vision of success is what keeps us moving, but success has to be earned. Entertainers learn this early on – it’s called paying your dues. Granted, success comes a lot easier for some people, and ability is only part of the equation. There’s also hard work, determination, heartache, and a certain amount of luck.

A Roman philosopher once said that luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Opportunity is always there. Preparedness is the part we have to master. Part of that is building the necessary skills. Part is carving out the time to do the work. But the biggest part is the mindset that we won’t let a few bumps in the road turn us around.

When we first got off the highway in New Orleans, it was in a neighborhood the police try to avoid. It would have been really easy to turn around and never go back. We only walked three blocks down Bourbon Street. See one drunk sleeping on the sidewalk, you’ve seen ‘em all. But, after driving all that way to get there, we had to give it one more chance. And I’m glad we did.

As you chase your dreams, life will throw all kinds of obstacles in your way. You may have the perfect plan to get there, but then reality raises its ugly head and reminds you that not everything is fun. There will be parts you absolutely despise. But if the dream is worth having, it’s worth working through those parts. And who knows, you may even come to enjoy them.

Giving up is easy. People do it every day, and very few of them are living their dreams. That’s no mere coincidence. But for those who won’t be denied, who ride over the bumps and keep on going, there’s a reward far greater than any challenge we faced to get there. Keep going. Every obstacle you face brings you one step closer to your dream.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Awaits, but Sometimes You’ve Gotta Try the Etouffee

Good morning, and happy Friday!  I hope your day is starting off well.

The other night, we were watching The Princess Diaries. Yes, it’s an old movie and yes, I’m a guy. But I think we established in yesterday’s post that I’m not overly macho. Any chest hair on this body was purely accidental, and it doesn’t have many neighbors.

There was a line in that movie that I wrote down, because I knew it would come in handy someday. I had no idea it would be so soon, or that it would be over something as simple as looking at a dinner menu. But, especially in the deep south, that can be an adventure in itself. “The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” That was the line.

I thought about that as I looked over a menu in southern Louisiana that included everything from plain old cheeseburgers to a seafood platter full of stuff I can’t even pronounce. And I know from the few times my mom tried making Creole dishes, there’s a certain art to it. Let’s just say Mom was no artist. At least not in that regard. But dammit, she tried!

So, in Mom’s honor, I decided to sample some of the local cuisine. I asked the waitress for a recommendation and ended up with fried catfish and crawfish etouffee over rice.

For those who don’t know, etouffee is a French word for stew. And stew is an American word for “whatever we had sitting around.” In Creole country, etouffee simply means, “don’t ask.” But I didn’t come this far to eat cheeseburgers. You only live once. And you’re not really living if you never try anything new.

If you want my review of crawfish etouffee, you can skip to the end or just keep reading, because I really am hoping to make a point with this. You see, I’ve always been the guy who goes into the same restaurants and never looks at the menu, because I already know what I’m going to eat. If the chef wanted to poison me, they could plan it weeks in advance.

But when it comes to other things, I’ve always been a little more adventuresome. Especially on the job, I’ve never been afraid to try something new, to stretch my boundaries a bit, and raise my hand when everybody else is sitting on theirs. It’s served me well over the years, and I’ve seen some impressive career success that can’t be explained any other way.

Another quote that fits this topic is one you’ve heard from me before … to have something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. And that’s scary. But if what you’ve been doing all these years was ever going to work, it would have already happened.

When we open our mind to new ideas, opportunities for success grow exponentially. We experience things we never knew and learn new skills we never imagined. Some of those skills and experiences are a bust. There are parts of every success that are as enjoyable as steamed Brussels sprouts. Yes, I’ve tried them. Many times.

But other things we thought we would never like become second-nature. After a while, we may even come to enjoy them. And some will become our favorite part of the journey. If you had told me forty years ago I would spend my life writing system requirements, I would never have given up drinking. But nobody else wanted to do it, so I did. And I positively love it.

Ask somebody to describe their dreams, and their eyes light up. We love sharing the things that excite us. And the more excited a person is about their dreams, the more likely they are to achieve them. Until you show them a way to do it, a way that isn’t exactly what they’d planned. “Yeah, I won’t be doing that!”

So, what’s more important … reaching your goal, or how you get there? You can always follow the same path everyone else is on, and it may lead you to your dreams. But odds are, if you try something the rest of them aren’t willing try, you’ll get there faster. And you may even get someplace better, someplace so amazing you’d never even dreamed of it.

My first bite of crawfish etouffee was a bit of a shock to the tastebuds. But the second bite was a lot more pleasant, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying a dish I would never have tried a few years ago. Most of all, I gained the courage to try something else new.

The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. Open your mind. Throw caution to the wind. Dreams await those who are willing to try something new. Are you?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Success Never Makes Excuses

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

In case you’re trying to figure out this “daily” posting strategy of mine, you’re not alone. If you do figure it out, let me know. Seems I start every day with the best of intentions, and then the day tells me exactly how it plans to go. I’ve tried citing the day for insubordination, but so far it doesn’t seem to care. It just laughs and says, “Keep up!”

So, I write when I can. If that’s how I made my living, I’d have to be a little more proactive. You know, like writing my post the night before when I’m still reasonably awake and there’s nothing good on TV. I thought living in an RV would somehow add to my free time, but as it turns out, we still do pretty much the same things we used to. We just do them someplace else.

Granted, I still work every day, so it’s not like we’re on a permanent vacation. But I have a feeling retirement will be pretty much the same. At least I hope so. I’ve seen what happens when people retire and find a recliner that fits their butt more perfectly by the day. No thanks! I want to be on the move as long as I’m physically able.

Which means if I want to write a daily post, I have to carve out the time. If I want to finish my first book, I have to carve out even more time. And then there’s my day job, my personal business, grocery shopping, emptying tanks, grilling dinner, and that semi-annual wax job that’s coming due this month. Do we see a bit of a trend?

Life seems to have little regard for any plans we’ve made. It has plans of its own. It’s like getting married and realizing that poker night isn’t a shared priority. Not that poker night was ever a thing with me. I only say it to sound macho. Anybody who knows me isn’t fooled by that a bit. Somewhere along the way, Lethal Weapon turned into Steel Magnolias. I’m just saying.

And in much the same way that life has little regard for our plans, success has little regard for our excuses. It’s pretty simple. You either do it, or you don’t. There’s really no in-between. It’s like that unfinished book in my computer. Okay, I have a few of them. That doesn’t make me a multi-published author. It makes me a guy who started a bunch of stuff he hasn’t finished.

Now, if my only goal was to write, I’ve accomplished that. Over the past two decades, I’ve written a few thousand copyrighted pieces. Some have even been published in newspapers, magazines, and other people’s books. But if you do a search on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you won’t find anything with my name. They pretty much insist you actually finish the book first.

And therein lies the challenge. Success isn’t some predefined entity that eagerly awaits our arrival. It’s a personal status we each define for ourselves. We decide what it means, how it looks, and when we’ve arrived. And we do that at the very outset, when we’re still just dreaming about it. Everything from that point on is just a step in the process.

I can see a book with my name on it. That’s success. I can make that part happen. I can see a successful business with regular monthly income that’ll let me continue this lifestyle indefinitely. That’s success, and I can make that part happen. The problem is, I can also let a dozen other things get in the way and rightfully point to them as a barrier to my success.

Excuses do a good job of explaining why something didn’t happen, but they don’t really soften the blow. Especially when I know that I could find that extra hour each day to do what I need to do. I could get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later, work through lunch, take the laptop outside in the evening, or skip a couple of television shows. And I can’t make excuses for that.

You see, life doesn’t care if we succeed or not. And that’s a hard pill to swallow. But in order to work past that, we have to accept a couple of fundamental truths. The first is that we define success in our own terms … nobody else defines it for us. We decide what’s enough. And second, we have to accept that success is ours to achieve. Nobody else can do it for us.

We’re all busy. We all have other things fighting for our time. We’re all living in the age of Covid, and none of us can do a thing about the weather. Success doesn’t care. It’s simply a goal we set for ourselves. It doesn’t matter what’s standing in our way. It’s what we do about it that counts.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who’s Holding You to Your Dreams?

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

It’s raining here. Not that rain is an inherently bad thing, but I neglected to empty the RV’s holding tanks last night. You know, when it wasn’t raining. In my defense, the tanks weren’t quite full. Kinda like a trash can that’s not quite spilling over. The big difference is, I can’t put my foot in the holding tank and smash it down to make more room. I didn’t even try.

Years ago, my daughter and son-in-law were living with us. To say he was a trash-stacker is like saying Al Capone dabbled in crime. He could recreate the Eiffel Tower using egg shells, paper towels, and empty milk cartons. I finally put a piece of tape on the wall behind the can and wrote “FULL.” Like he could see it behind all that trash. Okay, like he could read. But that’s another story.

If I said anything about Mount Trashmore, he would simply put his size 11 foot in it and smash it down so tight you needed a blowtorch and a prybar to get the bag out. And on those rare occasions when he actually did take the trash out, he simply set it on the front porch. Not like it was raining and the dumpster was full. He was just lazy.

I guess that’s why he never made it as an RV dweller. He bought an old motorhome with the intent they’d live in it. They tried for a week or two, but it didn’t last. My daughter said they gave up because it was too cold. I think his tanks filled up.

Daily chores are a lot like holding tanks. At first, it’s just a little bit of stuff in the bottom that you never even notice. But tanks have a way of filling up. And don’t let anybody fool you with those little orange sachets that promise to cover up the smell. All they do is turn the poop orange. Kinda like those “debt consolidation” loans. Sooner or later, you still have to pay.

A friend once told me that getting rich is easy. Just do for people the things they’re not willing to do for themselves. It’s the very essence of the service industry. The nastier the job, the more you can charge for it. When the drainpipes are clogged, you don’t ask the plumber how much he charges. You just open your checkbook and let him fill in the amount.

To be fair, there are certain things we shouldn’t attempt on our own. Wiring your house to the light pole is one of those jobs that could go seriously wrong. Demolition is best left to the professionals. And have you ever seen those videos of a do-it-yourselfer in a flannel shirt with a chainsaw? Let me summarize it for you … somebody’s about to lose a trailer.

It’s easy to understand why we would farm that work out to somebody better suited (and more heavily insured). And sure, we can always make the kids take out the trash or cut the grass. I even taught my grandson how to empty the tanks. Those are jobs that have to be done, and ignoring them will only make it worse in the long run.

But when it comes to your dreams, it’s easy to put those tasks on the back burner for a day or two. You know, until you’re better rested and you have a little more time. The problem is, days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into decades (yes, I skipped a few steps there). All the while, the dream still waits.

Those are the tasks that nobody notices except you. There’s no telltale sign to let anybody know they were missed. They just sit there, invisible to the world. To everybody but you. But in those moments when you’re looking at your life as it is and how it could be, they stand out like a flashing red light.

It’s been said that we’re either building our own dreams or somebody else’s. But there’s a third option – just sitting around, exchanging oxygen. And don’t get me wrong. Oxygen is a pretty big deal. But whether we’re building our dreams or just thinking about them, we use pretty much the same amount. So, why not put it to good use?

It’s easy to ignore those jobs that don’t get us in trouble. Nothing stinks, and nobody cares. But at the end of the day, you still know. And the question we all have to answer is, if you were paying somebody to build your dreams for you, would they still have a job? For most of us, the answer isn’t pleasant. But it’s one we have to face if we want anything to change.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

How Big Is Your Dream?

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

Ask any young child what they want to be when they grow up, and I can guarantee not a one of them says, “I want to work at Walmart!” And if you work at Walmart, keep reading because I’m just making a point. As kids, we have grand visions of how our life will be – much better than anything our parents ever imagined. I wanted to be a surgeon. Ask me how that turned out.

About the time I discovered girls, I noticed they had an affinity for rock stars. My sister had posters of every Teen Beat idol plastered all over her bedroom walls. Okay, none of them were technically “rock stars,” but at the age of 12, I could definitely see the potential. So, I learned to play a guitar and launched a lifetime career in musical stardom. You know how that turned out.

I’m willing to bet if you ask anybody you know what they wanted to be when they were five or ten, it’s nothing remotely close to what they’re actually doing today. And I’m willing to bet every one of our parents said the same thing. “You can do anything you want, sweetheart! Yes, you can!” Until the day they told us to get our head out of the clouds and find a real job.

If you ever wonder what happened to our ability to dream, there it is. As kids, we can imagine anything. I’ve been learning a song on the guitar that perfectly captures that imagination – Puff the Magic Dragon. Yes, I’m really that old. But the lyrics are a bit troubling, because halfway through the song, little Jackie loses his imagination and Puff is left all alone. He just grew up.

So, what is it about growing up that takes such a toll on our imagination? I think part of it is just the world around us. Let’s face it, others don’t always find value in our dreams of a better life. That’s especially true on the job. It’s okay to work hard and try to advance. Just don’t get too big for your britches! You still need this job. You always will. That’s part of the master plan.

And you can’t blame them. It’s like a father training his son how to run the farm, only to watch him run away and join the circus. Sure, the kid may be happy and living his own dream. But dad is left to find somebody else he can train in half the time. And preferably someone who will buy his own food for the next 18 years.

And even if nobody steps on our dreams, life happens. Bills come due, promotions go to the other person, and we find ourselves working two jobs just to make ends meet. It’s hard to even remember our dreams at that point, much less put any energy into them. And that’s when we need our dreams the most.

Albert Einstein once said that your imagination is a preview of what’s to come. Napoleon Hill took it a step further and said if you don’t see riches in your imagination, you’ll never see them in your bank account. Now, maybe that sounds a little too simplistic, but both of those men accomplished a lot. Is it possible they’re really on to something?

I was listening to a motivational speaker who said we’ll never leave where we are until we see ourselves where we want to be. Now, whether you believe in any of this or not, can we at least agree that it all begins with a dream? If we want something better, enough to work for it, we have to believe deep down that we can actually achieve it. Otherwise, it’s just work.

Believing we can achieve begins with seeing success before it ever happens. Experience success first, even if only in your imagination, and it becomes that much easier to attain. Do you have a dream book? Someplace where you not only list your dreams, but put in pictures to make them more real? Photoshop yourself into those pictures if you have to. You’re not breaking any laws.

And here’s the most important part – if you’re going to use your imagination, think big! It takes the same amount of energy to dream of a used car as a new one. And, oddly enough, it takes the same amount of effort on a daily basis to achieve it. One just takes a little longer. If you can do the work for a small dream, you can certainly do it for a big one.

When you already know how the story ends, getting there is that much easier. Focus on the destination, and the path will present itself. The road may not look like you’d imagined, but if you keep pressing, that road becomes a success story … yours. Make it a story worth telling.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If Simple Works, Let It Work

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

When you have a steady stream of traffic, traffic lights are the best way to create havoc. Partly because stopped cars move a lot more slowly than moving cars, and partly because the average driver hasn’t yet figured out the concept of red and green lights. And forget about yellow lights. Have you ever watched a figure-8 race? Let me paint a picture. It’s a sideways game of chicken.

Every now and then, traffic engineers come up with innovative ways to keep traffic moving, or at least to minimize the number of cars backed up onto the freeway because the lights are timed to funnel more traffic into McDonalds. Hey, you’ve gotta have priorities.

One of the more effective approaches I’ve seen is steeply angled traffic patterns that allow cars to merge from the exit ramp onto the intersecting roadway without slowing down. Instead of riding the brake through that sharp left turn off the exit ramp, you floor it and race through at something shy of light speed. All they need now is bumpers to keep you in your own lane.

Today I saw Louisiana’s attempt at genius. Okay, I sat in it for ten minutes as a semi driver at the front of the line worked up the courage to give it a try. Ever seen a roundabout? They suck in the middle of town where everybody’s driving 10 mph anyway. But it takes a special kind of imbecile to put one at the bottom of an exit ramp. We’re talking seriously gifted.

Getting into a roundabout is bad enough. You have to wait for an opening that’s not there, and the second you hit the gas you have to cross both lanes to get into the middle. Unless you’re taking the first exit to the right, in which case you could have avoided the whole thing by just driving across the sidewalk. People will move. Trust me.

Once you get into the middle, the real fun begins. At each entry point (there are at least four), somebody will be joining the fun from your right. You know, in the lane you need to jump into at the last second so you can get off the merry-go-round. Unless you’re willing to knock somebody out of your way, you could be stuck in the middle for days.

Now, take that same roundabout and add in a “special” twist. I use that word freely, with full knowledge of the many ways it may be interpreted. So, you’re in the roundabout and you need to turn right? No problem. At each of the four points, you can turn right from whichever lane you’re in. As long as nobody crosses a painted line, you’re good. What could possibly go wrong?

Okay, it goes without saying that I won’t be taking that exit again any time soon. Once was enough. I’m sure some traffic engineer is still sitting in the corner laughing about that one. For all I know, he got a raise. In fact, I bet he was promoted to school zones and railroad crossings. I’ve seen a few of those that could use some work.

So, how does any of this fit into the topic of motivational writing? It doesn’t. Some of these are just for me. But while you’re driving that endless circle in the middle of the roundabout, it gives you plenty of time to think about problem-solving, and the difference between ingenuity and stupidity. It also makes you realize your car will eventually get scratched anyway.

Sometimes, the simplest things are the most effective. You know, like traffic lights. It’s been more than a century since the first one was installed in Cleveland, and last time I checked they move a lot of cars through there every day. Are there more glamorous ways to control traffic? Sure. But sometimes, the tried and true is the best approach.

In my business, we teach people to duplicate what others are doing. It’s a business plan that’s been around for more than 60 years, and it still works today for one basic reason – it’s simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy … just that it’s not rocket science. And every time somebody tries to improve on it, they always end up back where they started. Because simple works.

There will be times when somebody shows you how to do something, and your first thought is “There has to be a better way!” Maybe. The quest for a better way has led to millions of innovative improvements. But a round wheel still rolls better than a wheel of any other shape. Food for thought.

There’s nothing wrong with looking for a better way. But don’t change things just for the sake of change. Sometimes the old way is still the best way. Get good at that and you may not need anything better.

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

Who’s Keeping Track of Your List?

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

Well, another week is behind us. Almost. I guess there’s still a full day to go. I saw a meme on Facebook a while back that showed a disheartened face with the words, “When you’re ready to go home and the boss reminds you that you still have eight hours to go.” Still, it’s Friday. That’s like telling a kid there’s only a week left until Christmas.

Time drags, except when you’re on vacation. I’ve often wondered how that is for retired people. Several times I was talking to my dad and he’d ask, “Is today Saturday?” When you don’t have to work, you get to ask questions like that. The best I get is waking up on Thursday, thinking it’s Friday. “Yes!” turns to “Damn!” in three seconds flat.

Friday is a day of celebration, no doubt. It’s also the day when we start making a mental “to-do” list for next week. The first five or thirty-six items on the list are easy – just start with everything you didn’t get done this week. “Well, that one will have to wait. But I have to get it done Monday. No excuses!” Famous last words.

I still have an 8-foot mud flap in the RV that I was going to install before we left. But it was cold outside, and I need some additional hardware to install it. At our first campsite, I was going to rearrange all the storage bays. Six weeks later, that’s still on the list. My freelance assignment is overdue, I’ve run out of vitamins, and we still need to get an oil change. And the list goes on.

Okay, in my defense, I do have some valid excuses. We spent four weeks visiting Dad and then planning his funeral. We’ve been visiting relatives we don’t often see, I work during the day, and it’s been raining. For any day of this trip, I can tell you exactly why I didn’t get anything done. Can I just cross off a few for good intent?

Okay, some things truly will go away on their own. Ignore the oil change long enough, and you won’t have to worry about it anymore. Let the car payment slide, and you won’t have one much longer. Procrastinate on your tax returns and … sorry, that one doesn’t go away. But you get the point. Vanishing problems aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

On the other hand, there are some things that just aren’t as critical. If you can’t find time to weed the flower bed, nobody else will even notice. After six years of weeds, I learned my lesson. Don’t plant flowers. It takes a lot of time, you end up dirty and sore, and by mid-summer it’ll all be weeds anyway. So, just let the weeds grow. In fact, water them and they’ll die.

But, when time is running short, those are the tasks we always seem to do first. They may be personally rewarding, but at the end of the day all those other things we needed to do are still sitting there, waiting for a spot on next week’s list. Sometimes we need a little motivation. Run the clippers up the back of your head, and you’ll find time for that haircut. Trust me.

When my mother-in-law moved in, my wife’s sister knew that painting the inside of her closet would be low on my list of priorities. So, she slapped a wide patch of contrasting paint on the closet wall, then left the rest for me. Well, two can play that game. I think it’s about time she should paint her living room.

No, I wouldn’t do that to somebody else’s house. But sometimes, we do need that extra incentive to get things done. My business mentors have suggested getting an accountability partner. Somebody you trust enough to share your dreams, and who knows you well enough to call BS when you’re making excuses.

Share your goals. “By this day, I will (insert your favorite lie here).” Put it in writing, and then slip it into their pocket. Tell them to call you every week to see how you’re doing. You may be able to fake success on social media, but your accountability partner knows better. Sooner or later, you’ll either get on the ball or call it quits.

We have accountability partners on the job. We have them at home. And we have some we don’t even know in police cars and courtrooms. They all hold us to task, in one way or another. Find somebody who will do the same when it comes to your dreams, and you open a whole new world of opportunity.

Excuses make us feel better, but they don’t bring us any closer to our dreams. Make yourself accountable. Get things done. There will be plenty of time to rest when you’re finished.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved