Keep Going – You’re Moving Faster Than You Think

Good morning! It’s Monday, and that means the beginning of a brand-new week! I hope your day is starting off well.

For those of you who were with us Saturday, I slipped on in on you. I hope you’ve had time to read it, because it pretty much tied up all the loose ends from the topics we talked about last week. If you missed it, see if you can find time to go back.

Okay, so last week got a little intense. That was by design, even though, as I’ve said before, sometimes these posts are more stream-of-consciousness than something with a planned direction. Still, once I got started in that direction last week, I felt compelled to continue. Hopefully you were able to glean some useful thoughts from it.

As we begin this week, I’m ten days from a goal that looks increasingly large. Know the feeling? It’s like having a stack of bills on the table marked “Past Due” and the bank account is empty. I think most of us have been there. But we all have to ability to correct that situation and, as the saying goes, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. The story can change up until the very last moment.

We had a large initiative at work last year with an aggressive due date that was enough to make the most seasoned specialists cringe. “Are they kidding? There’s no way!” These are common thoughts at the outset of a goal, especially one that was imposed by somebody else. And, the entire time, with every little setback, those thoughts rise to the surface again. “We’ll never get this done!”

When you’re in the car driving to a particular destination, it’s easy to measure progress because it’s linear. Except for time spent in abnormally heavy traffic, your progress is pretty much the same the entire time you’re on the road. You set the cruise control and you can pretty much know where you’ll be in a few hours or by the end of the day.

But with most other things, progress isn’t so linear. All that work you do up-front doesn’t seem to yield any progress at all. In fact, sometimes all you do is uncover an even bigger mess and now you’ve got more work than you’d bargained for. Can I get an amen?

When you build a new home, the job starts with clearing trees and leveling the site. What started as a beautiful work of nature is now a big mud pit and the clock is ticking. Next you dig even deeper to make room for a foundation, and then load up the site with construction materials. All that work, and not the first piece of the house is built. Instead of a beautiful homesite, it’s an eyesore.

But the work continues and, slowly but surely, a structure begins to emerge. You’re looking at the calendar, wondering how on earth it’ll ever be done on time, but the builder assures you it’s time to start packing up your old house, because this one will be finished soon. Weather delays will occur, and the carpet may not arrive on time. But they’ve done this before. They know it’ll happen.

Now, let me ask you, if the builder were to look at the calendar early on and decide it’s a futile race against time and that the goal was unrealistic to begin with, how hard do you think they’d work to get it finished? The moment we agree to back off the original goal, our effort declines. And the more our effort declines, the more distant our revised goal appears. And around we go.

When we focus too heavily on visible or measurable results, it’s easy to lose sight of the original goal and the effort we’ve put in to that point. And, much like a new house, while all that effort may not be apparent in our progress to date, it creates the foundation on which success will ultimately be built.  

As I begin this week, the measurable results toward my goal are pretty dismal. But the work I’ve done to this point was important work, and a required part of achieving my goal. I could change that goal a little if I wanted, and I don’t think anybody would come down too hard on me if I came up a little short. But nobody imposed this goal on me – I came up with it by myself. I own it.

Take ownership of your own goals and don’t let anything stand in the way. Put in the effort, even when it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. Because sooner or later, those wheels will heat up and gain traction. From there, you’re off to the finish line in a race you were destined to win from the start.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Crunch Time, and the Ball is in Your Court

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

Yes, it’s Saturday and here I am. Surprise! I normally don’t write on the weekends, but we’ve been on a topic most of the week that I wanted to finish while it’s fresh in your mind and mine. Okay, and a friend asked me to write this today instead of waiting till Monday. This one is for you Katie.

Our common theme this week has revolved around a few interrelated premises. First, moving forward takes faith in yourself and your ability to reach your goal. Second, if you keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing, the results will never change. And finally, to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

In talking with people about their dreams, the discussion always ends up in the same place. “I’d love to do that, but it takes money.” In other words, “I can’t afford it.” And that’s okay. If we could afford everything we want, there would be nothing left to desire. And desire is what drives us to do a little more each day.

People tend to get squeamish about money, because we’re taught that we should appreciate what we’ve got and that it’s selfish to want more. But we’re also taught that laziness is one of the seven deadly sins. So, which is it? Are we supposed to simply accept life as it is today?  Or are we supposed to get up and work to make it a little better?

The answer to that question has to come from within. If you’re happy with life as it is today and don’t want anything more, just keep doing what you’re doing. That doesn’t make you lazy. It just means you’re content. But if you want something more, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with working to achieve it.

When we begin to put our dreams on hold or accept the reality that what we’re doing just isn’t going to make it happen, it all boils down to one simple question: “Are you open to other ways of making money?”

Notice, the question isn’t “Do you want more money?” Sure, we all do. It isn’t even, “Are you willing to work harder to make more money?” Most of us are doing that anyway. Besides, we’ve already established that if what you’re doing today isn’t getting you visibly closer to your goals, you need a different approach. So, let me ask again. Are you open to other ways of making money?

Think about that for a moment. “Are you open …?” That doesn’t mean, are you willing? Most of us are willing. It means, is your mind open to things you may not have considered? “… to other ways …” This isn’t about working harder at what you’re already doing. We already know that’s not getting the job done. It’s about trying something new.

I remember reading in the early 1970s that sanitation workers in New York City were making $30 an hour at a time when the minimum hourly wage was $1.65. In today’s dollars, that would be $130 an hour. Now, do you think sanitation work is glamorous or exciting? Probably not. I’m pretty sure those guys didn’t think so, either. But how well could you live on that kind of money?

Sure, there’s a limit to what we’re willing to do, but within the bounds of decency and the law, where would you draw the line? Is it more important to have a career that’s the envy of all your friends, or to end each day in a comfortable home surrounded by a healthy family with plenty of food on the table, no bills to worry about, and the ability to escape it all for a couple of weeks each year?

Are you open to other ways of making money? This isn’t a philosophical question. It’s something each of us needs to answer for ourselves, right now. If the answer is no, then take another look at that list of dreams and start deciding which ones you’re willing to cross off. If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for?

Are you willing to try something different? Are you able to find personal pride in working to make your life better, even if others think it’s a waste of time? Are you willing to spend the next few years of your life doing the things most people won’t do so you can spend the rest of your life doing the things most people can’t do?

Do you want to dream, or live your dreams? That’s really what it comes down to. And the answer to that question, or rather the inevitable result, depends on your answer to all those other questions. Read them again. Today is the day you can begin to make a change. It’s all up to you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity May Knock, But You Still Have to Open the Door

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

Is it just me, or did this seem like an awfully long week? It seems to work that way sometimes. Hopefully, by the end of the week, you were able to take advantage of those seemingly long days and get a lot accomplished. I did, but my job is a lot like a fast-food restaurant clerk – there’s always more coming.

I remember about thirty years ago, my wife told me of a large truck manufacturer that was hiring 5,000 assembly line workers. The thought of standing in one place all day, repeating the same thing over and over was mind-numbing, but the pay was great.

I think she was upset that I didn’t apply for a position, but it just wasn’t me. Oddly enough, not even a year later that same manufacturer laid off 5,000 people. Any bets on who they were? As Erma Bombeck once said, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. Things can look great on the surface, but what lurks beneath isn’t always so pleasant.

On the other hand, the best opportunities are often the last thing we would ever have considered. Yet most people will walk away without giving them a second thought, because a friend or family member once tried and failed, or they read some bad reviews online, or “it’s just not what I see myself doing.”

And that’s okay. We all have to make our own decisions. And, we all have to live with the consequences of those decisions. That doesn’t mean all those consequences will be unpleasant. Some people are in a position of comfort where, if nothing changed for the rest of their life, they’d be satisfied.

But most of us want something more. Whether it’s a better-paying job, a nicer home, a new set of skills, a new car, a warmer climate, sending the kids to college, taking the family on a nice vacation, or simply a brighter retirement, we all have dreams.

And here’s the reality – if you keep doing exactly what you’re doing, the results are never going to change. We all think that, at some point in life, the money we earn will magically be worth more than it is today. Our savings account will somehow balloon, our expenses will be cut in half once the kids are gone. Ask any empty nester. They believed that, too. But it just doesn’t work that way.

Most of my posts this week have followed a similar train of thought. That wasn’t necessarily by design, but it’s a topic that can’t be conveyed in just a few words. If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. That’s the essence of what I’ve been talking about all week.

And doing something you’ve never done takes a leap of faith. It takes courage. It means setting aside your doubts long enough to examine the possibilities. It means making a decision for yourself, regardless of what others may think. It means accepting the reality that you have the ability to succeed where others may have failed.

If you have a dream that’s strong enough to get you out of the recliner, and you have faith in your ability to do what’s necessary, then success is only a matter of time. As long as you stay focused on the goal and keep moving toward it, success is inevitable.

Think of that word for a moment – inevitable. It means the outcome is pre-ordained and nothing can prevent it from happening. No matter what obstacles may stand in the way, they can’t stop the inevitable result. The only thing that can block your success is a lack of effort on your part.

No matter what your goals may be, opportunities abound. Some of those opportunities may present themselves, and you may have to dig a little to find the others. But every time we turn away from an opportunity, every time we automatically scoff at something just because it doesn’t meet some predefined level of immediate credibility, our choices are that much more limited.

Any publisher will tell you that, if a book doesn’t have an eye-catching cover, it won’t sell. That’s not because the book itself is any less worthy. But most people, within three seconds of picking up a book, will decide either to look at the table of contents or simply put it back on the shelf.

Success is often found deeper inside those opportunities that may not have such a pretty cover. Sometimes, we have to be willing to be seen with a book others don’t understand or wouldn’t be seen with themselves. That’s okay. They have their goals, and you have your own. The question is, whose goals are more important to you?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Focus on the Outcome – The Way Will Present Itself

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

I guess by now, you all think I wake up each morning with thoughts racing through my brain, just waiting to be spilled out onto the keyboard. I wish that were the case, but more often than not, I sit at the computer with no real thought as to what I plan to write that morning. It just happens. Some days it’s not all that great, and other days make up for it. That seems to be the way life goes.

In my younger years, if you wanted to take a trip from one city to another, you either looked at a map beforehand or relied on directions from others. GPS was something for ships and transcontinental airliners. And if the route you were on was closed for some reason, you’d simply get off that road, pull in someplace and ask directions (ladies?), and keep driving until you got there.

For the record, yes … I have actually gone into a gas station or convenience store and asked for directions. If that means I have to hand in my “man card” so be it. I’ve also opened a second screen on my computer in the morning to look up a statistic or find out who was the first to offer a specific quote. If you thought all those facts just rattled around in my brain all day, think again.

In the days of Christopher Columbus, navigation was done mostly by dead-reckoning and looking at the stars. You would take a known starting point, head in a specific direction, estimate your speed, and hope the wind and waves weren’t blowing you too far off course. At night you relied on the stars to get you back on track. Except on stormy nights. Then you just hung on for dear life.

Of course, that approach relied on one critical factor – knowing where you were headed. According to historical folklore, Christopher Columbus had set off to prove the world was round by sailing west to India, a country that everybody knew was to the east. What he didn’t know was that there was this huge continent in the middle that stretched from the top of the globe almost to the bottom.

A lot of mornings as I write my post, I find myself in a similar situation. I think I know where I want to go, but end up someplace completely different. And sometimes the goal is simply to get a positive message online, one that will hit home with at least one or two people, with no real sense of how I’ll get there. If you couldn’t already tell, today is one of those days.

Sometimes, too much planning can get in the way. You have a goal and an idea of how you’ll achieve it. You formulate a plan and start working through the details. You decide ahead of time exactly how you’ll get there and how long you think it’ll take. And then you hit the road with blinders on, focused only on that pre-defined route.

But you’re missing all the scenery along the way. You blow right past the on-ramp to a newer and faster route because you’re stuck on plans made from a ten-year-old map. You miss opportunities not only to expedite the completion of your trip, but to enjoy it more along the way. And then comes the dreaded “Road Closed” sign. Now what do you do?

If the destination is known, all you have to do is keep moving in the right direction. And when the GPS says, “Recalculating,” you make a turn and get back on track. Sooner or later you’ll get there. Destinations don’t move. What changes is the means by which we get there.

We talked yesterday about faith, the belief in something you can’t prove. In this case, it’s the certainty in a final outcome you’ve not yet achieved. But if you know where you’re going, and you believe in your ability to get there, how you do it isn’t quite as important. You don’t have to plan everything to the nth degree. Focus on the goal and the means will present itself.

The key here is that you have to begin with the courage to take that first step. You have to be open to options along the way. You have to be willing to try something new – maybe something so radically different that it almost doesn’t make sense. If you stick to the path everybody else is on, you’ll end up exactly where they’re headed, two steps behind.

You achieve new things by trying new things. Focus on the destination and believe in the outcome. Take off the blinders and be open to new opportunities. The path to success may not look like anything you’d imagined. But what’s more important? The destination, or the color of the car that gets you there?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Soar With the Faith of a Baby Bird

Good morning. It’s Hump Day! We’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off well.

As I was shaving this morning, I heard the sound of birds outside greeting the new day. It’s been a long winter here in southern Ohio, so that’s a sound I haven’t heard in a while. Okay, there are some stubborn species that have never heard of flying south for the winter, but this is typically a sound we associate with springtime. It’s about time.

As I listened to them chirping at one another, two thoughts came to me. First, I’ve never seen or heard of a bird that wakes up in the morning with a scowl on its face, grumpy about the interruption in its sleep. They all seem to wake up happy and full of life, eager to face the new day. Seems to me we could learn a thing or two from that.

I also thought about the little ones taking their first flight. That has to be a scary experience. It’s hard enough to leave the nest for the first time, but that’s when they realize just how high in a tree the nest really is. “Thanks mom! You expect me to step out of this thing and just flap my wings. What if it doesn’t work???”

Years ago, I saw a picture of a baby bird staring over the side of the nest getting ready for that first flight. The caption read, “It can because it thinks it can.” Just as a small child sees its parents walk upright, a baby bird sees its mother fly in from the big blue sky with food for the whole family. There’s never any doubt in their mind that they can do the same thing. It just takes a leap of faith.

Faith is the unwavering belief in something for which we have no physical proof. It means to know something deep down inside that others may doubt. It’s the ability to see into the future and know the outcome before you take the first step. And, for a baby bird, it means flapping your wings just a little harder to turn that long drop to the ground into the miracle of flight.

A friend often asks, “What goals would you set for yourself if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I’ve quoted her before, because I think they’re powerful words. If a wizard waved a magic wand over you and told you that you could now accomplish anything and everything your heart desires, which of your dreams do you think you’d tackle first?

Sure, the first couple of times you might go into it with the mindset that this may work, and it may not. After all, our lives have mostly been a mixed bag of wins and losses. But, unlike a baseball game, we can step up to the plate as many times as we want, and when the game appears to be over, we can declare extra innings. It’s not over until we say it’s over. We just keep playing until we win.

I was listening to a motivational CD yesterday where the speaker said that every time a baseball player steps up to the plate, he expects to get a hit. He stands there because he knows the right pitch will come his way. He swings because he knows he can hit the ball. He never expects to strike out. Yet the Hall of Fame opens its doors for the player who can get a hit one time out of three.

That means the best players return to the bench seven times out of ten. And all they’re thinking about is their next time at bat, and that their own batting average proves they’ve got what it takes to hit the ball and get on base. They don’t step up to the plate knowing they’ll get a hit. They do it because they have faith in their ability to succeed.

You have the ability and the power to succeed at anything you set out to do. Okay, I don’t suggest jumping off a tree limb and flapping your arms, because there’s this thing called gravity that can mess up your day. But you get the idea. There are very few things in life that you can’t accomplish if you have the faith and courage of a baby bird.

So, again, what would your goals be if you knew you couldn’t fail? Would you keep doing what you’re doing today, or do you think you’d set your sights just a little higher? We all dream of things we’d like to have or goals we’d like to accomplish. They may seem a little far-fetched, and others may get a chuckle out of your ambitions. But the only thing holding you back is your own self-doubt.

Remove that doubt and all things become possible. All it takes is a little faith. You can do this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Are You Waiting For?

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

Now that the weather has warmed up, what’s changed in your life? Okay, I guess if you live on the other side of the equator, we could ask the opposite question. But the same premise applies. What’s different in your life because of the change in the weather? Do you suddenly find yourself with less time to do the things you want to do?

Something I hear from people a lot is, “I’m just so busy! Between work and the kids and sports and gardening and my book club and Game of Thrones … I just don’t have the time to take on anything new.” I get it. We’re all busy.

Today’s message loosely ties with yesterdays in the simple fact that when we consider our goals and the things we need to do to accomplish them, it usually means trying something new. Or, more accurately, it means adding something new. Your schedule is already crammed full, and now that dream is demanding a little of your time as well. What gives?

More often than not, the time is there if we really want something. If you kept a vacation brochure at your desk for some exotic location, people at work might get the idea that’s something you’d like to do. And through the day, whenever you had a few minutes to catch your breath, you’d gaze wistfully at that brochure, dreaming of the day you’d be in that picture. That’s how dream-building works.

So, what if your boss came by and made you an offer. “Give me five extra hours each week for the next year and I’ll send you on that vacation, all expenses paid. Split the time up any way you want, but give me a good five hours each week.” Would you do it? Sure you would. Odds are, you’ve put in those extra five hours most weeks anyway, between skipping breaks and working through lunch.

We can always find time when the reward is guaranteed. But, given the opportunity to put in that same amount of work doing something for ourselves, where maybe we could take that vacation not only next year but twice every year, it’s amazing how hard it is to find the time. “I’m just too busy.”

Something I’ve learned over the years is that we’re only as busy as we allow ourselves to be. Sure, earning an income means putting in a forty-hour week, sometimes longer. And when you factor in everything from getting dressed in the morning through the evening commute, you’re already putting in an extra 8-10 hours a week. If you typically eat lunch at your desk, add another 5 hours.

Beyond that, there are other things that demand our time. Family is at the top of the list, especially kids. But do you actually spend all those remaining hours before bedtime interacting with family, or do you have those moments when everyone else is busy doing their own thing and you’re left to your own thoughts?

The time is there, but sometimes we have to be a little creative. What if you could step away for lunch and use that time for yourself? What if you could take a notebook to the soccer game and draw up some plans? What if you could make a few phone calls while the kids are doing their homework? What if you could meet an associate for coffee after work while the traffic dies down?

We all get 168 hours each week. Some of those hours are already spoken for, but if you’re being completely honest, you probably have at least half of those hours available for whatever you want. Sleep will naturally take up some of that time, and we all need to find time to rest.

But as we discussed a couple of weeks ago, you can accomplish a lot in fifteen minutes. Do that twice a day and you’ve just found three and half hours every week that you didn’t think you had. Add in an extra hour each day on the weekend and maybe a half-hour in the evenings, and now you’re up to eight hours. What could you do with an extra workday at your disposal?

No matter how young or old you are, no matter what’s going on in your life or what’s about to settle down, there will never be a “good” time to take on something new. There’s only today. And the longer you delay that decision, the longer it’ll take you to reach your dreams.

If there’s something you want, make the time. You may be surprised how easy it is once you get started. And with every day, every hour, every fifteen minutes, you’re that much closer to your goal. The time will never be better. You just have to make it work for you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Try Something New Today!

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

I’ve spent the past five weeks doing something different. I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s something I’ve known for several years I needed to do. Like most others, though, it’s always easier to stick with the status quo and blame a lack of progress on fate or just bad luck. “This just wasn’t meant to happen.” Sound familiar?

But I’m learning as I get older that everything is “meant” to happen. From the moment we’re born, life presents a never-ending series of paths we can follow that lead to a predefined destination. As infants, a lot of those paths are chosen for us. But by the time we’re able to start making even the most minor decisions for ourselves, we begin to work toward some destination.

If you were on a trip and suddenly realized the setting sun was on the wrong side of the car, would you keep driving and hope that nature and celestial reality would suddenly change to match the path you’re on? Or would you stop and ask directions? Okay ladies, I asked that question just for you because everybody knows men don’t ask for directions.  We just pay closer attention to the signs.

But sooner or later, you’d have to change direction or end up someplace you really didn’t want to go. And, depending how far you’ve gone in the wrong direction, you may have to take a route you’ve never followed before to get yourself headed in the right direction. It’s a little scary sometimes. The unknown always is. But you’ll see plenty of new things along the way.

According to Thomas Jefferson, to have something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. There are a lot of truth in those words. Another way of saying that is “to go someplace you’ve never gone you must be willing to follow a path you’ve never known.” Okay, I like T.J.’s quote better. But you get the idea.

It’s our willingness to try something new that gives voice to our imagination. It’s what makes us good at our jobs. It’s what makes us fun to be around. And it’s what led us to this exact moment in life. We don’t always want to take the credit (or blame) for our current circumstances, but there’s no escaping the fact that decisions made and actions taken have shaped our destiny.

If you’re perfectly happy with where you are and have no desire to move beyond this point in life, the good news is you don’t have to change a thing. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing. But if you want to experience new things before this ride is over, you have to be willing to try something new. Even if your current direction is spot-on, moving forward means covering new ground.

For most people, one of our greatest fears is fear of the unknown. You see something interesting, or somebody suggests something a little out of the ordinary, and your imagination goes into overdrive. “Look at the possibilities! But what if it doesn’t work? If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it. There has to be a catch. But it sure would be nice …” We’ve all been there. It happens every time.

With anything new, there will always be a certain element of risk. And, let’s be honest, there are some things none of us should ever attempt. We have to assess the situation and ask ourselves a critical question – what do I stand to lose if this goes terribly wrong, and am I willing to take that risk? Sometimes, the answer is obvious. Walk away.

But more often than not, the answer is that if the worst were to happen, you’d just dust yourself off and walk away a little wiser. Or maybe you’d tweak your approach and keep working toward the same goal. Because, whether the approach is working or not, the goal never really changes. You just have to adapt and try something new.

My mom always used to ask, “Will this matter twenty years from now?” It’s a good way to handle spilled milk or a broken window. It’s also a great way to handle what may appear to be failures in working toward our goals. Because most times, the answer to Mom’s question is “Twenty years from now, this won’t make a bit of difference.”

When you can approach a new experience with that reality in mind, it’s easy to put risk in the proper perspective. And in doing that, you change the question from “What can go wrong” to “What could go right?” Will it matter twenty years from now if things go amazingly well? The only way to find out is to try something new. That one decision can lead you to destinations you never imagined.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved