You Can’t Fail If You Don’t Try

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

No, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth. No, my account wasn’t hacked by a political troll. I didn’t have my morning coffee until mid-afternoon yesterday, so that’s my defense against anything I may have said or done that made a few heads spin. But I know you’re my friends, and if my lack of coffee went further than I’m aware, I’m sure I can count on you for bail money.

It’s the first Monday in a new month. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that would be the dead of winter. I’ve often wondered why people south of the equator don’t just advance the calendar six months so we can all dread February equally. Or maybe we should just turn our calendar back six months, though enough people whine about August already. I’m not sure I could handle that.

This is typically a week when those of us who made resolutions take a few moments to reinforce our goals. That’s not to say we’ll do anything more about it – we just admit we blew it and remind ourselves why it was important in the first place. For another week or two, most local gyms will still be pretty well packed. But by mid-month, all those workout clothes will be in a Goodwill bag.

I have to say I’ve done pretty well with my resolutions so far. Granted, cutting certain words out of your vocabulary isn’t that great an accomplishment, especially when you’re not out in morning traffic every day. But I’m trying. I had a few others as well, and I’m hitting about 50% on those. Half the battle is recognizing where you’re falling short. But the other half is doing something about it.

We make a big deal about New Year’s resolutions, but they’re really no different than any other goal we may set during the year. So let’s stop calling them resolutions and just call them what they are … pipe dreams. Okay, goals. Some would say the two are about the same, but I say there’s one big distinction between the two. Intent. Premeditation. The willingness to see it through.

A goal without a plan is just a dream, and a plan without action is somebody else’s roadmap to success. And years down the road, we’ll tell people, “I had an idea about that once, but I failed.” No, you didn’t. You can’t fail if you don’t try. And that’s what stops most of us from taking that first step. Inaction is life’s only certain hedge against failure. It’s also a guarantee against success.

Which brings me to an important point. The absence of failure doesn’t mean you’ve succeeded, and the absence of success doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Read that again. You can’t fail until you stop trying, but success will still take a little more effort. And as long as you’re in the hunt for success, you haven’t failed. Both are absolutes at opposite ends of the spectrum. Action is what lies between.

So, try this. Find the most obnoxious person you know and share your goals with them. Tell them the great things you’ll do in the coming year, and then sit back and await the inevitable barrage of criticism. Then do yourself the best favor you possibly can. Succeed. Not just a little, but all the way. If for no other reason, than to rub their big fat nose in it. By then you’ll be able to afford the protection.

A goal is simply a dream with a due date. But as long as you’re willing to give yourself a free pass on that due date, it’ll never happen. Figure out what needs to be done and do it. See it through to the very end. And if it still doesn’t work, at least you’ll have earned the right to say you failed. But odds are, you’ll be telling a completely different story.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What is Your “Why”?

Well, the holidays are over and it’s back to the grind. This is the time when we reflect on good times shared with family and friends, and face (for most of us) the longest stretch of the year before our next paid holiday. And if you live in the northern hemisphere, you get to contend with winter at the same time. And the hits just keep on coming!

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the post-holiday blues. The celebrations are over, the decorations are put away, and we’re expected to pick up right where left off, full speed ahead. Meanwhile, the credit card bills are coming in and we’re trying to figure out how to stretch what little is left in our checking account to cover expenses for the next month.

That said, it’s also a time of renewal. It’s a time to get back on our feet, shake off any lingering baggage from the previous year, and move forward with a sense of purpose. Whether you made a resolution for the whole year, or just for one week as I suggested in Monday’s post, this is where the rubber meets the pavement.

Like many of you, I need to lose weight. Okay, I need to lose a pretty fair amount of weight. I’m a member at a local gym and, over the past few years, I’ve exercised pretty regularly. That is to say, I’ve gone through periods of a few months where I exercised almost daily, and then several more months where I didn’t go at all. It happens.

But in my time at the gym, there’s something I’ve noticed. Every year, starting in the first week of January, the gym is full of fresh faces, people I’ve never seen there before. The morning workout crowd is about three times its normal size for a month or two, and then all those new faces are gone.

And there’s a simple reason for this. It’s not a lack of willpower, or failed resolutions, or anything of the sort. It’s simply the natural result of working toward a goal without a firm understanding of why you’re doing it in the first place.

It’s easy to set goals, and probably just as easy to start working toward them. But if we don’t know the real reason why, it won’t last very long. Ask somebody why they’re in the gym, and they can offer a bunch of superficial reasons. “To lose weight.” “To get healthy.” “To get my doctor off my back.” But those are goals – they don’t explain why.

This time of year, another common goal is paying off some bills. That may mean anything from cutting monthly expenses like cable TV or dinners out, to taking on a part-time job or even starting a business. And the goal is simple – we need more money, so we can pay off some bills. But why?

Maybe the goal is to pay down the credit cards, so we can spend more next Christmas. Maybe we want to save a down-payment for a new house or car. Maybe we want extra money for vacations or to send the kids to college. And maybe we just want a safety net, so we can start saving for retirement.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand what it means to you. Losing weight isn’t a reason – it’s a goal. Why do you want to lose weight? To get off your blood pressure medicine? To look more attractive? To fit into the seat of your favorite rollercoaster? It could be that simple.

Root cause analysis is a method of identifying a problem by continually asking the question “why?” The plane crashed. Why? Because it fell out of the sky. Why? Because the engine stopped. Why? Because it ran out of fuel. Why? Because it was raining, and the pilot didn’t want to risk getting water in the tanks by doing a visual inspection. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

Sometimes, you have to follow the same process to get to the real reason why you want to make a change. And once you’ve got that bottom-line reason firmly planted in your mind, the excuses seem to melt away. You wake up every day with a solid vision of what you’re doing, and why. It’s what drives you to succeed when you’d rather take a break.

We’ll talk more about this later, but for now, take some time to get your “why” firmly planted in your mind. It may take some time, and a few sheets of paper. But it’s worth the effort, because when you combine a goal with belief and a firm understanding of why, nothing can stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved