What Will You Do After the Storm?

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

This was an incredibly productive and relaxing weekend, highlighted by my youngest granddaughter’s fifth birthday. It’s amazing how quickly they grow up. For a little girl who doesn’t like being the center of attention, she had an awesome day. Watching the kids run and play outside, none of us could have imagined how the day would end.

I went to sleep knowing there were thunderstorms looming from the northwest, but most of our weather comes in from the southwest, so I went to sleep thinking about the people north of us who would bear the brunt of it. Well, as it turned out, “north” was a lot closer than it seemed. By 11:00, I was awakened out of a sound sleep to spend the next hour hunkered down in the basement.

We were spared the worst of it, but early indications are that several tornadoes tore a path across several counties after most people had gone to sleep for the night. For many of those people, as the rest of us settled back into our beds once the storms had passed, they were left to wonder where their bed had gone, because it wasn’t where they last saw it.

We live in an area of the state that’s known for tornadoes. My own neighborhood, the very spot on which my house sits, was ground zero for one of the most destructive F5 tornadoes in history. That one leveled a large part of our town and took 33 lives in the process. There were injuries last night, and a lot of destruction. But thankfully, it appears everyone at least survived the storms.

But last night, we were among the lucky ones who were able to return to our own bed and call it a night. The closest confirmed tornado passed less than three miles to the north. As we counted our blessings and tried to unwind, images of unbelievable destruction were broadcast on the TV. And even as I went to bed, the storms were still wreaking havoc in counties to the east.

I can imagine a lot of those people enjoyed the day yesterday much as we did. Cookouts, family gatherings, kids playing in the sunshine, everybody just making the most of a beautiful day. I doubt anybody put their kids to bed after a long day spent even an instant thinking about having to wake them up and run for shelter in the middle of the night and whether they’d have a house by morning.

Life happens, whether we’re ready or not. Things can change in an instant, and none of us can ever be completely prepared for the reality we’ll face when the current storm is over. We’re not just talking about meteorological storms, but any of the things life can hurl our way to completely change what we thought the day may bring, and the pieces we’ll be left to pick up in its wake.

Storms come in the form of serious accidents. Sometimes they manifest themselves as health issues, a family crisis, or financial loss. This year has seen an unprecedented amount of flooding and storm damage across the U.S. that nobody could have imagined. And every day, families around the world deal with the loss of a loved one. You wonder sometimes how they can muster the strength to go on.

Some storms never fully pass. But even a hurricane has a spot of calm sunshine in the middle, a chance to survey the damage and get ready for what’s to come. And it’s in those brief moments that the human spirit begins to shine through. Disbelief turns to acceptance, and acceptance turns to determination. And in that moment, we begin to move away from the storm instead of waiting for the storm to move away from us.

I can look around my neighborhood today and it bears no resemblance to that awful day in 1974. Homes are standing, trees have grown to maturity, kids are playing, and birds are singing. That’s the cycle of life. Bad things will happen. We’ll face adversity, and some of the challenges will seem insurmountable. But it’s what we do to move forward after the storm that defines us.

Hopefully your day started off like any other, and hopefully that’s how it will end. We can never predict the challenges we’ll face, and most of them will be completely undeserved. But somewhere among those challenges we find blessings – a friendly smile, a warm meal, the laughter of a child, the love of a pet. And in focusing on those blessings, the challenges become more manageable.

You can never anticipate all the storms life will throw your way, and you can never be fully prepared for any of them. But in the way we handle life’s most insignificant challenges, we prepare ourselves to move forward from whatever life throws our way. Put a little positivity in the bank each day. You never know when you’ll need some.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Freedom is a Choice You Make

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Where Do You Want to Be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Winners Always Win – And So Can You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Happiness Rocks!

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

Have you ever met somebody who just always seems to be happy, no matter what? They work all day, sometimes in a job most of us wouldn’t care to do. They put up with petty people whose only goal seems to be making everybody else miserable. They go home to a family that doesn’t appreciate them, or maybe to no family at all. And yet, they never seem to let it get them down.

Sometimes you wonder if they’re living in a fantasy world. Or maybe they’re just “not all there”. It happens. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen have developmental handicaps. They may never be able to complete a crossword puzzle, solve a complex equation, or do any of the things most of us take for granted. Yet they find inexplicable joy in the simplest of things.

I’ve often looked at some of these people and wondered who has the real handicap – them, or me? We think we’re better equipped to “make it” in life, but we’re the ones grumbling all the time and they’re the ones smiling.

Sometimes the perceived handicap isn’t developmental, but simply situational. Maybe they’ve had a run of bad luck over the years that would have brought most “normal” people to their knees. Whether it’s job losses, family losses, poor health, or a dozen other things, they just can’t seem to catch a break. Yet some of these people are the happiest. Maybe they’re just delusional.

I guess that would be a simple enough answer, if it were true. But the more likely answer is, they’ve learned that the secret to true happiness is to stop looking for something or somebody else to make it happen. I’ve often said it’s not what happens to us that makes us miserable – it’s our reaction to those events. We choose, in the moment, whether to brush it off or give misery a permanent home.

And if we believe that, we must also believe that happiness works the same way. We can’t make people do things that will make us happy. We can’t make the sun shine, we can’t control the lottery numbers, and we can’t make heavy traffic magically clear a path just for us. Life happens. The only thing we can control is how we react to it.

We can always point to any number of reasons we shouldn’t be happy, about a particular situation or about life in general. And yet, nobody ever says, “I had a choice – and I chose misery.” It’s easier to blame somebody or something else. And when we’re happy, we never seem to accept credit. We always point to some other person or event as the source of our happiness.

But, as most of us have been told our entire life, happiness comes from within. Bad things will happen. Unpleasant people will try their best to ruin our day. We can’t control any of that. But the moment we decide to dwell on it, we embrace the misery that comes with it.

Mom used to always say, “Shake it off.” What’s happened has happened. You can’t change that. It’s forever written in the history book of your life. And it’s natural to be unhappy, maybe even devastated, about some of the things we’ll experience along the way. Some of that pain never goes away, and happiness doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten. It just means we’re not letting it define us.

We can find misery in the fact that we’re not living our dreams or find happiness in the simple the simple things in life. We can find misery in the things other people do or find happiness in our ability to do better. We can find misery in the behavior of a rebellious child or find happiness in the memory of all those hugs and kisses in the past.

And, no matter what, we can find happiness in the future, because the future has not yet been written. We can’t change what’s already happened, but we change or at least influence most of what’s yet to come. There will be bumps in the road, to be sure. And one day this journey will end. We can’t change that. But we can choose to make the most of every experience along the way.

Choose to be happy. It won’t work every minute of every day. But the more we practice, the easier it becomes. And when that day comes when we need to pull out all the stops and make use of every trick we’ve learned along the way, we’ll be that much better equipped to handle the situation. And that, my friends, is happiness at its very best.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Recharge, Then Get Moving!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Adversity May Come, But the Dream Lives On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved