Expand Your Options – Expand Your Possiblities

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

I’m getting a late start today. Well, later than normal. Twice last week my three-year-old grandson asked me to stay home and cook him some eggs. Today I decided to do just that. These years pass by way too quickly and the day comes when anything is more important than spending time with Grandpa. So, you enjoy these times while you can.

It’s nice having the option to work from home. Still, I’m one of the few who’s in the office every day. I just feel more productive when I’m at work. Besides, I like being around other people. I’ve been told I’m the official greeter of the fifth floor, because I make a point of saying good morning to everyone I see. It’s a responsibility I take seriously.

But, on the other hand, I’m trying to ease more into working from home for a couple of simple reasons. First, while we’re in the sweltering days of summer with heat indexes in the danger zone, I know it won’t be long and the pendulum will swing the other way. And there are few things I despise as much as getting into a frozen car and driving to work on snow and ice.

Also, as I’ve mentioned a few times before, my wife and I are buying a motorhome next year and we may decide to make that more of a permanent residence. Neither of us is certain where we want to retire, other than someplace warm and with an ocean. That narrows it down, but there are still hundreds of places that meet those requirements – we just need to find the right one for us.

So, the plan is to get out there and do some exploring. Find someplace interesting and go. When we get there we can decide how long we want to stay. If it’s someplace we really like, maybe we’ll come back in a few months and see how it is during the winter, or summer, or tourist season, or whatever. If we don’t like it, we can pull the plug, raise the jacks, and find someplace else to go.

When you can work from home, then home can be pretty much anyplace you want it to be. We have people on our team working in several different states, all across the country. Some like it hot, some like it cold, and some just like anyplace where the uniform of the day is pajamas.

To me, the best part is you don’t have to find a home based on the local economy. For most of us, where we live is largely determined by where we work. Some of the least expensive and quietest places to live don’t have much to offer in terms of employment. The more high-paying jobs a city has to offer, the higher the cost of living. Funny how that works.

Imagine if you could live anywhere you want without ever having to worry about where you’ll find work. What if you could build a business on the side without having to worry about location? You could live in a city, on a beach, in the boondocks, or on an island. Going to work could be as simple as crossing the hallway into another room or setting up a laptop by the pool. Okay, I’m sold!

Depending on your profession, that may or may not be an option. But our profession, like many other things, is a choice we make. We think we’re limited by things like skills, education, and experience. But those things we can acquire. That doesn’t mean you have to scrap it all and start over. It just means doing a little extra to put yourself in a better situation down the road.

And it may mean thinking completely outside the box. Employers love to use that phrase because it means using our creativity to improve our own job performance and come up with profitable ideas for the company. But it also means giving yourself options you didn’t have before. With options, you have choices. You get to make decisions based on your goals instead of basing your goals on someone else’s decisions.

When we expand our options outside “the box,” everything becomes possible. Things that didn’t make sense before make sense now. Things that wouldn’t have worked before become the best possible solution to the problem. And instead of limiting ourselves to the life we’ve known to this point, we enter the realm of unlimited possibilities. It’s a good habit to get into.

Whether you decide you’d like to work from home someday or not, never allow your life to be limited by your current circumstances. Opportunities are everywhere, just waiting to be discovered. When you find one that can lead you to your goals, grab hold and don’t ever let go. It may not be for everybody. It just has to be for you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When You Know the Destination, the Path Will Present Itself

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

Have you ever walked through an airport and seen people lined up for a plane going to someplace you’ve never had any desire to visit? In fact, you’ve never even heard anybody talk about going there. You think, “Is that the best they could afford?”

But what we never seem to think about is the fact that, for a good number of those travelers, the plane’s destination isn’t their final stop. It’s just a place to stop and change planes for someplace better. And, if you look a little closer, you can usually pick up a few clues. If they’re wearing short pants and sandals, it’s not likely they’ll be spending a lot of time in Detroit.

Sometimes, we find ourselves on a journey we never thought we’d take because it leads us to someplace better. I mentioned a while back that, when I was in high school, trash collectors in New York City were being paid $30 an hour. Now, that’s decent money today, but imagine how much it was forty years ago. It would be the equivalent of more than $130 an hour today.

Now, I seriously doubt that when the kindergarten teacher went around the room and asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up, that a single person said, “I want to drive a garbage truck!” More likely, they saw an opportunity to do a job most other people weren’t willing to do, and to make a lot of money doing it. Do that for a few years and you open up a lot of options.

Likewise, none of us took on our first job in high school with the intent that it would be our lifelong career. I made okay money bagging groceries, but it was more about having a little money in my pocket without having to cut grass in the south Florida heat to get it. It was simply a way to get closer to the path I really wanted to be on … you know, being a rock star.

Now, how exactly does bagging groceries prepare you for life as an internationally-acclaimed recording artist? It doesn’t. There were a dozen other jobs I could have done, from fast food worker (been there) to pumping gas at the service station (yes, I really AM that old). It was simply a way to get from point A to point B, with point B involving some extra money to buy stage equipment.

Along the way, my career changed. Several times, in fact. If anybody had told me as a teenager that I’d end up as a business analyst for a health insurance company, I’d have fallen down laughing. If they’d told me I would start that journey as an electronics technician, with detours in long-haul trucking and stand-up comedy, I’d have never believed it. Yet, here I am.

And you know what? This still isn’t the final leg of my journey. I love the job I have today, but let’s qualify that statement with, “If I have to get up and go to work, I’m very happy with the job I’ve got.” But it’s not what I want to do every day for the rest of my life. At some point, I’d like to step back, hand over the reins, and see what all these retired people are so happy about.

And you know what? It takes money to retire, just as it takes money to buy stage equipment. I’ve been building a business on the side so that, instead of having to divide my savings by the number of years I hope to live, I can maintain an income through retirement. Financial experts call that “diversification.” I call it survival.

And, if you’d told me forty years ago that, of all the businesses out there this is the one I’d have chosen, I wouldn’t have believed it. But when we’re looking at the destination, it’s sometimes hard to know the path we’ll take to get there. You go to the airport and tell the ticket agent you want to go to Tahiti. Next thing you know, you’re on a plane for Detroit. Who would’ve guessed?

If you know your destination, how you get there becomes a little less important. You don’t mind doing something you hadn’t imagined beforehand, as long as it takes you where you want to go. And, it’s not like anybody is asking you to ride in the back of a dump truck. There are lots of ways to get where we want to go in relative comfort and ease. We just have to pick one.

It’s when we close our eyes to possibilities that the destination becomes harder to achieve. The quickest path to that destination may be the last one you’d have considered. But once you’re on that plane, it doesn’t matter where you stop next. All that counts is where you’re going.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Windows of Opportunity are the Keys to Your Success

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

We talked a couple of days ago about the problem of doing the work that needs to be done and not seeing any visible results. It happens to all of us, and it’s frustrating when it does. Especially when there’s a limited window of opportunity, and if you miss that window, you have to sit around and wait for the next one.

My grandson sometimes cuts our grass. He’s got a full-time job and lives in a neighboring town, so it’s not like he can just walk across the street and do it. And, with a schedule that changes from week to week, I never know when to expect him. Factor in the weather, and there are very few opportunities for me to get my grass cut without doing it myself.

Yet, when the grass needs to be cut and we have a day without rain, you don’t blow the opportunity. With the season we’ve had, it could rain for the next four days in a row and by then the grass will be so high it’ll need to be cut twice – once to lower the height, and another to chop up the clippings. So, when that window of opportunity comes along, I get out there and mow the lawn myself.

Sometimes windows of opportunity come along a few times each day. If there was something you needed to do on your morning coffee break and just didn’t get around to it, you’ll have another break coming later in the day. Or maybe you can do it over lunch. If all else fails, you can set aside some time right after work. And if that doesn’t pan out, there’s always tomorrow.

But other times, the window of opportunity may last several weeks or even a few months, and then it’s gone. You had the best of intentions, but life just gets in the way.  Your health isn’t up to par, there’s a new project at work, the ball team needs a coach, an unexpected bill comes along, and there’s that room you’ve been meaning to paint. Meanwhile, the window just keeps shrinking.

It happens to all of us. Maybe you’ve got an outdoor project you wanted to tackle, but the weather just isn’t cooperating. Maybe you wanted to qualify for a business challenge that only comes around once a year. Maybe you were hoping to take the kids on a special vacation before school starts again. And no matter how hard you try, things just don’t seem to work out. You’re not alone.

I read yesterday that only a third of the farmers in my state have been able to plant their fields this year, because of historically heavy rainfall. The fields have been so wet they can’t even drive a tractor across them, much less plow the fields for planting. By now, their crops should be almost half-grown. Time is running out, and a good number of them have already given up for the year.

Those farmers would have given just about anything for a brief window of opportunity, and they’d have dropped everything to take advantage of it. They’ve learned, through bitter experience, that when the fields are ready to plant, you plant. It doesn’t matter what else you’d planned to do that day or that week. You do what needs to be done before that window closes again.

Thankfully, for most of us, the situation isn’t quite so dire. There may be something we need to do, or maybe even just want to do, and if we miss our chance today, there’s always tomorrow. Or next month, or next year. Keep that up and you’ll forget what you wanted to do in the first place. The consequence may be that nothing changes. But is that what you really want?

If there’s something you want to change, find those windows of opportunity and don’t let another one slip by. There will be a day when you can look back at this point in your life and celebrate opportunities taken or lament the ones you missed. Do the things you need to do today. Your tomorrow depends on it.

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

Every Moment is an Opportunity

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

Yesterday was a productive day for me. I needed it. I had a hard time sleeping Sunday night, excited about all the things I was planning to do this week, and then Monday my lower back knocked me for a loop and I didn’t get anything accomplished.

We all know that feeling of going to bed, knowing you didn’t get anything done that you’d planned. I don’t know of anybody for whom time is a luxury – we’re all busy, and we need to make optimal use of our time to get things done. So, a day of inactivity hits hard. It’s more than just a feeling of laziness – it’s the realization that we missed an opportunity.

Every minute of every day, we have opportunities to do something productive. And, make no mistake, that something “productive” often comes in the form of relaxation, quality time with family, calling a friend, or even sitting on the porch and listening to the birds sing. It’s not all about how hard you can work each day.

Some opportunities are there any time we want them, at least to some degree. I can always put a movie in the DVD player and kick back with a bowl of popcorn. But I can’t always take my wife to the showing of a new movie. Between work and other obligations, opportunities to do that are limited. And when you finally do get around to it, the movie isn’t showing any longer.

So, you wait until it comes out on DVD. The movie is the same, but the experience is entirely different. Instead of the theater experience with all its excitement and anticipation, you get the home experience complete with pausing to let the dog out, answering the phone, and listening to the sounds of traffic.

It’s that way with a lot of things. Some opportunities are there once and then they’re gone forever. Others are waiting in the background, just in case you’ve changed your mind. And others, like getting the laundry done never go away.

As we’re deciding how best to use our time, it’s important to know which of those opportunities will be there every day, and which ones will be gone tomorrow. The problem is, sometimes it’s a combination of the two. The things I needed to do Monday are still there and I can do them any time I want. But Monday is gone and that puts me one day further behind.

I made up for it yesterday, and I’ll continue to make up for it the rest of the week. But, much like a feature movie, the opportunity changes over time. You can still accomplish the same goal, but not with the same effect. That’s the price of letting an opportunity slip by.

For years, my wife has dreamed of travel, both domestic and international. There’s a whole big world out there and she wants to see it. I’ve been around the world, and I’d love to go back. More than anything, I want to see her face light up as she experiences destinations she’s only seen on TV.

And that opportunity is still there. Except we’re both a lot older now, and physical limitations are beginning to set in. We can visit the pyramids but climbing to the top is out of the question. We can go to the beach, but neither of us is up to surfing. And a day taking in the sights of Rome becomes three days, simply because older people wear out and need to rest.

And here’s the thing – the same opportunities that will allow us to do those things in a year or two were at our disposal forty years ago. We just didn’t act on them. We let those opportunities slip by, always thinking “next month – next year – after the bills are paid off – after the kids are grown.” The next thing you know, forty years have passed and you’re still saying “One of these days …”

If there’s something you want, or just something you need to do, don’t let opportunities slip past. Some may be there whenever you’re ready to get started, and others just blow on by. Life happens. People grow older. Illnesses crop up. Somebody takes your spot in the road on the way to work. And all of a sudden, those opportunities are gone.

Make the most of each moment. Whether that means working or resting, dreaming or acting on those dreams, or investing in memories that will last beyond your lifetime, make the moment count. There will only be one “today.” Make the most of the opportunities that today has to offer – they’ll shape the things you can enjoy tomorrow.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Get Off the Beaten Path!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope you’re having a fantastic day!

As we head into the weekend, some of us are planning a couple of days of rest and recreation. For others, it’s two days to catch up on everything that got neglected around the house because of the “real” job. And, depending on your job, this could be the busiest two days of the week.

Over the years, I’ve worked a lot of side jobs. When I was in the Navy, I spent my evenings and weekends on the receiving end of a 40-lane bowling alley. Have you ever wondered who that is in the shadows back there, taking care of pin jams and ball returns? That would be me.

!f just a few minutes. I ran back and forth all night and then collapsed in exhaustion.

I’ve had other side jobs – pizza delivery, standup comedy, running my own businesses. You see, I learned early in life that, once you negotiate your starting pay on most jobs, that’s about as good as it gets. You may get a promotion here and there. But for the most part, the best you can hope for is a cost-of-living increase that’ll let you keep living exactly the way you did last year.

If you want anything extra along the way, you have to do a little extra to get it. So, we put in a little overtime, take a side job, sell some old belongings, or turn off the cable TV and eat Cheerios for a month. Whatever it takes. Because the fact remains, whatever you made on your job last year is about what you can expect to make this year.

I’ve met lots of people who had some pretty demanding jobs on the side. I once worked with a project manager who spent almost every evening in a theme park, cooking hundreds of pizzas until closing time. And every morning, he was back on the job. I’d be lying if I said you could never tell. He mumbled every word and walked like the living dead.

It goes without saying that we can only keep up a pace like that for a certain amount of time before it catches up with us. Yet, with just about any one of those people, if you were to suggest something a lot less stressful, maybe even enjoyable, that they can do from the comfort of their own home, they shake their head and move on. And the answer is always the same. “That’ll never work.”

We’ve been conditioned from the time we were children to believe hard work is the only way to succeed. If you’re not reaching your goals, you’re not working hard enough. Get a better education, find a better job. Put in some overtime and climb the corporate ladder. And the reward for all that is, you get to work even more.

At some point in history, somebody figured out you could move a large rock a lot easier if you roll it instead of trying to pick it up. It’s called working smarter. No matter what your goal, there are lots of ways to get there. But banging your head against a wall for 46 years will give you a headache. The key is finding an easier way to get the job done.

That means keeping your mind open to opportunities others can’t (or won’t) see. The well-trodden path is crowded and, if you keep following the same crowd, you’ll get to the same destination, behind every one of them. If you want to arrive at a different (hopefully better) destination, you have to get on a different path.

And that can be scary. It means taking a leap of faith into the unknown, going against conventional knowledge, and trying something you never saw yourself doing. And it may take a few tries to make any real progress. But if you keep at it, sooner or later you’ll find the path ahead is a lot shorter and more open than what you left behind.

Try to find a little time to relax this weekend. And, in that time, open your mind to possibilities you never really considered. Dream of not where you are, but where you’d like to be. Then begin thinking about how you can get there. It’s possible you already know. The answer may be right there waiting for you to take the next step. There’s only one way to find out. That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved