Be Sure You’re Chasing the Right Dreams

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

Today marks the beginning of a new month. One in which many of us, especially in the northern climates, will see some change. Leaves will begin to turn brilliant colors and fall to the ground, temperatures will go from warm to brisk (and some days downright cold), and stores will begin to change their inventory from summer and back-to-school to holiday gifts, decorations, and treats.

Those treats get me every time. I’ve been trying to add one feature to our outdoor display each year, but there are three problems with that …. putting it up, taking it down, and storing it until next year. Ladders and I don’t get along so well these days. But treats? Yeah. I pick them up, I put them down, and storage is never a problem. Walking it off next year is another matter entirely.

Along with a new month comes a new chance to set and achieve new goals. If you’ve been following my daily ramblings, you know I’m in the midst of some changing priorities. The goals I had at the beginning of last month have changed, in some ways pretty dramatically. Life has a way of doing that. So, you adapt. You redirect, refocus, and get back in the game. Life goes on.

And that doesn’t mean we have to give up our dreams. They may change a little, and we may find simpler and more effective ways to accomplish the same objective. But the ultimate goal is still there. The journey isn’t over because one road closes. You break out the old map (remember those?) and find an alternate route. And then you listen to the GPS for the next twenty minutes – “Recalculating!”

I’ve often wondered why a GPS doesn’t have an option to initiate a detour. Or even to let you get off the highway to fill the tank and grab a bite to eat without those incessant reminders that you’re not following directions. There’s no “give me a break” button, or even a mute. It’s either on or off, and the whole time it’s focused on one thing – getting you to your destination the fastest way possible.

All too often, we go through life the same way. We’re so focused on that optimal path that we fail to appreciate the scenery along the way. And about the time we hit a roadblock, we just sit there waiting for it to go away. Because this is our path – this is the way we’ve always seen it transpiring, and anything else means taking a step back and admitting some level of defeat.

I imagine the early pioneers knew that feeling all too well. I’ve mentioned before flying across the country and thinking of all those people who crossed those mountains in covered wagons. On a good day with flat terrain, you might put ten miles behind you. But once you hit those mountains, it could take several months to find a way across. I’d hate to guess how many times they had to turn back.

But the goal was there, ever present in their minds. They dreamed of a new life in a new location, and that dream made all the hardships worth it. And I’m sure some of those cities between Oklahoma and California were settled because somebody said, “I’m sick of this wagon! Welcome to your new home!” It happens.

But for those who kept going, the ground went from dusty and rocky to lush and green, full of promise. And, here’s the important part. What separates the barren land of the desert from the greenery of the west coast is one final mountain range. Cross those mountains and everything changes. Stop one day short, and you’ll never even know it’s there.

With each new month comes a new opportunity to re-assess and re-establish our goals. It’s a time to look back at our progress so far and make sure the path we’re on is leading us where we want to go. It’s also a time to ask ourselves why that destination was so important in the first place, and if it’s really the destination we’re after, or simply the journey. Sometimes, getting there is the most fun.

We often find that what we really want isn’t necessarily waiting at the end of the road, but somewhere along the way. Buying an airplane would give me the freedom to go pretty much anyplace I want. But if travel is the ultimate goal, that same money will pay for a lot of plane tickets. Sometimes, what we think we want is simply a means to accomplish an even greater goal.

We all need time to re-assess our goals and make sure we’re chasing the right dream. The beginning of a new month is the perfect time. Make sure what you’re after is what you really want, and that the path you’re on is leading in the right direction. The only thing worse than being 100 miles from your exit is realizing you’ve driven 100 miles past it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

With Each New Day Comes a New Chance to Succeed

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

I had a nice weekend. Saturday, we got to meet with some good friends, including one we don’t get to see very often. They’re business associates, so we share a lot in common and spend a fair amount of time helping one another. In a world where most other businesses are in cut-throat competition with one another, it’s nice to be able to toss around ideas with people who are willing to share their best.

Our time together also made me come face to face with the fact that I’d set some goals leading up to this weekend, and I missed the mark completely. I’d like to say it was because of forces completely beyond my control, but the fact is, I just didn’t do the things I needed to do. It happens to the best of us, so I guess I’m in good company. But that’s not where I want to be.

And, as I thought through the many excuses I could offer, I was actually happy to accept blame for coming up short. Because, if this were truly due to some external force that has the power to keep me from accomplishing my goals, that would mean I have no power to overcome it. But I do have that power, and the only thing standing in the way is myself. This is mine to own, for better or for worse.

So, along comes a brand-new week with a brand-new chance to make things happen. What happened last week and all the weeks before is in the past. I can’t change that. But I can change what happens today. You can, too. Today can be a wearisome first day at the office, or it can be the beginning of great accomplishments. It’s whatever you want it to be.

My wife and I went out dream-building Saturday. I knew I’d missed my goal, and I felt the need to re-focus. We drove to an RV dealership in a neighboring city to check out the new models. Sadly, the inventory at that dealership wasn’t worth the drive, so we’re going to another one this weekend. Dreams are important, and you have to feed them. Without a dream, we’d never take the first step.

And with that dream revitalized, I woke up this morning thinking about my goals instead of the work that awaits at the office. Make no mistake, that work will take first priority when I get there, and I’ll do it well. But work only accounts for eight hours – the rest of the day is mine, and I get to use that time any way I want. You just have to find something that’s worth the effort. I’ve found mine.

Along with that renewed vision, I also renewed my goals. We’re allowed to do that. And therein lies part of the problem. We always know that if we miss our goal this week, another week is just a few days away. That’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives us a fresh opportunity to get moving in the right direction. On the other hand, it provides cover when we come up short.

I think the key is to forget about next week and just focus on today. Believe me, if you accomplish all your goals by the weekend, next week will take care of itself. There will be plenty of new things to fill our time, and with each of those new goals we’ll inch ever closer to our ultimate objective – the dream. Nothing is ever out of reach as long as you keep moving toward it.

If you’ve missed some goals in the past, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means you haven’t succeeded yet. Failure is admitting defeat. It means you never plan to try again. But success is always out there waiting to be claimed if you want it badly enough. All you have to do is refocus and get moving again. Keep doing the things you need to do, and success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Every Failure Brings You That Much Closer to Success

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

You know that feeling when you’ve been working away at something day after day with no visible results? You know what needs to be done, and you’ve been doing it, yet none of it seems to have moved you any closer to your goal. For all practical purposes, it seems you end each day right back where you started.

I imagine it feels that way for software developers. You write line after line of code, for days on end, with a simple goal in mind – you want to turn on a computer, press a few keys, and see things magically happen. But until that last line of code is written, you have no way of knowing for sure if what you’ve done will yield any measurable results. Everything in between is just work.

It’s that way with a lot of the things we do. We work and work and work, and waiting for the visible results can seem to be an eternity. This is especially true with raising kids. You put forth the effort every day for years before you find out if you did the job well. Oh, we’ll get little indications of success along the way, but it can literally take a lifetime to see the full impact of our effort.

Still, every little thing we’ve done contributes in some small (or not so small) way toward the overall results. We may not see the results immediately, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. When you’re on a cross-country trip, you probably don’t celebrate every one of those mileposts along the way, even though each one is getting you closer to where you want to be.

But when the road is closed, and a detour takes you several miles out of your way, you breathe a big sigh of relief when all those twists and turns finally put you back on the highway you were on. The goal is that much closer, and you set the cruise control with a feeling of accomplishment at having navigated unfamiliar territory without getting lost in the process. You da man!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been putting forth a fair amount of effort in one of my personal goals without any visible results. It happens. My mentors, people who have been where I am and have gone far beyond where I hope to be, all keep telling me the same thing – just keep doing what needs to be done. Put forth the effort on a consistent basis, and the results will come.

Well, they were right. Over the weekend, some of that work paid off and I was able to celebrate a win. It’s a small win in the overall scheme of things, but one of many that will lead me closer to my goal. And, for that very reason, it’s a huge win. Because every step in the right direction validates not only the effort, but the self-confidence that got you moving in the first place.

As challenging as it can be to succeed, it’s even more challenging to work through those times when things just don’t work the way we’d planned. To be certain, some of those times actually put us further from our goal than we were to start with, and it takes that much more work just to get back to where we started. After a while, you begin to wonder if it’s even worth taking that next step.

But sometimes we have to find out what doesn’t work in order to find what does. Mom used to say there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and she was right. But for everything that gets the job done and brings you closer to your goal, there may be hundreds of approaches that won’t work. And in the very act of eliminating those that don’t work, we move closer to the ones that will.

Those software developers know exactly what I’m talking about. If any of them ever tell you they’ve never written a faulty line of code, and that every one of their creations worked exactly as planned on the very first try, don’t trust them in a real estate deal.

Creation, of any kind, is a process of trial and error. You have to be willing to fail in order to succeed. And when those failures come, you have to be willing to dust yourself off and keep moving. Because what you’ve experienced isn’t truly a failure – it’s just another step along the path to success.

Decide what you want and then put forth whatever amount of effort is required to get you there. Remember these words – I will, until. You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll experience setbacks. But as long as you keep doing the things you need to do the results will come. Stay focused and keep moving. Success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keep Swinging – You May Be Closer Than You Think

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

Well, the weekend is over and it’s Monday again. For most of us, that means a new week at work and a morning of facing all the things we didn’t get done last week. I guess there’s a reason so many of us aren’t overly fond of Mondays. But on the other hand, it’s a new week full of opportunities to do some of the things we’ve been putting off and start crossing them off the list.

I’m not talking so much about things you do at work. Trust me, somebody will be there to remind you about them, especially if you start falling too far behind. But what about those things you’ve been planning to do for yourself? You know, the ones that seem to slip from one week to the next, and by Friday, you’re just saying, “I’ll get started on this next week.” Well, it’s next week.

One of the problems with personal goals is that we go into them with the best of intentions, and we tend to aim high. Maybe a little too high. And when things don’t happen exactly the way we thought they would, we beat ourselves up and set the same goal again, only this time with a little more admonition than conviction. And trust me, friends, that admonition can wear you down fast.

It’s the same issue with New Year’s resolutions. We vow to make some huge change in life over the coming year. Part of our brain says we’ve got a whole year to get it done, so what’s the rush? But when February comes, and then March and April and May, and we’re still no closer to getting it done, it begins to wear on us. By June, we’ve pretty much given up. Besides, there’s always next year.

But what if we were to re-define success? What if, instead of actually attaining the final goal, “success” was simply movement in the right direction? Putting the goal firmly in front of you, establishing the mindset that you really can do this, planning a course of action, and then taking the necessary steps to make it happen – regardless of the actual results, isn’t that something worth celebrating?

It’s like chopping down a tree. You make the decision. You look at the tree and think, “I can do this.” You sharpen the axe, decide on a plan (like, which way you want it to fall), and take the first swing. A small chip hits the ground, but the tree is still standing. So, you swing again, and again, and again. Before long, the results of your effort begin to show. It gives you hope, and you continue.

Now, imagine that you’re swinging that axe blindfolded. You can feel the axe hitting the tree, but you can’t see the chips falling. Your arms are getting sore and blisters are forming on your hands. You begin to wonder if you’re even hitting the right tree. But, as any lumberjack will tell you, there’s no way of knowing which swing will finally bring the tree down. You just have to keep swinging.

We’ve all felt the same frustration with things we’re trying to accomplish. We put in the effort, but nothing seems to be happening. So, we re-assess our plan and move to another side of the tree. Maybe the wood is a little more “friendly” on that side. We swing several more times and the tree is still standing. Finally, in frustration, we move on to another tree or leave the axe to rust in the rain.

Progress isn’t always readily apparent, but any action you take toward your goal gets you closer. And, much like taking chips out of a standing tree, you never know when you’ll start to hear the welcome sound of wood fibers tearing away as the tree begins to fall on its own. From there, success is inevitable. The laws of gravity and physics take over, and all you have to do is get out of the way.

Meanwhile, you’ve been building up your arms for that next tree. You’ve learned a thing or two about how to swing an axe for maximum effect. Your experience tells you which side of the tree to hack away at first if you want it to fall in a certain direction. And, when you face that next tree, there’s little doubt in your mind it’ll eventually fall. Success isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable.

With each step you take toward a goal, you’re not only wearing away at the final objective, you’re building the person doing the work – you’re transforming from the kind of person who can imagine a goal into the kind who can accomplish that goal. More importantly, you’re becoming the kind of person who can accomplish ANY goal. And that, my friends, is the true definition of success.

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

One Bite at a Time

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

Yesterday was one of those days where the work kept coming my way faster than I could keep up. I have several things on my plate already today, and there’s no telling what else may be added to the pile. Some days are like that. And after a week of coming home each day completely caught up, I guess I can’t complain.

Toward the end of the day, it always becomes a matter of which remaining task I can complete before it’s time to go home. I think we all do that to an extent. And, because of that, we end up picking some of the low-hanging fruit instead of starting into something bigger that may have an even higher priority. It’s hard to start something you know you can’t finish.

My aunt was an amazing artist. Her oil paintings hung in some impressive galleries and sold for a nice sum of money. And I remember going into the basement where she had her studio and looking at all the paintings she’d started but hadn’t yet finished. At any given time, there were at least a dozen.

She’d paint a little every day, choosing the paintings by inspiration and which one was dry enough to work on some more. Eventually, they all turned into magnificent pieces of art. But if none of them had been started until she had time to finish, those canvases would have remained blank.

A few days ago, I added up how much I’ve written in these posts over the past sixteen months. Yes, it’s really been that long. And, all told, I’ve written the equivalent of five books, nearly a quarter-million words. I know, there are days when you feel like I put them all in the same post. Nobody has ever accused me of being at a loss for words.

As I thought about that, I thought about the books I’ve started and never finished. And every time it was the same excuse. “I’m just too busy right now – too much going on. As soon as thing settle down, I’ll get back to it.” As soon as … we talked about that a couple of days ago. Loosely translated, those words mean “probably never.”

But there’s no escaping the fact that if I’d put in the same hour each day that I spend writing these posts in the morning, I’d have finished five books by now. I’m not even sure I have five books in me, but I’d like to find out. And the nice part is I don’t have to sit in a corner hammering away at the keyboard for hours every day to do it … just one hour a day. That’s all it would take.

In my business, one of the biggest excuses I hear from associates is, “I just don’t have the time.” What they mean is they can’t drop everything and devote an entire day, or even an entire evening, to doing what needs to be done. As a result, nothing gets done and a year later they’re still staring at the same dream and thinking, “One of these days …”

But there are things that can be done in ten or fifteen minutes, small tasks that add up to big accomplishments if we just keep at it. And I don’t know of anybody who can’t find an extra fifteen minutes two or three times during the day. That little bit of effort can add up to over four hours every week. So, what could you get done in four hours? My guess is, a lot.

The weekend is here. And my challenge to you is to find one thing around the house you’ve been wanting to get done and spend just fifteen minutes working on it. Do that twice tomorrow and twice more Sunday. If you’re feeling really energetic, do it a couple more times. Then take a look at how much you’ve accomplished. You might be amazed.

A small river flowing through a bed of solid rock will eventually begin to wear that rock away. The progress may not be impressive on a daily basis, but over time it adds up until one day it becomes the Grand Canyon. Apply that same principle to the things you want to accomplish in your own life and see what kind of wonders you can work.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Forget the Clouds and Focus on the Forecast

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

Those of you who have been following my posts for a while know I’ve been trying to lose weight. The bathroom scale knows how well I’ve been doing in that endeavor. For a while it was smiling at me almost every day. But over the past week or so, it hasn’t been quite so gracious. I’m thinking it needs a new battery. Maybe a few.

One of the reasons it’s so hard to lose weight is because the feedback is both instantaneous and brutally honest. The scale isn’t out to ruin your day or make you feel like a big fat loser. It has one job – report the facts. And the fact is, our weight can fluctuate from one day to the next. That’s why it’s important to focus on the overall trend instead of the daily feedback.

It’s that way with a lot of things in life. A couple of years ago, my grandson and I built a shed with nothing more than a pile of lumber and my own imagination. And let me tell you, nothing very gratifying took place in the first few days. Turning over the ground and leveled is not fun work, and at the end all you have is a rectangle of dirt and some patio stones to show for your effort.

But over the next few days it began to take shape. And what sits in my backyard now is something worthy of all that effort. But there was enough frustration early on in the project to make us both question our sanity in taking on such a project. It happens.

In our business, things don’t always go according to plan. I’ll do the work that needs to be done, and nothing happens. I’ll fill my calendar with appointments, and the gods of destruction will swoop in and fill everybody else’s calendar with something else. People I need to call are not available. Customers need a little more time to decide. It’s all part of the game.

And any one of those setbacks could be enough to make a pessimist point to them and say, “See? I told you this won’t work!” But the overall trend tells a different story. It says, “You’re moving, and in the right direction. Just stick with the plan and you’ll get there.”

Setbacks are inevitable in anything we try to do. The boss changes requirements of the job just as you’re almost finished. Parts break. Pipes leak. Fuses blow and lights burn out. And that all-important tool you just can’t do without is nowhere to be found. Sure, it’s frustrating. But do we throw up our hands and walk away, or keep pushing forward?

When it’s our daily job, we don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. We mumble under our breath, let out a sigh of exasperation, and get back to work. We may even spend our entire lunch break checking the local job boards. But, short of actually finding another job, we do what has to be done.

So why are we so quick to give up on the things that matter most to us? There’s something you need to do toward your goals, but by the time you get home from work you’re just too tired. Besides, there’s grass to mow, bills to pay, dinner to eat – who has time? Excuses, excuses, excuses.

And it’s even harder in the very beginning when progress is that much harder to see. If I’d already lost thirty pounds, a week of bad news each morning would be a minor setback. But looking at the scale every day and seeing your original weight is a little harder to overcome.

The closer you are to the beginning of your goal, the harder it can be to see progress. My grandson and I spent a lot of time getting the ground leveled for that shed, and our only visible reward was a rectangle of dirt. The foundational work isn’t very gratifying, but it still needs to be done. Because, until we’ve built that foundation, we can’t begin to build on top of it.

As you define your goal, remember that every little step you take is a step closer toward your eventual success. But you have to keep taking those steps. Setbacks are simply a reminder that, if this was easy, everybody would be doing it. They exist to give us those gentle course corrections we need from time to time. And they’re a reminder that we need to keep going, to work past them.

Don’t let setbacks keep you from reaching your goals … on the job, at home, on the drive, or in your personal endeavors. Just keep doing what you need to be doing, and you’ll get there. It works every time.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved