It's the Cards You Play That Make a Winning Hand

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

I made muffins for my little ones today. I know, I’m such a nice grandpa. Go ahead, you can say it. On days when my daughter works, she drops them off early (really early) and my grandson has learned that it’s my job to make breakfast. Usually he wants eggs. Sometimes with bacon, sometimes with sausage. And other times I get away with dressing them with a little cheese and a piece of toast.

I’ve always been amazed at how quickly kids learn. You know, the one-plus-one stuff and how to spell their own name. But along with the three Rs, they figure out pretty quickly how to game the system. If you want a hot breakfast, you put in your order early. If you want Grandpa to customize the menu, you climb up in his lap and give him a hug. That’s all they’ve got, so they put it to good use.

One of the greatest lessons we will ever learn is to play the hand we’re dealt. Kids learn it from the time they figure out how to stick out their bottom lip and well up with tears. Until you’re earning more money than your parents, that’s the best thing in your arsenal. My oldest daughter did it when she was six minutes old. I told her it wouldn’t work, but I’ll let you in on a little secret – it does.

Well, sticking my bottom lip out doesn’t seem to work anymore. When I told my wife my job was coming to an end, she had all kinds of questions. “Did you do something wrong? Were you socializing too much? Did you swipe the last cup of coffee and sneak away without making a fresh pot?” No, it’s just business. They don’t need me anymore. “Well, did you at least stick your bottom lip out?”

That’s why I could never be a cop. Somebody blows through a school zone at twice the legal speed, past buses with their lights flashing, and it’s off to the races. This guy is going to jail! But when you get to the car, it’s not the teenage daredevil you expected. It’s a young woman with a baby in the back seat, tears streaming down her face. Like that’s gonna work. Then she sticks out her bottom lip. Damn.

It’s too bad we don’t use that same strategy when it comes to battling the odds to get something we really want. I’m not talking about climbing up in Grandpa’s lap and tugging at his heart strings – this is about using our skills to achieve our goals. It’s about overlooking our weaknesses and focusing on our strengths. It’s about acknowledging that our greatest strength is our ability to overcome weakness.

How many times have you heard somebody whine about their age? “I’d love to do that, but I’m just too old!” “I wish I could do that, but I’m not old enough.” Okay, get a clue. Unless you’re trying to buy liquor next-door to a police station, age isn’t holding you back from anything. It’s an excuse. And it’s a good one, because nobody can ever argue your age. Especially when your hair is as gray as mine.

Age is one of those things we can’t change, and the best excuses in the world are the ones over which we have no control. When the kids are little, it’s easy. “We can’t afford that.” Case closed. Until they get a little older and you tell them money is not a limited resource, and if they want more all they have to do is earn it. “You mean you lied about those sneakers?” Busted!

No matter what it is you’d like to accomplish, you can come up with a dozen excuses for not getting it done. Or, you can play the hand you were dealt, make use of the things that work in your favor, and quit worrying about the rest. You can lose weight. You can get a better job. You can move to another state. What you can’t do is sit there and complain.

So, climb up in Grandpa’s lap, stick your bottom lip out, and then ask him to teach you how to make your own breakfast. You stand a better chance of getting what you want and, once you learn how, you can do it again any time you feel the urge. Breakfast, or life? You decide.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don't Take Flying Lessons From Somone Who's Afraid of Heights

Good morning, and happy Friday! We’ve made it!!! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ve been trying to learn a little more about Facebook and how to build a page that will provide more features than just a simple profile. In other words, I’m about to take what’s been working so far and mess it up completely. And to help me do that, I’m reading Facebook Marketing for Dummies – 2014 edition. Because, you know … technology never changes. Besides, I’m too cheap to buy the new book.

For somebody who’s spent the past twenty years working in the IT community, you’d think I’d be just a little more adept when it comes to things like social media, the TV remote, and adding contacts to a cell phone. Well, you’d be wrong. What’s the opposite of a techno-weenie? Whatever it is, that’s me. And no, I don’t have a flip phone. But I can make a long-distance call on a rotary dial, so there!

New ideas are hard to handle sometimes. We get into a comfort zone and, though we may despise that existence more and more by the day, we look for any reason not to change. We’ll even recruit a team of nay-sayers to craft a rock-solid excuse for why we shouldn’t even consider taking that next step. People who, you know, have never taken that step themselves. But, boy do they know!

I listen to motivational CDs a lot. Most of you already know that. I read motivational books as well. Yes, you can say it. I need a life. Because we all know the only thing better than trying to make your own life better is to read books about fictional people who have it all. Great looks, sculpted body, a billion dollars, and a slightly twisted notion of romance. Who has time for that motivational babble?

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with “romance” novels, and I can see their appeal in terms of fueling our unspoken fantasies. I’ve read Fifty Shades (okay, most of the first book) and I’ve watched the movies. And I have to be honest. I’m much more interested in his cars and helicopter than his red room of pain. Yes, ladies, typical male response. And the last time I checked … well, never mind.

But with anything in life, whether it’s building a boat, flying a plane, succeeding in business, or learning how the latest intimate “toys” work, we all need some basis of knowledge before we’re ready to dive in. And it’s usually best to gain that knowledge from somebody who knows what they’re talking about. You know, somebody who’s used those toys or flown that plane.

It amazes me the number of times I’ve talked to people about starting their own business and, before we can even schedule an evening to really chat, they call back and say, “Well, I don’t know if this is gonna work. I talked to my mom, and she said …” You know the rest. Well, here’s my first question. How did that particular business work for your mom?

In an interview years ago, media magnate Ted Turner talked about a failed attempt at running a boatbuilding business. When asked what he learned from that experience he said, “I learned that I don’t build boats very well.” He didn’t say boatbuilding is a dead industry. He didn’t even say business ownership is for suckers. He simply said that wasn’t his niche. So, he found something that was.

How often do we seek advice from people who have no idea how to do what we’re thinking about doing? How often do they offer up that advice for free? It doesn’t matter what you’re considering, there are hundreds of “experts” who will give you dozens of reasons it’ll never work. So, here’s a novel idea … find somebody who’s making it work. See what they have to say about it.

I’m reading a book about how to build a new Facebook page because I don’t know all the ins and outs of doing it right. And, by this time next week, that new page will be up and running. Every day, people in my own family poo-poo on the idea of building a stronger social media presence. So, I don’t go to them for advice. I’m getting information from people who know how to make it work.

Whatever it is you want to do, unless you’re already on top of the game, odds are you could use a little help. And, as one of the speakers I’ve listened to loves to say, if you want to be a millionaire, don’t go to a thousandaire for advice. Find somebody who’s already succeeded in that endeavor and listen to what they have to say. More often than not, the advice they give will be spot-on.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let the Job Description Keep You Out of the Game

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

Yesterday at work, I was asked to go through my job description, line by line, and indicate whether I actually do all those things on a fairly regular basis. On the one hand, it can feel like you’re ratting yourself out on the things you don’t do. But in reality, it’s a good exercise to go through, especially as we’re trying to hire more people on the team. It lets the bosses know what we really do each day.

I learned years ago that job descriptions are little more than a wish list dreamed up by eager managers with a little help from somebody in Human Resources who has absolutely no idea what’s required in that role. Nothing against HR reps, that’s just the way it is. The finished product usually covers most of the important items, but with a lot of fluff.

Have you ever looked over a job description and talked yourself out of it without even applying, simply because it lists a bunch of things you’re not sure you can do? I almost did that thirty years ago. It was a job as an electronics technician, and in everything on the job description I had the experience. All except one – “Must be able to use a spectroscope.” I’d never heard of one, much less used one.

I started to talk myself out of applying, and finally thought okay … I can learn how to use just about any piece of test equipment. If I get the job, I’ll just go in, take one look at it, and say “We used a different kind in the Navy. Can you show me how to use this one?”

Well, I got the job, and over the course of almost ten years, I never saw a spectroscope in that company. They didn’t own one. As it turns out, the manager who wrote the job description didn’t know much about the job. He was thinking of an oscilloscope, and couldn’t remember the name, so he wrote the first thing that came to mind – spectroscope. I’d used dozens of different oscilloscopes.

Had I put too much emphasis on that one line in the job description, I’d have never even applied for that job. I worked there for almost ten years and, during that time, transitioned from electronics technician to technical writer, a career change that’s taken me in a completely different direction and has led to where I am today. And I could have chickened out and missed it all.

The same thing happens when we look at people who have attained a level of success that’s higher than our own. We’d like to live like they do – a bigger house, nicer cars, better vacations, more family time, and a daily lifestyle that comes with having the means to make each day whatever you want it to be. Wouldn’t that be nice?

But as we look at these people, we begin to justify why they’re where they are and why we’re not. We think maybe they’re a little smarter or got a better education in the things that count. Maybe they were born into wealth and all they have to do is maintain it. They’re younger, better looking, more popular, or just plain lucky. There has to be something they have that we don’t.

And the truth is, they don’t have a thing on you except a little bigger resume of accomplishments. You’re writing their job description as you think it should be, with qualifications that would make them laugh. They know better. They know there’s nothing all that special about their abilities that led them to success, other than the willingness to work past their shortcomings and get the job done.

These are the people who, if they’re being completely honest, would look at you and say, “You have everything it takes to be right where I am. You have all the experience, all the knowledge, and all the ‘special gifts.’ All you lack is the acknowledgment of your own abilities, and the confidence to do something about it.”

Some people will always achieve more than others. We can’t change that. But to look at those super-achievers and think they have something you don’t is like talking yourself out of a dream job because of one line in the job description. You’re up to the task. You have what it takes. And whatever you don’t know, you can learn. Give in to your dreams. The life you want is waiting for you to claim it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved