The Sideline May Feel Safer, But It’s Pretty Hard to Score

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

Well, Christmas is behind us, and that means just a few more days of 2020. I don’t know of too many people who will shed any tears over the passing of this year. Tears of joy, maybe. You know, like when my wife handed me a brand-new guitar Christmas morning. I cried a little. So, there, I said it! My daughter is still in shock. She hasn’t blinked in three days.

Somebody shared a post Saturday that said, “It’s 364 days till Christmas, and my neighbor already has his outdoor lights up!” Yeah, I would be that neighbor. In fact, mine will likely be up until April, or until my grandson needs some cash, whichever comes first. I’m betting on him to win that race. In fact, he may come through before the end of the week.

Sure, it’s funny, but it’s something to think about. In a few short days, 2020 will be in the mirror and we’ll have 12 months to try and undo all the things we messed up this year. You know, so we can arrive at this point in 2021 and say, “Next year, it’s gonna be different!” Seems to me I said that a year ago. And a year before that, and a year before that, and … you get the picture.

And you know, I really can’t complain about my life to this point. I have a great job, a roof over my head, food on the table, and an RV for those times when we need an escape. My health is good, I can still crawl under the car and get back up, and, as of this moment, none of the bills are late. Of course, the new stack isn’t here yet. The Postal Service says they’re “in transit.”

There’s a meme making its rounds on social media, suggesting we should not openly declare that 2021 will be our year. Instead, we should sneak in quietly while nobody is looking, and just blend in with the wallpaper. That way, we can get through most of the year completely unnoticed. Because, you know, bad things never happen if you’re invisible.

That may be true to some extent, but in my experience, trouble seems to have no problem finding me, no matter how well I hide. It’s like sitting in the back of the classroom, hoping the teacher can’t see that far. But they can. And they all know the only reason we’re sitting in the back is because we weren’t prepared for class in the first place.

So, while we may escape a few of life’s challenges by fading into the background, we also shield ourselves from the very thing we do want – success. I don’t care who you are, there’s something you want that you don’t have today, material or non-material, and there’s a part of you that will never be completely fulfilled until you achieve it.

So, yeah, you can hide from 2021 and all the bad karma you think is waiting for anybody bold enough to stand up and say, “Enough of this! It’s my turn to win!” But, in doing so, you accept the very existence you were hoping to avoid. Maybe you’ll get through the year unscathed. But you’ll be sitting there a long time waiting for that winning lottery ticket to drop out of the sky.  

Never once have I seen an ad on TV for the local water plant. They don’t come looking for us, because they don’t have to. If you want to turn on the faucet and get water, you have to call them. Good fortune is pretty much the same. It doesn’t have to come looking for us, because there are enough other people already in line. If you want a piece of the action, you have to get in the game.

Will 2021 be “your” year? That’s up to you. But I can assure you, if you try to sneak in and find a seat in the back of the room, you’ll miss a good portion of what could have been in your future. Sure, some of it will be unpleasant. Some may even be catastrophic. But catastrophe seems to know where you are anyway. Doesn’t it make sense to stack the odds in your favor?

You have dreams and goals. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t. The question is, what will you do about them? Will you quietly take a seat in the back and hope good fortune comes looking for you, or will you go out and find it yourself?

Every new year is a new opportunity. It’s what we make of those opportunities that counts. Make 2021 the year that you won’t be denied. Reach for your dreams and don’t let anything stand in the way. Then let’s get together a year from today and see how we all made out.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Everyone Has an Opinion – Some Are Just Better Than Others

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

It’s the last day of the month. Time for some know-it-all like me to pop in and ask if you’ve accomplished all your monthly goals. I haven’t. I’m just trying to live vicariously through you. I’m hoping at least one of your will send me a message telling me you did everything you set out to do so I can call you one or two bad names and then focus on outdoing you next month.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but isn’t that the way it feels sometimes? You do something good, something productive, and you’re afraid to tell anybody because you don’t want them to think you’re rubbing it in. It’s better to succeed in silence. Almost like an army advancing on a strategic target. The last thing you need is somebody else’s attention.

Besides, it’s fun to spring a surprise on people. “Hey, boss, remember that report you were looking for somebody to do? I saved you the trouble. It’s all done! Here, I even put your name on it!” Okay, there’s a difference between initiative and brown-nosing. We’ll talk about that some other time.

But what happens if you let the boss know you’re working on it before it’s actually done? “Hey, where’s that report you said you were working on? You know it’s due tomorrow!” It doesn’t matter that you’ve worked till midnight every day and will probably pull an all-nighter tonight. You’re no longer the hero coming in to save the day. You’re just another hurdle.

And that’s something at work that can get you noticed and maybe even set you up for a promotion. You want the recognition. What if you keep it to yourself and then, just as you’re about finished, you find out the boss quietly assigned it to his favorite protégé? You turn yours in a day early and the boss says, “Who told you to do this? Don’t you have other work to do?”

Well, is it any wonder we don’t let the cat out of the bag when we’re working on our dreams? Especially big ones. It’s okay to tell people you’re hoping to spend a week in Florida this winter. But tell people you’re looking to buy a vacation home on the beach, and let the games begin. “Seriously? With whose money? Planning on winning the lottery next week?”

It doesn’t even matter if you’ve got a plan. In fact, that makes it worse because now people know you’re serious. Now your mental stability is on the line. And we all know what happens if you share your plan. “Seriously? You fell for that? My cousin’s neighbor’s brother-in-law tried that. It doesn’t work!”

So, you keep it to yourself and silently plod along. You make mistakes, more than you might have, because there’s nobody to help avoid it. And the more of those mistakes you make, the more you’re convinced everybody else was right. You really aren’t cut out for success. Or maybe you are, but whatever you’re doing is just plain ludicrous. It’ll never work.

Those last three words have blocked more people from their dreams than you could ever imagine. “It’ll never work.” Never mind that other people have made it work, or that there are people out there with a track record of success who can help you over the rough spots. It’s easier to just quit while you’re ahead.

Except, you’re really not ahead, are you? That dream, that burning desire, is still there. You may have poured a little water on it and turned some of the smoke into steam, but it’s still there fighting to build back up and roar to life. But much like a fire, you can only water it down so many times before it dies completely.

And where are all those helpful friends who made you feel so bad in the first place?  “Aw, man, that’s really tough. But you had to know it wasn’t meant to be, right? Come on over and we’ll have a beer. Can you pick some up on your way?”

When friends hand you a bucket of water for your dreams, pour the water on them and find somebody with a little fire of their own. Hang around people with similar dreams, and maybe even a few who have already accomplished theirs. They’ll be just as willing to help as all those other people. The difference is, the help they give will steer you to succeed, not fail.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to succeed. You have to do most of the work, but the more successful people you have in your corner, the better your chances of success. Don’t work in silence, and don’t keep your dreams a secret. Share them with the right people and let all those others sit back in amazement.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Failure Is the First Part of Success

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

Mom always said three things in life are certain – death, taxes, and my grandson asking me to make him some eggs. Okay, that last one is a recent twist on an old saying, but you get the picture. We have the grandkids twice a week, and the little guy loves his eggs. Or he loves getting Grandpa off his butt to cook. I’m not really sure which takes precedence.

My granddaughter leans toward getting me into the kitchen so she can curl up in my spot on the couch. I always offer her breakfast, but she passes. The nap is more important. Except last week when she waited until I turned the stove off and then came in and said, “I changed my mind.” Girls are allowed to do that. I don’t tell her that, but those are the rules. My wife says so.

I was born to be a grandpa. I saw a tee shirt once that said, “If I’d known grandchildren would be so much fun, I’d have had them first.” That pretty well sums it up. They really are more fun. That probably has something to do with the fact that we can send them home. That and the fact we’re too tired to supervise every single move they make. That’s their mother’s job.

Also, I’ve got 20 years of experience in this role. With your own kids, you learn as you go. Kinda like an airline pilot making his first landing in a Cessna. It’s usually not pretty. I took flying lessons, and I’ll never forget the landing that set my feet permanently on the ground. And to this day, that plane blames me for every problem it’s ever had.

But with grandkids, we’ve already made a lot of the mistakes. We’ve had time to look back and realize that what we once thought was a big deal isn’t worth the tears. Maybe that’s because we’ve been through the teenage years, so we have a little more perspective on just how bad it can get. Either way, we mellow with age. “Oh, so he took the car for a spin. He didn’t hurt it.”

Okay, that last one was just for fun, because I have a strict rule about preschoolers driving my cars. I taught their mother to drive, so I know the stupid things they can do. They’re not even allowed in the front of the RV when it’s parked, because they think it’s a playground. You don’t even want to turn the key after they’ve been up there.

So, we make rules, but some of those rules are a lot more lenient than they were with our own kids. I think that’s normal. Part of it is realizing the kids really aren’t hurting anything, and part is realizing you never really liked that vase to begin with. In less time than you’d spend polishing it just once, you can sweep up the broken pieces and be done with it.

Don’t get me wrong. Rules are important, and kids need some boundaries. But, where our own kids got stuck with a set of rookie parents, our grandkids get the benefit of age and experience. And that’s okay. Our own parents were first timers as well and look at how we turned out. Okay, maybe that’s a bad analogy. I was the guy my high school class voted “Most likely to serve time.” Ha! Fooled them!

The thing is, we learn from our mistakes. We learn that feelings are more important than spilled milk, and that we’re going to replace that new sofa at some point anyway. Sure, teach them to be careful, but don’t expect miracles. They will make mistakes. They will have accidents. And they will talk back. It’s all part of growing up. And so is eating soap, in case you were wondering.

And here’s the thing – you’re still growing, too. You may think you’ve reached full maturity, but as long as you’re still breathing, you’re still learning. And that means you’re still making mistakes, spilling milk, and talking back. Hopefully you don’t make yourself eat soap, but most of us are pretty hard on ourselves when we fall short of perfection. And that happens a lot.

So, ask yourself the same questions you’d ask your kid. Did you mean to mess up? Did you at least try to do it right? Do you know what you did wrong? If so, you know how to make it better the next time. And that’s the key to getting through life – try your best now and get it right the next time.

Give yourself the same chance you’d give your kids (or your grandkids). Give yourself a little compassion. And most of all, give yourself permission to fail. Because it’s in failing that we learn to succeed.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s Stopping You Now?

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

I finally got some things accomplished this weekend that I’ve been wanting to do. Okay, I should say my grandson got something accomplished for me. I paid him, so it’s fair. I like having outdoor lights for Christmas, but I don’t like climbing a ladder fifty-two times to hang them. He’s still young enough to get on the roof. And, he’s still more likely to bounce if he falls. Voila! Problem solved.

I normally try to get the lights up a little earlier, when it’s still reasonably warm. I just don’t turn them on until the week of Thanksgiving. And I’ll turn them off at the start of the New Year. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be coming down. I’m the guy who leaves the lights up until Easter. Sorry, there’s something about ladders and ice on the ground that gives me the willies.

There are some jobs we can do before they actually need to be done. Hanging outdoor lights is one of them. Though I did read a news article about a family that received a citation from their homeowner’s association for putting out decorations a couple of weeks early. I think that one falls under the heading of “get a life.” If somebody else’s celebration bothers you that much, look the other way.

But most things happen in real time and we have to respond and adapt. Sure, we can plan our work week, at least in terms of when we have to be at work and when we hope to come home. Starting time is always pretty well set in stone, but the workday doesn’t always end at a set time. That’s just part of the job. Somehow, it never seems to work that way with lunch breaks. Go figure.

When you really think about it, there are very few things in life we actually plan. For most of us, if we even have a calendar, there’s not much in it other than birthdays, anniversaries, and vacations. My wife keeps everything in her phone calendar, which means I don’t have to. At least not for anything that involves both of us. But thank God the doctor’s office calls to remind me of my appointments.

I guess the point is, we pretty much live day to day. We take things as they come, and handle the immediate needs as they arise. The rest goes into a bucket that we dip into any time we have a few minutes on our hands and there’s nothing good on TV. Seems that happens a lot more these days. The Forrest Gump channel plays the same movie all week. All that changes are the commercials.

The problem with that approach is we never seem to dig deep enough in that bucket to find the things that will bring us closer to our dreams. Unless working until you’re 80 is part of your dream, and in that case, knock yourself out. But if there are other things you want, maybe a little earlier in life, at some point you’ll need to do something about it.

We handle the important things because we don’t have any other choice. Some things just won’t be ignored. It’s the things that can be ignored that keep us from enjoying the life we desire. “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” “Next week.” “After the holidays.” If any of this sounds familiar, welcome to the club. We all do it to some extent. And to the extent that we drag our feet, our dreams slip further away.

Only you can decide which of your dreams are important and how much you’re willing to do to achieve them. But they’ll always be just a passing thought or a picture on the refrigerator until you dig down into that bucket and get busy. And the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be living those dreams. Focus on the goal and don’t let anything stand in your way. Least of all, yourself.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Goals are Great – But What’s Your Plan?

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

Well, it’s a new month and that means another chance to do the things we wanted to do last month, but never quite got done. Unless you live where I do and what you wanted to do was play outside in the water. I think we missed our chance on that for a while. But, as we discussed a few days ago, winter always turns to summer … eventually.

But if you had some other goals in mind, things that don’t require nice weather, now would be the time to refocus on those goals. I have a lot of things I need to do inside and now is the perfect time to get them done. Things like cleaning up the basement, going to the gym, and writing my book. If I could get any of that done over the next few months, I’d feel pretty good.

And then there are those other things, the ones we tend to describe in vague terms. “I need to get out of debt.” “I need to learn some marketable skills.” “I need to build my business.” “I need to do more with my family.”

When we say those things, we think we’ve pretty well defined what it is we need to do. But really, it’s no different than a military commander saying, “We need to win this war.” Duh! A third-grader can figure that out. Want to try a little harder, genius? Like, how do you plan on accomplishing that goal? What’s your strategy? What’s your plan? And when do you intend to get started?

Thankfully, military commanders don’t go into the battlefield with nothing more than a vague goal. They assess the situation, take stock of their assets, look for opportunities, and formulate a plan. And hopefully they do that pretty quickly, because the other side isn’t sitting back waiting for them to get out of bed. Odds are, they’re already on the move.

More often than not, we get a little more time to plan. Very rarely are we in competition with anybody else, and the stakes aren’t nearly as high. And that’s exactly why we have such a hard time accomplishing the things we need to do. If you’re like me, planning alone can take months or even years. I’m great at planning. But at some point, those plans need to be put into action.

Nobody likes a “to-do” list. Well, almost nobody. I guess some people rely on them like I rely on the battery in my car. But for most of us, it’s just another tedious task to complete before we can get anything else done. And at the end of the day, it’s one more reminder of what all we didn’t get done. Like we need any help with that. It’s like a GPS when you make a wrong turn … “Recalculating!”

But sometimes we need those written reminders to keep us on track. With all the distractions around us every day, it’s easy to find other things to occupy our time. Whether it’s TV, or phone calls, or email, or surfing the Internet, we can always find something to take up a few minutes when we really should be doing something else.

Most times, when we find ourselves engaged in idle activities that don’t do a thing to work toward our goals, it’s because we don’t really know what we should be doing in the first place. A list can help, but only if you know what to write on that list. If your only goal is to start a business, with no more detail than that, you’ll just sit there spinning your wheels until you burn out.

That’s where a little time spent studying and planning can make a world of difference. The more complex the project, the more time you’ll need. But it’s just a simple process of breaking it down into manageable steps. What is it you want to accomplish? How can that be done? What are the steps you need to take each day? What are the obstacles you’ll encounter?

The better you understand the details of what it is you want to accomplish, the easier it’ll be to do it. But don’t let planning become a paralysis. There comes a point where you hit the road, point yourself in the right direction, and work through the obstacles as they arise.

Most of the things we want to do are pretty straightforward. Go to the grocery store, clean the basement, make dinner. We don’t really need a written plan for that. But for the bigger goals in life, you need a solid idea of how you’ll get there, and what it’ll take to do it. Break it down into daily actions, step away from the distractions, and you’ll get there sooner than you think.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

How Big Are Your Dreams?

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

As most of you know, my wife and I drove across the country a couple of weeks ago to attend a motivational conference. When you’re on the road that long, you pass pretty much every type of vehicle known to man, and possibly a couple I’d never seen before. In some of those states they have rigs where one truck is pulling three trailers. At highway speed. In a crosswind. Need I say more?

We always used to look at other cars and, sooner or later, we’d see one and say, “That’s what I want someday!” Well, I can honestly tell you that doesn’t happen anymore. We’re really happy with the car we’ve got. It’s comfortable, reliable, roomy, and easy on gas. And when the snow falls, it’s got all-wheel drive to brave the elements. I can’t imagine anything much better than that.

Maybe that’s because we’ve outgrown the days of always wanting something nicer (and more expensive). Maybe it’s because we’ve reached that age where a car is transportation – a means of getting from one place to another. And maybe it’s because we did our research and bought the car that matches our needs completely. That would be a first.

But mostly, I think we’ve grown to an age where cars just aren’t that special anymore. At least not the new ones. Now, give me a 70s vintage muscle car, or a pickup from the early 50s, and I’d be grinning from ear to ear. I like old cars. Especially cars that are just a little older than I am. I see one on the road every now and then, but it doesn’t happen very often.

On the other hand, our eyes were immediately drawn to just about every motorhome we passed on that trip. My wife would ask what kind it was and, more often than not, I could give her an accurate answer. I’ve done my research. When I turn on Facebook, it automatically pops up RV ads. Sure beats the days when my computer thought I needed pills to correct an unwanted male condition.

I have to be honest. About a month ago, I was ready to go shopping. For RVs, not blue pills. And not just shopping, I was ready to buy. But deep down, there was this nagging thought that we would be settling for something a little less than what we really want. My wife, on the other hand, thinks I’m shooting for the stars. Somewhere in between those two is where we’ll eventually end up.

As I mentioned yesterday, there’s this nagging issue of my job. It could end in a couple of months, and that would make those monthly payments a bit of a nuisance. But that’s just a technicality. The bank may not see it that way, but they don’t have my sense of adventure. What’s really stopping me right now is that we still haven’t decided exactly what we want. We’re still in the dreaming mode.

And make no mistake, it’s easy to let your imagination fly when you’re enjoying the scenery on cruise control and a 45-foot diesel pusher motors past pulling a “dinghy” that’s bigger than the car we’re driving. Some of these rigs have price tags nearing a million dollars. I guess you’d have to enjoy the road a lot more than I do. Besides, until they build a bridge to Hawaii, I’d eventually run out of road.

Still, somewhere between what I was ready to buy and a rig like that, there lies a realm where my dreams continue to exist. I don’t want to settle for something less than what we really want. And I don’t want to buy something now, just to pull into the campground and look at every other motorhome around us wishing we’d waited just a little longer.

One of the things they stressed at our conference is that, if you’re going to dream, dream big. Reach for the stars. That doesn’t mean you have to dream of the biggest and best, but don’t settle for a pup tent just because it gets you out of the house. Because odds are, until that pup tent wears out, you won’t be able to justify anything bigger. And pup tents never wear out. They last forever.

When you dream, take time to define exactly what it is you want. Not what’s available at the moment, or what you think you can afford – dream of what you really want. If something is worthy of your dreams, it has to be worthy of your effort. And if you’re going to put in the effort, you don’t want to settle for second-best.

A big dream doesn’t take any more effort than a small one. It may take a little more time, but you’re going to be working anyway, right? So, why not work for what you really want? Dream big. There’s no limit to what you can achieve.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s Holding You Back?

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

Every day as I come home from work, there’s this young boy about a block down the street who’s always outside riding an electric motorcycle. He started on a tricycle, and then moved up to a bicycle, and now something that pedals itself. And if he can find a way to rig up a trailer behind it, he’s in heaven. I wish I could count the number of different tag-alongs I’ve seen that boy hook up to his bike.

Every time you drive past, he smiles and waves like you’re his best friend. He always has. A couple of times when he was headed the other direction, I started to tap the horn so he could see me wave. But all that would do is let the rest of the neighbors know there was a car on the street blowing its horn. He can’t hear a thing. He’s spent his entire life in complete silence.

He’s got some other physical limitations – I’m not really sure the extent of them, but he’s faced an uphill challenge since birth. Not that you’d ever know by watching him cruise up and down the street, smiling and waving at every car that passes. I’m not even sure he knows. How do you explain sound to a person who’s never heard one? To us it’s a handicap. To him, it’s just another day.

I first became aware of him years ago when our neighbors adopted his family for Christmas. He was about three at the time, and the family was facing some huge medical expenses relating to his condition. He had some kind of nasal tube along with some other apparent problems. I remember wondering if he’d ever see his fifth birthday, much less his tenth.

I would guess he’s 11 or 12 now. At my age, the years go by pretty fast, so I’m not completely sure. But watching him grow over the years, you’d have never known he had any kind of limitation at all because nothing seems to hold him back. His parents allowed him to live like any other boy his age, and he’s made the most of it. I look at him now and wonder what he’ll accomplish next.

I don’t know what goes on inside his house, or the things his parents have taught him. But I have to imagine words like “limitation” and “handicap” are never part of the conversation. I’m pretty sure nobody has told him what a rotten hand he was dealt in life. For all he knows, he’s just like everybody else. And because of that, he is.

We’re all born with some level of imperfection. And, as we grow older, we pick up a few more along the way. But they’re only handicaps to the extent that we allow them to get in the way. I’ve seen people with artificial legs run an obstacle course that would bring most star athletes to their knees. And I’ve known blind people who can see so much more than most of us ever will.

It’s all a matter of belief. If you believe you’re incapable of anything, you can cross it off the list of things you’ll ever accomplish. You can tell by the way a baseball player swings his bat whether he believes he can hit the ball. If you believe you can hit a home run, you swing for the fence. If you expect to strike out, you swing without energy or interest. Why bother? You’ll just fail anyway.

It’s that mindset that keeps us from doing the things we could be doing in life. It’s the feeling that we can’t do something, or maybe that we can never do it as well as anybody else. You know, “normal” people. Or maybe we look at the things we’d like to accomplish and think we need superpowers to even come close. There’s a reason “ordinary” people like us never succeed. Or so we think.

It’s been said that behind every successful man is a completely astonished wife. That may be true, but there’s another side to the story … the man who set out to prove to his wife and the rest of the world that he could succeed against all odds.

If you’ve ever accomplished anything in life, it began with the belief that you could do it. That’s not to say you didn’t have some concerns or maybe even a little trepidation. We only need enough confidence to get us started. The rest we can build as we go.

A limitation is only a handicap if we allow it to become one. We can allow it to become an excuse, or simply another mountain to climb. That young man down the street doesn’t know he’s got a handicap, probably because nobody told him. So, what’s holding you back? Believe you can succeed, and you will. And just think of all the people you’ll amaze along the way!  

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved