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