When Faced With Dessert, Eat the Brussels Sprouts First

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

It’s the start of a brand-new week, and that means a whole list of things we need to do over the next several days. More likely, it means a whole list of things we didn’t get done last week that we have to do now before we can begin this week’s work. Can I get an amen?

More and more, that seems to be the way things go. There’s never enough time to get things done in the allotted time, and our reward for all that hard work seems to be adding even more to the schedule for the following week. Whether it’s your job, things around the house, or anything else that keeps you occupied, there’s always more than enough to do.

And it’s easy to skim off the top and take on the more pleasant tasks first. After all, it is Monday. Do they really expect you to just jump right back in? Do they not understand that it takes a few hours to shift from weekend mode into work mode, and you probably need a little time to unwind from two days at home? The nerve of some people!

Well, the reality is, whatever we didn’t get done last week probably needs to be done first. And there’s probably a reason it didn’t get done to begin with … it wasn’t one of those cherry-picking skim-off-the-top tasks that you can knock out in a few minutes. If so, it would have already been done. Along with all those other less-than-challenging tasks you knocked out Friday afternoon.

It’s hard to begin a major task late in the day, especially right before the weekend, because you know there’s no way you can get it done. But, by morning, something else usually comes along that has to be done right now because the assumption is that you show up for work every morning with a clean slate. And nobody wants to set the boss straight on that one.

So, the big task that you planned to tackle first thing Monday morning sits until Monday afternoon, and then there’s no time to get it done by the end of the day, so you resolve to just get it done Tuesday. Then Tuesday comes along with its own new challenges, and guess what happens? I could probably build a big list of those Monday morning jobs that never got done. Thankfully, most are at home where I can’t get fired.

And, believe me, I was a shining example of this concept over the weekend. I’ve got enough projects at home to keep me busy for the next couple of months, and they won’t wait forever. But one thing led to another this weekend, and there wasn’t really time to get any of them completed, so I sat in front of the TV instead. Smart, huh?

We’ve talked before about tackling the most unpleasant task first. When my wife puts broccoli on my plate, I tend to eat it first so I can get it out of the way and enjoy what’s left of my meal. And there’s a reason mom never let us eat dessert first. She knew there was no way on God’s green earth we’d have eaten those Brussels sprouts later. So, we learned this concept early in life.

Most of us will face work today that we’d rather not do, and some of that will be pretty significant in terms of effort. But work has a habit of staying right where you left it. You can spin your wheels all day, or take on a dozen other tasks, but whatever you’ve been avoiding will still be there waiting. Sooner or later, you’ll have to do something about it.

As you begin your day, take a few moments to assess what’s on your plate. Make a list if you have to. And take a guess at how long each job will take. Then double that estimate, because nothing is as easy as it seems. Then take the biggest or most pressing task first and dive in. You may not get it all done today but think of how much less you’ll have to face tomorrow morning.

It’s natural to avoid the unpleasant and anything that seems insurmountable. But if we knock those things out first, the rest of the day is just that much easier. And meanwhile, it builds your own confidence. You’re not only getting things done, you’re doing the impossible. And with that kind of ability, no task (or dream) will ever be too large. You can accomplish anything!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When Life Hands You Lemons, Squash ‘Em!

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

Yesterday was one of those days that could have gone either way, and it turned out to be another exercise in frustration. It happens, and especially when people with an ulterior motive decide to make sure it happens. But you know what? Today is a brand-new day.

We all have those times when things happen that shouldn’t. People get sick, people die, jobs are lost, homes are lost, friends are lost, or any of a hundred other things that leave you feeling completely hopeless. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, so all you can do is wake up the next day and move forward.

My mom always used to say that, once you hit rock bottom, the only way you can go is up. There’s some truth to that. And even at the worst point yesterday I was far from rock bottom. But after a few hours of sulking and just trying to make sense of the day’s events, we had dinner, exchanged some laughs, and found a renewed sense of purpose to set things right. It’s a good feeling.

And I guess a big part of the reason we were able to turn things around so quickly is because of the type of things I write about in these posts – dreams, visions of success, positivity, and the reality that our destiny is much more in our control than it sometimes appears. It may feel like we’re only along for the ride, but the steering wheel is very much up for grabs. You can take it any time you want.

Happiness and positivity are a frame of mind. We can choose to be happy (generally) or choose to be downtrodden. It’s all in how we view the little things around us each day. Walking outside to cold air and gray clouds isn’t what most of us would call a good start to the day. But we can either moan about it all the way to work or turn up the radio and sing along. It’s a choice we can make.

Much of life is about perspective. You can drive past a dilapidated home on a dirt road with rusted out cars in the yard, people sitting on the porch commiserating about their lot in life, and in the yard you’ll see young children running and playing without a care in the world. They all live in the same reality – they just see it differently.

And part of that is just age. When we’re young, our parents try to shield us from the negative factors in life, especially those we can’t control like money and bills. But there’s nothing sweeter than the smile on a child’s face as they invent new games to play, laughing and singing without a care in the world.

I have little doubt I’ll step outside to less than ideal weather. Somebody in traffic will try to put me in a bad mood, and something at work will go wrong. These things happen. And, to be fair, when enough of them happen all in the same day, it can pretty much wreak havoc on your general mood. But it’s our ability to handle those little things that makes us better able to handle the big ones.

If we allow the little things to get to us, there’s no way we can handle life’s real challenges. Our family suffered a blow yesterday, one that came as the result of somebody else’s misdeeds. It happens. But we were able to quickly shake it off and get back on mission. And I know it’s because we’re generally positive and hopeful.

Positivity, like many other things, is simply a habit. It’s a choice you make at some point that becomes a part of who you are. It kicks in automatically all through the day, and when you need it the most, it’s there to help you face challenges with a clear mind and the knowledge that you can rise above. It’s what makes the difference between happiness and despair.

So, as you go through the day, pay attention to the little things that bother you. Don’t dwell on them, just be aware of their existence. Then find something positive about the situation and focus on that. It only takes a few seconds to change your perspective. Then you can face the challenge with a renewed sense of spirit. Do that often enough, and it becomes a habit.

Buildings are raised a brick at a time, beginning with a strong foundation you can’t even see once it’s been covered. But it’s there, supporting the whole structure when the storm clouds blow in. Build that foundation within yourself – a foundation of positivity – and you’ll find there isn’t much in life you can’t handle. Each day is only as good as you choose to let it be. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Best Dreams Are the Ones We Share

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

Every Monday, I get to spend a couple of hours with my two youngest grandchildren. At the ages of 3 and 4, they can be a handful. What I wouldn’t give for an ounce of the energy they expend so readily, with plenty more in reserve. Thankfully, most of that energy is heartwarming and entertaining. And when we do have a test of wills, they usually let me think I won.

It’s a fun age, mostly because they still crave interaction with the old folks. When I got home yesterday, I became a jungle gym as they took turns bouncing into my lap so we could sing a wacky song. As soon as one was done, they’d move out of the way for their sibling to take a turn. It was steady back and forth for a good fifteen minutes. After that, they just wanted to cuddle.

And I’ll be honest, at 61, my energy level just isn’t what it once was. Their older brother will be 19 in a week, and he got the best part of me in that respect. We were together all the time, and it was only in the last several years that Grandpa started to peter out a little. But I still tried to keep up. They’re only young once.

Then came the age of throwing a football, shooting hoops, and all-day outings to the local theme park. We did pretty much everything together and, even though he wore me out completely, it was some of the best days of my life. I only wish I had that much energy to share with his cousin and younger siblings.

I mention this because, as we talk about our dreams and things we want to accomplish, those dreams almost always include the people we care about the most. It’s no secret that I want a motorhome. That’s a personal goal that I plan to accomplish within the next year.

And I don’t want to park it in front of the house to make the neighbors jealous. Unless they happen to be on the front porch as we pull up long enough to pack for the next trip, they’ll never see it. Because we plan to spend our time traveling – meeting new people, seeing new places, and enjoying new adventures. Otherwise, I could just buy a lawn chair and yell at passing kids to stay off the grass.

But here’s the thing – when I think of the places I’d like to explore in that motorhome, I see my wife and grandchildren right there beside me. Okay, my daughters too, but they may have to sleep in a tent. Convertible dinettes are made for kids, not adults, and I’m not giving up my bed for anyone.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. But all joking aside, none of the dreams I have for my remaining years on this planet mean anything unless I can share them with the people closest to me. And I’d venture to say that’s true for most of us. Sure, there are things we enjoy doing alone. But, for the most part, it’s always better if we can share those things with somebody special.

Friday, I challenged you to define your dreams, to write them on paper and even try to get pictures. But, without considering the people you want to share those things with, they’re little more than words and pictures. There’s a reason cruise ship advertisements show families having the time of their life. It’s because nobody wants to buy a ticket for a ride on a boat. They want the adventure.

So, write your own commercial. Visualize not only your dream, but the people you want to share it with. Picture them enjoying every new adventure with you. Sitting by the campfire, snorkeling off the coast, hiking up a mountain trail, enjoying an afternoon cookout in the back yard, or simply gazing at a herd of bison or the majesty of the Grand Canyon.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk. I see it almost every day. But that picture alone isn’t enough. It’s the image of my wife gazing through the windshield at things she’s never seen before, and my grandchildren enjoying experiences they’ll remember a lifetime – those are the visions that drive me to make it happen.

Most dreams don’t mean much unless we can share them with others. So, as you picture your dream, be sure to include the people who make it important. Make them an integral part of it. Because, once you have that vision clearly in mind, there’s not much that can stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Dream and Make It Happen!

Good morning, and happy Friday! The weekend is finally here!

I don’t know about you, but this has been an especially long week for me. I wrote a few days ago about frustrations on the job and, though they’re nothing major in the overall scheme of life, they can make the days really drag and send you home completely exhausted. It’ll be nice to have a couple of days to rejuvenate.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of things to do this weekend, courtesy of not getting them all done last weekend. It seems to work that way. Time runs out, but the work never really goes away. But that’s okay. I’ll get caught up and still find some time to enjoy what should be a mild improvement in the weather. And then Monday we’ll start all over. It’s the cycle of life.

One thing on my list for the weekend is to buy a new outdoor grill. Our old one rusted out in less than two years (thank you Sears), and we’ve developed a passion for grilled food over the years, so it’s pretty high on the list of priorities.

I know there have been studies indicating that grilling your food causes cancer. Well, so what? Everything causes cancer. I’m pretty sure the food itself, with all the dyes and growth hormones is a lot more of a problem than a couple of sear marks. Besides, it’s the only way I can get salmon at home. I’m not allowed to cook it inside. And salmon is healthy, right?

Beyond that, I have some freelance work to do and some things I need to do for my business. But I don’t mind because it’s part of building our future. I think for most of us, the paycheck from our daily job pretty much pays the bills and leaves a little left over for a couple of life’s conveniences. If you want to make a real difference, you have to do something extra.

It’s all about goals, and we talk about that a lot. Everybody has a dream. We don’t always share those dreams, and sometimes we can’t even articulate them that clearly in our own mind. But they’re still there, tantalizing us from time to time as a reminder that there could be more to life than what we’re currently experiencing. And that’s a good thing.

I know the Bible tells us to be grateful for what we’ve got, and to find a way to share some of that with others. It also tells us that two men had a talent (apparently the currency of the day) and, while one man spent his talent in one swoop, the other invested his talent and made ten more. Guess which one received more praise in the scriptures?

It’s okay to want something more. It’s even okay to go out and get it, as long as we do it in a way that isn’t detrimental to those around us. And there’s something to be said for being humble instead of rubbing our good fortune in people’s faces. Nobody likes a jerk.

If there’s something you want, a burning desire that won’t go away, get up and do something about it. You don’t have to work 100 hours a week to do it. Once the bills are paid, a little extra begins to add up. It only takes a few hours a week if you’re doing something productive. We’ve all heard the expression “work smarter instead of harder.” Well, there’s something to be said for that.

I’m a firm believer that we all have within us the ability to achieve anything we desire. Whether that’s learning a new skill, getting a college degree, enjoying more time with our family, or living on a tropical beach with nothing to do all day but soak it all in, you can do it. Forget where you’ve been. The past won’t get you a thing. It’s where you’re going that’s important, so make it count.

Take a little time this weekend to focus on your dreams. Write them on paper and describe them in vivid detail. Get pictures if you can. Then ask yourself what it will take to make those dreams come true. If it’s going back to school, do it. If it’s getting closer with your family, make it happen. And if it’s something that will require more money, get some. No more excuses – just do it.

No matter what you’d like to accomplish in life, the only thing standing in the way is you. If a person with two prosthetic legs can run the Boston Marathon, there aren’t too many limitations the rest of us can hide behind. Figure out what needs to be done. It’s probably easier than you think. But you just have to want it badly enough to make it happen.

That’s all for now. Have a fantastic day and an awesome weekend!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s a Brand-New Day

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

Yesterday was one of those days for me that I hope not to repeat any time soon. It happens. And it was nothing major. Just a lot of work on tight deadlines with no common understanding of the processes involved, accented by a couple of disappointments that normally would have been no big deal. But as I said, it happens. We dust ourselves off and move on.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you have days like that. If it happens a few days in a row, it can skew your perception to the point that you get up in the morning expecting a frustrating day at work. And that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Little things that would normally go unnoticed become just one more piece of a puzzle nobody wants to build. But we do it anyway.

Frustration and disappointment aren’t bad, in and of themselves. It’s our reaction to them that makes the difference between solving an issue or wallowing in it. Most of the conveniences we enjoy each day were made possible because somebody faced adversity and worked through it. Imagine trying to invent a light bulb when none of the homes you intended to light even had electricity.

I’ve often wondered about inventions like radios and TVs. I guess it would be safe to assume that radio stations were built before the first radios were sold. Otherwise, all a radio could have done is generate its own static. And I doubt many people would have lined up to buy that. “But wait! In a year or two, it’ll actually play music!” Yeah. You’d get faster results by getting your kid a guitar.

Which means somebody had to go out on a limb and build a radio station, staff it with a disc jockey and sound engineer, buy records (at least we had the Victrola), and start broadcasting music to … nobody. They had to sit there and pretend somebody was on the receiving end until that first radio was sold. And what if nobody had bought that first radio? Talk about an exercise in futility.

I remember years ago when NASA sent one of its first probes to land on Mars. It was years of design and development, followed by a three-month journey that ended in a brief moment of utter dismay when the probe crashed onto the planet’s surface at almost three times the intended speed. All because the final distance and velocity calculations were in feet instead of meters. Wow.

I can imagine those folks went home hanging their heads that day. All that time, money, and effort, down the drain in a matter of seconds. And I’m sure there was a point where somebody said, “Why isn’t it slowing down?” Imagine being the guy who made those final calculations, watching the scenario unfold as you realized why it was happening. I think I’d need a stiff drink after that.

But those people came back to work the next morning, determined to figure out what went wrong, and to try again. And the next probe landed without incident. With each excursion, we’ve learned more about our nearest celestial neighbor. And I have little doubt that sometime within the next twenty years, a human being will walk on the surface of Mars.

Frustrations are just part of the job. If we face them head-on, we can fix the underlying problems and make life easier tomorrow. Mostly. There will always be issues we just can’t fix, whether it’s because of people, equipment, or the processes involved. But when we fix those things over which we do have control, it makes the other problems a little less troublesome.

When your day just won’t go right, think of the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I think it’s that last part that has the greatest impact – the wisdom to know the difference. If something is completely beyond your control, let it go. Focus on the things you can control. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for increasing frustration and, sooner or later, a complete breakdown in your relationship with those around you.

I often tell people, “This will be an awesome day! I’ve decreed it, therefore it shall be!” Okay, the forces of nature don’t always recognize my authority in the matter, but it sure sets the tone for how I face my day. Give it a try. It may not make all the problems go away, but it’ll make it a lot easier to clean out the clutter around them. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Whatever happened yesterday is in the past. Let today be a new day. Face each challenge with a fresh mind and spirit. It’ll make the day go better, and you’ll be that much better equipped to solve whatever issues may arise. And with each of those wins, that’s one less problem you’ll face tomorrow.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Some Things Really Can Wait

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend.

Mine was a mix of trying to cram in all the necessary errands Saturday so I could stay out of the snow Sunday, which means I probably spent more time in front of the TV than I should have. But I did use some of my down time to do a little business training, so I guess I can add that to the “accomplishments” list.

That’s not to say there aren’t things I should have done that I didn’t. Every Monday, as I drive to work, I look back at the weekend to make a mental list of the things I didn’t get finished. I’m sure we all do that at some level. There just never seems to be enough time to do all the things we need to do, plus a few of those that are just for our own amusement.

So, I begin most Mondays by adding to my “to-do” list for the coming weekend. Unless I can get lucky and knock out a few things in the evenings after work. But in all honesty, some of those things may never get done. That’s just the way it works.

And that’s okay. At least I hope it is, because there are jobs on my to-do list from 1997, and odds are I won’t be getting around to any of them this week, either. I’m pretty sure my wife gave up anyway. But the truth is, some of these tasks may not have been that important to begin with. Sometimes, we just think they are.

And it’s that way, both on the job and off – even for some of our personal goals. We’ll put something at the top of the list with all the best intentions of giving it our utmost attention. But other things can quickly take that top spot, and, after a while, we realize it may not have been so critical after all. Or we just run out of time. It happens.

And other times, we let something slide only to find later it really was a lot more important than we’d thought. And we come to that realization as the “Check Engine” light comes on, accompanied by a loud knocking sound and blue smoke pouring from the tailpipe. Maybe Dad was right about those oil changes. There goes next year’s vacation fund.

So, it’s important to revisit our to-do list from time to time. Some things can be put off a little while, and some can be erased completely. But there are some that absolutely need to move to the top of next week’s list, with no option for putting them off again.

The critical piece of the puzzle is knowing the difference. Unless you’ve got all kinds of time on your hands and the only thing on your to-do list is getting up every day for breakfast, sooner or later you’ll find yourself facing some tough decisions. Sometimes we’re aided in those decisions by something a lot more desirable, like going out with friends. But that’s not always the case.

Where it gets tricky is when we have things to do that will take more time than we’ll ever have in a single day. My garage is a perfect example of that. Or maybe I should say, the clutter in my garage is a perfect example of what happens when you put off doing anything until you can do it all. The mess just keeps getting bigger. And the sad part is, most of it can go straight in the trash.

If there’s something you need to do, whether it’s for work, a job around the home, something for your business, or a book you’ve been meaning to read (or write), you don’t have to do it all at once. But if you just throw your hands up in the air and turn on the TV because you only have six hours left and there’s no way you can do that job in six hours, guess what’ll still be on your plate next week?

Break those larger jobs down into manageable chunks, and then you won’t need a whole day (or longer) to get them done. Maybe an hour here and a half-hour there is enough. Sure, it won’t get done all at once, but unless you’re cooking dinner or performing surgery, odds are it doesn’t matter. Whatever you didn’t get done will still be waiting for you later. That, I can promise.

Make time for the things you need to do but remember things don’t always go according to plan. Other things will pop up – some more critical, some not. But as the day comes to a close, don’t beat yourself up over the things you didn’t get done. Celebrate the wins and re-prioritize the rest. And be sure to make a little time for yourself along the way. You’ve earned it!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Build Those Invisible Results

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

Today begins a new month and, for anyone who started a New Year’s resolution, it’s a critical milestone. If you’re still sticking to your plan, congratulations! Whatever it is you wanted to change has now become a part of who you are. It’s a habit and, as you know by now, habits can be hard to break. So, give yourself a pat on the back.

If you’re back to square one, you’re not alone. According to a January 2019 article by Inc Magazine, the failure rate for resolutions is about 80%. For most of us, getting started isn’t the hard part. But by mid-February, most of us lose our resolve. Change takes work. And sometimes, it’s easier to just stick with what we know.

Part of the problem with resolutions is that we can be a bit unreasonable. We expect too much and set ourselves up for failure in the process. If you haven’t been to a gym in the past five years, getting there five days a week is asking a lot. Maybe a goal of at least two days a week would have been more realistic. If things are going well, you can always build from there.

Also, as we’ve discussed a few times in the past, when you give yourself a whole year to make a change, there’s no pressure. You’ve got all the time in the world, and if you haven’t even begun by now, there’s still time. But when you make Monday morning resolutions, you’re under a much tighter deadline and are less likely to just blow it off.

But I think the biggest challenge in sticking to change is our need for immediate gratification. You’re eating healthier, you’re walking more every day, you’ve cut back on the snacks, but the morning trip to the bathroom scale doesn’t show any progress at all. After seven days of that, your brain says this just isn’t working. At that point, quitting can even make sense.

What we fail to recognize sometimes is that you have to build a foundation before you can raise a building. What you’re doing today may not be evident for a week or two, maybe even longer depending on what you’re trying to change. Most doctors agree that the weight loss (or gain) you see this week is the result of what you did last week. It doesn’t show up right away.

And that’s with weight loss, where results can be measured every day. What about things where the results are a little harder to see? Like eating more vegetables to improve your health or studying for an exam that’s three months away? Your immune system is getting stronger, and your brain is being filled with knowledge. But how do you measure that?

Oftentimes, we don’t know the good we’ve done for ourselves until it’s crunch time. When everyone in the house is sneezing and coughing, you breeze through unscathed. You get your test score and you passed with flying colors. That’s when all the seemingly invisible work you were doing pays off.

But what if you got sick anyway? What if you failed the test miserably? It happens. When my daughter went through nursing school, she was devastated to find that she’d failed her microbiology class. In fairness, it’s very common for students to fail that class first time around. Some things are a lot more difficult than others.

It’s easy to get discouraged. You begin to wonder if anything you do will make a difference. Maybe this just isn’t your thing. And that, my friends, is where the rubber meets the pavement. Either you get some traction and get moving again or go sliding off into a ditch. Or, you decide not to take a risk at all and just sit there in the middle of the road watching life pass you by.

My daughter took that class again the next semester and passed. She’s a Registered Nurse today and has risen to the top of her career path. Because she had a goal and wasn’t going to let a setback end her dream. And in overcoming that setback, she learned just how strong she really is.

We’ve all got that strength inside us. We’re born with it and it never completely goes away. It’s what gave you the determination to sit, crawl, walk, and talk. All major events in a child’s development, and all things where early failures made the task seem monumental. But you did it anyway, because you refused to quit.

Challenges are a part of life. And sometimes we need to build a foundation to stand on before we can step over them. Just because you don’t see results today, that doesn’t mean they’re not building beneath the surface. Keep your eye on the goal and find that inner strength. The results will come. And all those challenges you faced will make them that much sweeter.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved