Winners Always Win – And So Can You

Good morning. It’s Hump Day and we’re halfway to the weekend. I hope your day is starting off just right.

As you look forward to your day, there are things you know will happen. They’re just certain. You’ll eat. You’ll have to use the restroom. Somebody will cut you off in traffic, and for a moment you’ll be upset about it. These things are as certain as the sunrise. Even when the sun is hiding behind clouds, you know it’s there.

Mom always used to say there are three things in life that are certain – death, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta. You can complain about them. You can even try to avoid them. But unless you choose to live under a rock, those three things will be a part of your life at some point. Okay, the first one happens regardless, but you get the point.

But good things happen, too. You woke up this morning. That’s always a good thing. Odds are the car will start when up turn the key. Traffic may be heavy, but you’ll get there. Somebody will smile at you during the day, and that odd person who wants to be everybody’s friend will stop by to say hi. Certain things are just … well, certain. You can count on them like clockwork.

Have you ever met somebody who just can’t seem to lose? No matter what they touch, it turns to gold. They get all the breaks. They have the perfect job, they live in the perfect home, and drive an awesome car. They eat cake and never get fat, they run and never get tired, and they always have the perfect solution to any problem. Nothing ever seems to bother them. Must be nice!

Part of it is perspective While you’re complaining about heavy traffic, they’re saying, “Where? I didn’t have any problems at all today.” And you know you both drove the same route. How is it possible that they didn’t hit any traffic? Well, maybe their perspective is a little different than yours. If they grew up in Los Angeles, any traffic that moves is pleasant.

It’s also possible that they were too busy singing along with their favorite songs on the radio to even notice the traffic. Or maybe they were listening to a motivational CD, where somebody else is telling them they can have anything they want, and then tells them how to do it. Sure, they see all the cars, and they stop at the red lights. But they’re too busy thinking about good things to notice the bad.

Successful people all share a few common characteristics. At the top of the list is belief. They don’t just think it’s possible they can accomplish a goal, they believe it’s a sure thing. Other people may get a chuckle out of their enthusiasm, but it doesn’t even faze them. They just keep doing what needs to be done and end up laughing all the way to the bank.

Armed with that belief, they do what it takes to succeed. It’s not hard when you know the inevitable result. If the boss offered to send you on your dream vacation at the completion of a project, how hard would you work to make that happen? On the other hand, if the boss said, “Hard work gets noticed around here,” the reward is a little less certain. Successful people keep the goal in front of them all the time. They know the outcome – they just haven’t attained it yet.

Finally, successful people don’t get mired down in the details. Yes, traffic is heavy. And how, exactly, is that impacting their ability to succeed? A year from now, as they check in at the airport for that dream vacation the boss never promised, will they even remember this morning’s traffic? No, because their mind is already too busy thinking about the next goal.

A friend often asks what your goals would be if you knew you couldn’t fail. I have that little gem on a note at my desk. If you knew success was inevitable, as certain as sunrise, taxes, and changing planes in Atlanta, what would your goals be? Do you think just maybe you’d be setting them a little higher?

You see, the successful person does all those amazing things for one simple reason – they decided to do it. They took that first step because they knew they could take the last. Every step in between is just part of the journey. And if heavy traffic gets in their way, they simply find a way around or use that time to plan the next move. Belief, action, and resolve. Those are the traits of a winner.

What goals would you set if you knew you couldn’t fail? You were born to win, and there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Aim high, believe in yourself, and don’t let anything get in the way. You’ve got this!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Happiness Rocks!

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

Have you ever met somebody who just always seems to be happy, no matter what? They work all day, sometimes in a job most of us wouldn’t care to do. They put up with petty people whose only goal seems to be making everybody else miserable. They go home to a family that doesn’t appreciate them, or maybe to no family at all. And yet, they never seem to let it get them down.

Sometimes you wonder if they’re living in a fantasy world. Or maybe they’re just “not all there”. It happens. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen have developmental handicaps. They may never be able to complete a crossword puzzle, solve a complex equation, or do any of the things most of us take for granted. Yet they find inexplicable joy in the simplest of things.

I’ve often looked at some of these people and wondered who has the real handicap – them, or me? We think we’re better equipped to “make it” in life, but we’re the ones grumbling all the time and they’re the ones smiling.

Sometimes the perceived handicap isn’t developmental, but simply situational. Maybe they’ve had a run of bad luck over the years that would have brought most “normal” people to their knees. Whether it’s job losses, family losses, poor health, or a dozen other things, they just can’t seem to catch a break. Yet some of these people are the happiest. Maybe they’re just delusional.

I guess that would be a simple enough answer, if it were true. But the more likely answer is, they’ve learned that the secret to true happiness is to stop looking for something or somebody else to make it happen. I’ve often said it’s not what happens to us that makes us miserable – it’s our reaction to those events. We choose, in the moment, whether to brush it off or give misery a permanent home.

And if we believe that, we must also believe that happiness works the same way. We can’t make people do things that will make us happy. We can’t make the sun shine, we can’t control the lottery numbers, and we can’t make heavy traffic magically clear a path just for us. Life happens. The only thing we can control is how we react to it.

We can always point to any number of reasons we shouldn’t be happy, about a particular situation or about life in general. And yet, nobody ever says, “I had a choice – and I chose misery.” It’s easier to blame somebody or something else. And when we’re happy, we never seem to accept credit. We always point to some other person or event as the source of our happiness.

But, as most of us have been told our entire life, happiness comes from within. Bad things will happen. Unpleasant people will try their best to ruin our day. We can’t control any of that. But the moment we decide to dwell on it, we embrace the misery that comes with it.

Mom used to always say, “Shake it off.” What’s happened has happened. You can’t change that. It’s forever written in the history book of your life. And it’s natural to be unhappy, maybe even devastated, about some of the things we’ll experience along the way. Some of that pain never goes away, and happiness doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten. It just means we’re not letting it define us.

We can find misery in the fact that we’re not living our dreams or find happiness in the simple the simple things in life. We can find misery in the things other people do or find happiness in our ability to do better. We can find misery in the behavior of a rebellious child or find happiness in the memory of all those hugs and kisses in the past.

And, no matter what, we can find happiness in the future, because the future has not yet been written. We can’t change what’s already happened, but we change or at least influence most of what’s yet to come. There will be bumps in the road, to be sure. And one day this journey will end. We can’t change that. But we can choose to make the most of every experience along the way.

Choose to be happy. It won’t work every minute of every day. But the more we practice, the easier it becomes. And when that day comes when we need to pull out all the stops and make use of every trick we’ve learned along the way, we’ll be that much better equipped to handle the situation. And that, my friends, is happiness at its very best.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Only as Hard as You Make It

Good morning! I hope your day is starting nicely.

Have you ever gotten halfway into something and wondered why you put it off so long? It’s so simple, you should have done it weeks ago. Or maybe you’ve thought, “There has to be an easier way to do this! I’ll never get this done!”

All too often, we make things harder than they have to be. I’m a planner. I love to plan things out. I want to know exactly how things will progress and what to expect. All the tools and materials have to be right there at hand (except the ones I forgot, of course), and I’ll study the landscape for several minutes or longer before I get started. By then, I need a break.

Okay, that’s how we approach a job we really don’t want to do. Tell me I have to make a pitcher of Pina Coladas, and I’ll be right on it. Tell me the kitchen sink isn’t draining, and I have to draw up a set of blueprints. I’ll grab the plunger, run a coat hanger down the drain, or try any of a dozen other ineffective remedies to avoid what I know I’ll eventually have to do. Just take the drain apart, Dave!

And once I get started, it’s not really that hard. For me, the hardest part is getting down on the floor and situated in front of the cabinet so I can reach the drain. Once I clear a few things out of the way and put my wife’s favorite pan under the drain to catch the inevitable deluge, taking the drain apart is simple. Within three minutes, I’ve cleared the trap, put things back together, and all is well.

Hopefully you won’t have any drains to clean out today. Hopefully I won’t. But how many things during the day do you approach with an equal sense of enthusiasm? Things you know you need to do, and if you don’t get them done, they’ll still be there waiting for you tomorrow. Nobody is going to swoop in and do the job for you, and if they do it’ll be for their benefit, not yours.

I mentioned last year the concept of eating the frog. It’s pretty simple. If you’ll have to eat a frog sometime during the day, just do it. Get it out of the way first, and then the rest of the day will be pretty pleasant, by comparison. And if you have to eat a bunch of frogs, eat the biggest one first.

I didn’t dream up that little gem, but I think it carries a lot of wisdom. But it also needs some perspective. Because your willingness to eat the frog depends to a large degree on how it got there in the first place. Sometimes the boss sets it in front of you and said, “This is your job today – bon appetite!” In that case, you do what we’d all do. You pinch your nose and dig in.

But sometimes the frog is there because you went looking for it. You have a goal or dream, and it requires you to step outside your comfort zone and do some things you’d rather not do. But it’s the only way to accomplish your goal. So, you put the frog on a plate, grab the salt and pepper, get the proper place settings, put a napkin in your lap, say a prayer, and … the frog is still there. Damn.

Or worse yet, the frog hops away and now you have to chase it down and start all over. Because the path to success didn’t magically change while you were planning that first bite. You can plead, bargain, plan, and look for shortcuts all day long, but the fact remains – if you want the reward, you have to eat the frog.

And when you finally do, you often find out it’s not really a frog. It may not be filet mignon, but it’s usually not quite as revolting as we first thought. You may never come to truly enjoy it, but if you do it enough times, it just becomes a part of your day. You do it without even thinking about it. Then one day you look up and there’s the Emerald City, so close you can reach out and touch it.

Do the things you need to do. And when you come to one you’d rather not do, then get it out of the way first. Anything worthwhile is worth the effort. Keep your eye on the ball and don’t sweat the small stuff. Success isn’t always easy, and the path isn’t always smooth. But none of that matters once you reach the goal.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keep Going – You’re Moving Faster Than You Think

Good morning! It’s Monday, and that means the beginning of a brand-new week! I hope your day is starting off well.

For those of you who were with us Saturday, I slipped on in on you. I hope you’ve had time to read it, because it pretty much tied up all the loose ends from the topics we talked about last week. If you missed it, see if you can find time to go back.

Okay, so last week got a little intense. That was by design, even though, as I’ve said before, sometimes these posts are more stream-of-consciousness than something with a planned direction. Still, once I got started in that direction last week, I felt compelled to continue. Hopefully you were able to glean some useful thoughts from it.

As we begin this week, I’m ten days from a goal that looks increasingly large. Know the feeling? It’s like having a stack of bills on the table marked “Past Due” and the bank account is empty. I think most of us have been there. But we all have to ability to correct that situation and, as the saying goes, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. The story can change up until the very last moment.

We had a large initiative at work last year with an aggressive due date that was enough to make the most seasoned specialists cringe. “Are they kidding? There’s no way!” These are common thoughts at the outset of a goal, especially one that was imposed by somebody else. And, the entire time, with every little setback, those thoughts rise to the surface again. “We’ll never get this done!”

When you’re in the car driving to a particular destination, it’s easy to measure progress because it’s linear. Except for time spent in abnormally heavy traffic, your progress is pretty much the same the entire time you’re on the road. You set the cruise control and you can pretty much know where you’ll be in a few hours or by the end of the day.

But with most other things, progress isn’t so linear. All that work you do up-front doesn’t seem to yield any progress at all. In fact, sometimes all you do is uncover an even bigger mess and now you’ve got more work than you’d bargained for. Can I get an amen?

When you build a new home, the job starts with clearing trees and leveling the site. What started as a beautiful work of nature is now a big mud pit and the clock is ticking. Next you dig even deeper to make room for a foundation, and then load up the site with construction materials. All that work, and not the first piece of the house is built. Instead of a beautiful homesite, it’s an eyesore.

But the work continues and, slowly but surely, a structure begins to emerge. You’re looking at the calendar, wondering how on earth it’ll ever be done on time, but the builder assures you it’s time to start packing up your old house, because this one will be finished soon. Weather delays will occur, and the carpet may not arrive on time. But they’ve done this before. They know it’ll happen.

Now, let me ask you, if the builder were to look at the calendar early on and decide it’s a futile race against time and that the goal was unrealistic to begin with, how hard do you think they’d work to get it finished? The moment we agree to back off the original goal, our effort declines. And the more our effort declines, the more distant our revised goal appears. And around we go.

When we focus too heavily on visible or measurable results, it’s easy to lose sight of the original goal and the effort we’ve put in to that point. And, much like a new house, while all that effort may not be apparent in our progress to date, it creates the foundation on which success will ultimately be built.  

As I begin this week, the measurable results toward my goal are pretty dismal. But the work I’ve done to this point was important work, and a required part of achieving my goal. I could change that goal a little if I wanted, and I don’t think anybody would come down too hard on me if I came up a little short. But nobody imposed this goal on me – I came up with it by myself. I own it.

Take ownership of your own goals and don’t let anything stand in the way. Put in the effort, even when it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. Because sooner or later, those wheels will heat up and gain traction. From there, you’re off to the finish line in a race you were destined to win from the start.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Crunch Time, and the Ball is in Your Court

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

Yes, it’s Saturday and here I am. Surprise! I normally don’t write on the weekends, but we’ve been on a topic most of the week that I wanted to finish while it’s fresh in your mind and mine. Okay, and a friend asked me to write this today instead of waiting till Monday. This one is for you Katie.

Our common theme this week has revolved around a few interrelated premises. First, moving forward takes faith in yourself and your ability to reach your goal. Second, if you keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing, the results will never change. And finally, to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

In talking with people about their dreams, the discussion always ends up in the same place. “I’d love to do that, but it takes money.” In other words, “I can’t afford it.” And that’s okay. If we could afford everything we want, there would be nothing left to desire. And desire is what drives us to do a little more each day.

People tend to get squeamish about money, because we’re taught that we should appreciate what we’ve got and that it’s selfish to want more. But we’re also taught that laziness is one of the seven deadly sins. So, which is it? Are we supposed to simply accept life as it is today?  Or are we supposed to get up and work to make it a little better?

The answer to that question has to come from within. If you’re happy with life as it is today and don’t want anything more, just keep doing what you’re doing. That doesn’t make you lazy. It just means you’re content. But if you want something more, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with working to achieve it.

When we begin to put our dreams on hold or accept the reality that what we’re doing just isn’t going to make it happen, it all boils down to one simple question: “Are you open to other ways of making money?”

Notice, the question isn’t “Do you want more money?” Sure, we all do. It isn’t even, “Are you willing to work harder to make more money?” Most of us are doing that anyway. Besides, we’ve already established that if what you’re doing today isn’t getting you visibly closer to your goals, you need a different approach. So, let me ask again. Are you open to other ways of making money?

Think about that for a moment. “Are you open …?” That doesn’t mean, are you willing? Most of us are willing. It means, is your mind open to things you may not have considered? “… to other ways …” This isn’t about working harder at what you’re already doing. We already know that’s not getting the job done. It’s about trying something new.

I remember reading in the early 1970s that sanitation workers in New York City were making $30 an hour at a time when the minimum hourly wage was $1.65. In today’s dollars, that would be $130 an hour. Now, do you think sanitation work is glamorous or exciting? Probably not. I’m pretty sure those guys didn’t think so, either. But how well could you live on that kind of money?

Sure, there’s a limit to what we’re willing to do, but within the bounds of decency and the law, where would you draw the line? Is it more important to have a career that’s the envy of all your friends, or to end each day in a comfortable home surrounded by a healthy family with plenty of food on the table, no bills to worry about, and the ability to escape it all for a couple of weeks each year?

Are you open to other ways of making money? This isn’t a philosophical question. It’s something each of us needs to answer for ourselves, right now. If the answer is no, then take another look at that list of dreams and start deciding which ones you’re willing to cross off. If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for?

Are you willing to try something different? Are you able to find personal pride in working to make your life better, even if others think it’s a waste of time? Are you willing to spend the next few years of your life doing the things most people won’t do so you can spend the rest of your life doing the things most people can’t do?

Do you want to dream, or live your dreams? That’s really what it comes down to. And the answer to that question, or rather the inevitable result, depends on your answer to all those other questions. Read them again. Today is the day you can begin to make a change. It’s all up to you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity May Knock, But You Still Have to Open the Door

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

Is it just me, or did this seem like an awfully long week? It seems to work that way sometimes. Hopefully, by the end of the week, you were able to take advantage of those seemingly long days and get a lot accomplished. I did, but my job is a lot like a fast-food restaurant clerk – there’s always more coming.

I remember about thirty years ago, my wife told me of a large truck manufacturer that was hiring 5,000 assembly line workers. The thought of standing in one place all day, repeating the same thing over and over was mind-numbing, but the pay was great.

I think she was upset that I didn’t apply for a position, but it just wasn’t me. Oddly enough, not even a year later that same manufacturer laid off 5,000 people. Any bets on who they were? As Erma Bombeck once said, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. Things can look great on the surface, but what lurks beneath isn’t always so pleasant.

On the other hand, the best opportunities are often the last thing we would ever have considered. Yet most people will walk away without giving them a second thought, because a friend or family member once tried and failed, or they read some bad reviews online, or “it’s just not what I see myself doing.”

And that’s okay. We all have to make our own decisions. And, we all have to live with the consequences of those decisions. That doesn’t mean all those consequences will be unpleasant. Some people are in a position of comfort where, if nothing changed for the rest of their life, they’d be satisfied.

But most of us want something more. Whether it’s a better-paying job, a nicer home, a new set of skills, a new car, a warmer climate, sending the kids to college, taking the family on a nice vacation, or simply a brighter retirement, we all have dreams.

And here’s the reality – if you keep doing exactly what you’re doing, the results are never going to change. We all think that, at some point in life, the money we earn will magically be worth more than it is today. Our savings account will somehow balloon, our expenses will be cut in half once the kids are gone. Ask any empty nester. They believed that, too. But it just doesn’t work that way.

Most of my posts this week have followed a similar train of thought. That wasn’t necessarily by design, but it’s a topic that can’t be conveyed in just a few words. If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. That’s the essence of what I’ve been talking about all week.

And doing something you’ve never done takes a leap of faith. It takes courage. It means setting aside your doubts long enough to examine the possibilities. It means making a decision for yourself, regardless of what others may think. It means accepting the reality that you have the ability to succeed where others may have failed.

If you have a dream that’s strong enough to get you out of the recliner, and you have faith in your ability to do what’s necessary, then success is only a matter of time. As long as you stay focused on the goal and keep moving toward it, success is inevitable.

Think of that word for a moment – inevitable. It means the outcome is pre-ordained and nothing can prevent it from happening. No matter what obstacles may stand in the way, they can’t stop the inevitable result. The only thing that can block your success is a lack of effort on your part.

No matter what your goals may be, opportunities abound. Some of those opportunities may present themselves, and you may have to dig a little to find the others. But every time we turn away from an opportunity, every time we automatically scoff at something just because it doesn’t meet some predefined level of immediate credibility, our choices are that much more limited.

Any publisher will tell you that, if a book doesn’t have an eye-catching cover, it won’t sell. That’s not because the book itself is any less worthy. But most people, within three seconds of picking up a book, will decide either to look at the table of contents or simply put it back on the shelf.

Success is often found deeper inside those opportunities that may not have such a pretty cover. Sometimes, we have to be willing to be seen with a book others don’t understand or wouldn’t be seen with themselves. That’s okay. They have their goals, and you have your own. The question is, whose goals are more important to you?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Focus on the Outcome – The Way Will Present Itself

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

I guess by now, you all think I wake up each morning with thoughts racing through my brain, just waiting to be spilled out onto the keyboard. I wish that were the case, but more often than not, I sit at the computer with no real thought as to what I plan to write that morning. It just happens. Some days it’s not all that great, and other days make up for it. That seems to be the way life goes.

In my younger years, if you wanted to take a trip from one city to another, you either looked at a map beforehand or relied on directions from others. GPS was something for ships and transcontinental airliners. And if the route you were on was closed for some reason, you’d simply get off that road, pull in someplace and ask directions (ladies?), and keep driving until you got there.

For the record, yes … I have actually gone into a gas station or convenience store and asked for directions. If that means I have to hand in my “man card” so be it. I’ve also opened a second screen on my computer in the morning to look up a statistic or find out who was the first to offer a specific quote. If you thought all those facts just rattled around in my brain all day, think again.

In the days of Christopher Columbus, navigation was done mostly by dead-reckoning and looking at the stars. You would take a known starting point, head in a specific direction, estimate your speed, and hope the wind and waves weren’t blowing you too far off course. At night you relied on the stars to get you back on track. Except on stormy nights. Then you just hung on for dear life.

Of course, that approach relied on one critical factor – knowing where you were headed. According to historical folklore, Christopher Columbus had set off to prove the world was round by sailing west to India, a country that everybody knew was to the east. What he didn’t know was that there was this huge continent in the middle that stretched from the top of the globe almost to the bottom.

A lot of mornings as I write my post, I find myself in a similar situation. I think I know where I want to go, but end up someplace completely different. And sometimes the goal is simply to get a positive message online, one that will hit home with at least one or two people, with no real sense of how I’ll get there. If you couldn’t already tell, today is one of those days.

Sometimes, too much planning can get in the way. You have a goal and an idea of how you’ll achieve it. You formulate a plan and start working through the details. You decide ahead of time exactly how you’ll get there and how long you think it’ll take. And then you hit the road with blinders on, focused only on that pre-defined route.

But you’re missing all the scenery along the way. You blow right past the on-ramp to a newer and faster route because you’re stuck on plans made from a ten-year-old map. You miss opportunities not only to expedite the completion of your trip, but to enjoy it more along the way. And then comes the dreaded “Road Closed” sign. Now what do you do?

If the destination is known, all you have to do is keep moving in the right direction. And when the GPS says, “Recalculating,” you make a turn and get back on track. Sooner or later you’ll get there. Destinations don’t move. What changes is the means by which we get there.

We talked yesterday about faith, the belief in something you can’t prove. In this case, it’s the certainty in a final outcome you’ve not yet achieved. But if you know where you’re going, and you believe in your ability to get there, how you do it isn’t quite as important. You don’t have to plan everything to the nth degree. Focus on the goal and the means will present itself.

The key here is that you have to begin with the courage to take that first step. You have to be open to options along the way. You have to be willing to try something new – maybe something so radically different that it almost doesn’t make sense. If you stick to the path everybody else is on, you’ll end up exactly where they’re headed, two steps behind.

You achieve new things by trying new things. Focus on the destination and believe in the outcome. Take off the blinders and be open to new opportunities. The path to success may not look like anything you’d imagined. But what’s more important? The destination, or the color of the car that gets you there?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved