Are We There Yet???

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

My day started of pretty well. I’m finally seeing some steady progress in my weight loss. Granted part of that was from being sick over the weekend, but even after two days of solid food, it’s still moving in the right direction. Now, if I could just speed things up a little! I can put weight on over a single meal. Sure would be nice to lose it that fast.

Patience is not a virtue many of us can place at the top of our list of attributes. Not if we’re being completely honest. We want what we want, and we want it now. And we let the world know if it’s not right there waiting for us.

Which is why none of us wants to call Customer Service, because we know we’ll have to listen carefully for six options, then sit with a phone glued to our head listening to elevator music interrupted by timed reassurances that our call is important and if we hang up, we’ll lose our place in line. Have you ever called when they’re experiencing “unusually low call volume”? Yeah, me either.

I’ve often wondered if anybody watches the video cameras in a fast-food drive-thru line. You know, something that will show the facial expressions and steering wheel tapping as people wait for food that somebody should have had ready before they even got there. And then you finally pull up to the window they ask, “Can you pull up a little? We’re waiting on your fries.” Yeah, so am I!

We’ve become accustomed to these inconveniences. It’s just a part of life, and we’ve learned that complaining doesn’t do a bit of good. Besides, if you complain too much, your food may arrive with a little extra “flavoring.” So, most of us just sit there and silently grumble to the people sitting in the car with us who have nothing to do with the fact that they just turned on the fryer.

But I think most of us are the least patient when it comes to our goals. Whether that’s weight loss, building a beach body, climbing the corporate ladder, or building a business, we all want results. And we want them now. Seriously, what is taking so long? We’ve been working at this for a whole month! Where are the results?

We’ll talk more about some of this in the coming days, but I think it’s important first to agree that we really have become spoiled in terms of instant gratification. I see people standing in the lunch room at work reading the instructions on their microwaveable meal. “Seriously? Four and a half minutes?” Yeah. Instead of the half-hour it would take you to prepare it at home. Relax.

We get to experience each minute of life once, and then it’s gone. We only get one chance to enjoy each of those minutes and, like all the time we spend sitting on hold just to hear the dreaded, “Our office is now closed – please call back tomorrow”, we can never have that time back.

Here’s an idea. Slow down a little. Anticipate some of life’s delays and find some alternatives. At the very least, find something constructive to occupy your time. Instead of pacing in front of the microwave, make a new friend. While you’re sitting on hold, read a good book. Instead of fuming at the drive-thru, turn up the radio and sing loud enough to bug the crap out of everyone else in line. Just me?

Sometimes, we all need a little diversion. When I was on the road doing comedy, I spent hours every day driving to the next show. But it wasn’t until I got off the interstate and took the slower route that I really began to enjoy the drive. I saw things that I thought were part of a bygone era. Drive-in movie theaters, roadside motels, antique cars and trucks in roadside lots, and some of the nicest small-town diners in the world. And you know what? I got my food almost as fast. Go figure.

It’s all about taking time to enjoy what’s around us instead of bulldozing against what’s in front of us. The line will move. Our call will be answered. The weight will come down, and we’ll eventually see progress toward our goals. But the moment we get frustrated and give up our place in line, it all goes away.

Patience is a virtue. That doesn’t mean we don’t keep working toward our goals. But more often than not, the results will come in their own time. Our task is to be there when they do, ready to enjoy the moment and press on toward the next one. It makes the time go faster, and it makes each little success feel that much better. Give it a try.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When the Team Wins, We All Win

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

Okay, so last week I was bragging about dodging the intestinal virus that’s been going around. Well, suffice to say I wasn’t as bulletproof as I’d thought. Normally if I even get these things it’s one bad night followed by a day of getting back to normal. But this was a particularly brutal strain and I was out of commission for four days. It’s good to be back.

It’s at times like this when you realize the importance of teamwork. My wife got this a couple of days before me, so I was able to spend some time taking care of her. And, since she began recovering a day or two ahead of me, I was able to lay on the couch whining in front of her. That’s how it works. We’re a team.

I read something a couple of days ago that I found rather funny. It said that for women, the pain of childbirth is so powerful and overwhelming, they almost begin to know how a man feels when he has a cold. I’m not normally much of a wimp, but in this case, I’d say that was pretty accurate. Stomach pain has always been my kryptonite.

But, with a little teamwork, not to mention a daughter who seeming is impervious to this stuff, we made it through. It’s an important premise we learned years ago – teamwork isn’t about the most valuable player holding up a trophy at the end of the game. It’s about lifting up the player who needs a little extra help so the whole team can do better.

If a baseball team has one home-run hitter and eight other players who strike out every time at bat, the best the team can hope for is three solo home-runs in a game. Improving that batter’s performance won’t help the team much at all.

But if that player can help a couple of others just get on base, the team’s average improves dramatically. Personal statistics look impressive on paper, but at the end of the game the team’s score is all that counts. We win (or lose) together.

Okay, enough with the sports analogies? You’d think I was an impressive athlete, and you’d be wrong. I was the kid who made sure nobody else on the team got splinters in their butt, because I was too busy picking them out of my own. But the one time I got a base hit, I advanced a runner into scoring position and we won the game. So, even the scrawny little right-fielder can get the job done sometimes.

And the only reason I got that base hit was because my coach and one of our strongest batters took some time with me for a little extra batting practice. They built my confidence to the point that I wasn’t afraid to take a swing. I got off the bench, grabbed a bat, and said, “I’m getting hit this time!” One player laughed and said, “If you get a hit, I’ll spit nickels!” What can I say? I needed the money.

The point is, when we help those around us, no matter what their position (or station in life), we raise the team average. And when the team wins, everybody gets free ice cream, whether they got on base or not. Those are the rules.

But here’s an important point to remember. Your “team” isn’t limited to the people in your family, your closest friends, or the ones you work with. It’s the janitor, working to clean up everybody else’s mess. It’s the guy in traffic who really can’t afford to be late one more time. It’s the child selling cookie dough for school. It’s the elderly person, forgotten and left to wither in a nursing home.

You see, it’s easy to get behind those in our immediate circle. But that’s only one small part of the team. A city in which people are either wealthy or homeless isn’t going to attract many investors and property values will plummet. But as a greater percentage of its citizens become independent and able to offer their own contributions, the city begins to flourish.

By helping those around us, we help ourselves. And more often than we’d believe, the help people need is little more than a friendly smile and somebody to make them feel important. People need to feel needed. Because when they do, they have a sense of purpose. And it’s that sense of purpose that drives us to do great things.

Sometimes, it’s not as much about hitting the home run as advancing another runner into scoring position. We do that by giving a little more of ourselves and helping others become the best they can be. We’re all in this together. And just think how much better that ice cream will taste after a win.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Hiding Behind Your Dreams?

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

In a previous life, I used to sell cars. And I was pretty good at it. Please don’t hold that against me. I wasn’t one of those who swindle everybody who walks through the door. I felt my job was to solve a problem – they needed transportation, and I had the means to help. Some people came in with a chip on their shoulder, but for the most part, we all got along really well.

They taught us a lot in the first few days of training, but the one thing that’s stuck with me through all these years is the simple fact that most people hold their cards close. When somebody says no, we ask why. But the first reason they give isn’t the real reason they won’t buy. You have to keep asking why until they get to that final answer – and that’s what’s really holding them back.

It’s the same through much of life. It takes a certain amount of trust for us to lay our cards on the table face-up. Until then, we put up a façade of indifference. It makes the fall a lot easier when things don’t go according to plan. Or, so we think.

I love talking with people about their dreams. If you’ve been reading these posts any time at all, you’ve already figured that out. There’s something about watching the sparkle in a person’s eyes as they describe a vacation they’d like to take, a place they’d like to live, their plans for retirement, or watching their children start a family of their own. It’s inspiring.

But we don’t always share those dreams freely because to do so means we have to bare our soul. It may mean letting somebody know we’re not entirely happy with our current situation, or that we have visions of a life most other people may not understand. It’s possible they wouldn’t approve of it even if they did understand. And you know what? Who cares? It’s your dream, not theirs!

It bothers me when somebody describes their dream and, before you can respond with a single word of affirmation, they begin listing all the reasons it’ll probably never happen. “I know, that takes a lot more money than I’ll ever make. Besides, it’s not like you can just up and move anywhere you want, right? And my family would never go along with it. But it sure would be nice.”

The problem is we’ve conditioned ourselves to the probability that very few people will share our excitement and be supportive of our dreams. The rest, who think they have our best interests at heart, will try to bring us back to reality and save us from the heartbreak of certain failure. So, before they can break out that laundry list of reasons we shouldn’t even try, we do it for them.

It’s a defense mechanism meant to keep somebody else from making us feel small. But, when the conversation is over and you go your separate ways, their dreams are still intact. Yours, on the other hand, have been diminished by the one person who valued them the most. Nobody has as much to gain by achieving your dreams as you do. So, why tear them down for somebody else’s benefit?

If you’re spending time with people who make you feel uncomfortable sharing your dreams, you may be spending too much time with the wrong people. Practical friends are the kind of people you bring along as a designated driver. They’re good for keeping you out of jail. But they’re usually not the life of the party. You bring along other friends for that.

We all need somebody we can trust enough to share your dreams without shooting them full of holes. Maybe they know somebody who accomplished the same thing and they can offer some meaningful advice. Maybe they’ve got some ideas of their own on how you can attain those goals. At the very least, they can be there to cheer you on when the going gets rough.

If you want to learn how to play tennis, you hang around the tennis court. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, hang around with somebody who’s already doing it. And if you want to build a stronger marriage, spend more time with happy couples. Find people who share your dreams, and you’ll be that much closer to your own.

As a friend often says, don’t ask thousandaires for advice on becoming a millionaire. Whatever your dream, find somebody who’s already there, or who is accomplishing dreams of their own. They’ll understand your passion a lot more than those who are willing to sit around take whatever life throws their way. And they may just have the one piece of advice you need to succeed.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The 21-Day Turnaround

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

Well, it never fails. I bragged Friday morning about losing a few pounds and something happened over the weekend to spike my appetite. I know what part of the problem was, but the end result was I shoveled more food in my mouth than I needed and I’m back up a couple of pounds. Still a net loss since a week ago, but not as much as I’d hoped.

That’s the reality of weight loss, especially as we get older. I’ve learned that my body likes consistency. Whatever I weigh now, it’ll try to maintain that weight despite any amount of dieting and exercise. The body, and especially the mind, are intricate systems that are designed for self-preservation. And they resist any change that threatens that consistency.

On the other hand, I’ve learned that when I begin to consistently lose (or gain) weight, my body tries to maintain that momentum. I guess the trick is to get moving in the right direction and maintain that movement long enough that the body can adapt and accept the new direction. A week just isn’t enough. Thankfully, a week of weight gain isn’t enough either. If it was, I’d be in serious trouble.

It’s that way with a lot of things in life. We decide we need a change and start going through the motions to make it happen. If we’re really sold on the idea, that first week is easy. We do the things we need to do, or stop doing the things we shouldn’t do and, by all outward appearances, we’re on the way to success. Then comes the weekend. Or the second week, or the third.

It takes 21 days to form a new habit. For the first three weeks, whatever changes we’re trying to make are completely out of our comfort zone, whether it feels that way or not. We’re taking something we’ve done for probably a long time and trying to force ourselves to do something different. And our mind and body will resist that change until it becomes a habit.

Habits are things we do without thinking about them. They’re second nature. We do them just because that’s what we do. And the longer we maintain a habit, the more automatic it becomes. Which is why it’s just as hard to break an old habit as it is to start a new one. In fact, new habits usually mean we have to give up old habits. I guess it’s just nature’s way of maintaining balance.

I smoked for 23 years. Quitting wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be, once I really decided to do it. But for the first three weeks, I had to continually remind myself not to smoke. At the end of meals, I had to think about it. Waking up in the morning, I had to think about it. At work when we went on break, I had to think about it. Until one day, not smoking became a habit.

The same is true when we’re just trying to form a good habit. Maybe you want to start getting up earlier each day. Or maybe you want to start spending an hour each day reading something inspirational. It could be something you want to do to earn extra income or spending more time with family. Whatever it is, it’ll take about three weeks before that new action becomes a habit.

And once that happens, you’ll find that you no longer have to figure out what to rearrange in your schedule to accommodate your new habit. You’ll move things around without thinking about them. And when something else comes along and tries to take up that time, you’ll say no. “That’s my time for doing (whatever).” It just becomes part of your day.

That’s not to say things won’t happen to throw you off track. They will. And there will be days you just can’t make it happen. You handle the situation and move on. But once that’s over, you get back to normal. So, the trick is getting to a point where “normal” includes the things you need to do. If not, you’ll have to start those habits all over.

If there’s something you want to change, then do it. Let today be the first day. Mark it on the calendar. Then mark another date three weeks out – that’s the day your new life becomes a habit. All you have to do until then is just keep on doing whatever it is you’ve decided to do (or not do). And if you slip up a little along the way (you will), just get back on track. Success is still there, waiting for you to arrive.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Your Dream … What are You Waiting For?

Good morning, and another happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off just right.

A few nights ago, my wife and I watched several episodes of a cable TV show about people buying RVs. It’s similar to those real estate shows – they go to one lot, check out three RVs that match their desired criteria, and then they choose the one they liked best. The show concludes by showing them taking to the open road in their new tenement on wheels.

Most of these people weren’t simply looking for something to take on a weekend camping excursion, but for a permanent home without the permanent address. They were ditching the traditional home-bound life for a full-time adventure on the road. And here’s the real surprise – most of them were a lot younger than me.

See, you’d expect that from a retiree. After all, the kids have all moved out, so downsizing isn’t a real issue. They don’t have to work, so every morning they can wake up and decide what they want to do. There’s no grass to cut, no walls to paint, a lot less space to keep clean, and if it snows you can simply pull the plug and go someplace warm. Yeah, they didn’t need to sell me on that.

So, why would a young couple – some with kids – choose that lifestyle over the option of planting their roots and building a traditional, stable life? In every case, their answer was the same. They’d lost somebody close to them, a friend or family member, or had seen somebody incapacitated for life, and decided if you want to do something awesome, there’s no time like the present.

They decided to get out and enjoy life while they’re young enough to enjoy it and worry about finding a more permanent home later. It’s the exact opposite of what we’re conditioned to believe. We were taught from an early age that you do the work now and play later. And those of you who have kids probably teach them the exact same thing. I did.

And yes, there’s that nagging part of the equation that asks, “How will you make ends meet? Do you really want to live like a gypsy your entire life, traveling from town to town and taking odd jobs at every stop?” It’s contrary to everything we’ve been taught so, for those of us who live in a brick home and go to work at the same place every day, it’s almost inconceivable.

And some of them do exactly that, picking up odd jobs as they go, maybe volunteering in campgrounds in exchange for a place to park, some electricity, and a little money for food. But some have established careers that allow for working from home. Some are writers, or software developers or testers, or any of a growing number of jobs that afford the opportunity for telecommuting.

There’s an important point to be made here, and it applies to all of us, regardless of where and how we choose to live.  These people had a dream and, instead of waiting until they’re too old to fully enjoy it, they decided to do it now. They decided that life truly is short, and there’s no time like the present. And they were creative enough to make it work.

In reality, most of us can’t just chuck it all and chase our dreams today. We have a job, a home, kids, family, whatever. And we can’t just turn our back on those obligations. But nothing says we can’t, or shouldn’t, start working on those dreams now. Today. Sure, life will be a lot easier after retirement. If you believe that, go visit a nursing home. You might come away with a different opinion.

“Someday” is a word we use far too often. It’s always out there, waiting to be claimed. But until we assign a real date to it, someday is just a figment of our imagination. And here’s the sobering fact. We don’t have all the time in the world to accomplish our goals. People get sick every day. People die. Or on the way to that stable job they wanted, somebody takes their lane in traffic. Life happens.

If there’s something you want in life, don’t wait. Start working on that dream now, while you’re still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy it. Time stands still for no person, and we all have a set amount of time on this earth. Make the most of your time. Make it count! That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Winning?

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

It’s hump day, and that means the week is just about half over. It’s also the midway point for all those things we’d hoped to accomplish this week. How are you doing on your assignments? More importantly (don’t tell the boss), how are you doing on your personal goals? You know, those things you’re doing just for you?

As we near the mid-point of February, those New Year’s resolutions are beginning to nag. And, like most “adoring” husbands, we find a way of shutting down that nagging voice to the point we no longer even hear it. Yes, by this point we should have lost ten pounds, or been to the gym 30 times, or whatever it is we promised ourselves what we’d do. We don’t need to be reminded every day!

Part of the problem is we try to set goals for the entire year. And if the weather is bad, or there are leftover goodies from the holidays, or whatever, we look at our progress so far (or lack of it) and say, “I’ve still got plenty of time. It’s only February!” All the more reason to do those Monday morning resolutions we’ve talked about.

But the even bigger problem is we set lofty goals that will require an immediate and complete change in habits, personality, and lifestyle. And when we don’t find ourselves progressing as we think we should, it’s easy to get discouraged. And then that nagging voice kicks in … “You knew you’d never be able to do that.” And the easiest way to shut that voice down is to simply give up.

Goals should be challenging. If your goal is to get up every morning and tie your shoes, that’s not much of a stretch, and not much to celebrate. But if your goal is to go to the gym for three hours every day of the week, and you haven’t been near a gym in the past year, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.

Most of life is about setting and achieving goals. Sometimes we don’t even think about it. And sometimes, those goals are set for us with deadlines we think we can never meet. It may be an assignment at work, something for one of the kids, or an emergency repair that’ll take everything in the bank and then some.

When those goals require us to operate at peak efficiency and dig down deep into our creativity, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But when they require everything we’ve got, week after week, there comes a point where you’re just physically drained and something has to go. Sadly enough, when we look over the list of possible cuts, our personal goals are usually at the top of the list.

And it’s possible that we set our sights too high there as well. If you’re working a job that requires 8-9 hours a day, raising a family, maintaining a home, and working a part-time job or building a business on the side, it’s a safe bet your goal of getting to the gym every day is doomed to fail.

As we set goals, we need to be realistic. Sure, stretch yourself a little. That’s what makes the goal worthwhile. But make it something where you have at least a reasonable chance of success. Several smaller goals will get you to the finish line faster and easier than one huge leap. And as you complete those smaller goals, you not only see progress – you see yourself winning, week after week.

It’s all part of the habit of success. If you’ve been with me a while, we’ve talked about that before. It’s like a small child staring at the cookies on top of the refrigerator, completely out of reach. So, they stand on a small stool. That gets them closer, so they try something else. And with each piece of the rickety ladder they construct, they get closer and more excited until finally they reach their goal.

If your personal goals are a bit too much, it’s okay to trim them down a little. Or just stretch out your self-imposed deadline and set some smaller intermediate goals along the way. With each success, you’ll get closer and more energized. And, if there are corrections to be made along the way, you can spot them earlier and get back on track.

Goals should be challenging, but realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make those Monday morning resolutions and celebrate your success at the end of every week. You’ll move closer to your ultimate goal, building confidence every step of the way. And it’s that confidence that will see you through to the end.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Believe in Others – And Be Sure They Know!

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

We’ve been talking a lot over the past several days about goals and the things we can do to achieve them. And yesterday we talked about the reality that each of us has within us the ability to make that happen. And as I wrote those words, I wondered how many of us have actually heard them through most of our life. Affirmation doesn’t seem to be overly abundant in this world.

I’m reading a book by the late Rich Devos, Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People. It’s a short book, and an easy read if you’re in the mood for something uplifting. The chapter I read yesterday afternoon was about a simple but very powerful phrase – “You can do it!”

How often have we heard that throughout our lives? And, by contrast, how often have we heard the exact opposite? “You’d better stick to your day job.” “The odds of you accomplishing that are one in a million!” “Are you serious? That’ll never work!” And, here’s the real question … how many times have you uttered those words yourself? If you’re completely honest, it can be disheartening.

I grew up in a family where we were encouraged to be the best we could be. When I was a boy, all I wanted was to be a doctor. Mom and Dad were proud of that aspiration and did everything they could to let me know I could accomplish that goal. When the teenage years hit and I decided to be a rock star, I realized pretty quickly that I’d be chasing that dream on my own.

We all want the best for our kids, and my parents were no different. But all too often, we try to shape their dreams to match the vision we had for them. Instead of encouraging them to be great at whatever they decide to do, we tend to steer them toward being great at the things we want them to do.

Think of the little boy standing at home plate with a bat resting on his shoulder, a look of complete boredom in his face, and his parents standing behind him yelling, “You can do it, Timmy! Hit it out of the park!” They’re giving him plenty of positive affirmation. But is it what he really wants to do? Or would he rather be sitting in a quiet room, scribbling gothic images with the hope of becoming a great tattoo artist?

Affirmation is important. In fact, it’s critical. No matter what we attempt, we should be able to do it with the full moral support of our family and friends. And no matter what they attempt, they should know we have complete confidence in their ability to succeed. That’s what affirmation is all about. It’s the knowledge that, not only do you know you can succeed, but everyone else knows it as well.

We can’t control the feedback we receive from others. It’s their honest opinion, and they’ll usually share it with your best interests at heart. But sincerity doesn’t always equal accuracy. Just because somebody offers advice, that doesn’t mean we should take it to heart.

But we do have control over the feedback we give others. And, in encouraging somebody else to pursue their own dreams, assuring them they have what it takes to succeed, we’re reminding ourselves that we also have what it takes to achieve our own goals. You can’t compliment somebody else without feeling better yourself. And you can’t affirm somebody else without affirming yourself.

When we lift up those around us, we lift ourselves as well. Words of affirmation need to begin at a young age and continue throughout our lives. We have the power to make that happen. When somebody shares a dream, instead of poking holes in it, focus on how they can make it happen. That is, after all, why they shared their goal to begin with. They wanted affirmation.

Dreams are easily born, and just as easily crushed. And all too often, it’s not the cold, cruel world that crushes our dreams. It’s those closest to us – the people we love and trust the most. Every one of us has the ability to accomplish anything we desire. But we can only do that if we believe in ourselves enough to make it happen. Feed that belief. In yourself, and in everyone around you. Then wait for the magic to happen.

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