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

Every Score Can Be a Winning Score

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

A good start for me is going through my morning routine, and then sitting down to hammer out a few words for you. It’s become such a part of my day that, on weekends, I’m almost lost without it. But I figure we all need a break, and it gives my mind a couple of days to just reflect and see what the new week brings my way.

One of my greatest concerns each morning is making sure I can write something that’s worthy of the time and effort, and something that you’ll find worthy of your own time in reading it. There are days when I’m just not sure about that, but the clock says it’s time to wrap it up and leave for work, so I take what I’ve got, polish up a paragraph here and there, and just run with it.

And it’s funny. On the days when I think I’ve hit a grand-slam, response isn’t always what I’d expected. And on days when I think, “Well, there’s always tomorrow,” you folks seem to find some hidden gems that I wasn’t sure I planted. Sometimes, you just never know.

It seems to go that way through life. The gift that you picked out at the end of an exasperating several hours of shopping, simply because the store was about to close and time had run out, is often the gift that receives the best reaction. “Really? You wanted a new toaster? I had no idea!” Okay, I threw that one in for fun. Guys, don’t follow my gift advice. It’ll get you in trouble.

But the point is, you never know what another person is looking for or may need until you put it in front of them. Each of us are very different, and what makes one person shrug their shoulders will often make another person’s day. And, on any given day, most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

A couple of years ago, my grandson was telling me about some new sneakers he wanted. I had learned by then that, if they were worthy of his attention, the price tag was at least half of what I pay for my car each month. These things should be come with a full matching wardrobe. But he’d look at the “sale” price and say, “That’s a good price! These shoes are worth almost $400!”

Now, at the risk of offending some footwear aficionados, there is not a pair of sneakers on the face of the earth that’s “worth” anywhere near that amount of money. If you were to take the cheapest shoes and the most expensive, the difference in manufacturing cost is probably less than $20. I tried explaining that to him, but beauty is in the eye of the teenager who thinks it’ll improve their image.

I remember him showing me online reviews. “See, these are really good! Everybody that has a pair loves them!” Sure, you probably won’t find too many people who are willing to admit they spent that much money on a pair of shoes that weren’t worth the cost. And, expectations play a huge role in our perception. If you think you got a bargain, you did. At least in your own mind.

But I told him that, when you read online reviews, skip the best and the worst, and focus on what’s in the middle. Because that’s where the rest of us spend our days – somewhere in the middle. And when something adequate but unremarkable comes along, we tend to quietly accept it and move on. But sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

You don’t find too many people raving about a specific brand of canned green beans, but nearly every grocery store in the nation stocks the same brands. Why? There’s nothing all that special about them. But people keep coming back to buy more, without fanfare and without the need for a massive advertising blitz. It doesn’t have to be spectacular. It just has to satisfy the need.

We all want to hit a home run in most things we do, especially in those things that come from within. But, as I mentioned several days ago, the Baseball Hall of Fame opens its doors to players who can get on base one time out of three. You don’t have to hit a home run every time. You just have to give it your best and be ready to run the bases when you do connect.

In a world that rewards excellence, it’s sometimes hard to know our own value, especially when we think we fall somewhere in the middle. As others rise to the top, we may wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” But the truth is, every one of us has value far beyond what we know. Tap into that value, and it’ll take you to the top of your own mountain.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When One Wins, We All Win

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

Ever have one of those nights when you were so excited you just couldn’t get to sleep? That’s been the story of my life for the past couple of weeks. It’s been a common theme, and you would think after a while the thought train would just slow down and whatever was keeping me awake would begin to fade.

I guess if it was the same exact thing every night, that would be the case. But it’s a little different every night, and I finally figured out why. Ladies, relax – I’m not going “there.” Yes, this is about an active imagination, but one of a completely different kind. It’s about seeing not only the dreams, but the possibilities. It’s about visualizing the means of accomplishing those dreams.

And here’s the secret – it all comes from focusing on somebody else. It comes from listening to a friend share a thought, concern, problem, or dream, and then taking an active interest in helping them come up with solutions. Because, in doing that, you inadvertently stumble upon some of the answers to your own challenges.

We’ve talked before about this concept of success through helping others succeed. When you take a vested interest in somebody else’s dreams, their dreams become your own. Not in the sense that you want the same things for yourself, but the two of you share a common goal of seeing them succeed in their own quest. And you know what they say – two heads are better than one.

Employers like to encourage us to think outside the box. As a business analyst, I often ask people why they do things a certain way. Is that the only way to do it? Is there a legal or regulatory compliance issue in doing it differently? Or is that just the way it’s always been done? Quite often, the answer is hiding behind door #3.

We laugh at images of people walking into the same door over and over, each time hoping the door will magically open. It’s even funnier when there are two doors and the one they’re banging into is clearly marked “Out.” All they’d have to do is take two steps to the side and the other door would open on the first try.

It’s easy to get tunnel vision, especially when we’re so focused on a goal (like getting inside that door) that we can’t see the possibilities right next to us. Because we’re trained to do things a certain way. In fact, we hammer it into our kids’ heads – “There’s only one way to tie your shoes! Get creative, and you’ll just make a mess. Do it the way I showed you!”

So, it’s only natural that when a person is trying to work toward a goal, they tend to get stuck on a certain path. And the road to success is rarely a straight highway with no intersections. More often than not, we have to get off that highway and take some of the less traveled roads to get where we want to be. But unless we’ve been down those roads before, we may need a little help.

And here’s where it gets to be fun. When you’re trying to solve your own problems, your willingness to try something new is pretty slim. You want to stick to the tried and true method. You know, the one that got you exactly where you are. But when you’re helping somebody else solve their problems, you can step back and view the landscape from a much higher level. You can see beyond the trees.

In helping somebody work toward their own goals, your brain is a little more willing to think outside the box and come up with ideas they’d have never thought of on their own. That gets them excited and, next thing you know, they’re thinking outside the box. And the two of you are coming up with solutions to problems you don’t even have. Today.

But you never know what you’ll run into down the road. And, believe me, the day will come when one of those ideas the two of you hammered out in a moment of desperation will be exactly what you need to overcome your own challenges. With every idea you come up with for somebody else, you come up with a few more for yourself. And that’s pretty exciting.

If you thought I was going to tell you how to fall asleep faster, I’m sorry. But hopefully, you’ll sleep a little better knowing you helped a friend, and you’ll wake up more energized knowing exactly what you need to do next. And it all comes from taking an active interest in somebody else and helping them achieve their own dreams.

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

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

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

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