Michael Norton
Climbing to Success

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March 5, 2014
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Vail Daily column: It happens to the best of us

Recently I was watching a professional golf event on television and was reminded that even though these people are the very best in the world, they too can have a bad day or round, a terrible hole, or just a horrific shot or two. It does and can happen to the best of us.

So many people I talk with have expectations of perfection. The perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect performance and the perfect relationship. And yes, some of the folks even talk about that perfect golf shot. What we all need to remember is that even the professionals in any sport, career or hobby have off days, tough times and bad shots.


Here’s the difference between us and them — the professionals know that there will be a miscue from time to time. And although they strive for perfection, it’s really about achieving excellence. The difference between being a professional who plays at the highest level possible and being an average Joe like the rest of the population is that in most cases, the pros expect and understand that sometimes things will go wrong.

It can happen to them, it can happen to you, it just happens to the best of us and the rest of us.

The thing is we can’t let those temporary setbacks and minor mistakes take us completely out of our game. Sure we will make a mistake; everyone does. Yes, we will have a bad or sad day. We all do.

Sometimes we will watch an event on television or a live event, and we will witness a professional athlete, singer or dancer make an error, miss a note or lyric, and maybe miss a step or two. It happens. And although sometimes we see a minor league response or immature behavior from a major league player, in most cases they handle it with grace and dignity. They may be burning inside from the mistake, but that is only because they know they can do better and want more out of themselves.

Things happen, life happens, errors happen and lapses in judgment happen. And they happen to the best of us from time to time.


The question is, do we handle it like a rookie or like a seasoned professional? Do we overreact and make things worse? Or do we respond and make things better?

I love watching a professional athlete after they have made an error, fumbled a football or missed an easy lay-up. If you watch the true professionals, or the camera man captures the moment on television, you will see them all replaying the situation on the field or on the sideline. You can watch as a golfer who hit his ball into the water stand in the same spot, swinging again, visualizing a different outcome and knowing what he or she did wrong.

They don’t throw the club, blame others or point fingers. They just know that errors and mistakes happen, even the very best of us.


We don’t want to go out looking to make a mistake; that is not the message. The message is that when challenges come our way, when things do not go according to our plan or meet our expectations, we simply need to recognize that it happens from time to time, and we need to adapt and course correct, learn from it and move on toward the pursuit and achievement of our endeavors.

Does it happen to you? How do you handle it? I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com and when we learn how to adapt to the bad things that happen in our lives, it will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, motivational speaker and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly column for the Vail Daily.

The message is that when challenges come our way, when things do not go according to our plan or meet our expectations, we simply need to recognize that it happens from time to time.

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The VailDaily Updated Mar 12, 2014 07:40PM Published Mar 5, 2014 02:48PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.