Vail Daily column: When lightning strikes |

Vail Daily column: When lightning strikes

Michael Norton
Climbing to Success

If you can hear it or see it, then flee it or at least take cover. That’s what we are told about lightning, right?

But let’s pretend we saw it and heard it in the distance as we were on a hike in somewhat of a remote wilderness and mountainous area. We saw the collectiveness of darkness in the clouds, saw the brilliant flashes of lightning, felt the wind trailing away from us, and everything seemed like it was OK to continue forward as we were following the storm, not really in its path.

And then, just as we are feeling safe enough to forge ahead in our hike as we see the storm in the distance moving further and further away from us, we failed to recognize the storm that was following directly behind us. By the time the lightning strike hits close enough, the concussive power of the strike is enough to knock us to the ground in an instant.

This is exactly what happened to a friend of mine, Alan, an accomplished hiker and someone who keeps himself in great shape. He was hiking alone, camping overnight, and along his way to complete his journey when he was knocked to the ground by a lightning strike that hit too close to home. Alan broke his shoulder during the fall, but he managed his way out to an area where his phone and equipment would allow him to communicate with his family and search crew.

Alan’s story is amazing, but what about amazed me most was meeting him in the gym and watching him working out and finding out that he still climbs 14ers here in Colorado and spends time distance running and keeping in shape. And all of this within months of having shoulder surgery.

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The Point

Here’s my point … when lightning strikes you or near you, what happens? And if you get knocked down, do you get right back on your journey or do you get discouraged and give up? Maybe your lightning comes in the form of a lost job, broken relationship, missed opportunity or any other such lightning like event. Maybe your lightning is a positive thing like winning the lottery or achieving an unexpected level of success. Either way, does it knock you to the ground or elevate you to a new position in life that somehow changes you?

Alan’s example is awesome because he demonstrated that regardless of what happens to us in life, it is our choice to either resume who we are and what we do in life, or we choose to quit and make excuses. He continued his pursuit of hiking and fitness and the enjoyment of the outdoors. What would you choose?

Have you had a life changing moment recently? How did you respond? I would love to hear all about it at, and when we choose to get back up after being knocked down, it really will be a better than good week.

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

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