Vail Daily column: Checking the box |

Vail Daily column: Checking the box

In a couple of months we will be given an opportunity to vote, checking the boxes as we submit our ballots for this year’s election.

Before every flight a pilot must complete a pre-flight checklist, checking off each box to make sure the aircraft is safe and ready for take-off.

Surgeons and medical teams go through a very thorough questioning process to make sure they perform a procedure correctly: Treating the right patient, doing the appropriate surgery, operating on the accurate location, and ensuring that the correct medication and dosage is administered. They check the box.

There are many other examples of when it is absolutely appropriate to check the box, but when it comes to certain areas of our life should we simply check the box, or would it be better to try and surpass our expectations, go a little further, do more than we initially thought we could, and maybe even blow up the box?

When we start our day, are we just happy that we woke up and our mind is set on just going through another same old same old, one more day, here we go again kind of day? We just check the box that says we are here. Or do we wake up and say, today is going to be better than yesterday, I can’t wait to get started? We arise with excitement and anticipation for what the day will bring. Maybe we took some time last night to create a list of all the things we could possibly do bigger and better today.

How about our jobs? Do we just show up exactly on time, checking the box for punching in right on time and leave exactly on time as we punch out? Typically when this occurs over a period of time, people get comfortable and start showing up just a few minutes late and then even leave a few minutes early. Instead of just checking the box and showing up, what if we arrived a little earlier or stayed a little later, accomplished one or two unexpected activity for our company, department, team, or customers? I can share with you that the feeling of achievement will energize you and elevate your value to any organization.

What about our personal relationships? Do we simply check the box and say “I love you” or do we take it a step further and say with our hearts, our eyes, our body language and gestures, “I am in so in love with you.” Do we check the box and accept the status quo or do we go out of our way to do something that will be appreciated and totally unexpected?

As Woody Allen so simply stated, 80 percent of success is showing up. How are you going to make that extra 20 percent meaningful? Showing up is easy. But is that what we want, to just show up and check the box of life? Or do we want to not worry about the box anymore, exceed our own expectations and live life beyond what others might settle for? I would love to hear all about it at and let’s make this week even better than last 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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