Vail Daily column: Dragon slayers never give up |

Vail Daily column: Dragon slayers never give up

Did you ever notice that in almost every movie, if not every movie, that includes a dragon slayer, the hero is going solo?

It’s true, man or woman, adult or child, wizard or warlock, at some point the defender of our safety ends up fighting the fire-breathing beast alone.

Pushed backwards to the edge of a precipice or cliff our valiant dragon slayer is down to just their sword and shield and, in some cases, just his or her sword. I have even seen in some movies where they may have no weaponry at all, they are in the final throws of battle with just their bare hands, just like Harry Potter who lost his wand.

As viewers of a movie or readers of the book we are caught up in this intense moment with the character, our hands get sweaty and our hearts race as if we are the ones in battle and quite possibly about to die. With all of our hearts and might, we “will” the hero to succeed. We so very much want them to win. I mean, really, who ever really roots for the dragon?

Let’s fast forward to the present day and our careers, our work place, our relationships, and our world. The dragons still exist, but I believe they are metaphorical dragons who we allow to frighten us, intimidate us, and threaten our success. We might feel like the dragons are our competitors, our difficult customers, the economy, or even people in our lives who for whatever reason seem to be against us.

The truth is that the biggest dragons we face are self-imposed and come in the shape of bad attitudes, lack of work ethic, compromised personal character, and wrong behaviors. So many people I coach and speak with completely understand their competitive landscape, they know who their enemies are and how they behave, they recognize the impact that the economy has and real world environment that they work and play in. But what they fight most often, the dragons that frustrate them beyond any other are the self-imposed belief systems or habits that they themselves have created.

Journey back with me to the movie scene, our hero or heroine is backed up to a cliff, the dragon is furiously breathing fire and attacking with claws and spiked tail, and the dragon slayer has two choices and two choices only … they can accept defeat and be killed by the dragon, or they can fight back, finding the dragons weak spot, and thrusting their sword into that spot to claim victory.

Even the dragon slayer who has lost sword and shield and whose demise seems imminent, somehow in the climactic moment a new sword appears and a sun shines behind the dragon casting the dragon in a silhouette, and our hero/heroine emerges victorious. This is you, you are a dragon slayer, no matter what battle you are facing, no matter how close to the edge you are, you can fight back, that relationship is yours if you really want it, that job is yours, that promotion is yours, that goal is yours, and even that addiction you are struggling with is yours to defeat.

Here we are in October, we have a few months to go, and we may still have some dragons we need to defeat. I would love to hear all about how you plan on fighting back or even how you have defeated those dragons of yesterday to achieve your success at Become a dragon slayer this week and I guarantee it will be a better than good week for you.

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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