Vail Daily column: Having the biggest impact |

Vail Daily column: Having the biggest impact

Michael Norton
Climbing to Success
Vail, CO Colorado

Here’s an interesting question: Should we live, act and work in a manner that has the maximum impact on the greatest number of people, or should we be striving to impact a smaller more local population, perhaps even a population of one?

One school of thought comes from the quote by Dag Hammarskjold: “It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.”

I also love the motivational poster with the small child standing on a sand dune staring at the ocean that has the quote by Forest E. Witcraft: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

Our future is in the hands of our children, and our children are in the hands of many people who can impact and influence their decisions and ultimately their actions and their futures. Parents, family members, teachers, and friends all share in the shaping and molding of our future generations. But the greatest impact and threat can be found in the absence of desire to take on that responsibility and simply let technology and society assume that role.

Text messaging, social media, the Internet and constant communication coupled with an intense need for immediate gratification are already demonstrating their ability to impact and influence how our children, teenagers, and even some adults are behaving. All we have to do is watch the driver next to us read their e-mail or attempt to type out a text message while going 70 mph.

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We have an incredible challenge ahead of us, but even a greater opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. If we can just avoid the temptations and obligations of allowing ourselves to be spread to thin, diluting the time and attention we owe to those we love, we can truly be a difference maker in the life of one or the lives of the many.

Sounds great, right? So how do we do it? How do we turn the concept into reality?

It starts by simply making time for those most important in our lives. If our children, spouse, or friend approaches us and wants to talk or ask a question and we respond by asking them to wait until the next commercial, we are telling them that the television program is more important to us than they are. We will only have a few of those precious moments in life to provide that one person with our absolute undivided attention, letting them know we care and giving ourselves that opportunity to serve and ultimately have the greatest positive impact on someone’s life.

For me, sometimes it turns out to be one of you, someone who has read my column and the words I shared that particular week made a huge difference for them personally. I do not take that feedback lightly and appreciate it so very much when you share your stories. So thanks for all of the e-mails, please keep them coming and let me know where you think you can make a positive impact this week by sending me an e-mail to and together let’s make it 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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