Vail Valley: Listen closely, and you’ll learn valuable lessons |

Vail Valley: Listen closely, and you’ll learn valuable lessons

Last week I shared a story about opportunity I had to listen and learn while some really smart people, men I greatly admire and respect, talked about personal success and what it is people really want in life.

As a reminder, the group I had the honor of listening to included Zig Ziglar, his son Tom Ziglar, Dr. Denis Waitley, Tony Jeary, and the publisher of Selling Power Magazine, Gerhard Gschwandtner.

When it came to talking about personal success, no one really tried to define it, as success will be different for everyone and could also be based on specific goals and dreams at varying stages of life. What this group engaged in was a conversation about what contributes to success. Here are some of the notes and concepts I captured:

• Be proactive and don’t just accept or wait for life to deal your hand. When we are being proactive we try to get ahead by planning and preparing. We avoid procrastination and if we have an opportunity, we take it with educated but limited hesitation.

• Setting goals is a huge key to success. You can’t hit a target you can’t see or don’t have. Being lucky is wonderful, and there are success stories that have an element of luck, but the majority of people who truly achieve success have taken the time to define their goals.

• Curiosity can influence success. People who are always asking questions use them as hooks to pull themselves along on their journey to success. Think of all the great inventors, scientists, technologists, teachers, doctors and others who, by virtue of curiosity and questioning, achieved tremendous success.

• Tap into your creative side. When we allow ourselves time to read, explore, create, write, and just think we open our minds up to new ideas, adventures, and concepts. Taking the time to get creative when dealing with problems, challenges, and opportunities opens up even more windows and doors that will lead to success

• Be grateful and appreciate everyone in your life. When we can honestly say we take the time to recognize everyone we come in contact with, and that we are grateful for all the big and little things they do, we are paving our own road to success and doing so with the bricks of gratitude and appreciation

• Zig Ziglar was just about as quiet as I was during lunch, but when he did speak, it was powerful. What Zig added was that our character and reputation are crucial to our personal success. We have to be the right kind of person, doing the right kinds of things, in order to get anywhere in life.

Zig said we have to work hard to preserve our reputations, and when we do, and live with integrity, we will never have to look over our shoulder sbecause we will have always done the right thing at the right time

So, what do most people want in life? They want peace of mind, they want to be socially accepted, they want financial security and to be reasonably prosperous, they want loving family relationships and good friends, and they want to be healthy and happy. There are those who want to be super wealthy and seek fame or celebrity status, but for most, the list above pretty much sums it up when defining success.

I would love to hear all about your proactive, goal-setting, curious, creative, gratitude-filled, and character-based journeys of success at When you apply some or all of these strategies I am confident that it 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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