Vail Daily column: Changing who we are |

Vail Daily column: Changing who we are

The recent Powerball drawing of $1.6 billion had a lot of people talking about what they would do with the money. Reporters were visiting different cities and interviewing hopeful winners and asking the question, “How would you spend the money?” Social media was buzzing with tweets and posts about how to spend the money or making sure their causes were represented in the event that someone won and would be willing to share some of those winnings.

I happened to be traveling that week and spent time on airplanes, taxis, shuttle buses and in airports. I overheard many of the same conversations taking place and some of the answers were self-serving, with some people listing all of the luxury items that they would buy for themselves. Others talked about eliminating debt, helping friends and family and supporting their favorite cause.

What would change?

More than a few spoke of giving at least half of the winnings away to their favorite charities or making a significant donation through their church or house of worship. We had many of those same questions at our own house and shared our own thoughts on how winning such a large sum of money could and would change our lives.

Here is the real question though: How would it change who you are? Many of the people being interviewed said that winning wouldn’t change them as people at all. Maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s not. I didn’t know the people personally so I couldn’t say if I believed they wouldn’t or couldn’t be changed by money. I do know that money does crazy things to people — and $1.6 billion is a crazy sum of money.

What I also know is that there are many people who are very happy and comfortable with who they are and where they are financially. They are grounded through solid belief systems and have firm values. And then there are others who really would like to make some change or improvement in their lives. Does it take winning the lottery to make those changes? I don’t believe so. True change happens or doesn’t happen when we are committed to our values and disciplined enough to set and pursue our goals.

Money —and I mean a lot of money — can certainly make a difference in how we live and how we secure our futures. But if it changes who we are, we have never been comfortable and grounded in who we truly were in the first place.

Making intentional change

I am not judging, nor am I being a hypocrite. I invested more than a few dollars in the recent Powerball drawing, as you have to be in it to win it, right? But when I recognize a change I want to make, identify a new goal I want to pursue or dream I wish to make a reality, I invest the time in myself to make those changes, not just in hoping that one day lightning will strike and I will win the lottery.

It starts with where we see ourselves. Zig Ziglar used to say, “If you don’t like who you are, what you are and where you are, you can change who you are, what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”

Filling our minds, our fields of vision, our ears and our surroundings with positive thoughts and attitudes coupled with strategic and tactical plans to help us become what we want to be will have a greater and more realistic impact on our lives than investing our time and money in hoping and waiting to win the lottery.

How about you? Would $1.6 billion have changed you as a person? Are there changes that you would like to make in your life and you just don’t know where to start? I would love to hear all about it at and when we can acknowledge where true and meaningful change comes from, we will achieve our goals and realize our dreams, making 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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