Vail Daily column: Making the most of what we have |

Vail Daily column: Making the most of what we have

Michael Norton
Climbing to Success

Have you ever heard that saying, “Use it or lose it?” It is probably one of those messages we have all heard time and time again — so much so that maybe it has lost some of the power or meaning or we have conditioned ourselves to ignore it.

When we do not use our creativity, our minds can become dull. When we do not work out, our muscles can atrophy or shrink. We either “use it or lose it.”

How many of us have bookshelves or libraries in our home or office filled with books we have never read? Maybe we have downloaded a vast library of books onto our Kindle or other e-reading device. We have had the very best of intentions to read the books when we purchased them or received them as a gift, but somehow or somewhere along the busy highway of life, the books have become part of the decor as opposed to providing us with a source of education, information or entertainment.

This use it or lose it scenario always reminds me of something that Zig Ziglar used to say, “People who do not read are no better off than the people that can’t read.”

What about our home gym equipment? The same can be said of that for many of us. Perhaps you have a treadmill, some weights, a stair-stepper or total gym in your home. This equipment may be in your basement or garage, or maybe even in your office so you can get your workout in while working. Are we using the equipment for working out or has it also become part of the decor? I have seen in some homes and offices where the gym equipment became another place to store things or hang the laundry on.

And how many ads do we see where people are trying to sell their almost new or like new gym equipment? Go to any garage sale and there is probably better than a fifty percent chance that you will find sort of gym equipment for sale.

Now what about our network? Many of us have a social network that we are a part of or a business community that we work in and support. Do we tap into our friends when we are needing support or help? Or do we try and get through the tough times alone? Do we energize others or become energized by sharing our successes and celebrating our wins with those closest to us?

As part of a business community we have associates and customers. If we do not actively pursue growth opportunities, seek referrals or new opportunities we can certainly fall into the trap of using it or losing it. I was speaking with one of my customers who is a sales professional. She shared with me that she had stopped asking her clients for referrals. Not because she didn’t know how, she simply became complacent about it. Her wake-up call came when she finally remembered to ask a good customer for a referral only to be told that they had just referred someone else to their contacts.

One of the things I enjoy most in my network is the time I spend with people from whom I can learn. We have a chance to brainstorm and this is one way that I maximize my network and keep myself sharp.

Whether it’s our creativity and our minds, our bodies or our connections, if we do not use what we have right in front of us, we will lose it, as any area that is ignored and it will atrophy.

So how about you? Are you using it or losing it? Are your books, gym equipment and networks collecting dust? I would love to hear all about how you are maximizing everything at your fingertips at and when we make the most of what we have, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.