Vail Daily column: Near-term activity leads to long-term success

So the other day I found myself talking with my 23-year-old son Lucas. You see, each day I communicate with all of my children in some way, usually a call or a text, if we can’t get together in person. And since they are all in their mid and early 20s sometimes the texts get me the quickest response. If you are a parent you know what I mean, right?

As I asked my son what his longterm goals/big-picture vision was and what his near-term activity would be to support his dreams and vision, I realized that as much as I have coached and counseled others and as much as my son had seen me speak, read my columns and heard me guide others, I never really gave him the tools he needed to really get grounded and firmly settled in a true goals program.


Maybe I assumed he was catching on and picking things up as we went along. And as a coach and a parent that was a terrible assumption. If I can talk to business owners, CEOs, vice presidents, managers, sales people, other parents and even other kids about their goals, why hadn’t I actively made sure that my own children were also getting the same attention? Their dreams and goals are so important to them, and the good news is it’s not too late to make sure they know how to set, pursue and achieve their goals.

Support Local Journalism

So if you have children, friends, employees or even a boss who have not been introduced to a system for setting and achieving their goals, it’s never too late to start, especially as we approach another New Year.


So here is lesson No. 1, short and sweet and not overly complicated. Identify what it is they are most passionate about, what they would like to achieve and then help them to determine why this is so important to them. Do this without judgment — these are their goals not yours. If you prejudice their views and dreams with your own belief system you will stifle their desire for achievement.


Lesson No. 2, and just like I asked my son Lucas, identify what the near-term activity will be necessary to support and achieve their long-term/big-picture goals and dreams. What can they be doing in the “now” that will set them up for success in the future?


Lesson No. 3, inspect what they expect. Become a great accountability partner. Now don’t confuse this with telling others what to do — it is about gaining trust and buy-in from them so that they recognize where they are falling short and where they are making positive strides.

Again, if you tell people what to do, they resist. If you help people become self-aware of what to do and ask questions about how they are doing, they are always more likely to remain engaged and appreciate your role as an accountability partner.

Don’t confuse this with being wishy-washy, as an accountability partner for someone trying to reach a goal, we have to be firm and fair in our approach.


So there you have it — three simple lessons for helping someone get started on their success journey. How are you doing on yours?

I would love to hear all about it and help in any way that I can if you will email me at And when we set a path toward success, 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.

Support Local Journalism