Norton: Balance creates perspective |

Norton: Balance creates perspective

“Some see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that is twice as big as it needs to be,” – George Carlin

Isn’t that the way it seems these days? Sometimes we see the glass as half full, or half empty, depending on the day or our mood. And other times it is the people we are speaking with or the posts we read where others are overly optimistic about an event or situation while others only see the gloom or danger. Fair and balanced is apparently in the eyes and the hands of the one holding the glass.

When we are out of balance, there is a good chance that our perspective can change. For those of us who enjoy skiing, we know what being off-balance feels like as it usually ends in a cloud of white and our gear splayed out across the mountain.

I love to ski, and I especially love to ski the trees. One of the mountains I have spent more days on than any other mountain is Beaver Creek. For more than 20 years I have enjoyed skiing there and have come to know the mountain like the back of my hand. My confidence on each run growing with each passing season. That included some of the best tree skiing that I have ever enjoyed. And as my confidence grew, my recklessness also increased. I was out of balance.

While skiing alone one day I had decided that a tree run called Stickline was a good idea. It was a powder day in the middle of the week and there were not a lot of other skiers on the hill that day. With my powder skis on I headed into the trees. It was awesome, quiet and thrilling all at the same time. All was going incredibly well until I came around a tree a little too fast and missed my next turn, I over-corrected and fell. Once I had dug myself out of the hole I was in, I had realized that during my fall, I had lost one of my ski poles. After much digging around in the powder, I could not find it. My ski pole was gone and so was my balance.

As an avid skier and someone who has made hundreds of runs through the trees, since my balance was gone, so was my perspective. The trees looked tighter, the air became thicker, my body temperature was rising while my eyes scanned the forest for the easiest way out. Each time I started to regain my balance, the trail was closing in on me, limiting my progress. Pretty soon I was a puddle of sweat, my goggles were fogging up, and my pulse was racing. I stopped again, lifted my goggles, took off my helmet, and leaned against a tree to catch my breath. And in that moment, I knew that balance would be the key to getting out, balance would provide the necessary perspective to showing me the openings and preparing me for each turn. So, with renewed balance and perspective I made it out safely.

I wanted to share this with you because there is no shortage of sources of input and influence today. And those that we hear, see and read are given to us by the perspective of that individual or organization. We can tell right away if we are seeing a “glass half full“ or a ”glass half empty“ perspective. The thing is this, in either case the belief is that the perspective that is shared is 100% the right perspective or maybe even the only perspective.

Maybe it’s time that we take a pause, catch our breath, lean against a tree, and regain our balance to see the reality in front of us and the best way forward.

Would a little more balance bring back a new perspective? Would a new perspective help you to move forward a way that you hadn’t seen before? I would love to hear your story at and when we learn to find the balance in each other’s perspective, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

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