Norton: Bring your own … |

Norton: Bring your own …

We all know what BYOB means right? It’s a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol, so BYOB means bring your own booze. We love those establishments that have a full bar, great wines, and specialty cocktails. And when the food is as good or better than the booze, all the better. But we also love those restaurants that require us to bring our own booze. Maybe it’s because they couldn’t get a liquor license, or maybe they prefer to focus on their passion for the food they cook, and either way, they are still a BYOB.

What if we thought about this in other areas of life? Even if we aren’t a restaurateur, or even if we are, we face other situations and opportunities in life that require us to bring something else to the game in order to achieve success. What if we thought about changing BYOB to BYOK — bring your own kindness? Or BYOS, bring your own strength. Perhaps it’s BYOP, bring your own peace. As you read this you could probably fill in the blank with, bring your own compassion, grace, awesomeness, courage, hope, or any other positive, encouraging, and affirming word.

So, let’s tackle a few, shall we?

BYOK, bring your own kindness. As I did some research for this column, asking people what they wished the world would bring if they had to bring their own anything, kindness was the number one word. Those I spoke with and others who responded to a survey shared that the ugliness and negativity of the world had them wishing that the world could be a little kinder — well actually, a lot kinder. One respondent was so convinced of this that she felt that, “If we could all just show up with kindness every day, we could actually have a greater impact on the world than climate change efforts, economic shifts, and voting in the right candidate for president.”

BYOS, bring your own strength. Sometimes life deals us a bad or difficult hand. Sometimes we find ourselves in a season of life where we succumb to our weaknesses, or we see the situation as too much for us to handle. Illness, divorce, addiction, or death in our circle of family and friends, and so many other horrible life events can cause us to cave. BYOS means that we find our inner strength, and if we don’t have that strength or can’t find that strength, we need to BYOS, bring the strength of others who are alongside us, just when we need them the most.

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BYOP, bring your own peace. Wow, could this be the most prolific of all BYOs? In the agitated world that finds us reading news about road rage, random violence, wars, school or community shootings, or any other topic that drives a wedge between humanity, peace is the most desired of human emotions right now. We live in a world of violence on TV, in the movies, in video games, and it’s all tolerated or worse, accepted as the norm of the world in which we live. BYOP, bring your own peace, this means we can own how we react or respond to each and every news feed or situation we find ourselves in with peace.

You get the point, right? BYO isn’t restricted to restaurateurs, BYO means we can bring our own anything to each and every situation we face. We all face seasons of life that bring us heartache and anguish, seasons of joy and celebration, and well, just seasons of life. No matter what we face, we, and only we, can determine what we bring to the game or situation. Will it be kindness, strength, peace, hope, grace, love, awesomeness, courage, or hope?

The choice is yours; the choice is ours. It doesn’t matter what other BYO might be, we get to select our own BYO. What’s yours? If your BYO is kindness, please live it. If it’s strength, please own it. And if it’s peace, please keep it. And if it is any other quality or trait that can have a positive impact on our world, please share it. I would love to hear your story at and when we can decide which BYO to live, it really will be a better-than-good life.

Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.

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