Norton: Focusing on the fantastic frees us from fear and failures |

Norton: Focusing on the fantastic frees us from fear and failures

Wow, there are six F-words in the title of this column. And I am sure you have noticed that they are slightly different from what some people might think about when they consider the F-word. And it’s OK if you too thought about that other F-word, you are not alone.

If you are like others, you probably thought about F-words like faith, family, friends, fortune, fitness, fantastic, focused, fabulous, fortunate, freedom, forgiveness, fellowship, feelings, and a few other fresh and fulfilling words that foster fruitful friendships.

Not trying to tell anyone how to use the F-word, I am just trying to suggest there are so many other alternatives that may be an equally, or maybe an even more effective and fun way to make our point. Feelings often facilitate or fuel our desire to want to use the F-word, especially when we have been hurt or disappointed. I get it, and you are probably thinking the same thing as me right now, that when we are hurt or disappointed, we immediately go to our F-words, forgiveness and freedom. Or phrased slightly differently, the freedom that comes with forgiveness.

Oh, that’s not what you were thinking? That’s OK too. There is always a first time for everything. Kind of like the first time I was asked to try cauliflower. I didn’t really care for it. As a matter of fact, it was far from fantastic or fabulous, I thought it tasted foul. But then one day a chef had prepared it differently, presented it on the plate in a fresh and favorable way, and when I tasted it, I experienced a festive and flavorful meal that was truly phenomenal. OK, so I cheated with the “ph” but you get the point right?

I often write about how important our word choices are and how they impact our attitude and our behaviors. They influence how others perceive us and if we are not careful, our words can damage our reputation and our relationships. Our words can cause feelings of fear, failure, and fragility. And on the other hand, our words can facilitate feelings that let others know that they are favored, we are their family, their friend, and their biggest fan. They are encouraged to fervently follow and focus on their fantastic dreams.

For folks who follow this column, my favorite F-word will come as no surprise: forgiveness. Unconditional forgiveness. Unconditional love and forgiveness. And yes, the other F-words that come to mind when thinking about forgiveness are the faith to trust in the power of forgiveness, remembering that our family comes first, so do not withhold forgiveness; eternity is a forever thing and we should forgive as we have been forgiven; to be fearless and courageous enough to offer forgiveness; and to experience and enjoy the freedom that comes with unconditional forgiveness. I encourage you to try that last one for sure. I believe you might like it.

Finally, and fast-forwarding to the finish, the next time you feel like there is an appropriate moment where you feel compelled to use an F-word, forget in that fleeting instant the word you might have used and fill your heart and mind with fun, fantastic, and fulfilling words and let those flow instead. Fresh words of faithfulness, freedom, and forgiveness. In future moments allow the fullness of your love for your family and friends to fill the space instead.

So how about you? Frankly speaking, are you open and flexible enough to maybe try and use a few different F-words and follow a new way forward?  Or are you already there and filling your days with fun, fabulous, festivities filled with faithful family and friends who you love and forgive unconditionally? As always I would love to hear your story at and when we can find a few more F-words to fill our future with, 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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