Norton: Will 2018 be your escape route or launching pad? (column) |

Norton: Will 2018 be your escape route or launching pad? (column)

It is usually at this time of the year, or maybe even sooner, that we hear someone we know say something like, “I am so glad this year is coming to an end.” Or, “I can’t wait for the year to be over so I can start fresh again next year.” I actually overheard someone say that last New Year’s Eve, they had a really bad feeling about 2017, and then sure enough, it had been. And, in their words, “It has been the year from hell.”

Oh my goodness. There is no doubt that we can look back on these past 11 months, or any prior year, for that matter, and find war, violence, political unrest, unhealthy rivalries, divorce, death, heartache, disease, natural disasters, tragedies and more horrific events and situations than we know what to do with. And it’s no wonder that at this time of the year, or maybe even sooner, many people are looking for an escape route into next year.

But here’s the thing: If we go looking for the bad in life, then we will certainly find bad things. If we look for the good, then we will also find the good.

We should never put our blinders on when it comes to reality. Now that works both ways, doesn’t it? I mean when people use that expression, they are usually referring to putting blinders on, so we ignore the bad things happening around us or uncomfortable situations we are trying to avoid. So, the other side, then, is this: That we also shouldn’t put blinders on to ignore all the good and positive that is happening all around us, as well.

Instead of finding an escape route into next year to quickly move away from our trouble spots, what if we looked to build upon our brightest moments and use this past year as our launching pad into next year?

Even if we had only one bright spot, and I would bet that we could find more if we really tried. Success begets success, good is a force multiplier and a positive attitude fans the flames of inspiration. The only thing that negativity does or that looking for the bad accomplishes is that they bring the fire extinguisher to the party of opportunity.

If we proclaimed last year, before the New Year even started, that it was going to be a bad year, then of course that is what we would have strived to prove out. We placed our stake of negativity in the ground, and by God, come hell or high water, we are going to make sure it’s bad for us and everyone else.

Let’s turn that around and proclaim that the New Year will be filled with abundance, overflowing with opportunity, abundant in hope and encouragement and topped off with a year full of loving relationships. And, should we use 2017 as our launching pad and make that proclamation, will we not stand up and strive to prove that out, as well? I bet we would.

So how about you? Have you gotten caught up in the bad things that happened last year and are 100 percent focused on those? Or are you looking at what you did accomplish in the past 12 months and have a plan to build upon each success? Either way, I would love to hear all of your stories at And when we can forget the escape route and start building our launching pad, 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.

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