Listen and you will learn

Posted 4/23/10

So last week I shared my story and opportunity to listen and learn while some really smart people — men that I greatly admire and respect — …

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Listen and you will learn


So last week I shared my story and opportunity to listen and learn while some really smart people — men that I greatly admire and respect — talked about personal success and what it is that people really want in life.

As a reminder the group I am referring to and had the enormous privilege of listening to included Zig Ziglar, his son Tom Ziglar, Dr. Denis Waitley, Tony Jeary, and the publisher of Selling Power Magazine Gerhard Gschwandtner.

So when it came to talking about personal success, no one really tried to define success as that will be different for everyone and could also be based on specific goals and dreams at varying stages of life. So what the group engaged in was a conversation about what contributes to success. And here are some of the notes and concepts I captured:

Being proactive and not just accepting or waiting for life to deal our hand. When we are being proactive we try to get ahead by planning and preparing, we avoid procrastination and, if we have an opportunity to initiate and execute, we do so with educated but limited hesitation.

It was unanimous that setting goals was a huge key to success. You can’t hit a target that you can’t see or don’t have. Being lucky is wonderful, and there are certainly success stories that have an element of luck, but the majority of people from all walks of life that truly achieve success have taken the time to define their goals.

Curiosity was also discussed as an influence to success. People who are always asking questions and using those questions as hooks to pull themselves along on their journey to success. Think of all the great inventors, scientists, technologists, teachers, doctors and others who by virtue of curiosity and questioning achieved tremendous success.

Tapping into our creative side was also discussed among the group. When we allow time to read, explore, create, write, and just think, we open our minds up to new ideas, adventures, and concepts. Taking the time to get creative when dealing with problems, challenges, and opportunities opens up even more windows and doors that will lead to success.

Gratitude and appreciation of everyone was also mentioned. When we can honestly say that we take the time to recognize everyone we come in contact with and that we are grateful for all the big and little things that they do, we are paving our own road to success and doing so with the bricks of gratitude and appreciation.

Mr. Ziglar was just about as quiet as I was during lunch, but when he did speak, it was powerful. What Zig added was that our character and reputation are so important to our personal success. We have to be the right kind of person, doing the right kinds of things in order to get anywhere in life. So he said that we have to work hard to preserve our reputation, and when we do so, and live with integrity, we will never have to look over our shoulder because we will have always done the right thing at the right time.

So what do most people want in life? They want peace of mind, they want to be socially accepted, they want financial security and to be reasonably prosperous, they want loving family relationships and good friends, and they want to be healthy and happy. Sure there are those that want to be super wealthy and seek fame or celebrity status, but for most, the list above pretty much sums it up when defining success.

I would love to hear all about your proactive, goal setting, curious, creative, gratitude filled, and character based journey’s of success at and when you apply some or all of these I am confident that it will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of


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