Winning Words

Opinion: Time to put our heart back into it


“That is the simple secret, always take your heart to work.” - Meryl Streep

There are many things that I have enjoyed about my journey through life. And one of those things has been meeting so many people and learning about what they do for a living, what their hobbies are, their family history, and where they are from.

Having traveled for most of my career I have shared many planes, trains, and automobiles with people who started out as strangers, but as we parted ways, we separated as friends and connected in some way.

What always stood out to me was the sense of pride, joy, and enthusiasm many of the people I met had about their work. I have met software developers working on a unique program to improve disease management, teachers and professors who beamed when talking about their students, doctors, nurses, lawyers, bakers, athletes, actors, taxidermists, salespeople, CEOs, stay-at-home parents, and so many others that it is impossible to list them all here.

And as I look back on some incredible memories of my time spent traveling, I am most grateful for the conversations with my seatmates as they shared their passion and heart for the work they did. They always took their heart to work. They went to work with a servant’s heart. They saw themselves as more than an employee, consultant, or owner of a company. They saw themselves as being a difference-maker in some way.

I remember sitting on a flight with one maintenance worker who was employed at the same hospital for many years. He didn’t talk about the grind, or the hard work, or the long hours. His eyes shined and his smile widened when he spoke about the cleanliness of the rooms he cared for, his responsibility to do his part in saving lives. Yes, this man talked about his role in saving lives as he held himself personally accountable for keeping “his” patients safe from any germs. Yes, he said, “His” patients. Wow! That is pride, joy, enthusiasm, and such an inspiring example of always taking our heart to work.

Today our supply chains are struggling in many cases because there are shortages of workers. Many have decided not to return to work right now. Maybe it’s because they don’t feel safe, some are worried about the virus, others about workplace safety, and sadly, many who would still rather receive unemployment benefits and stimulus dollars instead of going back to work. It is hard to bring our hearts to work when we aren’t going to work.

There are stories upon stories of our grandparents and great-grandparents and their tremendous work ethic. Almost all of us have heard the saying, “No matter what you do, do it to the best of your ability. If you are sweeping floors, be the best floor sweeper this world has ever known.” Whatever it is we are doing in life, when we do it with heart, we will feel so much better than finishing our day and just punching out.

Punching in and punching out each day is up to each one of us. If that is how we see our day, then it will be almost impossible to find joy at work. And I am not singling out any level of an organization or any specific job function. From my friend and seatmate who takes such pride in his work, all the way up to the CEO of any company, if we aren’t bringing our heart to work, then punching in and punching out is all that our day will be and feel like.

Is it time for you or someone you know to get back to work? Is it time to change the way we think about what we do and how and who we serve so that we can take pride and find joy in our job? I would love to hear your story at, and when we can remember to always bring our heart to work, it really will be a better than good year.

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

pride, joy, and enthusiasm, Michael Norton, work ethic, Winning Words, Time to put our heart back into it


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