Winning Words

Challenging ourselves is hard, but rewards are worth it


In my line of work, words like “challenges” or “challenged” and excuses seem to be interwoven. If a company or individual is challenged by a problem or situation, oftentimes what I hear as part of their rationalization is an excuse rather than a solution.

You have probably either rationalized your way through a challenge or, like most of us, have made excuses when faced with a difficult situation. Why is that?

Well, that is the topic of this week’s column. I don’t want you to think of the word “challenges” or “challenged” as a difficult or negative situation. Instead I encourage you to think of the word as an action word, a call to action, an inspiration to no longer make excuses, and instead rise to the occasion to face and deal with obstacles and opportunities with creativity, wisdom, strength, and endurance.

There are so many “challenges” being offered and subscribed to on social media. These “challenges” become viral, or we subscribe to the pages and respond accordingly. One of my favorites is the Kindness Challenge, if you haven’t joined that group, try it as it is a better than good one. As we move beyond these groups and “challenges” let’s talk about the intent of this column, turning challenges into positive actions.

In business, leaders and teams talk about KPIs, Key Performance Indicators. Some of that thinking around KPIs could be things like an increase in revenue or profitability. KPIs could be about employee retention or customer loyalty. In our personal lives we think about our daily habits that drive our success. And some of those habits that propel us to success are things like continuous learning, hitting the gym, getting to work early, making time for family and friends. And the common denominator in both business and in our personal lives is really about the achievement of our goals and objectives. We want to win, we want to succeed, and we want our teams and those around us to win and succeed.

“Excuses don’t only define us, they deny us.” — Michael Norton

That might be worth copying and sending to others, cutting out and placing it somewhere you can see every day. I haven’t been quoted by others all that often, but that is an original quote that has been shared over the years. And I use it when coaching others and motivating others to rise up to the challenges we face and to stop making excuses.

Here is one I have borrowed over the years, DWYSYWDWYSYWDI, and it means Do What You Say You Will Do When You Say You Will Do It. And with that, here is this week’s challenge, stop making excuses for not doing what you say you will do when you say you will do it. Last week we shared thoughts about winning through the choices we make. Today, let’s agree that one of the choices we will make is to stop making excuses in our quest and journey towards our business and personal success.

During the course of my life I have made way too many excuses. I have blamed everyone and everything else for my mistakes and failures. It wasn’t until I learned how to challenge myself and encouraged others to stop making excuses that I started meeting with and enjoying the benefits of consistent success. Excuses are easy, challenging ourselves is hard. Losing is easy, winning is hard. Challenging and difficult situations can be found very easily if we look for them, challenging ourselves to find the solution may seem harder, but the reward is worth the effort.

So how about you? Are you making excuses or making progress toward your dreams and goals? Are you challenged, or challenging yourself to press forward? Either way, and as always, I would love to hear your story at, and when we can challenge ourselves instead of finding ourselves in challenging situations, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Highlands Ranch, the chief revenue officer at Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton


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