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Winning Words

Be prepared for success or you’ll miss the chance


OK, so here we go. Two weeks ago, we covered the role love plays in our past, present and future. Last week we took the same approach while we appreciated the history of our happiness. And today we wrap up the three-part series as we move into leveraging the successes of our past to pursue and drive our success now and in all of our future endeavors.

As I was taking a walk this morning and collecting my thoughts for this column I remembered a story I had once been told. There was a young boy who would walk with his fishing pole, tackle box, and a large bucket. When asked why he was bringing such a large bucket, the young boy would optimistically and enthusiastically said that one day he had caught so many fish, but sadly he didn’t have a big enough bucket to carry the fish home. And he promised himself that he would never let that happen again.

Most days he came home with an empty pail or one or two fish, and a little downhearted, but day after day, he could be found walking enthusiastically with the same bucket, fishing pole and tackle box and when asked he would energetically respond with, “This will be the day that I catch enough fish to fill this big bucket.” You see, he had tasted success before and wanted to experience it again. He planned and prepared for success, even though he had days where he fell short of his goal, not even catching one fish at all.

Was it a trophy we won in our youth? Maybe a job promotion? A diploma? Did we complete a project that we were recognized for? Was it something we did in our everyday role that we found extremely rewarding? Somewhere along the way, we caught so many fish we couldn’t fill our bucket. We tasted success and we knew what we did to achieve that success. It probably included planning, preparing and expecting to win. So today, right now, right in this very moment, each and every one of us has the ability to succeed as we pursue our worthy goals. And remember that Earl Nightingale defines success this way, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.”

Back to our fishing story. On one side of the lake we have the young optimistic boy and his large bucket. On the other side of the lake we have a man catching fish and only keeping the small fish, throwing all of the larger fish back into the lake. When a confused fellow fishing enthusiast questioned the man throwing back the larger fish, the fisherman reached into his backpack and displayed a very small frying pan. He shared that he couldn’t keep the larger fish because he was only prepared to catch and cook the smaller fish.

I am confident that you have connected the dots here. As we plan and prepare for future success, we need to keep our success bucket available. We need to plan, prepare, and expect to win. We need to know that there will be some days where we get shut out, meet with setbacks, and we need to remind ourselves that failure is an event, and it doesn’t define who we are as a person. We need to remind ourselves that if we expect only little wins, that is exactly what we will achieve.

Now little wins are OK, they do add up over time. However, if we are planning for future success, a bigger job, a larger home, a significant role in our community or church, a substantial change in our earnings or income, whatever that big success looks like in our future, let’s make sure we are carrying our success bucket with us as we travel to fish in all of the ponds, lakes and oceans of our life.

How about you? Can you build upon your successes of yesterday? Are you properly positioned to succeed today? Are you planning, preparing, and expecting to win tomorrow? I would really love to hear all of our community success stories at gotonorton@gmail.com and when our success bucket is ready to be filled, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton


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