Be real, both inside and out

Column by Michael Norton


I had an interesting “virtual” experience a few months ago. No, not that kind of experience, but a “virtual” business experience that taught me a valuable lesson in life.

We all know that everything we see or read on the Internet must be true, right? Not quite.

Well, even in the virtual world, everything we see may not be what we think it is either. I was delivering a presentation using virtual technology. The people on the other side of the screen could see me and I could see them, very cool. It was an early morning presentation, I had myself set up at my desk, coffee mug filled, and my webcam adjusted perfectly to capture my image from my chest up to the top of my head. I had dressed professionally for the meeting, however, professionally only from the waist up.

Since it was an early morning meeting I took a short cut and put on a dress shirt, tie, and jacket, but left my sweat pants and sneakers on as I would be seated for this presentation. Or so I thought. The meeting went longer than anticipated, and before I knew it there was so much activity happening in my home that I was forced to stand up and shut my office door. I had completely forgotten that I would reveal that I was not in a full suit and tie and that my audience would see my casual sweat pants and sneakers.

Was it the worst thing that could have happened? No, of course not. We all got a good laugh about it and it gave me more material for that presentation and for this column.

The point I realized was that sometimes in life people only let us see what they want us to see, not the real deal. There have been points in my own life where I have been guilty of this myself, not just through the use of virtual technology, but not being the real deal or the real me in every circumstance. Do I do it out of protecting myself and keeping a guard up or do I do it out of an intent to have others see me as I want them to see me, not who I really am in any given situation or encounter?

As you know by now I love quoting Zig Ziglar, so here is what Zig says about it, “You will make a lousy anybody else, but you will make the best you in existence.” You see we have to be the real deal, the genuine article in all that we do and all that we say.

This morning I had another virtual presentation with a team of people assembled in Budapest, Hungary. The meeting was scheduled for 5 a.m. Mountain Time. I woke up early enough to shower, shave, put on my best suit, shirt, tie, and dress shoes. I was dressed for success and not leaving anything to chance. What they saw was a business professional, what they heard came from my heart, and my confidence was so much higher because I was being myself on the inside and the outside, I was the real deal.

How about you? Do you let people only see what you want them to see? I would love to hear all about it at and when you enjoy the benefits of being the real deal, the real you, it really 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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