Being down can lead to looking up

Column by Michael Norton


One of the most popular activities I get to do with my team at work or with groups that I am involved with happens on Fridays. I typically send an encouraging email filled with positive updates, recognition of achievement, and gratitude for the effort put forth by everyone.

And then I ask for feedback, I ask for the best news of the week or most positive or productive good news that they can share. Everyone responds and shares a moment or experience that truly made the week positive.

The interesting thing is this: People may have been having a very tough week but they always find something positive to share. Life may have presented some significant challenges personally and/or professionally, but somehow they dig in and look for something good to share with the team or group.

So now imagine your own life right now, and imagine for a moment it is Friday and I have asked you for the best news of the week. What would your answer be?

Now I have done this for several years and with many people. The majority of people can come up with something meaningful and positive in a fairly short amount of time. But those who are having a tough week and wrestling with the question find themselves going deeper, yet they still find something positive to share with everyone. And I have to share with you that the responses that come from someone who has been struggling are usually more positive than the replies that come from people who have been having a relatively good week.

Here is something else I have noticed. People now expect the question, and so all week long they are already looking for the good, searching for the positive, and storing up successful stories and events that they can share with the team or group. Please don't gloss over this, think about it for a minute. When individuals know that they will be asked for the best news of the week, they actually start preparing and looking for the good. This is powerful and I would encourage you to try it at work, in a group you may belong to, or even with your family.

Don't just try it once or twice, commit to it for a couple of months, each and every week. I would love to hear the outcome and how those around you start to embrace the positive, seek success, and champion productivity. What I am talking about is setting an expectation of positive and success-oriented behavior. And when you make it a habit of inspecting what you expect in asking for the best news of the week, you will truly be amazed at the elevation in attitudes, success, and production.

I would really love to know what your best news of the week is. Together, let's make this 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 He can be reached at


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