Circumstances change, but character shouldn't

Column by Michael Norton


Stuff happens, right? I mean, when we least expect change, it happens.

Sometimes we are caught off-guard by awesome and wonderfully unexpected good news. And when that does happen, we never really have to worry about how we respond or react because in most cases we are smiling and enjoying the moment.

And then there are those other times, when we least expect it, that our world gets turned upside-down in a flash. Have you ever been there, cruising along based on plans, commitments and expectations, and then all of sudden … WHAM … right between the eyes we get hit with a curve ball? Stuff happens, and it happens to all of us at some time or another. The difference is how we actually respond to the immediate shift in our course.

Our character can be found in how we respond when faced with challenges or changes, especially when they come upon us out of the blue. If you have ever been faced with a sudden change or shift, or maybe even if you are experiencing it right now, I want to share a simple philosophy with you that may help. I call this the “Cadence of Change,” and the “cadence” acronym stands for:

Communication goes both ways, and in times of change we need to make sure we have expressed ourselves clearly and that we understand what is being shared; miscommunication often makes change worse.

Authority means we have to stay in control; we are in charge of how we respond or react. If we allow other people or circumstances to dictate how the changes surrounding us impact our demeanor, we will never be in a position to maintain control.

Decisions or lack of decisions often leave us paralyzed, and instead of taking action, we leave the decisions to others and again find ourselves being directed or driven by the motives of someone else. In times of change, it is critical to be in control of our own decisions.

Expectations properly set are expectations that have a better chance of being realized. Many times our emotions and subsequent actions or reactions stem from misleading ourselves from the beginning. Stretching ourselves through dreams and goals are awesome, and realistic expectations are the foundation that ground us during times of change.

New Paradigm — The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. All of us should be open and willing to think differently and see things through objective and productive eyes, instead of being anchored to the past.

Character means that whatever happens, we handle ourselves in a respectful way, never yielding or compromising who we are to the circumstances that surround us as the craziness of change happens.

Excellence — In times of change and growth, the watchword should be excellence. If we strive for perfection we will often miss the mark, but when we pursue excellence we will impact change, truly impact change for the better.

How is your cadence when it comes to change? The world is constantly changing, and I would love to hear all about how you handle it at And when your “Cadence of Change” improves, it will really 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


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.