Winning Words

Conviction cures complacency

Column by Michael Norton
Posted 7/11/21

As a big believer in the less-is-more approach, I find three-word statements to be powerful in their meaning, easy to remember, and in most cases impactful when applied. “Less is more,” three …

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Winning Words

Conviction cures complacency


As a big believer in the less-is-more approach, I find three-word statements to be powerful in their meaning, easy to remember, and in most cases impactful when applied. “Less is more,” three simple words that when we put them together, make so much sense while keeping us focused.

Other powerful three-word statements such as “I love you,” “I’ve got you,” “You are forgiven” and “Just do it” are motivating and we immediately get their meaning. We can apply them in appropriate situations, both in our personal lives and in our professional work.

The three-word headline of this column is a subject I have been speaking about lately with customers, groups, and even family and friends. And these three words started resonating with me as conversations with people from all walks of life and types of businesses had similar experiences that were either happening within them personally, witnessed in their company, or as a general complaint or observation about the level of service they were receiving. That word is complacency.

If you haven’t experienced this yet yourself, I encourage you to put it to the test. Are you or those around you, those you work with, or the businesses you frequent just going through the motions? Does it feel any different than when we strived for excellence, pursued new goals, or worked hard to create raving fans and loyal customers in the past?

I had the opportunity to sit with a team of executives as they were about to launch a new service through their existing business. They asked me for my opinion about what I had heard and seen, and if I saw any blind spots. Instead of answering immediately, I asked the group the following questions, “Will this service change lives?” And “Will this service be a large part of the future of the company?” The answers to both questions were “Yes.”

My third question was this, “Are you convicted?” The good news was that there was no hesitation on the part of the executive team, they all responded in word, tonality, and body language that they were absolutely convicted that this new service could change lives and it was going to be a very big part of where they were taking the company.

The trickle-down effect was also very impressive. As I met others inside the organization, the feeling of conviction was palpable. Everyone was energized about their work. They were anxious to work on the development of the program, they were enthusiastic when doing research, and thrilled to be talking to existing customers and new prospects about what was being developed. This level of conviction cured any signs of complacency.

Let’s take it out of the business world for a moment. Let’s think about our family lives and our personal journeys, our relationships, and the things that give us the greatest joy. Have we become complacent? Is it not just those around us where we see complacency, but when we take a good look in the mirror, do we see it as well? If this is you, don’t sweat it, and remember that you are not alone. The good news is that most times we can cure the malady of complacency with one word, conviction.

We all have gifts and talents. We all have things and people who inspire us. But talent without effort breeds mediocrity and that can become the root of complacency. Re-identify what energizes us. Become re-acquainted with our passions. And become convicted about what we want in life, the type of person we hope to be, and get fired up about the things we enjoy doing most and watch as complacency gets replaced with hope, purpose, passion and achievement.

How about you? Has complacency taken up residence in your life? Are your employees or company running on complacency instead of conviction? I would love to hear your story at, and when we choose to cure complacency through conviction, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.


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