How our values drive our success

Column by Michael Norton


One of my very favorite things about being in the coaching, training, and learning and development industry is when I have an opportunity to meet and observe other trainers or facilitators, authors, and subject matter experts.

I am sharing this with you because I had a wonderful opportunity to sit in on a session recently conducted by Peter Thomas. His career and accomplishments were extremely impressive, however his presentation was focused on values, and it was his passion and conviction around this topic that really captured my attention. Although he normally delivers the course over two days, the four-hour abbreviated version had a tremendous impact on me and how I see and define my own success.

What are my values? What do I value most? Why do I value these things? Intuitively I have understood the importance of identifying my values and their relation to my success and have spent time identifying them in the past and even committing them to writing. Yet during this recent session with Peter Thomas I questioned and even challenged myself a little on how much emphasis I was placing on my own values and was I really living those values.

Typically when I teach a class or coach a client and we discuss values I hear words like honesty, integrity, family, knowledge, and other very nice words and strong values. So when I was tasked with working through my own, I came up with about 14 words or values. Then after thinking through them a little more I distilled the list down to seven values and found the other words and values fit better as sub-values or categories.

If you don't mind me sharing, here is what I do value: Faith, Family, Love, Trust, Kindness, Happiness, and Fitness. And the other values that fall somewhere under each one include: Togetherness, Compassion, Time, Quiet Time, Loyalty, Effort, Purpose, Commitment, Wisdom, and Peace, with some of these falling under more than one major value.

Have you considered what it is you really value and why? Success is different for everyone as some define success by status, money, achievements, and in many other ways. What if we looked at success and measured our success in relation to our values instead of our accomplishments or at least alongside of them? If we compromise our values to achieve status or things, are we truly successful? I know this sounds so philosophical or maybe you see it as wishful thinking. But if you are a little like me maybe, and someone reminded you about the importance of your values, would you take the time to reconsider what they are and how you not only prioritize them but how you just might live them?

This was an awesome reminder and I am so grateful to Peter Thomas for his presentation. He has written a book titled “Be Great: The Five Foundations of an Extraordinary Life in Business - And Beyond” and I would highly encourage you to read this wonderfully fresh reminder of all that may just be important in your own life.

Are your values in alignment with what you do? Is what you do in alignment with your values? I would love to hear all about it at because when our values and life are in sync, 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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