Winning Words

Look for opportunity amid negative change

Column by Michael Norton
Posted 7/2/19

Change happens. And as it has been said before: “Change happens, and it will happen again.” And when we are the ones making the changes, it can be incredibly thrilling and exciting as we prepare …

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Winning Words

Look for opportunity amid negative change


Change happens. And as it has been said before: “Change happens, and it will happen again.” And when we are the ones making the changes, it can be incredibly thrilling and exciting as we prepare mentally and emotionally for those changes. A new start, a new challenge, or a new path in life can really be inspiring.

And as inspiring as beginning something new can be, it can also bring with it a healthy dose of fear. We are excited, yet we are nervous at the same time. If you have decided to make a change or new start, you know what I am talking about. In the end, whether we are absolutely positive and going forward with confidence in our new start, or we are terrified, the change is typically better than we expected and just what we needed.

So what do we do about an unexpected change? Some unexpected changes completely catch us off guard, others we may have expected were coming, and for some unexpected changes, when they happen, we know we should have been the ones who made the change or the decision in the first place. We waited it out too long, and before we knew it, someone had made the change or decision for us.

When an unexpected change happens that is extremely positive, we tend to become extremely excited and optimistic about what that change could mean. Maybe it’s a job promotion with a higher income, or perhaps it’s finding out we are about to have another grandchild. Maybe we came into an inheritance or won the lottery and our financial future just became a little easier. So many good and positive unexpected changes await us all.

It’s those negative unexpected changes that always seem to feel like a gut punch. These are the kinds of changes that can cause us stress, can destroy our self-confidence, leave us feeling down and lost. An unexpected loss of employment, a diagnosis of an illness, a traumatic injury, the sudden end of a relationship, or an immediate financial hardship. Any of these can bring the strongest of people and families down. Or it can be just the call to action needed to accept the change or deal with the change on our own terms.

If it’s an illness we find the right doctor and fight it. If it’s a job loss, we immediately work through our network to start interviewing, learn a new skill, or start something completely different. When we experience a financial hardship, we speak with our family and friends and our bank to determine the right solution and next steps. And even when a relationship comes to an end, we take the high road and focus on all the good that came from the relationship instead of the negative.

You see, when we experience unexpected changes that are negative, we do not have to take that gut punch lying down. This is when we look for the opportunity instead of the defeat. This is when we take the moral high ground and not let anyone or anything diminish who we are and what we have accomplished. This is when we decide to thrive instead of taking a dive. No one gets to tell us what we will do next, what we can do or what we can’t do, we get to call the shots.

Again, whether it is a great unexpected change or a difficult one, it’s all about how we choose to respond. It’s about committing to thrive, taking the high road, focusing on the good, and letting go of the bad. It’s about having a strong character and a solid foundation of faith.

So how about you? How do you do in times of unexpected change? I would love to hear your story at, and when we choose not to let anyone or anything bring us down when an unexpected change happens, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Highlands Ranch, the chief revenue officer at Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton


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