… where hope begins.
Over the last 12 years, I have now written 600 published columns. Additionally, I have posted thousands of messages through social media and have been on podcasts, radio interviews, and have appeared as a keynote speaker numerous times here in the states as well as around the globe.
I continue to be humbled by these opportunities to connect with you. So first, let me say thank you to all of you who send me emails and messages, I sincerely appreciate you all and love our exchanges. Happily, most of our exchanges are extremely positive, after all the column is called “Winning Words.” There is a percentage of our readers who love to challenge me on a thought or an idea that I had shared, and in most cases, it is a very healthy and engaging dialogue. And then there are a few people who try and provoke an argument, all I can say is that sometimes we just have a difference of opinion.
So here in column number 600, I wanted to answer a couple of questions, and sometimes concerns, that I have received from our community. I am often asked why I have not taken a stance or a position on a sensitive topic. Some even suggesting that my silence must clearly define how I really feel or intimating that I have always stayed right down the middle, not choosing sides so that I do not offend anyone. And a part of this is very true as my goal is never to offend anyone but to encourage everyone.
Regardless of what has been happening in our community and in our country, my column has remained consistent. Winning words, that’s it. My attempt each week is to inspire hope and motivate top performance. I take all other issues off the table. This is when I receive questions like, “How do you feel about …?” Or “What do you think of …?” And “Where do you stand on …?” You can probably guess this last and most common question over the past two months, “Who are you voting for?”
I am writing this column on Oct. 28, 2020. The column that you read each week is written one week in advance so the editors can do what they do so brilliantly to bring it to life. That means as I am writing this, I have no idea who won the election or if anyone has been declared a clear winner. So, I will go ahead and tell you that reluctantly I did cast my vote for one of our presidential candidates, and I say reluctantly because God was not listed on the ballot I received, was He on yours?
Now that probably answers the other question too, “Where do I stand?” Where I stand is by my faith and I stand with all of you as well. Your faith may be different than mine, awesome. Your political party may be different than mine, fantastic. You may drink craft beer and I drink a simple lager, how cool is that? You may enjoy a vegan diet, and I am a carnivore, we can both find something on the menu. The important topics where we differ in our beliefs and opinions may be much bigger than these examples, but that does not mean we get to quit on each other.
Where do I stand? My belief is that as a society we cannot buy into the fact that we are too far gone, or that the chasm between us is so wide that we can’t become united again. Some might say that I am being naïve, and that is okay too as we are entitled to our opinions. Other sources might want us to believe that our society cannot be repaired. And that is just not true.
Where do I stand? Where hope begins. For those of you who said I am always right in the middle, you were correct. I am right in the middle of unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, compassion, generosity, goodness, encouragement, opportunity, justice, equality and benevolence.
How about you? Maybe I can ask the same question, where do you stand? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org. And let’s remember that for many of you, by the time you read this the election will be over, and whatever the outcome, I encourage you to stand where hope begins. And when we do, it really will be better than good for everyone.
11.04.20 | Michael Norton