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HOW TO BE HAPPILY MARRIED: 14 YEARS, 14 LESSONS

Richie and Natalie and Raleigh Norton in New York City Central Park 2016

Picture in Central Park in May 2016 of our 12 year old son taking a picture of us. Picture Credit: Cardon Norton, our 11 year old son. Not pictured is Lincoln, our 9 year old son running around under the bridge near those steps. :-)

How could we already be into this marriage of ours FOURTEEN years?! Cray. Time doesn’t stop for anyone.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that every year for the last four years, on our anniversary, I like to share some things my wife and I have learned about cultivating a happy marriage. That said, if there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that we’re certainly not perfect and we’ve got to be patient with our imperfections.

This post is coming up a little later (our anniversary is in August), but we’ve been having the time of our lives and I just didn’t have time to pause and write is all down…until now that my ankle is broken (story to come!). :-)

New here? Get caught up:

HOW TO BE HAPPILY MARRIED: 10 YEARS, 10 LESSONS

HOW TO BE HAPPILY MARRIED: 11 YEARS, 11 LESSONS

HOW TO BE HAPPILY MARRIED: 12 YEARS, 12 LESSONS

HOW TO BE HAPPILY MARRIED: 13 YEARS, 13 LESSONS

Note: This is more of a post for me and Nat. I’m not being “preachy.” I’m not a marriage counselor. I don’t have a degree in family therapy. I’m just a happily married dude, and this post is a reflection of my experience, well. . . as a happily married dude. Of course, we have our own set of problems. EVERY couple does, and I would certainly never try to hide that fact. But this isn’t a post about what hasn’t worked for Nat and I, it’s a post about what has. And I sincerely hope that what I share here can help you reflect on your own life and work toward creating a strong, happy marriage as well!

14 TIPS TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE

#14. Life is CRAZY.

Life is just crazy…married or not. The craziness of life can help or hurt your marriage. We’ve had foster kids the last two years and nothing hurt more than when they left. It was similar to the pain of Nat’s brother Gavin passing and also our baby son Gavin passing. However, these three babies of ours are still out there somewhere and we can’t protect them any more. This experience is hard. Hard times infinity. People don’t see it like a death, yet in many ways, it is worse. So we push on and rely on each others as opposed to relying on the world and pushing away each other.

#13. Take a pilgrimage.

After our babies left, we went on a pilgrimage. We flew to NYC and have been traveling now for almost five months. We needed to huddle our kids together after so much loss and just be. Whatever your circumstance, take a moment to go on a pilgrimage that will center your soul, bind your marriage and free your mind from the every day troubles of every day life.

#12. Be grateful for your health (and take care of your mind and body).

Natalie had a scare on our way to the airport to NYC when something happened and she couldn’t speak or remember certain things. Read about it here and here as Nat describes her feeling as her “mind started to slip.” I say “be grateful” because some things (most things!) are completely out of your control, so enjoy the good while you have it. I say “take care” because there are many things within your control that you can do to enhance your life’s enjoyment and best utilize the health you’ve been given. Many of the people in retirement that I interviewed personally (hundreds) have told me how they spend on their wealth on health and they’d do anything to have their health back.

#11. Act now…or forever miss your moment.

Many of the same retirees that I have interviewed over the years (for my books and serving or working with them in one way or another) say something like this: “I waited my whole life to do what I really had in mind to do when I would finally have more time, more education, more experience and more money…only to find that when I got there…I still needed more time, more education, more experience and more money.” In other words, the moral of the story is that you’ll never have enough. That being true, act now and leverage existing resources or you will miss your moment to build something great. You’ll miss the chance to “start stupid,” gain experience and become and expert. You’ll miss it. You will. ACT NOW with whatever you have. No waiting. Now. Natalie and I and our pilgrimage is an example of living in the now.

#10. Learn how to make money that is not tied to an employer.

Nat and I are entrepreneurs. It’s been feast of famine over the years. One of the greatest blessings in our lives is that when times get tough, we are willing to do the hard and necessary…even if that means digging out cans from the trash can at the park to recycle them for money and use the change to get gas to drive into town to buy groceries (true story). As a result, Natalie and I have spent time learning business models, pricing strategies, coaching skills and useful talents that we can sell to our target markets. In fact, this entire road trip from New York to California to Mexico and now on to Canada has been funded by making our money on the road. Take the time to protect yourself from a bad employer/employee situation (which will come) by learning how to make money. Watch this (link available for a limited time — it’s a free training on how to make money by doing high-value projects).

#9. Choose happiness.

You will get frustrated. You will break your ankle (I did climbing in Yosemite a couple weeks ago). It will be hard. You will disagree. It’s okay. Don’t use a bazooka to kill a fly. Choose happiness despite hardship. Choosing happiness doesn’t mean things are always good. Choosing happiness means you choose to find knowledge and to apply it to create a better life especially during challenges. My wife’s favorite book (aside from scripture) is Man’s Search for Meaning. We love these quotes from that book and hope to test our choices: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” and ““When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” (Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning).

#8. Like each other.

One of the best compliments Natalie and I received when we were getting our pictures taken after our wedding was this: “You like each other. Many couples I photograph love each other but don’t like each other.” Do you love your spouse but have a hard time liking him or her? Change that.

#7. Sacrifice.

It’s been said that a sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice when you get back more than you give; it’s an investment. I’ve also received the advice to sacrifice until it hurts and then sacrifice more. There is a sanctification in sacrifice–that’s where the Greek word comes from. Now whether you take that sanctification (or holiness) literally or figuratively, there is a glow about people who serve and give and sacrifice for others. Nat and I have found that the more we give the more we get. However, we don’t give to get. That would destroy the purpose of sacrifice. We give to serve and we are blessed in return in ways we can’t imagine. Sacrifice will bless you. Look for ways to serve others. It’s not a sacrifice if it doesn’t hurt.

#6. Talk about it.

Sometimes people let things simmer until they boil over. Why? An explosion of anger creates more problems than talking about it. Talk straight. Be kind. Don’t be a door mat, but don’t be a bulldozer either. It’s about respect. Respect your spouse and have an agreement that you’ll be able to talk about hard things without fear of the other getting mad. Talk about how you will talk about the tough stuff.

#5. End E.G.O.

Natalie calls ego “E.G.O. = Edging God Out.” Yep. She invented that one. So smart that girl. :-) Don’t edge God out. Pray. Ask for help. Receive with gratitude and move forward. You’re a son or daughter of a loving Heavenly Father and He hears you and answers.

#4. Take T.I.M.E.

TIME is an acronym I created for Today Is My Everything. You could say that TIME is our Norton family anthem. Simply put: You can’t do anything tomorrow. Nothing. Today is today. In fact, today IS yesterday’s tomorrow. Take TIME with your spouse, your family, for yourself and to focus on the important stuff. Click here for a cool, free TIME Mantra poster.

#3. Be cool.

Not like “cool” cool. But, cool. Be kind. Be generous. Take it easy. Cool people are understanding, forgiving, fun, serious (when needed), don’t take themselves too seriously and take care of others. Be cool and prosper.

#2. Bring out the best in your spouse.

Like siblings, spouses know how to push buttons. They know the worst thing to say at the worst moment to get the worst out of their spouse. It’s easy. Instead, take time to bring out the best in your husband or wife. It doesn’t take much to say the best thing at the best time to get the best out of your spouse. Just make up your mind to bring out the best in your spouse and watch the magic happen.

#1. Bring out your best self.

When you want to impress someone in life or business, you bring out your best self. The day-to-day grind makes it easy to be meanest to the people you care about the most.  Do a little experiment. Bring out your best self today and for the next 21 days. One day isn’t enough. So over these 22 days, watch what happens as you act your best, bring out the best in your spouse, be cool, take T.I.M.E., end E.G.O., talk about the hard stuff with your spouse, sacrifice, like your spouse (not just love), choose to be happy, learn to earn additional income as a solopreneur / entrepreneur, act now, be grateful, take a pilgrimage and accept that life is often crazy…you’ll discover an entirely new world and wonder why the rest of life couldn’t always be this way. It can. Now go.

BONUS

– We’ve created a new project called the #Ruckuslist –it’s better than a bucket list because you do it now, not later, and it’s about becoming (not just doing). Check out our new YouTube channel (nothing is there yet) and subscribe for some amazing new and prizes and videos coming soon!!! Click here: https://www.youtube.com/c/ruckuslist

– I’ve created a 37-page action guide to help you get a personal project going. Consider applying the steps I outline to a “marriage project.” You can work on something fun that brings you and your spouse closer together!

– Get your free action guide here.

Written by on September 26, 2016 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Family

Marriage

4 Comments post a comment
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3 Critical Lessons Entrepreneurs Need to Learn About Fear

 

Richie Norton Quote Fear

When I was a kid and learning how to surf in Oceanside, another guy in the water gave me some great advice when I was scared to take off on bigger waves. He said, “You gotta take your spills to get your thrills.” I’ve taken that advice with me in every new venture. It’s tough in the beginning. You’re going to fall. You’re going to fail. But if you keep going, it’ll be worth it. You gotta take your spills to get your thrills.

In that spirit, let me share with you three lessons I’ve learned about facing fear as an entrepreneur…because this is a critical topic that will make or break you. I’ve learned these lessons from both personal experience and coaching / consulting thousands of other entrepreneurs. My promise to you is that if you embrace these three lessons, you’ll have more confidence, more success and more influence in your endeavors.

3 Lessons Entrepreneurs Need to Learn About Fear

1. We’re all scared.

Yes, all of us. In fact, I’m afraid every day. If I’m not afraid, I must not be doing something I need to be doing. I believe that when you’re doing important work, you feel fear because you don’t want to fail. The challenge is to not let the fear stop you from doing the work that will enable you to achieve your goals. You need to recognize the fear for what it is and allow your “why” (your compelling vision) for what you’re doing be bigger than the fear itself.

Lesson: You’re not alone in your fear.

“We’re all scared most of the time. Life would be lifeless if we weren’t. Be scared, and then jump into that fear. Again and again. Just remember to hold on to yourself while you do it.” ― Emma Hooper

2. People who succeed are more afraid of what will happen if they don’t follow through.

So what’s the difference between people who don’t succeed and people who do? People who don’t succeed let fear lull them into the belief that they should settle for the status quo. People who do succeed transform fear into power and get to work.

Lesson: Be afraid of what will happen if you DON’T follow through.

“Feel the fear and do it anyways.” – Susan Jeffers

3. Achievers allow the fear of missing out (FOMO) to drive them to success.

Achievers are actually MORE afraid than non-achievers. Achievers are afraid that if they give into their fears, their pain will actually be greater than if they face their fears.

Lesson: Lean into fear.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Written by on February 15, 2016 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Fear

Inspiration

Leadership

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Tell to Sell: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling to Build Your Brand

Cindy Stagg is a rockstar client of mine that you will LOVE! In only a few short months she’s taken a proven concept that she has used with her business and clients and turned it into a #1 bestselling book! I did an interview with Cindy that I know will help you tell better stories, sell more products/services and build your brand:

Richie: Tell us a little about yourself and the book.

Cindy: Thanks, Richie! I’m so honored to be here. I’m a writer, and I know this sounds cliche, but I’ve been a writer my whole life. I grew up in Arizona, where I loved listening to Native American Legends in school. I was the kid who stayed in from recess just so I could write stories.

Richie: That doesn’t sound nerdy at all…

Cindy: Right! Well, I wasn’t into kickball, so writing it was! Anyway, I’ve been writing professionally for about fifteen years and started my own copywriting business, The Bright Words, about three years ago. I learned that the best articles were the ones that utilized some sort of story.

My book is called Tell to Sell: Harness the Power of Storytelling to Build Your Brand. As the title states, it’s all about storytelling and how businesses can use it to create brand alignment.

Richie: What inspired you to write it?

Cindy: I actually came up with the idea after attending a business conference in Salt Lake City last February. The theme of the conference was storytelling, and speaker after speaker stood up and told their personal stories. As I sat there listening, I realized that I was a storyteller myself, and that I could use that skill to help other entrepreneurs and businesses create alignment through stories.

Richie: Sounds like a pivotal moment.

Cindy: It was! You were one of those speakers, and your story inspired me to take my stupid idea and turn it into my smart reality. Nine months later, I have a book climbing the charts on Amazon, I’ve spoken to various groups about storytelling, my business is growing, and I’ve developed the Kitchen Table Phenomenon.

Richie: The Kitchen Table Phenomenon?

Cindy: Yes. The KTP is the process I developed for creating powerful stories. One of the things I discuss in the book is going back to your roots to start your story. My story begins when I was a kid. We had relatives from Holland who came to visit us here in the states. We didn’t have the internet back then, so except for birthday cards sent through the mail, we really didn’t have regular communication. When they arrived here, we were practically strangers! We had to get to know each other – and the way that happened was around the kitchen table. We shared meals and got to know each other through stories about each other. The kitchen table was where we forged bonds as a family.

The kitchen table is a nearly universal experience. Feelings of safety, belonging, and gathering are all part of it. When people feel safe, they’re willing to open up and start talking. And that’s when the magic happens. This is alignment.

So that is what I do. I’m an outsourced CMO of sorts. Perhaps I’m an outsourced CSO – Chief Storytelling Officer! I gather everyone within an organization around a table, and we flesh out powerful brand stories.

Richie: Besides the KTP, what else can people get by reading Tell to Sell?

Cindy: In the book, I discuss how stories engage more areas of the brain than say, a list of product features. Did you know our brains are literally designed to hear a story? I give several examples of large companies that have successfully used storytelling to sell everything from coffee to cars.

Readers will also learn about the elements and subtle nuances that make up the formula to telling good stories. Finally, they’ll learn about the three crucial keys that make up the Kitchen Table Phenomenon.

Richie: Three Keys?

Cindy: Stories, connections, and people. But they’ll have to read the book to find out why!

FROM BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Why Storytelling?

Are you part of the new revolution of creative entrepreneurs, trying to get yourself and your brand recognized? Do you have a great product or service but just don’t know how to get it noticed? You know storytelling is important to your brand, but maybe you’re just not sure what your story is or how to tell it.

Whether you’re a “one man show” or an established business with employees, it can be difficult in the sea of online marketing, viral videos, mommy bloggers, adventure photographers, and even foodies to get yourself noticed, let alone make your brand stand out. The old way of advertising was to offer a list of features, maybe sing a catchy jingle, and tell someone that they needed your product. That was a great formula before social media.

But things have changed.

The new way has actually been around longer than the written word: it’s called STORYTELLING.
Human Beings are naturally wired to be drawn to stories – our brains actually crave them!
In this easy-to-digest, actionable book, Cindy Stagg show you the steps you can take right now to tell a powerful brand story that will resonate with customers and align them to your brand.

By drawing on her own personal experiences, Cindy walks you through what she calls The Kitchen Table Phenomenon and gives you the three keys essential to powerful storytelling.

Tell to Sell gives you actionable steps you can take right now:
– You will learn WHY your brand needs a story and how to benefit from it
– Learn the three crucial keys necessary for powerful storytelling and brand alignment
– How to develop and tell a great story
– How to use your story to align both employees and customers alike to your brand

Tell to Sell is a quick read that will give you lasting benefits. It provides you with the tools you need to start developing your story. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a fresh way to sell your existing product or services, you’ll find plenty of useful information to get you on your way to brand alignment.

 Click on the book cover (below) to get your copy now!

Written by on November 18, 2015 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Book Review

1 Comment post a comment
  1. Prosper Show Jun 22nd 8:17 pm

    Every one of us has his own fear. Just like being an entrepreneur isn’t that easy because of difficulties that you’ll encounter. There are always solution on these issues that will sure to help you achieve success no matter what problem you’re having. It always depend on the situation you are in. Just be sure not to make fault for you to stumble upon reaching your goals and success as an entrepreneur.

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