"Making A Difference"
Your Success Thought for the Week of May 3, 2006

I believe that people who set out to make a difference in other people’s world are fascinating. This is a value that many don’t have or have not yet realized. It’s not that opportunities don’t exist. There are opportunities all around us each day; we merely need to slow down long enough to see and act upon them.

Here’s a delightful example: Saturday night was prom night in my part of the world. What a fun night for those of us who are beyond those days to dine out. It is fun to see how beautiful the girls look, having spent hours giggling with their girlfriends preparing for that special look. And their dates appear a little nervous, a bit out of their element.

We had two such couples in our restaurant, dressed to the hilt, and while we had a breathtaking ocean view, they only were looking into each other's eyes. It touched our hearts as we tried not to stare.

One individual at our table who makes it a habit rather than an exception to make a difference in another’s world stepped away for a short period only to return with a receipt. She had secretly paid for both prom couple's dinners. Imagine their surprise when there was no bill for them to pay. I wonder what stories made it to prom and to the parents?

In my experience, people who walk by opportunities that could make a difference fall into three categories:

  1. I am simply too busy to be bothered with other’s needs: These individuals are blinded to the opportunities surrounding them. Instead, they busy themselves with their own agendas, ignoring the elderly woman struggling to open the door, the besieged associate who could use an encouraging word, or the child lost in a store.
  2. Who do I think I am? How could I possibly make a difference? These individuals mistakenly believe that making a difference means something huge that they are incapable of accomplishing on their own like saving children in a third world country. While this is a valiant deed, people all around them are in need of a smile, random act of kindness, or a dose of patience or understanding.
  3. I am immersed in my own petulance and simply don’t care; I have my own problems. If these burdened individuals would step out of their own sourness and do something - anything - to make another’s world brighter, they would feel so much better. In fact, why not send this to someone you know that fits this bill to cheer them up?

Here is an example of how to turn one of the above scenarios around to make a difference: In the midst of Ryan's really bad day, where he was upset with everyone, he accidently cut off a car in his rush to go through a drive-through restaurant. Though completely unintentional, he felt awful at nearly causing an accident in his being self occupied. The car was loaded with hungry children so he could only imagine how this added to the driver’s stress.

Ryan paid for their order along with his. This incident brought perspective to the tough day he was having, helped him to get over himself and his own challenge,s and lifted his (and the other driver's) spirits and attitude for the rest of the day.

There’s no telling if that driver, the prom dates, or their parents might “pay it forward” with these random acts of kindness. Did they spread the benevolence? We’ll never know, and that was not the intention, though it would be a nice side benefit.

What can you do this week to make even the slightest difference in some unsuspecting person’s world around you? This is a key to success: continually looking for ways to make other people more successful or improve their life in some surprising manner.

Have an outstanding week and enjoy your discoveries!


Ann Golden Eglé, MCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

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