Monday, January 10, 2011

Be the Difference that Makes a Difference

I recently heard someone say “be the difference that makes a difference!” That simple statement gave me goosebumps- seven words that when combined are Powerful!
How can you make a difference in your team? Your workplace? Your community? In how you connect with others? How can you be the difference that makes a difference?
Here are five steps you can take to Be The Difference That Makes The Difference!
1) Be aware that everything you do (or don’t do), say (or don’t say), write (or don’t write) counts- it is somehow making a difference. Make sure your words and actions are making a difference in a positive way
2) To be the difference that makes the difference you don't have to be loud, in people’s faces or an agitator. You don't have to be powerful, elected, in a certain job or role, educated or eloquent. You do, however, have to be passionate and committed to making a difference.
3) Avoid thinking "it's not my job" or “that will never work” or “it’s been tried before” or “I’m only one person- what difference can I really make?” or “who am I to start the change?” Recognize that sometimes it takes one person stepping forward and taking action for the ripple effect to begin. It is just like tossing a stone into a pond. That one stone creates a ripple effect bigger than we can actually see.
4) Don't worry about the “hows”, instead think of the “why’s”. If you get caught up in the “how” of what you want to accomplish you may never take a step to be that difference. When you are super clear on the difference you want to make and why you want to make that difference, the how will become clearer.
5) Things don’t have to be perfect to begin making a difference. Change is messy, can be uncomfortable and perfect. If you wait for perfection, you’ll never take the steps.
Here are some activities that I have observed in organizations, businesses and teams that I have provided training or consulting to… people who are the difference making a difference!
• Coffee funds to support local charities
• Companies sharing their expertise with non-profit organizations (e.g. one company provides IT support, another provides support of their difference trades such as electricians and carpenters)
• Donating bottles and toners for fundraising efforts
• Sharing success stories
• Monthly team volunteer days
• Sharing talents at lunch (one team member leads a yoga class at lunch, another started a book club)
• Going Green activities
• Saving shampoos from holiday and hotel trips for shelters
These are a few of many examples! I look forward to sharing more as we move forward in 2011.

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