Norton: Do you know where you have made a difference, even just to one person? (column)
Once again, I have to say thank you to the community for your emails and responses. I truly enjoy hearing from you as you share your own stories with me. Your stories are the reason I am inspired each week to keep writing, so thank you.
Although my column and many other columns, blogs, podcasts and seminars collectively reach millions of people, I am confident that most of the authors and folks who blog, record or speak from the stage would agree that one of the most rewarding things, if not the most rewarding part of what we do, is when even just one person reaches out and let’s us know that what we shared made a difference in that person’s life.
Zig Ziglar would say it all the time, whether there were five people in the room or 50,000 people in the stadium: “This will be a success even if we change just one person’s life.” It is why we do what we do. And I share this with you because even though you may not write a column, post a blog, record podcasts or speak from the stage, you, and yes, I do mean you, can change someone’s life for the better. You have the ability every day to be a difference-maker.
One of my favorite quotes is by Dag Hammarskjold: “It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.” It’s such a powerful quote when we really stop and think about it. Of course, there are organizations we support and plenty of opportunity to help all people, but it all can start with just one person. And that one person can then become a difference-maker to one more person.
It is the pebble in the ocean effect, the ripple effect, and you never know what you can do or say that will start that ripple that will make a difference. Sometimes you will see it immediately, and other times you will hear from someone six months or a year later, or maybe even longer, letting you know what you did or said changed their lives.
When we live and work with the intention of doing our best, and doing our best for others, the odds are high that we will have a positive impact on someone’s life. As a matter of fact, I will bet that you already have made a difference and the world is a better place for it. And that one person for whom you were a difference-maker probably tells your story over and over again and you don’t even know it.
That’s OK because we don’t need to know it; it’s just about recognizing that we have the power to be a difference-maker and change lives in all that we do. A word, a hug, living by example, giving hope and encouragement, sharing a life lesson, giving someone a second chance, sharing our faith, offering unconditional love and forgiveness and mentoring someone through a tough situation or opportunity — all of these and more are ways that we, you, are already changing lives for the better and doing it one person at a time.
The truth is that people want to place their hope and trust in the people who have the ability to change their lives. Now look at the word “trust” again; look at the two letters in the middle, “us.” We are all in this together; we are all the “us” in trust. We may not even know we are doing it, and some of us are very intentional about doing it, but if we can all remember that what we do and say, each and every day, has the ability to make all the difference to at least one person, that by itself makes all the difference.
So how about you? Has someone made a difference in your life? Do you know where you have made a difference? As always, I would love to hear your story at email@example.com, and when we can remember that what we do and say each day counts, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.