Norton: Do you recognize the difference-makers in your own life? Are you one? (column) | VailDaily.com

Norton: Do you recognize the difference-makers in your own life? Are you one? (column)

Michael Norton
Valley Voices

What is it about those people that make a difference in our lives? Sometimes it is just the littlest thing that they have done or shown us, and other times it is something so profound that it has an incredible impact on how we choose to live life.

Thinking about the difference-makers I have known personally and some of the difference makers I have observed or heard about through others, I have come up with a few thoughts as to what makes up a difference-maker.

The first observation is that the difference-maker is normally someone who is a giver. When others talk about them and say something like, "You're a giver," they actually mean it. They are the people who don't "Give until it hurts," they give from the heart and give until they can't give any more. And they give freely of themselves and their time. They give or donate generously with their money if they can, too. They are simply givers. These are the people who truly would rather give than receive.

The next thing that is obvious about difference-makers is that they put others first. They live life with an attitude and spirit of servanthood. They serve at home, in the workplace, where they worship or in the community. These difference-makers give community service a whole new meaning and definition. When asked to help, they are the first to step forward or raise their hands to volunteer. When family members or friends need anything, these people are always the first names on the list.

And I think one of the strongest, if not the strongest, character trait of difference-makers is that they operate out of a basis of love. These difference-makers look for the good and expect the best. Their abundance mentality when it comes to love is over the top. The word hate never enters their mind, and it never slips from their lips. Kindness and happiness flow out of them, even under stressful situations, especially when they are making a difference in a sad or even tragic situation.

One more characteristic of difference makers is that they are intentional. They are intentional about everything they do, everything they want to be and regarding everything that they have acquired or accomplished. There are no accidents, and coincidence is not a word that they believe in. They help others in crisis because their radar is always up, and they are intentional about being where they can do the most good. These difference-makers are purpose-driven and passionate about whatever they endeavor to do in life.

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If we just review these character traits of a difference-maker, I am absolutely certain that each and every one of us can find at least one person in our lives who has delivered for us and made a difference in our lives when we needed it the most. Whether he or she was a little difference-maker or a big difference-maker, someone has come through for us as a giver, a servant, a source of love or by being intentional.

So how about you? Do you recognize the difference-makers in your own life? Have you been a difference-maker in the lives of others? I would love to hear your difference-maker story and maybe even some of your own thoughts as to what makes a good difference-maker at goto norton@gmail.com. And when we can be the difference and a difference-maker, it really will be a better-than-good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.