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Determined Difference Makers

By July 29, 2019Leadership

Do you know what distinguishes a person who makes a difference from another person who wants to make a difference? Action.

On the surface, that sounds obvious. But in reality, I encounter many folks who want to make a difference but never move past the good intention phase. In some cases, they can even tell you why the change is necessary and how it will improve lives, business processes, or a work environment.

People who truly make a positive difference are people of action.

Think about a teacher who made a lasting impact on you. It’s likely they went beyond delivering content to taking an interest in you as a person. Maybe they challenged you to do better or dream bigger. They could have been content to stick to an outline and a syllabus. It’s the extra step, the additional effort that makes a difference.

Two freshmen enter high school and want to make the basketball team. One girl wakes up early to work out and stays after school to work on her dribbling and shooting skills. The other girl waits until the opening day of tryouts and simply shows up. Up to a certain level of competition, natural talent may carry the day. Over the course of a life and career, it is a strong work ethic that creates opportunities.

One of my spiritual heroes from the Bible is the Apostle Paul. We share a common interest in starting things and I’m drawn to his willingness to take on risk. In one of his writings, he describes the attitude that leads to action.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect …” 

Difference makers never feel like they’ve learned enough, done enough, or that they can rest on their laurels. Growth requires humility. A proper humility keeps us from overreaching and overconfidence.

“… but I press on …”

Difference makers are determined. They know that change comes from leaning into the resistance, that we must sometimes apply pressure to things (or people) that are stuck. When life knocks them down, they catch their breath and get back up.

“Forgetting what is behind …”

Paul is not advocating turning a blind eye to the past or practicing willful ignorance. But he is refusing to be shackled to his past mistakes. Difference don’t ignore the past; they learn from it. But change doesn’t happen in the past. It can only happen in the future.

“… straining toward what is ahead.”

Difference makers don’t stroll through life. Breakthroughs and achievements take effort. They require diligent action applied consistently over time. If success were easy, more people would be successful.

Our world has more than enough people who want to make a difference. What the world needs is for more of them to take action.

Experience and Background

  • 25+ years of senior leadership experience
  • masters in management and leadership
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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