Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Are you ready to be a difference maker?

What kind of friend are you? Are you the person people come to when they are in a trouble? Are you the person they can confide in when they are hurting? Are you the person who will be there for them when they need it most? Are you?

Let me begin by saying, those kinds of friends are invaluable, they are the difference makers in our lives. They keep us grounded in reality, and it’s their advice we seek first when we need to make a big decision or when we need someone to tell us the truth, even if it hurts. Here is the question; do you want to be that friend? Are you willing to take action? Do you want to go deeper to help someone?

I would like to think of myself as someone you could count on when things go south, but when I look back at the many opportunities I had to really make a difference in someone’s life, I didn’t act. I said to myself I was too busy or too uncomfortable with the situation or I didn’t have anything meaningful to say to that person at that time. Those are all excuses, and not very compelling ones at that.

Having just attended the Thrive Leadership Conference in Granite Bay, I kept coming back to one idea many of the speakers touched upon, being a difference maker. When we see all the hurting people and suffering in the world, we want to do something about, and we should. But how do you start? Really, how do you start to help a few billion people around the world? Here is what I think, for what its worth. Look at the person next to you, ask them how they are doing, and don’t take ‘fine’ for an answer.

Folks, we are all great actors. At some of the lowest points in my life, I looked outwardly like I had the whole world by the tail. We are so good at covering up our pain and our worries that those around us, even those closest to us, have no idea what we are going through.

Here is a simple way that could help lift the mask off and help make a difference; Ask a friend how they are doing, when they answer ‘fine’, ask them “are you sure?” It’s amazing to me how those three words can give someone permission to start a real conversation. If you are ready, if you really want to know how your friend is doing, ask them like you mean it. Listen to them, don't try to fix anything, don't go Dr. Phil on them, just listen, be there for them. Answers can come later, just be there for them.

Like that 70's song goes, "we all need somebody to lean on". You can be that somebody, if you choose to be.

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