The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” the song says. But that’s not true for everyone. For some, it’s the most difficult time of the year. Too much loneliness, too little money, too much stress, too little love. Maybe this is true for you. If it truly is a wonderful time of the year for you, what can you do to make it better for someone else?
Sometimes a visit, a listening ear, a bright smile can make a difference to someone who is feeling low. Be mindful of those around you.
Affirmation: I can make a difference.
Coaching questions: What’s something you can do make the holidays better for someone who is having a difficult time? What can you do for yourself if you are in need? How can you ask for help?
She wanted to be a shining star in the sky, ended up being a starfish thrown in and out by the sea. Tamanna, Indian actress known only by her first name
After a big storm, a young girl took a walk on a beach strewn with thousands of stranded star fish dying in the sun. She picks one up and throws it back in the ocean. A man walking by says, “Little girl, don’t waste your time. You can’t save them all. You can’t make a difference.” As she threw one more star fish back to sea, she replied, “I made a difference to that one.”
I’ve been doing little things in an effort to make a difference during this political season. When I stand on a corner with a sandwich board with candidate’s names waving at those driving by or stand outside a poll as a greeter, it often feels futile until I remember the little girl with the star fish. Writing a blog can feel equally futile. How many readers do I reach? What difference does it make? And yet….if only one, it is worth it.
Affirmation: One little thing can make a difference.
Coaching questions: What are you throwing back into the ocean? What small difference are you making? If you’re overcome by the feeling of helplessness, do one thing to make a difference — no matter how small.
Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change. Barbara Mikulski, former U.S. Senator
In the last few days, my blog was visited by people from Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, India, China, Ireland, Russia, South Africa, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States. The power of the Internet never ceases to amaze me. I started my blog on March 12 and have blogged everyday since (missing one day without Internet).
The blog was created to promote my yet-to-be-published book, Mom’s Gone—Now What? but it has turned into so much more. I know a few of my followers count on it to show up in their email everyday to read with their morning coffee. I do it for them. Some readers are the daughters I interviewed for my book. I do it for them. I write it for myself as well….to probe the depths of my heart and brain, to share thoughts that may resinate, to make a difference.
Affirmation: I can make a difference.
Coaching questions: In what ways do you make a difference? In what new way would you like to make a difference? Take one step today in that direction.
There is no better exercise for the heart than to reach down and lift people up. John Andrew Holmes, author
This morning I will be hitting the gym in an effort to keep my body strong. Aerobic exercise is good for the heart but I believe Holmes is on to something also. Just as finding ways to physically exercise like parking in the back of the lot or taking the stairs, looking for opportunities to “lift people up” also strengthens the heart.
Sometimes you hear it in their hello and ask, “How are you really?” or you see it in the tension on their face. Watch for clues that will give you an opportunity to exercise your heart and make a difference in the life of another.
Affirmation: I lift people up.
Coaching questions: What have you done lately to lift another up? How did your heart feel? What will you do to create or be responsive to opportunities in the future?