Are You Going To Make A Difference?

A colleague of mine was discussing all the ‘noise’ that we’re surrounded with online. It’s true, the volume of material vying for our attention each day can be overwhelming. She wondered aloud whether posting her articles and telling people about her business might just be contributing to that noise. Was there any value in adding her voice to the mix?


It’s a natural question or fear for a lot of us. Who cares what we’ve got to say? Is it going to make a difference? Everything of value has already been said or done by someone smarter and more capable, right?


But just because someone has done it already doesn’t mean you can’t do it again.


Do it in a way that is authentic to you, at this time, for the person or people that you want to serve.


Seth Godin tells the story about his friend Susan and her fear of flying. Susan was on a Delta Airlines flight and freaking out. About five minutes before the flight took off, the pilot came back and sat down next to her in an empty seat. He talked to her about his career in flying and was very reassuring. He also gave her his business card and said “Look, I see you. I hear you. I understand that this is causing you anxiety. Here’s my card. Anytime you’re feeling like you need to talk to somebody about getting on a plane, call me and I’ll be happy to talk to you.”


Think about how that suddenly changed the situation for someone who may have otherwise have felt isolated and helpless about her anxiety.


The thing is, Susan isn’t the only person with an extreme anxiety about flying. Less than two weeks ago I saw a couple who had to abandon their seats before our plane could taxi away from the gate because one of them had such a severe fear of flying that he couldn’t bring himself to do it.


The fact that a pilot had helped Susan in the past, didn’t help this man when he needed assistance.


Think how the experience might have been different for him and his travel companion if someone had sat down next to him with the authority of someone who worked for the airline and said “i get what you’re going through. I work here and I make it my personal responsibility that our customers get safely to where they need to go.”


It doesn’t matter that the Delta pilot had similar (or maybe more) qualifications, it doesn’t matter that he’d already sat down with Susan (and maybe many more passengers) already.


On that particular Sunday evening two weeks ago, this man would have benefited from someone who had the skills to be with him until the anxiety subsided and the courage and generosity to put themselves forward and offer to help.


Maybe in your area of expertise, that person is you. When you see someone who could tangibly benefit from your knowledge, experience and empathy, you have a choice whether you step up and offer it or not.


If you do and they say “no thank you”, that’s okay. Perhaps you weren’t the right person or it wasn’t the right time.


If they say yes, what happens next might just change their life.

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