What kind of a difference can you make?
By Ken Schuman
My son, Andy, works in the marketing department of a professional basketball team. After Andy had been there about a year, I learned that a person (I'll call him Roy) who worked as my assistant when I was NYC's Commissioner for Economic Development had become the executive vice president of the company that owns the team. When I learned about this connection, I volunteered to try to set up a meeting for the three of us.
I was a bit nervous about making the call. It had been over twenty years since I had worked with Roy and I hadn't had any contact with him since. My experience has been that people with whom you've had past business relationships often don't return your calls after your work relationship ends. So I was surprised and pleased when I got a quick return from Roy's secretary saying that he would be happy to get together. I asked if I could include my son, which was fine with him, and we set up a lunch date for the three of us.
We all arrived about the same time. Roy had added a goatee but generally looked very much the way I remembered him and gave us a big hello. After we were seated, Roy looked at Andy and said, "Let me tell you a story about your father." I had not a clue as to what was coming. Truthfully, I didn't remember much about my work with Roy. He told Andy that, when he was working for me, because I believed in him, I had given him the opportunity to head up a major development project even though he had little previous development experience. Roy said that his entire career had been launched through the opportunity I had provided him. His success there had opened development doors which ultimately led to a top government position and to his current job.
I was a bit floored. I had not known any of this. It struck me how many things we do that seriously shape the direction of other people's lives and of which we are completely unaware. And by affecting their lives, we influence the lives of all of the other people who are affected by them. (In Roy's case, he had helped create jobs for thousands of people during his career in public development.)
As individuals we are frustrated by our lack of power on a macro scale (ending the wars in the Middle East, curing the plagues in Africa, reversing global warming). But it turns out that on a micro scale (how we influence the many individuals that we encounter in our daily lives) we can be, and often are, extremely powerful.
In our book, The Michelangelo Method : Release Your Inner Masterpiece and Create an Extraordinary Life, you'll learn how to increase your potential for such impacts. Chapter 2, Discover Your Gift, helps you to focus on and act from that very powerful place where your highest values,deepest passions and greatest strengths intersect. Through the exercises and the inspiring real-life stories in the chapter, you'll learn how to create the exceptional life that you have always wanted for yourself. And you will thereby become the vehicle for positively influencing those with whom you come into contact--perhaps without even being conscious of it. Because your actions will be generated by simply being the extraordinary person that you really are.
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