Make a Difference!

My twelfth and final in a series of posts in response to Tim Ford's #EntryLevel Challenge.


The lowest points in my career have been when I've lacked focus and follow-through. The best have been when I was energized by clear vision and committed myself toward scary goals. A good example is my first-ever book project that I committed to in 1996. 

My books opened doors to meeting many other authors and influential people. One meeting in particular stands out, and that was with Rich Niemiec in 1999, at a small conference center in the Chicago suburbs. Rich signed his book for me that day, and I've never forgotten three of the words that he wrote: "Make a difference". There were more words, but it's that one phrase that has never left me. Rich made a difference that day. 

“Make a difference”

— Rich Niemiec, Chicago, 1999

It's this idea of making a difference that I want to leave you with. Because the best moves you can make in your career aren't technical at all. The best moves you can make are to look around, find ways to help others grow and succeed, and work to make those things happen. 

Take my good friend George Anderson as an example. He worked hard this year toward creating the Upper Peninsula's first-ever chapter in the Professional Association of SQL Server. Now we have an active user group and a growing community of people who are connecting and learning together. 

“The real moment of commitment came when I realized I had been looking for a way to improve myself and my community for some time ... the area could benefit from a user group, and I had the combination of knowledge, skills, time, and desire to create one. ”

— George Anderson, Jr., Iron Mountain, 2016

Committing is scary, because you might fail. Do it anyway. Because you might succeed. 

January 2016 saw me promising to myself to write one post per month for one year toward Tim Ford's #EntryLevel Challenge. Why did I commit? Because I wanted to make a difference. Tim's blog post fired my imagination. I saw an opportunity to make a difference and help others, and I chose to be a part of what Tim was working to make happen. 

January 2017 is upon us. What will you do? Will you make a difference?