Note from Vicki: This begins a series of articles–insights on Dr. Dana Perkins, the protagonist in So Many Secrets and Her Deepest Fear…
Why Do What I Do When Other Things Are Easier?
Making a Difference
There comes a time in every life where a person starts thinking about more than moving up the career ladder or personal ambition. There comes a time when we all start thinking about our legacy—what we want to do with our lives and what we want to leave behind. We think about what most matters to us.
Inevitably, most of us work our way through those rough waters and navigate our way into the unchartered, wanting and hoping to make a difference.
That difference can take many forms. Often difficult ones. But having charted our way to knowing what we what, we typically aren’t looking for the easy way to achieve our objective. We’re looking for the way to successfully reach our objective.
The difference we want to make is usually based on a need or a shortfall we’ve experienced, or someone close to us has experienced. Something happened to us or to someone we cared about and we spotted the shortfall, lived the consequences, and that lit a fire in us to do something to avoid a shortfall in the future. We want to make something better or just or to make a wrong right. Often so that no one else has to endure what we or those we care about suffered ever again.
Our ability to effect a change might be a long-term effort. Something we aren’t free to address at the moment, but the desire never leaves us. The fire, over time, burns stronger and strong. The light on it shines brighter and brighter. We gather information, knowledge, insight, proofs that we need to thoroughly understand the challenge. We trust that our investment in understanding will clarify solid solutions in our minds and that comprehensive knowledge and its insights will guide us in discovering the best way to resolve the problem and what we can do—our actual actions—then will make a lasting difference.
One of the things that haunts us all is a fear that we’ll reach a point of passing and wonder if we did what we were supposed to do in life. Did we fulfill our purpose?
If we did, or we tried, then we feel more comfortable facing the closing of our circle of life. If we didn’t, or we failed to try, then we come face to face with regret. Failing is fine. We all know that we fail many times in life. But failing to try…that raises a kind of regret that can be merciless and unrelenting. The benefit of avoiding that misery is just common sense.
To spare ourselves misery is why we should not look for easy. We should hope to make a difference. We should nurture that spark inside us that propels us to seek understanding and solutions. We should try.
Making a difference can but doesn’t always mean sweeping reform that changes every life. That may or may not be your purpose or your mission. Your mission might be to encourage or care for a single person. To help someone with no one else. You might think that seems small, as purposes go, but it is not small to the person on the receiving end who needs your encouragement or help to get what that person needs to fulfill his or her purpose. Yourpurpose is inextricably tied to the other person’s achieving his or her purpose. That makes your purpose imperative. Critical. The other person can’t do what they need to do without you—and who knows how many are impacted by what that person must do? Could be one individual, thousands, or millions.
The point is, there are no small purposes. We never know how much we impact others. Often we don’t know exactly what they need or what is required from us. But innately we will give it to them when it is most needed in a way that provides the opportunity for success for the other person. We must believe that. Know it. Trust it.
That is but one of the many things we learn when we feed the spark that grows to a flame inside us. Answers to questions we haven’t even formulated in our minds come. Once lighted inside us, that flame finds its way. It is an unseen beacon that draws those who need it close. That’s where your trust comes in.
And that is why easy is insufficient, but making a difference is always more than enough.