Q5 - What Difference You Make
Updated: Feb 9
Be as you wish to seem. - SOCRATES
The answers to this question lead you to a summary of your history as a difference maker. The end result will be akin to an informative paragraph or boilerplate used at the bottom of formal media alerts or press releases.
Difference makers are distinct. They know why their expertise is needed. They're clear on how they can bridge the gap, solve a dilemma, or address a need. They say what they’ll do to provide a solution, and then they do it.
The history of difference makers is the history of imagination, passion, hard work, and belief.
To answer the question "WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT," you need to uncover the following answers. What is your history for solving problems that helped and brought betterment to others? How has your work, interests, or skills contributed to a project's success, growth of a team, or the triumph of another? How does what you offer make a difference to an employer, a customer or even an entire generation? What makes you distinct?
To discover this, you’ll need to inventory the specifics of your accomplishments, your offerings, and the nitty-gritty of what makes you outstanding. The result is a summary of how your ideas and aspirations have guided you to where you are now, and how you can make a difference to others.
Helpful Tip: Ask yourself these questions: How have you helped others? What quantifiable results have you been responsible for achieving? What does your product do? How fast? How easy? How profitable? How interesting? Did you invent something? Did you develop a plan to overcome some obstacle that resulted in a breakthrough, either for yourself or someone else?
With this question of WHAT DIFFERENCE YOU MAKE, you set the frame of reference for WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO and why you do it—what you believe and how that belief has been a force in your goals and accomplishments. What you see and how you’ll execute on that vision, explaining how you're a difference maker.
Whether your goal is to define your expertise, land your dream job, start your own company, or to establish a non-profit, you already have a history of accomplishments that, when summarized, clearly tell a story of how you are a difference maker. In one concise paragraph, what are those details that bring credibility to what you believe and how your actions support that belief?
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – WILLIAM JAMES
See WHAT A DIFFERENCE YOU MAKE Through These Examples
Personal: Elon Musk recently explained how his ideas make a difference in the lives of others. He said, "I am a nano-manager who is intent on helping the world transition away from reliance on fossil fuels toward the embrace of sustainable energy sources so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. It’s my mission to help the public understand how the transition to a sustainable energy future can take place, advance science discoveries and technological capabilities, and inspire people from all walks of life and from all around the globe.”
Business: Apple, in describing the difference they make, states: “Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple's four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud. Apple's more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it."
To understand WHAT DIFFERENCE Elon Musk and APPLE Make, we can break down the two examples.
There’s context in establishing WHO YOU ARE. Musk explains he is a “nano-manager” who wants to help the public understand sustainable energy. Apple declares it’s a personal-technology revolutionary. Next, they summarized WHAT YOU DO. Musk stated that he could "help the world transition away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy." Apple “leads the world in innovation.”
There is clarity on WHY THEY MATTER. Musk believes he matters "so that we can imagine far into the future, and life is still good." Apple thinks that they “provide seamless experiences…empower people with breakthrough services.”
Both answered WHERE YOU'RE GOING by making forward-looking statements. Musk wants to “advance scientific discoveries… inspire people.” Apple wants to “making the best products on earth… leaving the world better than we found it.”
The result is an informative summary of WHAT DIFFERENCE THEY MAKE, stated in a narrative form. The format is simple, direct, uses facts and vision, and clearly explains why they stand out, how they rise above, and how they are difference makers.
When you believe in what you’re doing and use your imagination and initiative, you can make a difference. – SAMUEL DASH
Step 1: On a separate sheet of paper, use your answers to Q1-WHO YOU ARE and Q2-WHAT YOU DO as your guideposts to make a list of the accomplishments that best illustrate WHO YOU ARE and demonstrate how you have progressed at becoming skilled in WHAT YOU DO.
Step 2: Looking back on your insights from Q1-WHO YOU ARE, Q2-What You Do, Q3-WHY YOU MATTER, and Q4-WHERE YOU’RE GOING, write a summary paragraph that weaves into the narrative one or two of your accomplishments. Use Musk and Apple examples if you have questions about how to frame this.
Step 3: Using Musk and Apple as examples, write a brief, one-paragraph summary that, when read as a narrative, clearly describes how you're a difference maker.
You've done a great deal of work to uncover your gifting and describe the best in you. You now have the unique words that illuminate your purpose, invigorate your mind, inspire your imagination, and energize you to take action. You have evidence of how you have been applying your gifting in the daily activities of living and doing business. You understand how your achievements provide validation of your calling. You know the best you have to offer. You're already making a difference; it's time to give voice to the difference you make.