Do you ever wonder if you’re making a difference?
I promise this question, like an iPhone, comes complete with very practical aps, so I’ll repeat it – do you ever wonder if you’re making a difference?
It’s the kind of question we all need to face sometimes, both for career development and personal fulfillment.
It doesn’t help that we usually ask it when we’re frustrated or feeling sorry for ourselves.
Most often when I wonder if I’m making a difference, the next question might well be, “Why am I doing this?”
I’m not saying I confuse the two, but they sort of slop into each other, emotionally speaking.
And that’s a shame because they’re very different. One question explores what we’re actually achieving, or giving, and the other is all about what we’re getting in return.
Underneath the “Why am I doing this?” question lurks a scale of sorts, one that will measure what we’re putting out and compare it to what we’re getting back – and we think we know what the reading will be.
Here’s a hint – people very seldom get grouchy when they think their rewards are greater than their efforts.
In fact, I think people very seldom think they’re being over-compensated, even people who get paid millions of dollars a year to throw a ball around.
But no wonder we have a hard time assessing our impact, when we’ve got it all tangled up with what we think we deserve.
That’s why wondering if you’re making a difference has a practical application.
You know that the best resumes are full of fun info-bits showing and hopefully quantifying the kind of difference you made in your last position, right? The same approach is also useful in the future tense in a cover letter and interview, when you show prospective employers how you could make a difference for them.
I don’t know about you, but I find it tough to come up with such resume fodder. I’ve taken to jotting down notes as they occur to me, and saving them up for when I’ll need them.
So I’m going to try taking the “shoulds” out of my thinking, and concentrate on what I can actually observe.
I’m going to stop thinking of what kind of difference I should be making, and what I should be getting in return, and just look at what is, instead.
I think I’ll get a better reading on my situation as a result.
Please note that even though primo resume info-bits are measurable and quantifiable, that doesn’t mean all of them have to be tangible.
For example, good nurses make a huge difference in their patients’ emotional state, and that’s tough to measure.
But it’s not hard to feel, so I think even a “should-free” assessment of one’s impact can include this kind of information.
Once this information is gathered, you can compare it to what you would have liked to see – and tackle the issue of self-fulfillment.
by Danielle Dresden