“It’s easy to make a point; it’s hard to make a difference.”
This is a quote I once heard Andy Stanley say during one of his leadership podcasts. It resonated with me because I see this play out often in my business and in other areas of my life. Whether it is in the context of business when you are talking about other teams or a conversation with a friend talking about what is going on in the world, it is just easier to make a point than it is to make a difference.
When you are in a position of leadership, there is no shortage of those who are willing to share their opinion, but often there is a shortage of those who will spend the energy to make a difference and offer practical solutions to real problems.
It is easier to “coach from the sidelines” than it is to be in the heat of the moment and make decisions under fire.
It is easier to look at another department or team and point out what they should do differently instead of working with them to achieve a common goal.
It is easier to talk about solutions than it is to get your hands dirty and drive a solution across the finish line.
It is easier to point out the faults of those around you than it is to look in the mirror and really take an inventory of your own life first.
The bottom line is it is easier to point a finger and point out how others should have done things differently than it is to spend time focusing on solving the real problem and engaging in solutions. How much time do we waste making points rather than making differences?
Difference makers approach situations differently.
Difference makers take risks even if failure is the outcome. Failure doesn’t define them but develops them.
Difference makers choose to frame their work with positivity. They confront the brutal facts with hope.
Difference makers don’t just complain. They offer solutions to problems they see or experience.
Difference makers don’t see themselves as the victim or martyr. They take ownership and drive change where needed.
Difference makers aren’t shy to step into the hard stuff and get their hands dirty. They are owners.
Difference makers move towards collaboration and away from silos.
All this reminds me of the famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt where he said:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
To sum it up, it is not the one who makes a point who counts. It is the one who strives to really make a difference. Which one are you?