What Difference Does It Make? Possibly All The Difference In The World!

what difference.

what difference. (Photo credit: moonpies for misfits)


Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State of the United States, famously deflected a pointed question in a recent Senate hearing saying, “…What difference does it make?”  Whether or not you agree with Mrs. Clinton’s politics is not my concern.  Asking “What difference does it make?” in the context of one’s personal and professional growth and development is one of the most powerful questions one can answer for oneself if we seek to discover a path forward towards one’s goals.


Insoo Kim Berg and Peter Szabo wrote an amazing book for coaches titled, “Brief Coaching for Lasting Solutions.”  In their book, they offer tips and techniques for coaches to use to rapidly move client’s forward in the direction of client’s desires.  One technique they recommend is asking a client, “What would be different in your life if you achieved or acquired what you desire?”   Also, “How would you know this difference has happened?”


Looking for the difference that makes the most meaningful difference in a person’s attitudes and behaviors is often the most significant clue to self-discovery.  Human’s are naturally “sometimes creatures.” We are sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, etc.. We are seldom if ever “always” anything.  What we often fail to realize is that we can sometimes learn most what we need to think or do differently from when we sometimes get more of what we want.


For example:  An Advertising Account Executive, named Ben is experiencing a sales slump.  He has been with the company for 7 years and has been a top performer in the past.  This year, Ben has lost a major advertising client and has been unable to acquire enough new advertisers to replace the lost revenue.  Ben is not achieving his revenue budget goals and his personal income, which is based on commission from his advertising sales, has suffered.  Ben met with me to talk about how he could find some new advertising clients and perhaps what additional training he could obtain to get back on track.


Ben:  I am hoping you can give me some advice on how I can find some new business in this rotten economy.  No one has any money to advertise and I am worried if I am going to make enough money to pay my mortgage.


Andy:  Let’s look at what you’ve been up to and what has been working and not working as you would like.  Ben, think about when you have been the most successful in attracting new advertisers.  What where you doing differently then from what you are doing now?


Ben:  Well the economy being better was a big help.  I had Big Box Brands as my largest account.  Things were just going my way.  It was almost like I was just lucky or something and now my luck seems to have run out.


Andy: Luck may have played a part, but in my experience, the harder and smarter someone works, the luckier they seem to be.  If you look at the other Account Executives in the office, are all of their sales down as far as yours?  Wouldn’t the impact everyone’s sales somewhat equally?


Ben:  I guess so.  Yes, some of the top sales people have grown their portfolio of advertising clients this year.


Andy:  So what could those top performers possibly be thinking or doing differently than you are that is making the positive difference?


Ben: Nothing specifically special comes to mind. They really are no better at their job than I am, or I guess I should say than I was before this slump hit.


Andy: Think back to a typical day when you were feeling lucky.  Walk me through what you did from the moment you woke up until the moment you went to bed.


(Ben tells Andy a typical past day’s activities.)


Andy: When you compare that lucky day to what you did yesterday, what was the difference which made the lucky day lucky?


Ben: I guess I was so much busier with the extra work that Big Box Brands required.  I had to prioritize my prospecting for new business into blocks of time, because I had to get so much else done and if I didn’t set aside time to contact new clients, it wouldn’t get done.


Andy: When was the last time you scheduled a block of prospecting time?


Ben: I’m embarrassed to say, it’s been several months.  Since Big Box Brands stopped advertising, I guess I’ve been kind of frustrated and I have not wanted to contact a bunch of new prospective advertisers.


Andy: Seems possible to me.  What would you need to do differently to be more like the top Account Executives and your old Lucky self again?


Ben: Book double the amount of prospecting time into my schedule and make it a fixed appointment.


Andy: Is anything stopping you from doing that?


Ben:  Just my own pride and reluctance to accept that I lost Big Box Brands and it is not coming back.  I need to move on I guess.  It’s time to get back to the basics of selling.  I know what I need to do, I just have not had it in me to force myself to do it regularly.


Often we know what we need to do to achieve our goals, but we may not have the motivation or the discipline to do what we know how to do.  The will to do what we know we should do is often the difference that makes a meaningful difference.


What goal have you been struggling with lately?  What do you do differently when you are on the path and making progress towards achieving your goal?  What do you do differently when you feel you are the most frustrated and struggling to make progress?


What can you choose to think or do differently that will make the biggest difference in your life?


What difference does discovering the most meaningful difference?  All the difference in the world!


Finding your difference that matters can be a spark to Fire Up  Your Life!




%d bloggers like this: