Key Characteristics of People Who Make a Difference

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Key characteristics of people who make a difference.
What do you think of when you hear the word commitment?
Perhaps you picture a loving husband caring for his invalid wife. Maybe you envision a business owner who puts her resources and reputation on the line to lead her company through a crisis. Perhaps you see a dedicated teacher who spends hours of his own time tutoring underprivileged children. Or maybe the scene that comes to mind is one of a group of soldiers who willingly enters harm's way to protect their countrymen. These are all wonderful examples of commitment. But have you considered the fact that individuals who act in less admirable ways also are committed? People who watch the clock at work are committed to making it through the day so they can go home. People who spend most of their free time in front of the television are committed to taking life easy. People who cheat on their income taxes are committed to beating the system. Do you understand what I'm saying? When it comes to living a life of significance, the vital question isn't, "Am I committed?" It's, "What am I committed to?" Over the years, I've had the opportunity to observe many remarkable individuals who I refer to as "make-a-difference people"—the kind of folks you want on your team and in your life because they're constantly making positive things happen. As I wrote in the last issue of Leadership Wired, "make-a-difference" people stand out from everyone else because they are connected—to a great leader, to a powerful vision and to other people who want to make a difference. Another critical factor that sets "make-a-difference people" apart is their deep level of commitment in four key areas: 1. Make-a-difference people are committed to excellence.

Conforming to someone else's standard of excellence isn't an option; they set their own bar, and they set it high. If you want to be a difference-maker, your bar of excellence should be higher than anyone else's. In other words, you...
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