11 Simple Ways To Make Your Difference Today

What if you could change the world today?  If you could make the world better, even by just a tiny bit, would you?  I hear you say, “Of course.”  And then I hear you say, “But…”  But, “what can I do?” or “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know how.”

Making a difference doesn’t have to be big, bold, or inconvenient.  Giving back can go hand in hand with saving money, saving time, and creating more peace and connection.  Pick one or two ideas from the list below – and try it! The ideas on this list may sound small… but imagine if hundreds, thousands, millions of us all did something small today to make the world more positive.

Tell me how it goes.  And if you have more you’d like to add, please share below!

  1. Speak positively. Commit to one day, or even just one hour, when you only talk about the good stuff. Skip the gossip, complaining, and blaming.  Instead, notice the positive in others, and take a moment to share it out loud. Ask someone about the best thing happening in his or her life.  Start a conversation about the things you are grateful for.  Share a funny story, some positive news, or a useful tip you learned. And if your conversation partner is having a tough time in their life, hold space for their story, refrain from jumping in with your own complaints, and give the gift of compassionate listening. Tip: positivity is beneficial whether the conversation is out loud or just in your own head! ;)
  2. Be the kind of person you’d love someone else to be in traffic. Have you ever had someone treat you terribly in traffic and it lingered in your heart all day, or the opposite happened and it reminded you of the good in humanity?Let’s be the change – in traffic. Let someone in, wave at someone to say thanks, give a forgiving smile rather than flashing a dirty look, and follow at a safe distance.  These simple actions can create a domino effect of positivity for those around you – and they also make our roads safer for everyone!
  3. Vote with your dollars. Not every shopping trip has to be perfect – but maybe you can choose one or two items on your next grocery trip to make a choice to benefit our community and our environment. Choose products from companies with values you support, buy local and organic, or simply buy less unnecessary stuff.
  4. Talk to strangers. I live in Seattle, and there’s a thing called the Seattle Freeze, meaning that we have a reputation for not being friendly. If you live in Seattle, let’s change that together! I once read a book that included an exercise of saying “Hi” to 50 people a week. I tried it.  It was quite a stretch, but I loved it.  I became more friendly, open, and excited about going places. I was meeting all kinds of interesting people and my life felt bigger and better.  If 50 feels like a stretch, start with one extra person today, or maybe five.  What’s your goal for the day?
  5. Ask someone for help. This might sound like an odd one. An exercise I was assigned in a psychology class in college was to try three things and note the difference.  Talk to a stranger, ask a stranger for help, and touch a stranger. Then notice the different impact each had.  It’s a wonderful experience.  I dare you to try it, and just see what happens!  It’s amazing!
  6. Lessen the violence in the world. We want less violence in the world and are horrified by what we see, but are we willing to make choices to make a difference? Sponsors won’t support shows and movies that aren’t watched. If you want less violence, stop supporting it and watch less of it.  This includes unnecessarily violent news coverage – you can stay responsibly informed without watching every horrific event on TV.  It impacts all of us and the kids in our communities.
  7. Choose one item, meal, or day per week to eat more healthfully. I had a great dentist for years, and I loved hearing the conversations around me while he worked on my teeth. One I have always remembered was about shopping the periphery of the grocery store. The edges within grocery stores have the healthiest items, with less packaging and processing.  Better for your health and better for the planet. Shop there!
  8. Be kind throughout the day. Whether you’re at work or interacting with someone in their job, take extra care to be grateful, gracious, and kind. Open doors for people, and be genuine when you say “thank you” and “you’re welcome.” Every interaction we have impacts us and the other person… and everyone we interact with for the rest of the day.  Notice next time someone does something exceptionally nice or not nice to you, and how you behave towards everyone after that. If everyone did their best at this, the world would be a much kinder place.
  9. Be grateful for what we have. It’s so easy to take our good fortune for granted. I had a big wake up call recently when I walked into the produce section of my grocery store and there was no lettuce because of the recent E. coli outbreak.  To walk into a store and see that big, empty row… well, that was quite a shock! It prompted me to think about my sense of entitlement not only to fruits and vegetables, but also that they are nearly perfect! You can make this concrete by writing gratitude lists, and taking an intentional moment to deeply reflect on what you are grateful for – even for something as seemingly mundane as lettuce.
  10. Volunteer. You have so much good inside of you – share it! Share your skills, talent, time and love. Maybe it’s signing up to officially volunteer with a local organization, or maybe it’s helping a neighbor without expecting anything in return.  For extra credit, team up with your family or friends to volunteer.
  11. Be present with yourself and others. We hardly connect any more, with others or with ourselves. We live lives of busyness and avoidance.  We watch TV or some version thereof, look at our phones constantly, shop, eat, drink, and multi-task.  When is the last time you just sat and had a long, deep conversation without interruption or alcohol? Make a date with a friend, partner, family member, or yourself to connect and be fully present in the moment.  It’s truly all we have!

One of my favorite books, “The Tipping Point” by Jeff Olsen, talks about how change happens one small step at a time until there is a tipping point, like with compound interest, where those small changes add up to something big.  Yes, this is about changing the world… and changing the world starts with you and me. Starting small can set your life in a wonderful new direction.  Pick one or a few and see what happens in your life.  I dare you!  And share your experience in the comments below… and if have other ideas for us please add those too.  Together we can do amazing things!


For Extraordinary Success…Own Who You Are

Can you build a powerful, profitable and impactful business in a way that works for you? Is there is any other way? Extraordinary Success takes owning what is unique about you; your values, your opinions and your way of doing things… and those challenging or quirky things that are uniquely yours. Embracing our humanity not only creates powerful businesses but businesses that empower us.

As an entrepreneur are you using your differences or feeling wrong because of them. One of the most powerful things I do with my clients is get them to own and value “their way” of doing thing… it builds confidence and empowers everything they do.

"In the end, solutions to big problems [will] come...by getting out there, asking questions, seeing things differently and finding the answers ourselves."

“In the end, solutions to big problems [will] come…by getting out there, asking questions, seeing things differently and finding the answers ourselves.”

As Branson said, “my learning disability has never been a setback — it actually gave me a great advantage in business… to bring a different perspective to problems and challenges… to see solutions more clearly… I would ask simple questions that others did not. Over the years, asking the simple questions and striving to answer them have become some of Virgin’s most important characteristics.”

“One thing that entrepreneurs have in common is a talent for seeing things differently.” He used what was different about him.  Entrepreneur Magazine:  “Richard Branson on Why Entrepreneurs Sometimes Struggle With Formal Education”

Take time to own and appreciate what you really have. Write it down so you know those unique skills, talents and passions, unique ways of doing and seeing things that are yours. Bring that to your business as you’re learning and mastering skills, trust your wisdom and instincts… learn the skill well but do the skill your way. When that voice in your head says, “This doesn’t sound right” or feel right, listen to that voice, to what you know. Then bring that to your learning and do it your way.

Imagine sales and marketing your way… a way that values people, supports their success, empowers them. And does the same for you.

As you engage your brain, your wisdom and trust your self more, your personal power will grow… so will your business. And we need more successful businesses run by fully engaged, values-driven entrepreneurs.

Here are some questions, and I’m going to ask them in the way that you may have heard as a kid that made you cringe and hide… but you are no longer a kid and it’s time for you to STAND UP BOLDLY AND CLAIM WHAT IS MAGNIFICENT ABOUT YOU, AND SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD!

So, what’s so special about you? Who do you think you are? OWN IT!   No matter what “they” said, your uniqueness is an asset.  If you want extraordinary, empowering and lasting success, you must value who you are.

Tell me more…

  • What’s great about you?
  • What do your friends and colleagues notice and compliment you for?
  • How could you bring more of your uniqueness into your sales and marketing? What would that look like? How would it feel?
The world needs you to be you.

The world needs you to be you.

Really imagine how it would be and feel.  I know it’s a risk and it takes courage but it’s your life and your success… go for what you want and create something extraordinary.

You were created uniquely. There is no one in the world like you. Own it. Use it. The world needs you to be you. Your business and your success need you to be you. You cannot have an extraordinary business and life if you are being ordinary (trying to be like everyone else). Own and use what you have, appreciate you and all you are… even those quirks and “disabilities” to create extraordinary success and have an extraordinary life.

Go For Extraordinary!™
xo Lisa


If you’re in the Seattle Area, my What Piece of the Puzzle workshop will help you get clear on what you have and what you want, and use that to create greater success (profit and impact) in your business. You can find my events at: http://lisakbradley.eventbrite.com/




Leading In Times of Challenge

Leading In Times of Challenge – How to use adversity to build and strengthen those you serve, and your self.

Think of the great leaders in history.  It was their very adversity that made them strong, helped build their team, their “tribe”.  This is your opportunity to go beyond your status quo and do something great for your self and those you serve.  The current challenges in your business and the world offer you the playing ground to become a better leader, to help those you lead become stronger and more confident, and to build a strong community to do something worth doing, and together build something extraordinary… here’s how:


When things get challenging, like the current economy and global issues we, as leaders, take it on.  We’re the leaders.  We’re suppose to step out front, know what to do and perfectly lead everyone.  It seems like the right thing to do but is it? 


I started noticing a pattern recently.  I was hearing it from my clients (executives, entrepreneurs, leaders and ministers) in their experiences, seeing it in leaders out in the world, and noticed it in my self.  As we were doing what we thought we should, we were separating ourselves from our greatest leadership strengths… trust in our selves, and connection and trust in the people we lead.


So I dug in to look at the problem, to learn and better understand the challenge.  I paid attention to my clients, the leaders in my life… and I looked at myself in my role as a leader.  What I realized is that everything had gotten harder because we were putting more pressure on our selves.  The more pressure we put on our selves, the more expectation we felt, and the more distant we felt from those we were leading.  In each case I saw and heard it expressed differently but the pattern I saw was… the greater the expectation we perceived, the more we believed ‘they’ wanted something different than what we had or are or were giving. 


The harder we tried, the worse we did because we’d quit connecting and hearing what was really needed, and we quit feeling supported and connected.  The pressure of our own expectation of ourselves and our fear of not being enough was building a chasm.  That chasm was leaving us with a feeling of not knowing what to do and not being enough, which was negatively impacting the power and outcome of our leadership… Sound familiar?  


For me, I couldn’t figure out what my “tribe” wanted because in my expectation of myself and my scrambling to meet that, I had disconnected from them.  And, as I wasn’t serving them as well as usual because I was trying too hard, they noticed my distance and discomfort.  As a result, there was a separation from them too… for many reasons including the very human response of wondering if there was something negative I was afraid to talk about, or if the distance was something about them personally, along with the fear and stress they were already experiencing. 


So instead of building this strong and cohesive team to work together through this challenge, we were all alone trying to figure out what to do…  separate and alone in a group.  Again… sound familiar?


(This same thing happens in friendships and love relationships when there is a problem.  Instead of working together, we can start feeling there is something the other expects from us.  If we feel unsure of what that expectation is and our personal insecurities come up we can get defensive, start to build resentments, or push away because we feel we’re not enough.  Creating more problems, instead of working together to build solutions.)


So what do we do about it?


You, the leader.  You’re not in this alone.


It’s not all up to you.  You don’t have to be perfect.  You do not have to do it all alone.  You are part of a team.   That’s the thing to remember whether you’re running a company, leading a team, supporting your congregation or are a political leader.  We are a team.  We are in this together.  Yes, we as leaders stand out front, and we are not alone.  If someone is following you, they want you to win, and they’d love to be a part of helping you succeed… if you have the interests of the group at heart.  If you don’t have their best interests at heart, you’re screwed and you shouldn’t be leading anyway.  If you do, use it.


Part of the reason I wrote this article (and do what I do), is that so much of what I read about topics such as this sound like a textbook and seem to forget that we’re human and that those we serve are resourceful and capable.  That they want to be part of something, to belong, and they want to win.  We aren’t leading helpless followers, unless we treat them as if they are and disempower them, which unfortunately was what I observed.


So, here’s the question… what would you want from your leader?  Would you want them disconnected, way out front telling you what to do?  Or, would you want them in the midst of the group saying, “We can do this.  We can get through this together!”?


Help them, help you.  Reconnect.  Remind them that you are a team.  Do this for yourself and for them.  This is a hard time for all of you. You’ve got a good team. They’re smart, capable people. They know what’s going on in the world. They understand the realities of it. They may not like it any more than you do… and that’s the point. You’re all in this adversity together, this uncomfortable situation that you don’t like. It’s not them and you; it’s all of you.  If you invite them to help and participate, it’s very likely they will.



Your Team      


People, especially when things are challenging, want to feel part of something.  They want a mission, something to do bigger than the problem, or to face the problem together.  They want a mission to focus on that makes a difference, and they want to feel/be important.  This is an opportunity to give them the experience of belonging and being important.  I’m not talking about a “mission statement” I’m talking about a mission.  Something you all believe in, that makes you all feel good about your selves to work toward.


I started coaching the CFO of a company that had just gone through their first layoff.  Moral was low, obviously profits were down.  The management team was scrambling and disconnected.  The employees were upset at management.  Things were going from bad to worse.  The company was falling apart. 


As I started working with my client, he shared that part of the problem was that this company (600 employees) was family owned and operated, and that the employees felt like a family and felt betrayed.  What I realized through that, is this company had great values.  And, that if the management team reconnected with the employees around this value, they could create a mission of ‘being in this together’ and turn things around.  They did, and that new mission, that was already there, gave the whole company a new passion and purpose.  This got things moving forward again with everyone on the same team.


As the leader, what do you really want you and your team to accomplish, not just in reaction to the problem but through the problem?  Adversity is our opportunity to grow.  How can you lead and use this challenge to build something new of you and your team, as a whole and as individuals?  How can you use and grow all of your skills and talents through this, to help all of you?  How can you go from fixing a problem to working together to build something extraordinary through the situation?



Creating Your Mission               


This is the opportunity for you and your “tribe” to use your present situation to go beyond the problem, even beyond your status quo and… (wait for it)… Go For Extraordinary! 


When I work with a client, whether an individual or a company, the point is not so much where they’ve come from or what the situation is, it is where they’re going and what they want to create.


Bear with me on this, I’m kind of a sci-fi geek… the best analogy I could think of is that moment in movies where leader is beaten, we think they are down for the count… but we hope… Then, they get back up to step into their power and become more.  Think of that moment in The Matrix where Neo gets up, flexes and becomes the person he already was but didn’t know he was until he faced that challenge.  Remember how through it all, his “tribe” believed in him and would do anything to support his success.  Now it’s your turn.


So, you’re all in this together, and this is your opportunity to use this challenge as a microcosm, to face this challenge head on and be strengthened by it… together.  To build something better than there was before.


Find your mission.  Think of your team.  What is important to you as a group?  Why are you together in the first place?  If you’re the type of leader that cares enough to have gotten this far through this article, there is something special about you and what you stand for.  What is it?  Remember I mentioned the company with the family values.  What is it that brings you and your “tribe” together, not just on the surface, on a deeper level?  Rally around that.  Remind everyone of that.


Then build your team.  Think of the individual strengths that all of you have. Think of what you want to build with them. Create a vision for yourself of how you’d like it to be. Reconnect and work with those you serve.  Let them help you, as you help them.  This is a ripe opportunity to rebuild your team in a new way. Come up with some ideas and some action steps of where you want to go, a new vision, stronger, better.  Bring your team together to help you all.


One of the things I do as a coach and leader is to get people looking forward. It’s easy to look at what we lost and what’s not working. Our job as leaders is to get people thinking about what we want to build out of the rubble, to start planning forward and even get excited about it.  An adversity like this offers an opportunity to reorganize, to build something… something better. What do you really want? What will you make of this new team of yours?


Decide what you want to build.  Then bring everybody together.  Talk about what you want to build… share your vision, share your mission.  Then tell them you want their help.  Tell them and show them, you (all of you) are a team, that each is important and together you (all of you) can work together and build something great.  That this does not have to be a time of loss but of creating.


Every adversity offers us the opportunity to face the challenge and grow from it, to become more than we were… as individuals and as a group.  Take on the challenge, rally your troupes, and build something extraordinary as a team… stronger and better than ever because… you helped each other go through this, you valued each other’s strengths and saw each other as capable and as winners.  If you use this challenge, you might just create the most powerful team you’ve ever had and you and your leadership could be better than ever.


This is our world… let’s make it great by believing in ourselves, believing in each other, and working together to do the extraordinary!


If I can help… you know where to find me, and I’d love to.  You have not chosen an easy path… and I know you can do this!!!



Also check out:  Leading After a Lay-Off