you make the difference today

How will you make it through this difficult economy? I made the mistake of listening to about 20 minutes of network news yesterday on the way home. There were three stories in that time that completely depressed me.

These features all had the theme: “the unemployment situation is so bad that no one can believe the quality and experience of the people who are applying for the very few job openings.” Even lawyers were applying for a job supervising the kennels at a pet adoption service for $10 an hour.

I had three gut reactions.

1. I was very thankful that I have work.
2. I prayed for the people we know that are struggling with the economy. We know several very well.
3. I felt unbelievably anxious without any direct reason to feel anxious.

In those 20 minutes, we hadn’t lost any clients. We hadn’t had any unexpected expenses. We also hadn’t lost any more money. The only thing that changed was my emotional state (which tanked). And I vowed to get by the library for another book on tape to listen to while driving.

I did what I do in those moments. I prayed and focused on the things for which I am thankful. I thought about what I’m doing to be competitive and helpful to my clients.

I ended up coming up with three assets that I bring to the table in my world that are qualities or characteristics of me as a professional.

1. Faith. I’m a person of faith and that changes my worldview and my baselines for how I think and work. I have a set of ethics that are beneficial to my clients and to the Oneicity team. Oh Boy, I’m not perfect, but this is where I start.

2. Passion. I’m a passionate, intense person. I’ll plow through whatever is in the way. I will fight tigers and demons; slog through bogs and tundra; carry everyone on my back; whatever is needed for my clients. If I’m on your side, I’m fully engaged and will do what is best for you or go down swinging (and I’m not easy to take down).

3. Relationships. I believe that the interpersonal connectors are important. In fact, relationships are not optional or extras. In our world, meaningful results only come through healthy relationships with clients and our clients only enjoy great results through good relationships with their donors. Relationships are precious gifts and treasured resources.

I was tempted to put other things on my list. I have tons of great experience. I am a great strategist. I write pretty well. I can focus. But this morning I decided that the three are: Faith, Passion and Relationships.

In this time of trouble and turmoil, your organization needs your best. Your donors need you doing your best.

Tell me what you think. What are the 3 assets you believe you bring to the table to help your organization through these times? What are the big 3 for you professionally?

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credits: futureshape)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

7 thoughts on “you make the difference today”

  1. Wow!

    I know how you felt listing to another take on the “morning show with Debby Downer!” Even John Stewart, the Comedy Channel’s bastion of smart aleck-y takes on the daily news is pouring massive servings of negative Kool-Aid. We must be on guard for the old adage that ‘perception is reality’ because current perceptions are tanking faster than the Dow Jones.

    What are my top three?

    Optimism! I’m a hope junky without apology.

    Gratitude, this is what fuels my optimism. It’s pretty hard to stay stay down when you’re thanking God for all He’s done and is doing for you. And

    Family and Friends. The ultimate target of my gratitude.

  2. I’m a strategic thinker – what does that mean? There are no problems only different soloutions! I am a pro at finding a different way to solve problems

    Determination. I will find an answer or I will find who has the answer. This is a MUST in customer service

    A true belief that I CAN make a difference in someone’s life with my work. My students are my passion.

  3. not to answer your question directly (too hard for me to think about right now :p), but one thing that helps me significantly is knowing that what i’m doing is helping/affecting people to the core of their being.

    My last company sold software to custodial companies. I did not feel like I was helping individuals cope with life.

    But now, just about everything I do provides inspiration, help, tools, etc. to people who need it… and that really helps me keep on keeping on.

  4. My motto in life for several years now has been to inspire people to become a “Power of One” in helping people without us getting in the way. People sometimes just need the right tools or encouragement to succeed. Check out

    Plus in these uncertain times – donors need to be reassurred. If they see an organization go back and forth- then it might bring doubt. This is the exact time to develop REAL relationships with your donors – to care about them through prayer and mentorship. If they sense it isn’t REAL – they’ll walk away to another organization.

    I would personally agree with Steve’s qualities above – you can just count on him to be “ON” with his faith, ideas, and passion concerning our projects or other client’s. Very consistent.

    BUT – as I was talking to Steve – he wanted to take a swing at “what I bring to the plate”. I don’t think he agreed with what I said over the phone.

  5. @Al–you are so right. One of the reasons people like hanging with you is that you are optimistic. I’d also say that you have such good ideas that your optimism is well founded. Guys like you deliver! What an amazing thing. Thanks for your thoughts.

    @Gwen–problem solvers like you will always have a place in the world. In fact, as I think about it, the uncertain economy makes folks like you even more valuable!

    @Jason–I do know you are changing lives. I think that I’d have to say you are the right man at the right time. Glad to know you and get to cheer you on from the bleachers.

    @Carol–Thanks so much for chiming in. Your and CityTeam’s Power of 1 concept is so powerful. Just what people need.

    And as far as my turn at bat, didn’t disagree with you on your big 3… but my 3 for you would be:

    1. Leadership. You inspire the people around you to reach higher and deliver more. I know you do that for me.
    2. Mentoring. You consistently have a team around you of young stars who do more than is imaginable. You help them grow and run!
    3. Passion. You live your beliefs and faith–professionally and personally.

    How’s that?

  6. OK my professional two (cannot think of three):

    Intensely passionate about my work and my clients. It is amazing to me to consider that if I do my work right, my clients can do their work better.

    Resourceful. I am blessed with a wonderful professional network and won’t hesitate to chase down something (or someone) I don’t already know.

    (A few years ago, I would have said “my drive” — but as a recovering workaholic who really missed out on some great family time, I’m less driven now by choice.)

  7. @Hoots, I think you’re dead-on, very aware. Um, it is supposed to be 3. I think the third would “multi-tasking.” I’ve never worked with anyone who could do so many things at one time–and do them right! Multi-tasking. That’s #3.
    Hey, thanks for commenting.

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