Folks, something happened a few weeks ago, and you probably saw it on Facebook. I shared a video with 10 people, about sending young Jayden to the circus, and within days, more than 7,500 people had viewed it, shared it, and commented on it. I jokingly asked a question about useless metrics in life. Meaning, “Who gives a shit, if you’re not making impact?”
If you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it at Here.
Seeing the positive reaction from the video, it just made me realize that as a group, as a community – my friends…you…I – we have the ability to do so much more.
Recently I had the chance to listen to Jeff Hoffman, a founder of Priceline.com, and hear his story about realizing the power that we all have to do more.
Jeff tells a story about sitting at home alone one night, watching television. A news story comes on and all of these women are shown crying. The women were living in a shelter for abused women, which had run out of money. The shelter was closing, as the owners were being evicted.
Jeff had an initial reaction not unlike most of us. He didn’t want to see that. How depressing, he thought. The news anchor came back to say, “Coming up next, sports”, and Jeff felt a small sense of relief that he wouldn’t have to see that anymore.
As he flipped to another channel, he thought to himself: Man, they should help those women. They should do something.
Just then, it hit him. He bolted up out of his chair, and wrote on the wall: “THERE IS NO ‘THEY’.” Because if everyone watching this news report says “they” should do something, who does something?
“They” do not exist. It’s we. It’s us. “They” don’t solve problems, we do.
Most people want to make a difference, and impact others. But they simply don’t think they can make a large enough difference, or they wait until they have “more money” or “more time”.
So my good friend Ryan Fletcher and I have decided to stop talking about it, and start doing something about it. This January, we launch Impact Club™ Temecula, here in our city. The premise is simple: Once per quarter, 100 members, we meet for an hour. We connect. Have a drink. We solve problems, to impact lives in our community. Three nominated charities are selected to present. Based on their presentations, each member then votes. The charity with the most votes receives a $100 check from each member of Impact Club™. 100 members x $100 = $10,000 donation/Impact. Through small donations, as a group of impact venture capitalists, we make a huge impact. Over the course of a year, a $40,000 impact is made in our community.
My friend Jon Vroman, founder of the Front Row Foundation (the charity that sent Jayden to the circus), tells a great story about the ability we all have to make impact on the world, through small actions.
Jon was driving down the road one day, when he came up to a toll booth. He handed $3 to the woman working in the booth, and as he handed her the money, she looked back at him, took the money and said, “Hey sweetie, how are you doing?” Jon looked back at her and he said, as most of us would, “I’m excellent.” She looked back at Jon and yelled, “No!”
She paused. Two seconds, three seconds, five seconds went by.
Jon didn’t know what he had done wrong. What happened? How did he offend her?
She looked at him, grinned, throws one hand in the air, and yelled,
“YOU! …are SUPER FANTASTIC!”
Jon has never been able to forget that moment. This woman challenged him. “No, you are not excellent. You are SUPER FANTASTIC!” Jon wondered, Does she do this to every single car? Can you imagine, eight hours, every single car, yelling, “YOU! …are SUPER FANTASTIC!” How many times could a person do that?
Sure enough, years later, Jon got his answer to that question while watching TV. A McDonald’s commercial came on. In the middle of the golden arches: the toll booth worker yelling, “Try it! It’s SUPER FANTASTIC!”
Some people who work in a toll booth and ask, “What difference can I make?”
It sounds like this, all through life: I just got hired, what difference can I make? I’m only the assistant manager, not the manager, what difference can I make? I’m the manager but I don’t own the company, what difference can I make? I own the company, but I’m not the governor, what difference can I make? I’m the governor, but I’m not the president, what difference can I make? I’m the president of this country, but I don’t rule the universe, what difference can I make? The victim mentality goes on and on.
Except this woman over here said,
“I work in a toll booth, what difference CAN I make?
So when I ask half heartedly in a video, “Who gives a shit about how many homes we sell?”, the answer is always going to be the same:
But when I ask who gives a shit enough to make a difference, I hope YOU do. I hope we can be the “they” that the world has been waiting for.
What difference can WE make?