• What Drives You? Striving to Make a Difference

      By: Jessica Lawrence
      What drives you? Is the purpose of life to be happy? What does that even mean? Gary Keller discusses it in his book, The One Thing. Here’s what he says:
      “I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
      ― Gary KellerThe ONE Thing
      I would argue that if we are useful, responsible, and compassionate, we will be gratified more deeply and the end result is truer happiness. So while striving to make a difference could be the purpose of life (which I think it should be), then naturally we will be happier people, and can look back on our lives with fondness and pride instead of regret.
      So maybe the point is that we should focus on the process, not the end result. Because when we focus on the process, or the steps to achieve our goals, then the finish line will naturally follow.
      One of the main reasons I joined Rica’s team was because she shared the same values of wanting to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s not just about selling real estate, it’s about changing people’s lives and helping them achieve their goals. I think one of the reasons we get along well together is because of my community involvement and my own passion to help people achieve their goals.
      So how do you make a difference in your community? If you don’t…. you should give it a try. Here’s my story:
      When I was a freshman in high school, I was interested in joining the military. All by myself, I was surfing the web (using my AOL dial-up internet), and found out about the US Naval Sea Cadets, a youth program sponsored by the US Navy. It was a way for me to test out the Navy, without the 6 year commitment. I spent 4 years in the program in high school, and I would honestly say I am a better human/citizen because of my time in the program.
      Once I graduated high school, I didn’t want to leave the program. So I stayed as an adult volunteer, called an Officer, and spent two weeks over the summer and every other Saturday as one of the adult leaders in the program. Within a couple years, they asked me to take charge of the unit (50 cadets at the time, at Moffett Field in Mountain View), and I have now been running the group for 5 years.
      Over the past few years, we have grown to 75 cadets and 8 officers. We meet twice a month, and I plan field trips, training exercises, logistics for getting lunch to the kids, parents endless string of questions, cadets who don’t know how to wear their uniform properly, how to get 35 kids into 10 tents when we can only afford to purchase 2, how to make sure the cadets don’t feed my dog their pizza at lunch time, and not losing my mind when they march out of step. Joking aside, watching the cadets mature during their tenure in the program is extremely gratifying.
      So in response to Gary Keller’s statement, I would actually say that the goal of life is to be happy BY DOING what will make a difference. You should try it – you might not think you have enough free time, but the time carves itself out when you do something that helps other people. Trust me.