Have you ever had someone tell you they are simply different and expect you to “get it”? They cannot understand why you donot “get them” at all. Whether it is a friend, co-worker or partner you are expected to simply accept their quirks. While many of us certainly understand this personality trait, there is a big difference between being different and making a difference.

When you think about those people who have made a difference in your life, their impact is, more often than not, life changing. Compare that to  people who have focused on being different because itsuits their own agenda. They put way too much energy into being different, standing out to just stand out, possibly because they need the attention. How did that experience feel for you?

The wonderful people in your company who, instead, make a difference are a positive influence on their coworkersand your customers. They leave a lasting, upbeatimpression that will almost always lead to repeat business or sales as well as having a positive impact on morale and the bottom line.

On a recent flight out of a local airport, two passengers became ill and had to leave the plane. The first thing several of us thought was“are we going to be quarantined?” I guess we could have thought“I really hope those folks are ok,”but that’s another discussion.Because we sat at the gate for a while, we needed more fuel, and the weather in Jacksonville had turned a bit ugly. In the end, we were delayed by almost two hours.

As I spoke with the flight attendant about our morning, she was extremely pleasant in light of what had transpired. I asked her if I could send an email or note complimenting her on the way she handled everything and simply thank her for making a difference for me that morning. She smiled, handed me a piece of paper with the information I needed and we were off. Only two hours late for the first meeting with a prospect, and –thanks in part to her positive attitude –I simply knew everything would be ok.

When is the last time you told someone he or she did a great jobfor you or that you really appreciated the service you received? It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to let someone know they made a difference in the experience you just had. Quite possibly, the service or experience will be even better for the people who will deal with that person after your compliments.

The bottom line for me that day was I had a great morning and a great client meeting. In the face of what could have been a negative distraction, one person, very early in the morning, decided to make a difference, to be pleasant, helpful and positive.

It made all the difference for me.

John S. Arnold is Executive Coach, Business Consultant, Speaker, Author (www.johnsarnold.com).  John can be reached at john@johnsarnold.com or 954.796.6001.