Making a Difference


I did not even know that Tom Brokaw was of Irish descent – look it up. But isn’t he right? I mean there are so many ways to make money. And as I reflect on my business career, I realize I chose the path which meant I could help more people. I remember sitting with a colleague, Brian, and saying we want to serve the middle class – that is who needs to hear what we have to say. The wealthy can pay for a host of experts. We can make a difference with the middle class who have never learned money facts.

Speaking is a way to serve many folks of all income levels. Writing is too. Whether I write a blog piece, email newsletter or article, my goal is for someone to learn something. I believe everyone can make a difference. We just need to know where and how our skills can be used to serve.

There is a special lady that you have heard about before, my maternal grandmother, Nanie. She made a difference in so many lives.

Nanie did not have an easy life, but she had a good life. She had five children and seventeen grandchildren. She left Ireland with one sister and one trunk in 1926, never expecting to return.

The very trunk she transported for her travels from Ireland sits in our living room, reminding me of what is possible. For this I am grateful. For her presence and learning at her knee I am eternally appreciative.

I was fortunate enough to give her eulogy. I wondered out loud about her trunk and what she packed in it for a voyage across the ocean from Ireland. What would she take for a lifetime journey? Would it fit in a trunk? More than that, I encouraged her loved ones present to share a bit of her legacy: hospitality, Irish Bread and family traditions. That would make a life well lived.

What difference do you want to make? What do you want to leave behind as a legacy? It may not be the riches you imagine. The wealth is in the lessons and time together. Set your sights on what is essential to your life rather than following a trend.

This St Patrick’s Day, you will find me making Irish Bread and tapping my foot to Irish music. May you too, find some fun and family traditions that bring out the best in you.