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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Churchill [Click to Tweet.]


driver_jamesIt was after midnight before my plane landed.

We taxied toward our gate. The door opened and we waited for the captain to let us unbuckle. We stood in the aisle and waited for those in front to grab their bags.

Having had an early meeting before a flight into Chicago, an afternoon speaking engagement and dinner with a client: I was totally spent.

As I finally walked toward baggage claim, I was greeted by a gentleman with an overcoat, huge smile and sign with my name on it.

“Mr. O’Leary? I’ve been waiting for you! Let me grab your bags and get you to your hotel.”

James and I walked to his car and chatted about our days. We talked about his four girls, seven grandchildren and passion for football (he coached and played). We talked about interesting clients he’s driven; and how the most memorable generally aren’t celebrities, but normal people.

I asked him to share his favorite driving experience.

James shared that it was when he chauffeured a funeral procession. The widow, his sole passenger, had lost her husband. Her sons were the pallbearers, and somehow everyone but this woman was already with the casket at the grave site. Not wanting her to feel alone, he opened her door, took her arm and asked if it would be okay if he walked with her.

James shared that being able to be with someone at a time like that was a moment he’ll never forget.

“John,” he said, “I could retire. But I love the work. I love my passengers. I love seeing different parts of our town. I even love my boss. And I love knowing that my work makes a difference. How many people are lucky enough to feel that way?”

My friends, I’ve had hundreds of drivers. They have a difficult job. The hours are long, the pay isn’t great. Traffic jams, weather issues, demanding bosses and difficult passengers. It would be easy to be irritable and indifferent.

The difference between James and the innumerable other drivers I’ve had is he chose to be happy and he strived to make the experience a gift for his clients.

So whether you drive clients to the airport or kids to school, whether you lead a large organization or a family of one, embrace your responsibility to make the best of your day, your work and your life. [Click to Tweet.]

It will breathe life into your day – and those lucky enough to be driven by you.

Drive life like James. And stay on fire.

What is one example of how you will “drive life like James” today? Please share your answer with me and the Rising Above community in the comments below.

0 replies on “Making a Difference v. Making a Living”

Today I will make my children feel welcome and cared for in our home. I will pray for my husband and put my priorities in line with what is best for my family.

Today I will strive to give my all at work. We are at a crossroads right now with our team and I need to remember to give my all especially when we need it most.

Each day I strive to remember to be present to everyone I meet, looking them in the eyes and pausing to smile. At the end of each day, I take time to remember that for which I am grateful. It’s really the “little” things that make the difference. It’s very much being influenced by others.

My job is to enable process and structure to help our team. Today, I will help others understand the “why” so we can work together to improve the result.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.