And sometimes we even have differences that are perceived by others as weaknesses. Even those differences can be used to make a difference for others. When I was a corporate executive with Walmart, we had quarterly board of directors meetings. One of our directors was John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, the company that makes the hardware on which the internet runs.
Chambers always impressed me by his friendly manner and his perceptive observations. Over the years, he has been recognized in many ways. He was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” one of the best CEOs in the world in several lists, and Best Boss in America by Business Week.
But here’s something else you should know about John. Several years ago, Cisco had a “bring your child to work day.” The kids would ask him all sorts of questions, from "How much do you make?" to "Are you good at your job?” One little girl tried to ask a question but couldn't get it out. She started to tear up and finally said "I have a learning disability." John said: "So do I. Take your time."(source
Over the years, there have been a lot of articles about how Chambers overcame his dyslexia. Some of the things he does to compensate for hisdyslexia probably have a lot to do with his success as a CEO. He says “I'll leave 40 or 50 voicemails a day. I do them on the way to work and coming back from work.” He prefers speaking with people to sending emails or letters. You can’t hear the emotion in an email, but you can when you speak with someone. These personal touches may have a lot to do with John’s success as a CEO and with his being named the “Best Boss in America.”
Sometimes life throws you a curveball that you really aren’t ready for. Take Kris Carr, for example. This vibrant young woman was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage 4 cancer in 2003. Fighting back, she has turned her ordeal into an inspiring, entertaining and sometimes humorous look at dealing with a terminal disease. Her first book, Crazy Sexy Cancer, was a best seller and she’s turned her disease into a career with a web site (http://crazysexylife.com/), speaking engagements around the nation, TV appearances and a documentary. There’s no question that getting stage 4 cancer when you’re 31 years old stinks. But she’s found a way to embrace each day with a zeal that is contagious, while educating others about living a healthy lifestyle.
Every instrument in an orchestra makes music, but think how boring the orchestra would be if everyone played the flute or if everyone played the violin. Together, though, all of the different instruments combine to create something remarkable and beautiful. Everyone has different personalities, different strengths, and different hobbies. Created in God’s image, we all have our unique value. We are all gifted in various ways. Even differences that we view as challenges or difficulties can provide us with the strength of character or the unique perspective or special gifts to help others in unexpected ways. Each of us can make a difference to others in how we choose to live our lives from day to day.