Douglas W. Jones


This morning I received an email with the following story. It hit me hard and had me thinking about my own life. I began questioning myself, to see if I had made a difference.

And on my way to work this I started thinking of all the men overseas fighting and the fact that I have trained many of them. And I looked back at the many emails from old soldiers and friends telling me what they are doing now and thanking me, and asking about me and my plans. I am not the best at what I do, but I know I have made some good decisions. And the last one made was to try everyday to keep doing my best to make a difference.

The other evening a man was taking a stroll on the beach. Further down the beach was another man. After getting closer he saw that the man was picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water. “There are many star fish in the ocean and every day they are going to wash up onto the beach. Do you really think you can make a difference”? He asked. The man bent over grabbed yet another star fish and tossed it into the water, replying with, “made a difference to that one”.

This will apply to all in life. As Drill Sergeants or leaders in the civilian sector, we tend to get the feeling that we, because of all the extras added to our plate, no longer have the ability to make a difference. Or after cycles of doing the same thing over and over we start to feel complacent in what we do. And our desire to do it well becomes clouded.

Having been a soldier, a Drill Sergeant, a leader, and a father, I can assure you that we do make a difference. So when you feel that there is no way you can fix everything, and before you stop fixing anything, remember the above story. And make a difference to all that you can.

Your reward is the soldier or the subordinate excelling in what you have trained them to do. Not the pat on the back from your boss. So in your daily efforts be sure to remain approachable and do the job professionally, then if you have made a difference, they will let you know.