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No budget required to make a difference

3386629036_0b929ebb7f_zI said good bye to my patients and colleagues this week. Next week I move to a new job in a new city. It is always surprising what people say to you when they think they might not see you again for a long while.

They don’t recall the grand gestures or the major projects. Instead they talk about the little things that made an impression. Things that made them smile sometimes at your expense. Things that made you human in their eyes.

But perhaps that’s a lesson I should have learned on the 26th Jan 1986. It was a bitterly cold Australia day in Dublin. I was invited to celebrate with my Australian flat mates. As I stood there mouthing the words to Waltzing Matilda on a stage in St. Stephens Green I caught the eye of this gorgeous creature who seemed to be thinking the same thing. These people are mad! And if this is what Australians are like- then that’s where we want to be.

As we left the Green and headed home I unwittingly did something that became the defining moment in our relationship- I offered the girl my gloves. The rest as they say is history and frankly I had no chance once she made up her mind I was the man for her. And now almost 30 years later we are proud to call Australia home.

As you consider how to make a difference – perhaps it’s the little things that you can do that will have the greatest impact. The things that people will recall when their association with you, your team, your organisation or your business ends. Practice random acts of kindness, you don’t need permission, a budget or a committee to do that.

Picture by Ed Yourdon


  1. One of the advantages of my paper records is turning up pictures from the past, which always get a smile form the subject. That wonderful receptionist cuts them out of the local paper. It would be quite a simple tweak of software to offer opening up a person’s record at a scanned in picture in electronic records, to spend 10 seconds or so getting a smile out of them. It could be an invaluable clinical aid as well, to have a person’s photo for instant comparison with the face in front of you. I had an experience last week I’m not proud of, finding that I’d missed a gentleman’s Hb of 5.7. A good quality photo could have put me onto that.


  1. […] recently said goodbye to my patients when I moved to another job. One of my general practitioner friends […]

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