Unknown Doesn’t Mean Without Impact

Unknown but not without impact

I watched the 2021 Presidential inauguration wanting to hear President Biden’s address. As a bonus, I saw the first female Vice President sworn in, heard an amazing rendition of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga, and found myself spellbound as Amanda Gorman recited We Climb the Hill. But, I have to admit, the unknown man cleaning the podium, since dubbed the “Sanitizer-in-Chief,” also made quite an impact on me.

“Bloom where you are planted.” Saint Francis de Sales

Tim Ryan entered prison addicted to heroin. Instead of continuing to abuse drugs (he told me it was as easy to find inside as it had been on the streets), he used his time to bloom and grow. He entered recovery and outlined a plan to help others struggling with addiction. Upon release, he started A Man in Recovery Foundation. Today, he has a huge impact on  others by taking what he learned–even when planted in the shade of a prison cell–to save lives.

The “Sanitizer-in-Chief,” too, bloomed where he was planted. He could have said, “This job is demeaning. I’m so embarrassed. Everyone is watching.”

If he had those thoughts, they never showed up in his actions. What we did see was one passionate to do his best job, both quickly and efficiently.

He reminded me of 3 keys to demonstrating passion and blooming where we are planted–



The right tools yield the best results

While you might have multiple priorities, only one can fill your top spot. Know what is important in the moment, and give that your full, non-multitasked attention. Don’t give into distractions or wish yourself elsewhere. Keep your eyes on your #1 until you’ve finished. Then move on to the next one. To make a positive impact, do one thing well instead of several things poorly.


Every job requires special tools. If your job is to clean a podium, have bleached wipes ready. An author? Carve out time and space to think…and write! When you’re a leader, equip yourself with communication skills, honesty, and engagement. If you want to achieve solid impact on a nail, reach for a hammer.


Viktor Frankl archives

Even if your priorities are dictated by others and you don’t have all the tools within reach, you get to choose how you show up. If you act embarrassed, others will see you as embarrassed. But if you show up with pride and professionalism, others will treat you accordingly.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~Viktor Frankl

“Sanitizer-in-Chief,” you made a strong, positive impression on me. And thank you for choosing to take your role seriously, bringing the right tools, and showing up with the best attitude!

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