I’m on vacation this week in Rhode Island, and there’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about: The receptionist at my dentist’s office. 

Yes, really. She’s what a ray of sunshine would be in human form. Warm, connected, reliable. You could try to cover her up with the moon, but nothing can eclipse her megawatt greeting: “Hello, how are you today? Don’t you look wonderful!”

Every time I go in for a teeth cleaning, I want to know more about her. I want to know about her life. Is she a mom or a wife or a grandma? Does she floss every night or is she pretending like the rest of us? She has to be someone her community loves.

Then I think this: She could be doing more than sitting behind that receptionist desk. She could be a life coach, a brilliant one.

There could be lives she impacts beyond the my dentist’s office, more with her smile and cheery voice than she could right here.

That’s when I have to remind myself of something: No matter what you’re doing in life, you’re impacting the people around you. You don’t need to be a coach, a doctor, or an artist to do that.

It’s funny because people will often tell me that they want to make a difference and they want their profession to be something they love. That working a desk job is something to get away from and you must leap toward something else. Something bigger. 

But the thing is: You can make a difference anywhere, no matter what you do to make a living. You can bloom where you’re planted.

Heck, in a documentary called Larger Than Life, one of the people interviewed said Carol Channing would still be Carol Channing even if she worked at McDonald’s.

The idea of the original Hello Dolly! serving up that brilliant smile and signature voice into the loudspeaker sounds like my kind of fast food.

Maybe that’s how my dental receptionist feels: She’s making a difference right where she is, and that’s where she needs to be. 

And who knows what she does when the dentist’s office is closed?

You can make a difference making donuts, being happy and engaged with people.

You can make a difference saying hello to people at the dentist’s office. 

How about you: Who makes an impact in your life in big and small ways?

Until next time, keep that luscious heart.