Success or Significance?

SuccessWorking hard from day to day, our lives just unfold. Layer after layer, page after page, we strive toward success and financial independence. And we’re certainly not unhappy. Or, at least if someone asks us about our job, we’re probably pretty optimistic. And then one day it hits us – we’re just not as passionate about what we are doing as we expected to be. Is this all there is? Is this what I can expect for the next 5, 10, 15 years?

Somewhere during our years of productivity, we will ask ourselves this question. It’s a scary thought. Have I been alluding myself all these years? Or have I just veered off track? Each of us is different. But before you jump ship and take a drastic turn in your career, consider your options.

Our resumes are full of our skills and virtues. They help reinforce our self-esteem and they provide concrete measurements of success. But what if our success was measured by the value we bring to others? When we focus on significance rather than success our passion reignites. Our jobs become more meaningful as we search for ways to help others. Focusing on significance doesn’t come at the expense of other areas of our life. Instead, it’s a challenge to round out our lives and make them fuller.

What’s significant for you, may even change from time to time. Depending on your position and your responsibilities, we can add significance to the lives of others and have even greater fulfillment in what we are doing.

So how do we do that? Some say that a good way to start is to think about what you want people to say at your funeral. (I know, nice thought). But it’s true. Few of us want the people closest to us to say things about our income level or mention the profit and loss statements. Instead, we would like to think that we affected people’s lives.

Making the change from success to significance starts with goals. Experts tell us that our brain is naturally a goal seeking organism – we want to achieve our goals. So start with how you want to affect the lives of others and list the goals you want to achieve in order to make a difference. Some of these may be short term goals and others will be longer. The short term goals will actually help inspire you and keep you directed in order to reach your long term goals.

Need help putting these goals together? Read our article below on Tips for Becoming Significant.  And if you’d like to engage your organization in talks on Professional and/or Personal Development, Leah M. Joppy & Associates can help. Give us a call at (301) 670-0051 and let’s discuss your needs.