No matter how successful you may be or what you’ve achieved, do you still have that longing for something more? You don’t just want to be great at what you do; you want to inspire greatness in others. That longing is a desire for significance.
This month, we’re exploring growth through the lens of significance and what it looks like to grow beyond success and pursue a life of powerful, positive change—in ourselves, in others, and in the world. But where does that journey start? And how do we know where success ends and a life of significance begins?
Success vs. Significance in Personal and Professional Development
At Maxwell Leadership, we like to define success as adding value to yourself. It’s a journey of discovering your purpose and pursuing your (or your team’s) maximum potential to reach a goal. But it’s still based on what you want to achieve and the value you want to add to your life—even if that value is helpful to others.
Significance is solely outward-focused. It’s taking your success and extending that to add value to others. In the words of John C. Maxwell, “Once you taste significance, success will never satisfy.” That’s not to say that success isn’t important. It’s a key stepping stone to significance. But once you’ve achieved success, there’s the inevitable question of “what now”? And if you stop at adding value to just yourself, you’ll miss out on the rewarding and transformational power of significance.
“Once you taste significance, success will never satisfy.” – John C. Maxwell
If you’re at a point in your life where you’re asking yourself “what now?”, here are three questions to help you figure out where you are in your journey to significance and what next steps you can start to take.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR?
Purpose and legacy questions like this one can be tough, but they are vital to helping you think beyond a success mindset. Answering this question will help you shift your thinking beyond what you want to achieve and focus on how you want to make a difference in the lives of others.
In his book Know What You’re FOR, Maxwell Leadership Thought Leader Jeff Henderson reminds us that in a world that’s so often known for what it’s against, establishing who and what we’re for is a powerful shift in how we approach the way we live our lives.
Start by asking yourself these questions: what are you known for now and what do you want to be known for? Then start thinking about how to close the gap between your two answers.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING DAILY TO GROW?
If we truly desire to lead powerful, positive change, then we have to take a look at not just our choices, but also our habits. What are the routine actions that make up our days, and do those actions keep us moving forward in our growth—from our self-care to our relationships with others?
What’s one thing you can do each day to fuel your creativity, challenge yourself, or equip others to grow and thrive?
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
We can’t always wait for conditions to be perfect before we set out on a journey. Life is too short to wait around for an idealized version of what we envision for ourselves and others.
So, what are you telling yourself that’s keeping you from taking the next best step in your life? Timing? Finances? Confidence? Relationships?
The reality is conditions will rarely be optimal. But you can always figure out what’s possible now and then start taking steps—however small—towards creating the change you want to inspire and the legacy you want leave.
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