By Marie-Therese Phido
ONE Aha! Moment I had when I started to run my business and give of myself is the fact that you have a stronger opportunity to achieve significance for yourself when you work for yourself and give of yourself than when you work for a big employer or establishment because of the control you have. However, you can achieve significance wherever you are – whether as an employee or an employer of labour. When I came out of my ivory tower, I began to see that there was a whole big world out there, I had not explored. I also came to the realization that a lot of people were making significant impact with their talent and time by giving and achieving great results in their significance journeys.
Please do not get me wrong, it is great to work for a big organization and many people have achieved significance working in big organizations. These organizations play a pivotal role in our lives as they help in giving financial stability as you start out in life and sometimes grow and continue your career.
You get to understand structure, working with people and teams, learn new concepts and theories to apply in your area of specialization, and contribute to the overall mandate of the organization in order to take the organization to the next level.
The only snag here, is that we usually forget and subsume ourselves when we work for these organizations because we do not know that we can also think about building ourselves up in all ramifications separate from the organization as we work in these organizations.
If you are reading this and saying that’s me, because that was me too, then this article is for you. If this is for you, you need to take action. Start by looking at the lives of people who have achieved significance, they did not stumble upon significance they were intentional about making their lives matter.
Soren Kierkegaard said, “to dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself”. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world” and Steve Jobs, the ultimate disrupter said, “here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers, The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently….Because people who think they are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
As indicated above, the number one catalyst to achieving significance is to take action. Jim Rohn said, “One of the best places to start to turn your life around is by doing whatever appears in your “I should list”. John Maxwell said, “every time we choose action over ease we develop an increasing level of self-worth, self-respect and self-confidence. In the final analysis, it is often how we feel about ourselves that provides the greatest reward from any activity. In life it is not what we get that makes us valuable. It is what we become in the process that brings value to our lives. Action is what converts human dreams into significance. It brings personal value that we can gain from no other source.”
Living a life of significance will help you find your voice, develop your character and achieve fulfilment. I am on this journey and I know you can too.
Joshua Becker, in his article “Stop Chasing Success. Seek Significance”, gave these correlations on success and significance.
Seeking success alone, which is very good, without weaving in significance can be detrimental to our significance journey because of its inherent limitations:
Success ebbs and flows with the economy. As recent years have proven, financial success is always at the mercy of a national economy and increasingly, a world economy. When the economy takes a downturn (as it always does), so does net worth.
Success ends on the day you die. On the day you die, all wealth and possessions will be immediately transferred to someone else. And even if you get to pick where they go, the reality is that person is always someone other than you.
Success is never enough. Financial success will never satisfy the inner most desires of our soul. No matter the amount of financial success earned, it always leaves us wanting more.
On the other hand, compare the advantages of significance:
Significance always lasts.
Significance will always outlast you. Even when you are no longer present, your significance will still be yours. And nothing can ever take that away from you.
Significance carries on.
Significance keeps on giving. When you positively change the life of another human being… and that person changes the life of another… who impacts the life of another… who influences another.
Significance satisfies our soul.
While the thirst for success is never quenched, significance satisfies our deepest heart and soul
Don’t waste your potential in life, success is very good and should be at the forefront of what we do. But, remember to also seek significance: realize life won’t last forever, live a life worth copying, find an interest outside your job, realize that significance is not always dependent on financial success, read the biography of people who sought significance and start to mould your own story of significance.
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