Success and Significance

John Maxwell, in The Journey From Success to Significance (2004) talks about the distinction between being successful and being significant.  Becoming successful implies having achieved an end point at which point the journey is complete.  Becoming significant, on the other hand, is measured by one’s usefulness in the relationships formed, the decisions made and the actions taken over the course of one’s life.  Focusing beyond one’s self, significance is more than achieving a goal, it has more to do with giving, loving, serving, encouraging, helping and adding value to others.  It is a process, not an end point.  Put succinctly, “Success is when I add value to myself.  Significance is when I add value to others” (pp. 7-9).

Here are some suggestions he makes for…

…Setting the Course for Significant Growth (pp. 43-45)

1. Attitude – Knowing How To Feel

A sense of life as an adventure opens one to continual attitude of anticipation.  Attitude can make all of the difference.

2. Priorities – Knowing How To Choose

Focus upon your priorities so that you expend energy on the important things, becoming an expert in a few areas that you have selected.  This clarifies when to say ‘Yes’ and when to say ‘No’.

3. Vision – Knowing How To See

Based upon your values and priorities you are able to see beyond the present circumstances to know how to navigate them. For the believer, focusing upon God’s principles and priorities gives transforming power to see where we need to go.

4. Direction – Knowing How To Begin

Beginning with the end in mind informs the initial steps that need to be taken to get started.  The key: get started.

5. Creativity – Knowing How To Think

When we move forward with our attitude, priorities, vision, direction in line we can adapt to life’s hazards and obstacles without losing the important things.

6. Responsibility – Knowing How To Finish

Looking back, significance would then be measured by the faces of those who have been helped along the way.

The continual process of achieving significance requires stretching beyond that with which we are comfortable and reaching out for the possibilities, wherever they may lead (p.47).

1. Most people avoid stretching.

2. Most people want to be motivated before stretching.

3. Most people feel vulnerable when they stretch.

4. Most people need affirmation to keep stretching.

5. Most people don’t realize that the need to stretch never ends.

6. Most people look back at stretching experiences as their finest hours.

7. The few who stretch all their lives inspire future generations.

In conclusion, stretching requires an inner compass, and sense of direction and principles to guide you along the way.  As confidence grows stretching becomes a way of life to test those values and expand the power of their influence.

Marriage and Family Therapists can help coach individuals, couples and families in setting the course and guiding their direction for stretching beyond themselves.  At Southshore Counseling, LLC, we focus upon helping people manage hurdles, overcome obstacles, and reach their potential based upon their values and priorities.  Call (734) 676-3775 to set up your first free session to explore the possibilities.


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