Tag Archives: success

Success vs. Significance

8 Sep

Ask most people what they are striving for and you hear things that relate to having a successful life.  How people define success, though, may be colored by what I call, “celebrity success” or what people think success is, as it’s defined by material possessions, often associated with celebrities.

I just received my new issue of SUCCESS magazine and Darren Hardy, the editor, presented this topic.  He discusses the difference between success and significance.  He defines a successful person as someone who has achieved five pillars of excellence:

  1. Business
  2. Well-being
  3. Relationships
  4. Wealth
  5. Contribution  

He defines significance as the positive and lasting impact on people, be they friends, family, neighbors, countrymen or even humankind.  Interestingly, a person can be successful and not significant, but they cannot be significant without being successful.  I find this fascinating!

I’ve known quite a few people who have had success complete with great lifestyles: beautiful homes, fancy cars, incredible trips, the latest electronics, etc.  In some cases, the success the world sees doesn’t always reflect what’s happening behind the beautiful front doors.  The lasting contributions, the reaching out and helping others, the relationships with people versus business haven’t been a priority.  When there’s an emphasis on “getting” and less on “giving” the success isn’t sustainable.

The lesson I took from the article is one that has me asking, What am I doing that provides lasting impact on others?”  I choose my work on the value it adds for my clients, not allowing the potential fee be the driving factor.  I put energy into the relationships in my life (family, friends, colleagues, and clients) and that pillar contributes to my success in the other four pillars.  I work on answering that question every day.

What does success mean to you? How does significance play a role in your life?  Are you putting emphasis on “getting” or “giving”?  Success alone is hollow.  Now may be a time to re-evaluate your definitions and pursue significance.  See what happens!


Let Your Superstar Emerge

19 Jul

Our professional growth is like a blob of clay that forms over the course of our life.  Like all masterpieces, the clay takes on different forms.  The difference, of course, is that the sculptor may be many people and, ultimately, we are the sculptor who determines what the final product looks like.  Where are you in the development of your masterpiece?   Is a superstar close to emerging or is your clay not much different than when it was first forming?

I’ve dedicated my life to being a learning professional and along the way I’ve acquired the passion for being a professional learner.  Each day offers a different twist on what I’ve learned or how I choose to apply it.  I’d like to think that my clay has the basics and now the refining and minute details are creating a shape that’s moving toward that masterpiece, at least for me.

How do we mold our clay to create a masterpiece that makes a difference and leaves a legacy?  There are a number of tools and situations that help us along the way:

  • Identifying the values that drive us and influence us.  Early in my career I took a values assessment and a key value in my life (then and now) was freedom.  I have refined this piece of clay in how I’ve approached work, knowing the type of organization and leaders I need to work for/with and what I need in order to grow.  When there has been opportunity to have freedom in my work, I have made the largest gains in my development and for the organization’s success.  Knowing what is fundamental to us is an essential first step.
  • Creating a circle of influence.   When you know the values that are important to you, you attract people who help expand your boundaries.  Think about the discussions you’ve had that challenged pre-conceived ideas – this is helping you refine who you are.  Surrounding ourselves with people and opportunities that help us grow compounds our success.
  • Taking action.  It’s great to have self-awareness and an inspiring group of people to mentor and guide us and it’s quite another thing to do something that helps us to be better people.  Learning and applying what we learn go hand-in-hand.  Unless we “just do it” as Nike implores us, our potential is just that, potential.  It doesn’t have to be grand action – that’s what stops a lot of people from starting – it just has to be action.  Make a plan and then commit to doing one thing to advance on the plan.  Then do the next thing.  Then the next…
  • Getting feedback.  The world gives us checks and balances and feedback is one of the checks.  Ask others for feedback on what’s going well and then ask for feedback on what you could do differently.  Keep doing what’s working and make adjustments as needed.  Involve your circle of influence – they want what’s best for you.  Be generous in how you return feedback and receptive in how you accept it.

Where are you in your emerging masterpiece?  Your superstar is there and with a little refinement, you’re on your way.  What’s one action you can take right now that will refine your masterpiece?

#performance #learning  #growth

Are You a Transcending Leader?

28 Jun

Recently, I attended a funeral of a young woman and the word that kept coming to mind as people remembered her was, transcend.  When you look at the definition of transcend, you see:

verb (used with object):

1.  to rise above or go beyond; overpass; exceed: to transcend the limits of thought.

2.  to outdo or exceed in excellence, elevation, extent, degree, etc.; surpass; excel.

She had put her illness aside and demonstrated what it meant to go beyond a diagnosis or the limitations of threatening, life-shortening cancerous cells where there was no cure.  As a teenager, she showed wisdom, resilience, and spirit that defined the meaning of transcending limits.  She was a beautiful example of the potential each person has, even when faced with the most horrific of circumstances.

As a leader, you will have to deal with a vast spectrum of circumstances, some that may be devastating.  The ability to transcend situations is essential to strong leadership.  What skills and abilities will help you lead others through trying times?  Let’s look at a few:

  1. Assess situations – identify the problem and the players involved objectively.  In order to create solutions, you need to know what has happened, who’s involved, the stakes, what needs to happen in the short and long terms, and how much time is required of you and others.
  2. Clear your thoughts – put aside judgment, demonstrate openness to all ideas, and refrain from putting limits on yourself and others.  Create an open environment where people can share freely about the circumstances and co-create solutions that go beyond the obvious.
  3. Practice resilience – adapting and bouncing-back from set-backs is fundamental to excellence.  Model an attitude of positivity balanced with realism.  Communicate that you believe in a good outcome and anchor your belief with realistic objectives and actionable plans.

Go beyond the obvious in all situations and be the leader who helps your team to bust their limitations.  Ask yourself what you can do today to help someone on your team reach their potential. Can you help them assess situations more clearly?  Do you need to put judgment aside? What does your attitude communicate?  Transcend the limits to elevate your team to the next level.