Are you living a life of significance?
Updated: Jun 2
Someone asked me sometime ago, why do you do what you do? My answer then was that I want to be successful. Much of the motivation though was monetary, success to me then, meant 3 things: having a lot of money, nice cars and a big house.
I’ve always been inspired and motivated by successful people, morning routines of listening to personal development audiobooks, motivational and positive thinking talks - One glance at my kindle or YouTube feed and you would be bombarded by videos and books with titles like “Focus on yourself”, “Secrets to Success”, “Financial Freedom”.
While many would argue that there is nothing wrong with personal development, I started to recognize a pattern in my life. I was trapped in a thought pattern of a fear of failure; I wasn’t reaching the so-called destination quick enough. I was striving. I was forgetting about the people around me, including my wife, and my excuse was "I am building a life for her too". How selfish and self-centered right?
A little less than a year ago, my thinking and focus shifted. It came crashing like a wave that would knock me right off my feet and force me to reflect and ask myself this question, “Am I living a life of significance?”
I won’t elaborate too much on my answers, as it’s not important but one thing was certain, I was entirely focused on me at the expense of my family, friends and colleagues.
A space in my life where this shift of thinking has had the greatest impact is at work. In business, my decisions would be made based on two questions, “How much can we make?” and/or “How much can we save?”. Selfishly forgetting that at the other end of these decisions were people. People that give up their family time; that give their blood, sweat and tears striving to achieve goals set sometimes with the sole purpose of making more money. Don’t get me wrong, money is necessary, without it, the simplest of things like clothes on your back or food on your table are not possible, but what one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is that profit should never be at the expense of people - without people profit is not possible.
Someone once said, a great leader recognizes the intrinsic value of their fellow humans and that everyone deserves honesty, respect, care and kindness. I realized that when people feel valued, they work harder, they work with more integrity and intentionality - it sparks a passion for working towards a bigger purpose.
With this shift of thinking, the power that fear of failure has had on my life has been diminished. Not by any means do I have it all figured out or do I always get it right, I constantly have to remind myself to put people first and I choose to intentionally give my time, talents and treasures to serve others – because to me this is truly living a life of significance.