What is significance? It means something different to everyone. What does it mean to you? What would you have to do to live a life of significance?
I know a guy that makes a LOT of money. He believes he has significance because of the causes he can support, the money he gives away, the money he invests in people.
I know a woman that makes very little money. She believes she has significance because of the people she supports, the friends she makes, the time she invests in people.
I know a young woman who works in food research. She believes she has significance because the research she does can improve people’s health and save lives and still not hurt the environment.
So significance is your contribution to society. It is giving away the most precious thing you have to benefit the community. My friend, Gloria would say that it is showing love for others–sacrificial love. Those willing to give life and limb for country, state or city, such as soldiers, police, and firemen know going in that they might not come out. This willingness to sacrifice themselves makes their lives significant to them.
Significance doesn’t happen in a vacuum however. There is a connection requirement. What if what you think you can sacrifice means nothing to anyone. Fire fighters and police that serve in the community where they live already have a connection. Teachers connect with students, faculty, administration, parents, and the school board. They understand wants and needs, goals and dreams, the good, the bad, and the ugly about the people they serve. A church cannot have a significant impact if it doesn’t connect to the parishioners. Leaders who connect to more people are seen as more significant in the big scheme of things. Ironically, significance often draws leaders away from the connections that are responsible to their rise to power. And those who crave the connections above all else soon discover the old adage, “You can’t please everyone.”
Balance your quest for significance with connection to the people in your community, whether that be the clubs you belong to, your church, your neighborhood, or your friends. Once you know the needs of your group, you can contribute in a way suitable to your idea of significance. You can’t be significant to only yourself.