Wendy Gladney (File photo)

When was the last time you stopped to think about what you truly wanted out of life? Most of us say we want our lives to matter and that we want to make a difference in the world, but we also get caught up in the trap of wanting to achieve a certain level of success. How do we balance being successful but also making sure we are contributing significance to the world?   

As a coach, I am in the business of helping people find themselves and helping them decide what really matters in their life.  Success is a beautiful thing, but without making an impact and helping to make the world and the people in our lives better, it is just a selfish endeavor. 

The definition of success can vary between different people and cultures. Basically, success means achieving the goals one has set for themselves. Most people associate success with achieving a certain level of prominence and or financial gain. Although this can be a good thing, if it is all we desire to achieve it can leave us empty and unfulfilled. I once read that we were not made necessarily to achieve success but rather for significance.   

Significance is obtained by serving and sharing with others.  If we constantly put things before people and relationships, we can live a very empty life. I understand we all must make a living and we have financial responsibilities, but it is possible to make a living while also building a life that impacts others in a positive way. 

One of the things I have learned is when we are in pursuit of being significant it requires personal growth.  We must take the time to do some personal assessment to see if we are compassionate and that we are living our lives with integrity.  Success is often achieved through hard work and sacrifice and sometimes even a little bit of luck, but significance is about our character and how much we care about others.   

I have found when we take our eyes off ourselves and help others, we tend to be happier and more content which is a form of success. Focusing on being significant allows us to live a life of purpose. It is possible to achieve both success and significance if we are mindful of what we are doing and why.  

When I do my own personal assessment of where I am and what I truly want out of life, I want to make sure that while I am here on this earth, I am able to make a significant impact on the lives of those I have touched.  I also want to leave a powerful legacy of caring for others and that their lives were a little bit better because our paths crossed.   

There are a lot of lonely and hurting people in the world and showing compassion and empathy can make all the difference in their lives. Overall, when we place a greater emphasis on being significant in the lives of others, it fosters a more compassionate, collaborative, and sustainable world where individuals are empowered to make positive contributions and lead fulfilling lives.  

Striving for success is not a bad thing and it should definitely be one of your goals, but remember at the end of the day when someone reaches the end of their road it really will not matter how much money you have in the bank, how many things you have been able to buy, but you will want to know who will miss you because you made them feel special and you sowed into their lives. It is not necessarily about thinking less of ourselves, but rather thinking of ourselves less.  

Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on. 


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.