The Art Of Significance

“We have always done it that way!” Does this statement sound familiar? These are the most expensive words you will face in pursuit of significance.

They are an opportunity cost to anything you try to achieve. These seven words are intimately entwined with others like frustration, failure, mediocrity, and survival. In a nutshell, this is an environment that is devoid of hope.

Finding significance, however, seeks better engagement, new horizons and a learner’s mindset.

“Live full, die empty.” Les Brown

To be significant is to serve your life forward. Here are critical areas to help you win at life and thrive at work.

1. Preparation

Before an athlete can even dream of the starting line, they need thorough and meticulous preparation. They must identify the training facilities, kit, coach or team. Just like an athlete, the first step at becoming significant is the toughest. It is a willingness to be folded, ground and stretched.

But will isn’t all it takes for preparation. It kicks off from being available for experience. Your mind and body are primed for training and instruction.

The last stage of preparation is being in a state of expectancy. Anticipate the end game. This keeps you focused on the level of significance you want to excellence. Expectancy elevates the probability of success.

2. Prejudice

Like oil and water, significance and prejudice don’t play well with each other. The existence of one endangers the other. They act as barriers of each other. As noted earlier, we sometimes find ourselves acting in a way governed by “We have always done it that way!” It clouds our minds and influences our decisions.

This is noteworthy display of prejudice, a preconceived opinion that is not based on personal reason or experience. It is stereotype in action. And this could be motivated by our internal doubts, battles or fears. These mold the most insidious type of prejudice. This mindset diminishes your character. It affects your level of significance as a leader.

When prejudice kicks in, you may think of yourself more worthy than other people. It deceives you into a my-way-or-the-highway mentality.

3. Proclamation

Have a penchant to declare and share good news. Why is this important? A positive attitude, even in the most dire circumstances, profoundly influences your significance. It tends to seek out the best in others before considering their flaw, shortcoming or failure.

A positive attitude is contagious. It instinctively and subconsciously flows through our words, thoughts, speech and even body language. Is it then a coincidence that we tend to gravitate towards positive people?

For you to find your significance, be an active participant. Be the change you want to see. Instead of moaning of how unfair life is, take time to learn from your experiences. If someone comes short, ask yourself how you can build them up.

4. Inclusion

No man is an island. Think of yourself marooned on a deserted island for months. One sunrise, you spot a sailing boat heading your way. Your excitement is uncontrollable: “I’m free! I’m free! Thank God I’m free at last!”

For the man on the boat, there is similar excitement. He is battered from months adrift in the open seas. “Land!” he yells. His exhilaration is short-lived after he hears your story.

However, instead of despair, you combine your collective experience. After some hard work, you repair the boat the best you can and sail off together. Significance is bringing others into the fold. Walk with those who need you as a coach, mentor or friend.

“We keep rediscovering that credibility is the foundation of leadership… People won’t believe in the messenger. People don’t follow your technique. They follow you — your message and your embodiment of that message.” ~ James Kouzes

Now, that is significance!

Q: What will it take to grow your significance?

Originally published at on March 3, 2016.