Almost everyone I speak with tells me of the success they have had in these trying times. Business is up, and sales are brisk, money is coming in. By all indications, we are very successful. As many look to the future, they are asking, “what’s next?” Is success enough? What if you could move past success and do something significant?

The Law of Significance

In John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he reminds us in the Law of Significance that one is too small a number to achieve greatness. Success is when I add value to myself, but significance is when I add value to others.

If you are interested in moving beyond success toward significance, consider these ten questions:

  1. What is your definition of success? Many of us grow up believing success is winning over someone else. If I beat you, I win; I am successful. Yet, true success as defined by legendary college basketball coach John Wooden states: “Success is the peace of mind that is the direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing you gave your best effort to become the best of which you are capable.” Success is not about beating someone else but about beating myself from yesterday.
  2. What does significance look like? Significance is outward-looking. It adds value to the life of someone else. And as Oprah Winfrey reminds us, “Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant, and the success will follow.”
  3. Are you being intentional or just good-intentioned? In his Principle of the Path, teacher Andy Stanley tells us that your direction determines your destination, not your intention. We may have good intentions about adding value to others, but it only matters what you are doing.
  4. Do you know your WHY? It is much easier to touch other lives when you are walking in or toward your purpose. John Maxwell reminds us to consider what makes you cry, laugh, and sing to help you determine what your purpose is.
  5. Are you making the most of every day? Time is moving quickly, and it can be easy to let it slip away without doing significant things. Studies show that our habits, not our choices, drive almost half our day. Are your habits creating opportunities for you to grow and develop? Are your habits positioning you to deliver significance in the lives of others?
  6. Did you make your bed today? This question may sound silly, but it speaks to your mindset about doing the small things every day that compound into significant acts. If you wouldn’t do the small act of making your bed, what else are you not doing?
  7. Are you exercising your creativity? Many people tell me they are not creative, but we are all born creative; look at the kids around you. It takes time for us to become scared to think outside the box and look for creative ways to solve problems for others.
  8. Are you waiting for optimal or looking for what’s possible? If you wait for conditions to be perfect before you take steps toward doing significant things, you may never take those steps. Conditions are rarely optimal. Figure out’s what’s possible and begin today.
  9. What do you want to be known for? This is perhaps the biggest question of all. Do you want to be known as someone who took care of themselves or delivered value to others? This is a legacy question.
  10. Are you bigger on the inside than you are on the outside? As we grow in success and importance (the outside), it is important to remain even bigger on the inside as human beings. Bigger on the inside people never let their success get in the way of delivering significance to others.

Clarence, the angel in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” said it well when he reminded us, “Each person’s life touches so many other lives.” He’s right; it does. The question becomes will you be intentional about how you touch those lives and how significant that touch is felt?

Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with the John Maxwell Company’s Corporate Solutions Group as well as a published author. He has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.