I recently took a class on gaining clarity in your purpose. Many people are searching for meaning in their life. They ask questions like “What am I supposed to be doing?” “What is the next step for me?” “How should I transition following a layoff or retirement?” A question I like to ask is “Who do you want to be?” We are so wrapped up in a world that is interested in what you do rather than who you are. We often glorify personal achievements and individual success. It is important to remind ourselves that purpose is not solely about personal accomplishments but also about giving back, servicing others. While individual accomplishments are undoubtedly significant, the true measure of success lies in the positive impact we create in the lives of those around us. I call this living a life of significance.
Living a Life of Significance – Starting Now
In the book Haltime, Bob Buford insists that the last half of your life is an opportunity to begin the better half of life. The first half is busy with “getting and gaining, earning and learning,” doing what you can to survive, while clawing your way up the ladder of success. The second half of life should be about regaining control, calling your own shots, and enjoying “God’s desire…for you and serve him just by being who you are, by using what he gave you to work with.” What lies between the two is “halftime.”
I read this book years ago and have read it several times since. I have given out more copies than I can remember to individuals going through transitional situations in life. It is a go-to book for me and one I highly recommend. However, I believe we don’t have to wait until the last half of our life to be intentional in living a life of significance. Maybe it naturally happens that way because we have lived long enough to see that the success identified by this world doesn’t make us feel as good as we thought it would. It doesn’t satisfy the longing in our soul to make a difference. But what would it be like to start out our adult life and career with focus and intentionality on living a life of significance? What if instead of asking a high school graduate what they want to do we ask them who do you want to be?
When we shift our focus from personal achievements to serving others, we not only make a positive difference in the lives of those we help but also gain personal growth and fulfillment for ourselves. Here are ways you can live with significance:
1. Engaging in purposeful work that benefits others will provide a sense of fulfillment and meaning. When we contribute to the well-being of others, we often establish a deep connection that goes beyond individual accomplishments.
2. By dedicating our time and efforts to helping others, we have the chance to cultivate stronger relationships and build a sense of community. Being with like-minded individuals with a mindset of giving to others can lead to meaningful connections and potential opportunities for personal and professional growth.
3. Through service to others, we can gain exposure to different perspectives, experiences, and challenges. This broadens our horizons, develops empathy, and promotes personal growth.
4. Ultimately, what truly matters in life is the impact we have on the world and the legacy we leave behind. When we have our mindset aligned with our heart, we have the power to leave a lasting impact that can make the world a better place for future generations.
In conclusion, living a life of significance is the epitome of success. When we embrace this thinking, we create a world where living our life is not just about personal achievements but also about the positive change we bring to the lives of others. This is living a life of significance.
Reference: Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance. Bob Buford (January 1, 1995)
Questions to ask yourself:
Who is in my life that lives a life of significance? How can I tell?
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
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