Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leading a Significant Life v. Leading a Meaningful One

I had lunch with a friend today.  He told me a story of how Bill Haslam, the current governor of Tennessee, decided to "commit" himself to "public service."  Paraphrasing: Haslam decided he was a success but wanted to be significant.

Now, my friend related this story to me because I informed him of my desire to exit corporate life (and stay gone) and focus on making a difference.

My response was that there is a difference between being "significant" and being "meaningful."

Leading a significant life requires that others think you are important.  It's all about ego.

Leading a meaningful life is not about ego.  You can be meaningful to others without them even realizing it.  Indeed, helping others to find their own way is the most significant thing you can do, and letting them take the credit for their own success is the only right thing to do.  Their success is their own.  You only helped them find their way.

May you lead a meaningful life and not a significant one.