“Success is winning. Significance is helping others win. Success leaves a fingerprint on creation. Significance leaves a footprint on the soul.”
(D. Trinidad Hunt)
Significance sits alone atop our Seven Foundations of Health because I believe it’s what the game is all about – leaving an exclamation mark on a life! My philosophy on significance has two components: doing something you love and creating something of value to others.
Inspired by Love
Significance is doing something that is inspired by love.
Let’s say I have a lot of money and my accountant suggests I could get a tax break if I give a $1 million donation to help underprivileged children. Is that significant? Not in my book. While it’s true I would be giving something of value to others, it would be for selfish reasons, not inspired by love.
Suppose I don’t have a lot of extra money or time to give, but I love working with kids. In this scenario, I volunteer 5 hours a week at a local school. Is that significant? Yes! I am doing what I love and creating something of value to others.
I have the chance to create something significant when what I do is in alignment with who I am at a spiritual level. Doing what I love doesn’t feel like work at all. It feels important. It feels connected to something more. It feels right. In the end, significance involves “doing” inspired by love.
Inspired by Generosity
Significance is creating something of value for the benefit of others.
Imagine that I love to compose music and play the piano. I love playing the piano so much that I play incredible music everyday in a soundproof room, all by myself. Is that significant? No. While I would be doing something I love, I am not creating anything of value to others.
Let’s change the story, just a bit. I love to compose music and play the piano. I play everyday in a soundproof room, by myself, making incredible recordings that bring people joy. Is that significant? Yes. I am creating something of value to others through the process of doing what I love.
I have the chance to create something significant when what I do serves others. Doing work that serves others takes on more meaning for me. It feels important. It feels connected to something more. It feels right.
Inspired by Something Significant
A journey through our Something Significant series reveals ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Each interview highlights a person deeply immersed in work they love, creating something deeply connected to who they are, and bringing value to others.
- Dr. Tom Sult changing how doctors treat patients
- Elise Blaha Cripe turning her love for “getting things done” into a business
- James FitzGerald optimizing personal fitness
- Nick Black stopping soldier suicide
- Dr. Brian Caplin inventing medical breakthroughs
- Karen Conover improving lives with martial arts
- David Clymer helping people make informed healthcare choices
- David Williams granting the wishes of sick children
- UC Davis football coaches creating a legacy of belief
I use a practice of reflection to keep my focus on what is most important to me.
Reflection helps me slow down, quiet my mind, and listen to my heart. It helps me know who I am and what is truly important to me at a spiritual level. It helps me to know what I love and why I love it.
One result of this practice is what I call the Seven Wonders of My Life. When I prioritize my time, energy, and resources on my wonders, I increase my chances of doing something significant.
- One True Love: being a loving and devoted husband
- Family: providing love, support, and leadership
- Friends: connecting and celebrating life together
- Fitness: caring for my body, mind, and spirit
- Finance: investing in charities, businesses, and people doing good work
- Adventure: exploring different places, new experiences, and fresh ideas
- Business: researching, experimenting, and writing about best practices for happy living
Each of these is in deep alignment with who I am. They touch my heart and bring me joy. I love doing these things. If doing them brings value to others that would be the exclamation mark on my life!