Today, we continue with the concept of significance that I have been focused on for the last few months.
The last couple of weeks’ posts dealt with quotes by Oprah Winfrey, Michael Josephson, and Ken Blanchard that I discussed on the Great Quotes for Coaches podcast. Each of them dealt with the concept of focusing more on significance than on success.
This week I discussed two more quotes with a focus on significance—one by Jackie Robinson and one by Nelson Mandela.
Jackie Robinson said, “A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.”
Nelson Mandela said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
I love these two quotes for a variety of reasons.
First, their focus on significance is fitting for what we have been talking about over the last few months. Trying to be a person of significance in others’ lives is as rewarding and gratifying as it gets.
Second, each of these quotes talks about the concept that significance is all about the impact we have on others and the difference we can make in other people’s lives.
And third, consider the two men who said these quotes. Both of them faced some of the ugliest, darkest, most disgusting, vile types of attacks that humans can inflict on other humans, all because of the color of their skin.
Yet, both men rose above their attackers and taught the rest of the world what true courage, class, and power really are. Each of them, in their own ways, became the models for what it means to be a person of character and integrity who lives a life of significance and impact.
While both of these quotes focus on significance, the common thread in them is that a life of significance is lived by helping others. Jackie Robinson used the word impact to make his point and Nelson Mandela used the word difference to make his.
People of significance in others’ lives have an impact on them. While leadership is about influence, the greatest leaders and the people who have the greatest significance in others’ lives take their influence to an even higher level; they make an impact on people.
While influence is a huge part of leadership, when people make an impact on others, their influence is much more powerful. The people they lead feel a much stronger effect from them, and they in turn respond in even bigger ways.
People of significance also make a difference in the lives of other people. Like those who make an impact, the people who make a difference do things that people grab onto and allow themselves to be led to new places and new heights, sometimes heights they never thought possible.
The words and actions of those making the difference in their lives are what prompt them to believe that anything is possible, and therefore, lead them to achieve and grow in ways they had only dreamed of before.
The common thread in both quotes and the ideas surrounding them is that people of significance are other-centered. Their focus is on others, and they are all about helping others, by impacting them in such a way that they make a difference in some way in their lives.
When we focus on helping others improve, grow, develop, and achieve what they want, we have made a significant contribution to them. By being other-centered instead of self-centered, we can impact so many more people and, thus, impact the world in ways we could never make a difference if we only focused on ourselves.
This is the true power of being a person of significance in others’ lives. We transcend our own growth development, and success, and we become people of significance by impacting others in such a way that we make a difference in who they are and what they become.
The greatest leaders understand this, and they do all that they can to bring that kind of impact and difference-making to the people they lead.
This is the true meaning of significance and what it means to be a person of significance in someone’s life.
**If you want to be a person of impact and a difference-maker in kids’ lives by trying to provide them the best opportunities to have positive athletic experiences, I encourage you to check out my new project, SlamDunk Significance. If you’re interested in joining me on the SlamDunk Significance mission, there are a few ways to do so:
- If you’re a coach, athletic director, or league director, and you would like to have us pay for a speaker to come to your school, fill out the application under the “Schools/Leagues & ADs/Coaches” section on the SlamDunk Significance page.
- If you’re a speaker/trainer and you would like to be connected with teams, schools, or leagues looking for professional development for their coaches, kids, administrators, and/or parents, fill out the application under the “Trainers/Speakers” section of the SlamDunk Significance page.
- If you’re an athlete, coach, or someone who would like to donate to help teams, schools, and leagues create positive athletic programs for kids by bringing in quality speakers and trainers, click on any button on the SlamDunk Significance page to be taken to our GoFundMe page.
- If you would like to volunteer to help out in any way, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SPREAD THE WORD!! Tell anyone and everyone you know about what we are trying to do to help kids have great athletic experiences. And if you know anyone with the financial means to make a donation to our mission, please let them know about it.
When you join us on this mission, you will be focused on being an impactful difference-maker in kids’ lives, one who is helping to create the best athletic experience possible for them.