As you may know, I write a lot of blogs and post a lot of quotes to help motivate and inspire others to be more, do more, and have more with the hope, that in time, they will serve more by first becoming a more effective leader of themselves with the intention of becoming a more effective leader of others.
I recently shared these thoughts:
“Live with abundance. Achieve success. Choose significance. Leave a legacy.”
Shortly after I had made the post, I received this comment:
“This is a great mindset, but I would appreciate it if you could develop this further for us. We all want abundance, success, significance and to leave a legacy. What we often lack is the road map. We have the ‘what’ and not the ‘how.'”
I could easily write a complete book, a road map, to answer this question. However, I will attempt to keep it relatively short while adding links to support this lesson. I’m going to share more information about the “how” relative to each aspect of my original quote.
Live with Abundance
Abundance is about understanding the big picture and knowing there is plenty of everything for everyone. We must understand resources and recognition are truly abundant and unlimited. In order to understand abundance, it may help to first understand the opposite: scarcity.
When I have a scarcity mindset, I believe what I want and what I desire is limited.
In other words, there is only so much of what I want such as love, money, recognition, praise, credit, etc. to go around. When I live out of scarcity, I think that if someone else gets what I want, there isn’t any left for me.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. However, if you believe this, you will, in fact, have less. Not because there is less, but because your selfish character will attract less. As a result, you are providing the evidence to support your belief.
When I live with abundance, I believe there is enough of everything for everybody. As a result, my character reveals my beliefs in a way that can be validated by others through my actions. I am not selfish. I am selfless. That is not something I say; that is something I am.
When I live with abundance, I don’t go through life seeking only to win. I actually grow through life seeking to win while also helping others win. Not only do I know I can win, but I also know you and everyone else can win. We can all win. Therefore, my challenge is not with you. My challenge is within.
No one can stop me from winning, but me. No one can stop you from winning, but you. Anything else is simply an excuse.
Here’s a simple example of abundance to help you understand. I write a lot of blogs with win-win in mind. Sure, I win by expanding my network, demonstrating my competency relative to my expertise, and occasionally receive the opportunity to serve others professionally. The reader also wins by receiving value through free content, by being valued as a person with greater potential, and by being helped and developed by a stranger that believes in them with no expectations or strings attached.
At the end of each blog post, I add this note, “I believe in abundance and write my blogs to help others become more effective and successful.”
This demonstrates an abundant mindset. A scarcity mindset wouldn’t put out free content much less give you permission to share it with the world. This is not all the content I have. I read and grow daily. I will always have more content.
My content is not limited unless I limit it. My knowledge is not limited because I am not limited. However, if I was resting on what I have done in the past with no desire to grow and become more on a daily basis, I would be hoarding my knowledge because that is all I would ever have.
That wouldn’t be your fault. That would be my fault.
An abundance mindset will allow you to achieve success. Actually, living with abundance provides the foundation for success. People with an abundance mindset attract and are attracted to others with an abundance mindset. Together, they can achieve great success.
There are two keys that will allow you to achieve success.
The first key to achieving success is to work on your own personal character development. Who you are will determine who you will attract. Who you attract will determine your level of success.
If you want to achieve a higher level of success, you must develop a higher level of character. It’s that simple! Your character development will allow you to move beyond manipulating others to achieve success. High levels of success only come when we begin to motivate others in a way that inspires them to choose to help us achieve success.
The second key to achieving success is developing our competency relative to our passion and our purpose. We must follow our passion to find our purpose.
Whether we choose to continuously develop our competency or rest on what we have accomplished in the past is also based on our character.
It takes a higher level of character to continuously invest in developing ourselves.
It’s a lot easier to settle than it is to continuously stretch. As we continue to develop in our areas of passion, we will become more energized, motivated, and inspired. As a result, we will become contagious to those that believe what we believe and want to achieve what we want to achieve. Our influence with others will increase significantly.
I’ve written an entire book, Defining Influence, to help those that want to achieve success understand many of the foundational elements of character development.
High Level Character + High Level Competency = High Level Success
Significance is a choice that only successful people can make. Why? Because significance is about helping others achieve success. It’s not about me. It’s about we. However, it does begin with me.
If you haven’t achieved success yourself in a specific area, others are not likely to seek you out to help them in that area. Even if they do, the odds you can actually help them achieve success in an area where you haven’t had success yourself is very small, if at all.
You may have achieved success in some areas while struggling in other areas. Success is very dynamic. For instance, someone may have achieved tremendous success in their personal life as a parent. Yet, that same person may have struggled tremendously in their professional life at work.
In this case, the person would be very well positioned to help others achieve success as a parent. However, relative to their area of expertise professionally, they wouldn’t be of much help to anyone because they haven’t achieved success in that area themselves.
Choosing significance also requires a much higher level of character development than achieving success.
Why? Because it’s no longer about your success. It’s about helping others become more successful. Success comes with a high price. However, significance comes with an even higher price. It’s easy to pay the price to achieve success because you win. But, paying the higher price for significance, which means you are paying more to help others win, is not something that most successful people are willing to do.
This blog post is a simple example of success versus significance. Many very successful people have the ability to write blog posts, books, etc. relative to their area of expertise but choose not to do so.
I had to pay the price to achieve success relative to the leadership content I write about by reading, learning, and applying what I’m sharing with you here in my own life. But, by choosing to invest nearly four hours of my time today thinking and writing this blog post to help you, I’m required to pay an even higher price to help you.
I’m giving you and others four hours of my most valuable resource: my time.
By choosing to invest time helping you, I’m sacrificing the time I could be investing to help myself. Additional reading for myself during these four hours would be about achieving additional success. However, writing this blog post for you is about helping you achieve additional success. By making this choice, I’m choosing to be significant instead of successful.
Leave a Legacy
Significant people are the only ones that will leave a legacy. We can only leave a legacy through others.
By choosing significance, my intent is to leave a legacy through others. If I would have continued to only worry about what I had and what I wanted when I was focused on success, I would have never been in a position to choose a life of significance. I would not have the opportunity to leave a legacy.
Leaving a legacy is not about leaving something for others. Leaving a legacy is about leaving something within others. When we repeatedly choose significance, we are making our best attempt to leave a legacy within others.
Leaving a legacy is not truly determined by us.
We have only left a legacy when those we have influenced along the way choose a life of significance and continue the cycle.
Leaving a legacy is about inspiring others to choose significance. Motivation comes from the outside which means we or others must be present to stimulate action. But, inspiration comes from the inside which means others will take action based on what’s already inside of them, not because of who is standing beside them.
When others are acting because we influenced and inspired them, we are leaving a legacy.
We don’t really ever work on leaving a legacy. We first must work on living with abundance. Then, we must work on learning to achieve success. Next, we must work on making intentional choices to become significant. And finally, if we do it well enough and we do it long enough, we will be in a position to leave a legacy.
“Humility means knowing and using your strength for the benefit of others, on behalf of a higher purpose. The humble leader is not weak, but strong…is not pre-occupied with self, but with how best to use his or her strengths for the good of others. A humble leader does not think less of himself, but chooses to consider the needs of others in fulfilling a worthy cause. We love to be in the presence of a humble leader because they bring out the very best in us. Their focus is on our purpose, our contribution, and our ability to accomplish all we set out to accomplish.” ~ Alan Ross
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My passion is helping people understand what’s common sense isn’t always common practice. I help leaders at all levels develop 360° of influence. The result: they take more responsibility and lead with speed.