Columnists / July 2018

Moving From Success to Significance

In this technologically advanced era, we are constantly bombarded with the idea of success. The picture often painted is that once we are successful, we automatically attain happiness – that success is the end goal, or that it grants us power, joy, wealth and endless possibilities.

Most people equate success with financial reward, but there is a vast difference between the two. The dictionary defines success as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. It's about setting a goal, whether it is for the day, such as: "I will go to the gym," for the year, such as: "I will take a digital marketing course," or for life, such as "I will pursue a career as a private banker."

Financial success on the other hand, is about setting and achieving monetary goals. And while it can be considered success, success is not only about wealth, but also about significance.

So, what is the difference between success and significance? Success is about achieving our goals, while significance is about making an impact. Success is about ourselves, while significance is about others.

Success is about building an empire; significance is about building a legacy. Some of the most successful businesses in the world are those that have added value to the lives of others.

Take Facebook for example. Mark Zuckerberg wanted to help his friends connect better in college. He ended up revolutionizing the way billions of people now connect all over the world. With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is now the highest-earning social media platform, which generated $18 billion in revenue and $4 billion in profit last year.

Another example closer to home is ride-haling service Go-Jek, launched in 2010 with the simple idea of making it easier for people to travel or have food and other items delivered to their homes or offices. With more over 300,000 driver partners, 80 million app downloads and 3 million transactions per day, the Indonesian startup's estimated value currently stands at $4 billion.

There are countless more examples of companies that have become successful by pursuing significance.

It is for that same reason I started my blog, "strongandshine" on Instagram and Facebook. We all possess certain skill sets, knowledge, networks and experience unique to ourselves. When we use this to make an impact and transform lives, success will follow. I use my talent to write and speak publicly to inspire people from all walks of life – at a personal and professional level – to raise their level of awareness, to cultivate their thoughts and talent, and to encourage them to be the best versions of themselves.

Whatever your goal is and wherever your business is at, challenge yourself to think bigger. To dream in vivid colors. To set impossible goals that scare you. Whatever you desire, desire more than just success.

If you are ready to move beyond success to significance, here are five ways to achieve it.

1. Success Without Significance Is Superficial I find it fascinating that most successful people, when asked about their journeys and how they got to where they are, give the same answer: "It was never about money." It was about a vision they had to be a game changer; a trailblazer and a history-maker.

Success on its own does not lead to fulfilment. If success was all about money and goals to enhance our own quality of life, regardless of how it impacted others, then wealth would equate happiness. But we all know this is not necessarily the case.

So, whatever path we choose, we need to make it more than just about ourselves.

2. Tap Into Your Inner Power Harness that power from within. We are works in progress but we are also masterpieces. Don't underestimate your ability to excel in what you do, your ability to get to the top, to touch lives, to withstand any storm and to rise above it.

Don't let anyone ever tell you, you aren't enough; you aren't smart enough; you don't have enough experience; you aren't educated enough. You are more than enough. Nobody can undermine you without your consent. Like the author J.K. Rowling said: "By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew."

Before her Harry Potter series was translated into 73 languages, sold millions of copies and accrued $20 billion dollars from movie adaptations and sponsorships, her story was far from ideal. Despite going through a depression after her mother's death, a failed marriage, raising a child as a single parent and being unemployed, Rowling continued to write. She always knew she would become an author. It took being rejected by 12 publishers before she finally had a breakthrough.

It doesn't matter how many people tell us that we aren't enough. All it takes is one opportunity to present itself. Most importantly, we must never give up on ourselves.

3. Education Is a Life-Long Process Education is not only about what we learn in school or university. We are all in the school of life. We need to constantly educate ourselves throughout our professional careers and throughout our lives. Today, there are countless career options that did not exist a decade ago. And as the world evolves, so we too must take the responsibility to evolve with it. We need to constantly be curious, to strive, to learn more than we knew the day before. We never stop learning until we are in our graves. We can learn even from a 5-year-old child if we open ourselves to learning.

4. Be Mindful of Who You Allow to Influence You We often turn to our family, friends and peers for advice, but rarely ask ourselves whether we aspire to be like them. Are they qualified enough to advise us? They may have our best interests at heart, but well-intended advice does not equate sound advice. Seek the counsel of the wise. Find a mentor whose values are spiritually, mentally and emotionally aligned with yours. Mentors who have expertise in your field. But always rely on your own wisdom.

5. Seek God We may all come from different backgrounds, different fields and different religions, but what is important is recognizing that there is a power far greater than ourselves – the Creator of the Universe and the one who holds our future. In all things and at all times, seek God. Whatever dreams we have for our lives, we must always remember that the Architect of this world is with us. Seek Him in all you do.

Build a legacy and the empire will follow.

Meena Kumari Adnani is executive vice president of content and business development at First Media. Aside from her corporate role, she is also a motivational speaker and an inspirational writer on social media. Her writing can be found on Facebook/Instagram @strongandshine.