|Photo from: www.phatstartup.com|
Shortly after I started my Blog “Notes From the Edge”, I wrote a post on Success. In this post I touched on the idea that we move through the following series of stages in our professional lives (The Four S’s):
Survival à Stability à Success à Significance.
Success was not identified as an end - but a means by which a life of significance could be achieved. At the time I was sitting on a decaying throne of success and significance built on fifteen years of hard work and dedication as a Community Development Manager and Consultant. It was my grand plan to transfer the significance I had earned in Community Development to the pursuit of my new career as a writer.
Apparently it doesn’t work that way.
I am pretty sure I knew that. Despite this knowledge, when you are used to a certain amount of recognition and acclamation in one field there is an expectation, or at least a hope, that this will follow you into your next endeavor. It would be nice if we could skip passed the messy inconveniences of survival and stability and go straight to success and significance. There is a reason, however, why the road from survival to significance is set out as a progression.
The progression through the Four S’s is a Rite of Passage, of sorts, for Significance.
It takes a certain amount of humility to achieve true significance. Humility can be defined as “a modest opinion of one’s own importance, rank or position” or “the absence of arrogance.” I am not a particularly humble person by nature. I would prefer a stunning failure to a mediocre victory.
Humility comes hand in hand with the mediocrity and anonymity associated with new beginnings.
Trudging day in and day out, with determination and purpose, while building the talent, inventory and credibility required for significance is just like real work. I have always been an excellent builder and a terrible administrator. Over the last fifteen years I have spent ten years building significance and five years being significant … (and humble?)
Then I got bored, “reinvented myself” and - back to trudging.
My experience now shows me that the journey through the Four S’s is not a linear process but more of an upward spiral. The price of admission is lower and the path is less resistant now, as I work towards significance for the second (or is this the third?) time. I am wiser and more efficient in spite of myself. I have learned not to make the same mistakes twice (definitely not three times). I now realize that it is in the trenches where I shine - slugging it out in the pursuit of something better. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Trudging towards Significance.