Search for Significance, Part I

Business professionals have their own unique set of drivers that make them tick. Motivation, inspiration, and energy come from something. I am going to spend the next few installments here borrowing a theme from a book that first emerged in the 80’s. In 1987, Robert S. McGee wrote and published his great work “Search for Significance”.

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32. Citing this quote, McGee states “He (Jesus) was referring to the application of truth in the most basic issues of life: our goals, our motives, and our sense of self worth.”

Search1Over the years, I have found several key truths emerging with almost every client or group I coach. That is this; if we are true with ourselves we will realize we are often disoriented on the quest to find self worth. I mean we are seeking approval from the wrong audience. Quoting McGee:

“Basing our self worth on what we believe others think about us causes us to become addicted to their approval.”

Have you ever caught yourself doing so much for others that you start to resent them? On the surface you look like the caring, giving philanthropist, but deep inside you are seething with regret for pouring so much into others. Look at the root cause. Did it all start with your need to have those people appreciate you for what you do? Was there any chance that the rush of receiving the praise caused you to want to do more?

This idea plays out in the work world. When that first big job is landed or that first big project finishes there is a high from all the adoration from family and friends.

“Wow you must be something for landing that!”

It is easy to let the praise ‘go to your head’. When that thirst for the next great reward grows deeper, you, my friend, are on the edge of seeking significance in the wrong place. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with graciously accepting the praise you do deserve for a job well done. I am talking about applying that as the chief fuel for your self-concept to survive.

Think of it another way. If you find yourself thinking

“If I don’t get the praise, I feel bad about myself.”

That is the ah-ha moment; eureka!

Overachievers are not always the smartest, most talented people. Often times, they are people who are simply driven. Being inspired, motivated, and supercharged is not a bad thing. However, if that drive comes from a deep hunger and thirst for approval to build up your sense of self, then, well, yes it could be bad. The drive should be rooted in a healthy understanding that your self-worth does not depend upon anything going on around you. You can step out in a powerful faith that you will be OK regardless of the outcome of the effort. Here’s a simple question to ask yourself:

“If it all goes away or flops tomorrow, am I still going to be OK with who and what I am?”

Hopefully the answer to that question is a resounding YES! If it is not, then you have some homework.

God had a specific plan in mind when He created you. He wanted you to be here, now. Let Him be the judge of how you are doing and who you are. He will still love you and want you regardless of success at business, or in the community, or in your family. Give Him a chance to speak. He’s happy for you when the moments go your way. He loves you when they don’t.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I will be writing more on this in the days to come.

Oh, and McGee’s book is still in print. Check it out on Amazon below.

Introducing the WHY.os. Learn YOUR why, how, and what that drives your passion and motivation.


Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment