I used to believe that the path to success and significance had to be complicated. My thought process was that if it were actually simple, we'd see a lot more successful and inspired people out there. I was wrong. Success is not complicated, and neither is significance. We are the ones that complicate the equation and in turn inhibit ourselves from reaching them both.
Success has a different meaning for everyone. Significance however, does not vary. Significance entails helping the person to the left of you and to the right of you obtain what they perceive to be success. The beauty about true significance is that you can only obtain it by helping those around you get what they want. What is particularly interesting about significance is that by helping those around you get what they want, you will inherently get what you want as well.
There is a difference between giving with the expectation of receiving and giving out of the love for giving. Giving with the expectation of receiving is a fantastic path to frustration and a lack of fulfillment. True giving is done out of a genuine desire to help the person you're giving to. We shouldn't give because the person we're giving to is entitled to anything, or because they’re your client, or because you owe them. You give because you have value to add. You give because it is the right thing to do. You give because ultimately that is what life is about.
A book that beautifully outlines and simplifies the path to success and significance is "The Go-Giver" by Bob Burg and John David Mann.
The book gives us Five Laws of Stratospheric Success:
1) The Law of Value - Your true worth is determined by how much more you add in value than you take in payment.
It is impossible to fulfill this law with the mentality of ‘I'll put in 50 if you put in 50’. The negative consequences of this "Give and take" hold true in every aspect of life. A "Give and take" mindset can be applied to business, friendships, relationships, you name it. What I've learned is that this mindset will take you far but to get farther, you'll want to adopt a mindset that primarily focuses on the "Giving" side of the equation. A lifestyle that entails taking radical responsibility over our circumstances and in turn every relationship we have. The right thing to do is not to go 50/50, but to give 100% to anything we do.
2) The Law of Compensation - Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
Have you ever heard people say, ‘How can athletes or celebrities make so much money yet society pays so much less to teachers who are educating our future generations?’. The answer is simple. Athletes and celebrities serve millions of people and inherently they earn millions. At the end of the day, those who serve the most earn the most. If we are ever frustrated about the amount of money we make, let’s go out and create a way to serve and help more people.
3) The Law of Influence – Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
Influence is key. Influence is not something you do to someone, it is who you are to someone. True influence flows to those who become known as the sort of people that are committed to helping others get what they want. When you become known as this sort of person, you’ll turn into a magnet in a sea of metal.
4) The Law of Authenticity – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
We often have the misconception that the most value we can add must have a monetary connection to it. Value is directly related to who you are to someone, not just what you bring to the table. Value can be in time, knowledge or even kindness. We cannot give what we do not have, if we want to add value to others we need to start by adding value to ourselves.
5) The Law of Receptivity – The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
Usually after we have fulfilled laws one through four, value will start flowing back to us. It is vital to remain open to receiving this value because it allows the cycle of giving to last forever. Accepting value from others allows the cycle to be sustainable and it also gives others the ability to externally manifest their value too.
Let's all go out there and Give. Give a smile. Give a compliment. Give your time. Give your best self and never hold back.
 The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann