From Success to Significance

I am a fairly serious business leader.  This week one of my co-workers reminded of the time that I dressed up as Superman while running our distribution firm a number of years ago. Every Halloween many of our people would dress up in costume.  One year I dressed up as “Clark Kent”,  the mild mannered reporter for the “Daily Planet”. In most people’s eyes Clark was not very successful, but when he slipped into the closet and came out with the big “S” on his shirt as Superman, he was suddenly a huge success. After I changed into shorts, a cape, and a big “S” on my shirt, the office crew roared with laughter. I must also admit that I put on a pair of pantyhose to complete the outfit.  I had departed from my role as a “successful” business executive, father, and adult in his 40’s to become a comic strip character. However, on the serious side, as a middle-aged male I was haunted by the question, “Even though I have achieved success, is my life really significant?”

Ron Jensen had challenged our group of “successful” business and professional leaders to imagine that they would die that night and each would have the responsibility of writing an objective personal obituary. The four questions to be addressed were:

1. What was your greatest contribution?
2. What did you leave undone?
3. What did you always want to do but never did?
4. What lives were changed because of you?

That is a sobering exercise for any of us. Let me challenge you to go through it tonight before you sleep. Then, after completion, assume that God gives you another twenty years to live. Write your new obituary if you have the next few years to change your contributions from “just successful” to “truly significant”.

Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ was born in an insignificant stable and thirty-three years later died between two thieves. He had only brief moments of “success” during his three years in the public eye. Still most of the leaders of that day would have counted his life as a failure. However, His father God considers the life of Jesus to be the most significant moment in human history. In reflecting, I am sure glad that he chose significance over “worldly success”.

Our belief system determines what gives us significance. Success in the world’s eyes may be wealth, advancement, or fame. But God defines success in terms of our understanding and knowing Him. Jensen defines success as “the progressive realization and internalization of all God wants me to be and do”. That sounds like a life of true significance that is rich with meaning. What is significant is rarely self-evident, but it matters greatly. It becomes the thing for which we are willing to exchange our life.

Aiming at Significance,

Kent Humphreys

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?
Or what can a man give in ex change for his soul?”
Matthew 16:26 (NIV)


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

2 Responses to From Success to Significance

  1. Vickie Jenkins says:

    It is nice to ‘see’ that you are feeling better. Your writing is always so powerful. My prayers are with you and I know you will continue to get better. God is good.

    I loved your writing this morning. Thanks for making me see things from a different perspective. Love it! You have always had the most encouraging words I know.

    Thanks Clark….I mean, thanks Kent. 🙂
    Love to you and your family.

  2. Cathy Westm says:

    The sheer unaided power of God! What clarity!

    I’ve shared this specific blog with a dear friend who is a Founder/CEO.


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