The author on a spring afternoon in Seattle

What life stage are you in – Survival, Success or Significance?

I have been feeling highly spirited all day watching the US Presidential inauguration ceremony. I found this topic from Pastor Rick Warren on the Oprah Show appropriate for this week’s post: “Everyone lives at one of three levels in life: Survival, Success, and Significance.” 

Survival—You live from week to week, looking forward to weekends, vacations, and, finally, retirement. In my words, this is life in “Autopilot mode.”

Success – Your life is pretty full of eating out, driving a nice car, looking good, feeling good, and having goods. After being at this level for a while, as people grow, they start thinking – If I am so successful, why don’t I feel satisfied?

Significance—You know your life matters. You know why you are alive and have a purpose to live a life of “fun and purpose.”

As a coach, I believe everyone can live a life of significance. It is not just a matter of spiritual growth, though in my other post, What intrinsically motivates us, I shared research that shows that money or job titles don’t go too far. My ideal clients are primarily those at the “Success” level, but they long for more significance. Even though, on the surface, they come to me for the next promotion, a career move, or higher team performance, the final results often sound like this, “I got those results, but more important is, I am much happier now .” As Maslow’s pyramid describes, after our basic and esteem needs are met, the next level of happiness is not tied to a dollar amount; we go for the higher-level needs. Those transitioning from success to significance are the ones who get the most out of the generative coaching. It is not easy or always fun; it takes courage and conviction – but that brings meaning to us.

Poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s words from today’s inauguration ceremony, summed it up:

“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

If this resonates with you, please schedule a time for an obligation-free discovery session.

Photo: Me on a bright Spring day in Seattle.