GUEST: Aaron Walker, Professional Life & Business Coach, Mastermind Group Facilitator, Coach and Trusted Advisor at View From The Top
Most people try to find successful in life...
Good careers. Money. Respect.
But how many of us try to be significant?
- Why Aaron started seeking significance over success
- How to find significance
- Why mastermind groups work
Aaron found success early in life. He started his first business at 18. And by 27, he was able to retire after selling to a Fortune 500 company.
But after a few years, his wife was tired of him growing “fat and lazy” — Aaron’s words — in his early retirement.
So, he bought another business and did it again, building up the business over the next 10 years.
But then tragedy struck.
Time to reflect
Driving to work one day, Aaron ran over and killed a pedestrian.
As you can imagine, the trauma transformed Aaron’s life.
And it was a good life — one with a loving wife, 2 beautiful children, a great home and even a vacation home.
The experience was a left-hook flying from no-where. And, still dazed from the blow, he couldn’t work for the next 5 years as he worked through it.
Instead, he spent the time reflecting. What was important in his life? What would legacy would he leave if he had been the pedestrian and not the driver?
He realized his legacy would have only been his success: A poor kid from Nashville makes enough money to retire at 27 — and nobody cares.
“This is not a trial run. This is our real life we're living and we don't get another opportunity to live on earth again. I want to live it to the maximum.”
What was missing was significance.
What is significance?
He had spent so much time pursuing money, houses and cars, which, while still important, did not fulfill him.
He realized that significance is not what he could achieve for himself, but what he could help others achieve.
Put simply: Success is advancing yourself; significance is advancing others.
If you are significant in the lives of others, your legacy will be more than just being a successful person.
So, how do you make yourself significant in the lives of others?
Once Aaron realized he needed to help others, he first looked to his wife, kids, family and friends.
But eventually, he looked to the community — his church, his team and, ultimately, his mastermind groups.
He’s honed in on impacting others — edifying, encouraging and helping them make connections.
And doing things for others and not personal gain has also paid off.
“If we really want to be the best, we need other perspectives.”
Now, Aaron is reaping the karmic rewards from devoting himself to helping others.
First, his own success has doubled. By always looking to encourage and edify others, there is a desire instilled in others to reciprocate.
Of course, this only works if you are truly genuine in your selflessness — anybody can sniff out a fake.
But, more importantly, to truly understand how to help others, Aaron has had to inhabit their perspectives and empathize with their needs.
And being exposed to new perspectives is vital to your own personal growth.
Mastermining mastermind groups
Where this axiom is most apparent for Aaron is in his mastermind groups.
His simplified explanation is a mastermind group is essentially giving its members access to their own non-biased board of directors.
This lets members break out of their own biases and modes of thinking and see problems (and solutions) from perspectives they may have never thought about.
In the process, these groups help build significance for members who know they are helping others with their perspective.
And this creates accountability.
“That's what these mastermind groups do — they hold your feet to the fire. They help you really understand what's important in life.”
Finally, these groups allow members to break out of isolation and be part of a community.
And for Aaron, isolation is the enemy of excellence.
At first, Aaron started with one mastermind group.
But over the years, he’s been able to scale them — something few others have succeeded at — and now, the impact and significance he is generating in the lives of others has grown exponentially.
The biggest lesson from Aaron’s life is you don’t need to choose between significance or success.
If you pursue significance, success will happen along the way.