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ISAMJan 2, 2024 8:00:00 AM4 min read

Are You Leaving a Legacy of Significance or Fading Memories of Success?

Former First Lady Barbara Bush once imparted, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” At its core, her message raises a fundamental question: How do we truly measure success? Is a life of significance more valuable than a life filled with success? 

In the IT industry, many of us often gauge our success by the effectiveness of our work or the financial efficiency of our projects and initiatives. Are our data centers secure? Are we meeting our service level agreements? Are we staying within budget? Did we negotiate a favorable enterprise licensing agreement (ELA)? 

These are indeed worthwhile goals to pursue. Employers hire us based on the success and value they see in our work, and our professional accomplishments are what keep us employed and serve as criteria for promotions and pay raises. However, once our careers end, our successes tend to fade into obscurity. 

If success is but a fleeting moment in time, soon forgotten upon our departure, significance has the power to endure and impact generations. As Oprah Winfrey wisely stated, “Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow. 


So, how can we leave a lasting mark of significance in our work? 


Find a Mentor: 

Throughout our lives, there exist individuals blessed with experiences, talents, and knowledge from which we can glean invaluable wisdom. Placing ourselves under the guidance of such individuals expands our horizons beyond our innate abilities. The wealth of experience these mentors offer provides boundless opportunities for personal development and growth. 

When we are mentored by these remarkable individuals, we inherit a part of their 'DNA of Significance,' enhancing our own capacity to impact the lives of others. In return, our mentors may absorb some of our unique traits and pass them forward. Engaging with mentors from outside our immediate circle of friends and family brings a fresh perspective and insight that we might struggle to attain independently. 

The more we collaborate with our mentors, the more inclined we become to transmit their 'DNA of Significance.' Personally, I have had the privilege of being mentored by a diverse array of individuals, including a WWII renowned army general, a US Presidential appointee, an Olympic coach, a world-renowned theologian, and a small-town small business owner. The tapestry of their backgrounds has significantly shaped the person I am today. 

Often, when asked about my motivations for specific actions, I recount stories of my mentors and the profound lessons they imparted. Their generosity in mentoring me has instilled in me a deep desire to pass on the knowledge and legacy of significance to others. 


Be a Mentor: 

When we have experienced the benefits of mentorship, it becomes more natural to pass on those valuable experiences by becoming mentors ourselves. On numerous occasions, I have hired young individuals for tasks, whether at home or in the workplace. There were instances when I was informed that they lacked the specific skills required for the roles I had in mind. However, my primary intention in hiring them was not solely to obtain immediate value from their services but rather to impart new skills and demonstrate confidence in their potential. 

It holds significant importance for individuals to nurture a sense of self-worth, and when we stand beside someone who lacks the experiences, skills, and abilities we possess, it can have a profound impact on their self-confidence. Over time, I have witnessed remarkable growth in the abilities of those I have mentored. In nearly every situation where I was questioned about why I was paying someone for a role they had no prior experience in, I would share stories of how my own mentors had similarly invested in me. 

This practice serves as our way of 'paying it forward,' and we encourage the individuals we mentor to one day do the same for others. To echo the famous words of President J.F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." This sentiment challenges us to be contributors to society rather than mere recipients, emphasizing the importance of giving back and nurturing the growth and potential of those around us. 


Support a Charitable Cause: 

We all owe our existence to someone's act of kindness and faith in us. It might have been the person who purchased our first product or service or the one who offered us our initial job right out of school. We all commence with a blank canvas, and through the generosity of others, we fill it with life's experiences. Unfortunately, circumstances can sometimes strip individuals of their ability to provide for themselves, often due to unforeseen catastrophes. When we align ourselves with a charitable cause, we embrace a spirit of giving that bestows a legacy of significance upon the recipients. 

The act of giving transforms not only the lives of those we assist but also ourselves, as it molds us into better individuals. When we adopt an attitude of helping others, it radiates outward and becomes palpable to those around us. Our giving disposition leaves an indelible mark, and others bear witness to our legacy of significance. 

Mike Honduras
Taiwan swinging bridge


I've attended numerous funerals from a young age and have been struck by the vast differences in the proceedings. Two individuals of the same age can have drastically dissimilar funerals—one lasting hours with hundreds in attendance, while the other concludes in a mere 20 minutes with only a handful present. This divergence often hinges not on the material success of the individuals but on the enduring legacy of significance they left behind. For some, the ultimate achievement in life is to leave a lasting legacy of meaning. 


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