Current and Significant

This blog started out titled “Current and Relevant,” based on an interview I recently heard with Bruce Springsteen. Then I remembered notes on a blog in the works titled “From Relevance to Significance,” so I melded the two together to discuss being Current and Significant. Both significant and relevant have their place, however, they are not interchangeable. Relevant refers to being applicable or connected to a situation. Significant refers to being meaningful or noteworthy.

Bruce Springsteen is on the verge of turning 74 years old and is still producing new music and pushing the boundaries of his workmanship. He is staying current. Most artists still performing at this age sing their old hits and milk the cash cow. They may enjoy a level of relevance based off nostalgia but are not current. Judy Collins is another artist continuing to make a difference in her 80’s. In 2019, she scored her first No. 1 album on an American Billboard Chart with ‘Winter Stories’ and in 2022, she released her first studio album of all original material, entitled ‘Spellbound.’

I have mentors in my life still striving to be current and significant in their later years. My 94 year old neighbor works tirelessly and donates time, talents, treasure to create a local Iwo Jima Memorial in honor of his brother and to educate today’s youth on the sacrifices made generations ago. Octogenarians and fellow Lions Club members, Bob Bullock and Dave Brauning continue to lead and serve their community. My friend and former coaching colleague, Ed Agresta, at age 79 is still making his days count as an author, speaker, and motivator. I continue to be inspired by the thoughts and comments from my first college coach, Joe Moglia, a former CEO and College Head Football Coach who is always looking for the next big win.

Relevance is table stakes. Relevance is good, but the world needs us to be more. Yes, we should be relevant to where we are at this moment, then take the next moment to be significant. Relevance has value if it leads to significance. I believe being relevant is being average or above average. Why settle for average when we can be a positive outlier – significant, maybe even exceptional. Carpe Diem is “seize the day” which is more than being relevant. This day will never come again so the time is now, and the place is here – there are no second chances at a single moment.

A few years back my alma mater’s football team had the goal to be relevant, which was a needed goal to climb out of the lower echelon of the league. It meant being more competitive, but not necessarily more wins. Stepping up the goal to be significant challenged the team to win games and compete for league championships. It might be semantics to some, but it sets a different expectation.

Companies that stay ‘current and relevant’ stay in business. Those that stay ‘current and significant’ change the way business is done. I did a prior blog on being Different not Better which referenced companies like Netflix, Uber, and Apple. Better keeps us relevant while different can be a game changer. In my role as a Market Manager, I was tasked to analyze the current reality, project the desired future reality, and then do a gap analysis to build the plan. I call this thinking “Green to Tee.” This was the basis for breakthrough outcomes –growing from $50 million to $150 million in 2 years.

We recently moved from the home and community we lived in for 33 years. We raised our family and built connections that were significant. We moved to Williamsburg, VA which is a retirement destination. Although we looked at a few “over 55” communities, we were not interested in those locations. To some degree it felt like settling in for retirement. We do not plan to retire but to repurpose (look for that subject in a future blog) and desired to belong to an age diverse neighborhood that reflected the community at large. A part of the decision process to move was a need to push our boundaries, discover new things, be current in the moment and be significant. That fueled my reaching out to the local high school to get back into coaching football. It also continues to fuel my writing these blogs.

The path to a successful life is to be significant. Significance is defined as having meaning. Being significant means making an enduring impact, that the world is a different place because we were here. That starts with where our feet are currently planted, even if that isn’t where we aspire to be. We are most likely where God needs our best work in the moment. Recognize the blessings, take in the life-lessons, make relationships, and find purpose in this current moment. These efforts will make the current reality the best it can be, preparing us for the next chapter on the journey. Be receptive to new ideas and suggestions that can open doors to an array of opportunities. Be prepared to move forward. Being current keeps us fresh.

“Our current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.”- Unknown

As Christians, we should understand we are made by and for God. We can be a significant and obvious connection to Him. He can do something significant with us. If we live to be significant so people will know our name, that memory will be gone soon after we die. If we live so people will know His name through our significance, then we will be remembered in eternal life.

The Christians of St. Paul’s time struggled to have more of the world understand the significance of the gospel. We are struggling with the same issue today. In 1 Corinthians 1:18-20 Paul said, the wise men, the scribes, and the debaters of his age considered “the word of the cross” to be foolishness. In other words, they saw the message and the messengers as being completely irrelevant. Yet, Paul never changed the message. He simply preached the gospel and the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.

Through a life that is aligned with Him, we are given guidance, instruction, and models to be current and significant. We have a timeless significance in our call to love and belong to each other, whether at home, work, or on the playing field – regardless of the situation or venue. The two Great Commandments are to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40). True love is about being significant.

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