The Significance of Significance

By: Annie [WOO|Communication|Significance|Focus|Individualization]

People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized,” according to CliftonStrengths for Students.

list of strengths; significance in green

The first time I read this definition of Significance, it sounded to me like a description of someone who is self-centered. During a Career & Internship Services’ student employee training session, there was an exercise where I had to use my own words to explain Significance to one of the career counselors. Self-centered was the only thing I could think to say, other than asking how being self-centered could be considered a talent?

The counselor explained it to me like this: to be significant in the eyes of others means that you must perform your job duties, complete your school work, participate in extracurricular activities, and so on, in a meaningful and commendable way. Being recognized for your hard work is what motivates you to continue to work hard and improve at whatever you are doing.

After hearing this description, I saw Significance as the opposite of being self-centered. To be “important in the eyes of others,” you must think about everyone around you and how your actions affect them. Receiving positive acknowledgment of your efforts is naturally going to motivate you to do better.

Here are some ideas of how the Significance theme incorporates into your career path [source]:

  • Environments in which you and your significant contribution are visible to others and in which you receive recognition for a job well done are likely to bring out your best.
  • Knowing you’ve made a significant contribution is important to you. Volunteer in organizations where you can make a difference and where your efforts will be appreciated.
  • Seek opportunities to work with people you respect because they are professional, credible, and successful.
  • Identify the specific talents that will help you make an extraordinary contribution to your workplace, and create opportunities to build on them.

Significance can be applied differently to many aspects of your life. I recommend reading more about this strength in the book, StrengthsQuest: Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond, or online at to better understand how Significance fits for you as a strength.

Read about the 33 other Strengths

Read Annie’s other posts

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