Someone else will always get more recognition for doing less significant work.
Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind Apple, was heralded as a visionary and creative genius according to the Apple website. The man knew how to position Apple according to their audience, and create value that no one has ever seen before. He was known by millions as the guy who lived a minimalist life and designed flawless products. He knew how to create, how to brand, and how to sell. He deserves the respect for bringing accessible and beautiful technology into the hands of so many everyday consumers.
But arguably, Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the C programming language, and co-creator of the Unix operating system, had a much greater impact on the world of computing. With practically every modern program, kernel, and compilers written in C, Steve Jobs would not have had the impact that he did without the work of Dennis Ritchie. Dennis Ritchie was the genius that empowered every single technology company today to do what they do. The work of Dennis Ritchie laid the foundation that Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc built their companies on top. And not surprisingly, Ritchie had much less recognition than Jobs did.
In the same way, being a teacher usually doesn’t come with a great opportunity to become recognized by millions, but being a teacher presents hundreds of opportunities to empower students with what they need to be recognized by millions.
The difference between success and significance is that success means doing something that impacts millions while significance means doing something that empowers a handful to impact millions. Success is about building yourself a name, while significance is about empowering someone else to build a name. Significant people who empower individuals have no idea how many people those individuals will impact.
The people who have truly changed the world are sometimes largely unrecognized, because they valued empowering specific people over being known by all people. So to all the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, teachers, counselors, mentors, friends, etc out there, thank you for your significant impact on the world.
Do you want to be successful or significant? Neither is less honorable than the other, and the two are not always mutually exclusive.