Potential, that’s term that we commonly hear. Whether we are talking about a child or an employee or about you. Questions are abound and it goes something like this:
- What is your potential?
- How do you know if you are living up to your potential?
- How do you know if you have maxed out on your potential?
- What can you do to develop your potential?
No doubt that these questions have been asked and you may have also come up with some answers of your own. Some common answers would be
- “I don’t know what my potential is?”
- “I feel like I have reached the pinnacle of my potential.”
- “I don’t want to know.”
- “I am afraid to challenge myself.”
Is there a way for you and me to know for sure? The first step is to know and understand what potential is and is not. According to the Oxford Dictionary, potential is “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.”
Therefore potential is about:
- An ability or skill or talent that you have and have demonstrated it in some behaviour or action.
- It can be develop further, not stagnant and can grow and increase with usage and time.
- It is forward looking. It continues to grow if it is continuously being developed.
- It is “alive”, waiting to be realised and desiring to grow.
- Prospect of and for greater success.
- There is always room for improvement.
Conversely potential is not about:
- One time experience or achievement.
- It is not past tense.
- Being contented with where you are at.
- Hiding it or putting a lid on your strengths or skills.
What can we do to living out our potential? There are 6 ways to ensure that we live out and up to our potential:
- Forward Looking: It is about the next step, the next milestone, the next goal, the next area of growth, always asking the question of “What’s Next?”. It is forgetting what is behind or in the past, and striving to move forward with the aim of doing and being better.
- Say “Yes” to Challenges and “No” to Fear. Growth only comes when there is resistance and challenges to be faced and overcome. When an opportunity arises to push your skills or abilities further, take it on. No matter what we do, there will always be fear involved. No one goes through life without feeling fearful, but the one who overcomes fear will always come out of it having grown and learnt more than expected.
- Keep on keeping on. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. It is all about perseverance and determination. Once you have committed to a certain goal, be focus and stay the course. It is easy to give up half way or even right before the end, and we all know the regret that comes from it. It is with those past experience that should help us to remember that there is always a positive outcome if we never give up. There is always experiences to be gained.
- Belief. You must have the belief that this is the path that want to take. You must believe that this is your purpose. You must believe that this is your calling. Belief is important to keep you keeping on.
- Vision of the outcome can be very different from how you start out. What you start out with may look very different from how it ends up. There are those who are able to achieve exactly what they set out to. Most of us will find that the achievements are different from what had envisioned. However, it is always satisfying if it’s the working out of our potential.
- It is Not solely about the achievement but about Maturing.
- skills and abilities
- emotional and mental maturity.
Where are you in the journey of living out your potential? What would you do differently? Where do you see your potential taking you? What is holding you back? What would propel you forward?
Potential is all about the future. Don’t let the past failure or setback put a full stop on your potential. Focus on the future and just how bright and promising it can be.