Unleash your potential
Several movies in recent years, such as Limitless and Lucy have many of us asking the same question. Am I meeting my potential?
Offering an accurate response to this question requires a courageous gut level ‘getting to know you better’ session with one very important person. You. This means looking in the mirror and ignoring those devilishly good looks and your dazzling smile long enough to do a little investigative research and self-reflection.
Have YOU been stretched beyond your comfort zone…or do you strategically avoid the fear of discomfort like the 5th grade playground bully?
Are YOU a clock-in clock-out corporate drone …or do YOU surprise people with your innovative suggestions?
Are YOU coasting on the crowded road ahead…or are YOU building bridges and creating new
Are YOU kicking corporate booty…or are YOU kissing corporate booty?
Is each drop of sweat YOU give a building block to bring a dream that YOU have to fruition…or are YOU currently investing your ‘sweaquity’
in someone else’s dream?
If you are pleased with your self-reflection, then by all means use the time you would have needed to read the next paragraph and give your reflection a high-five — or fist bump (or whatever it is you kids are doing these days!). You have taken the appropriate steps to unleash your potential. YOU are off to a running start.
However, if you are not quite so pleased with the outcome of your self-reflection, then congratulate yourself for having the integrity to look in the mirror and answer the questions honestly (and yes, congratulate yourself as well because you are still a handsome devil!). Then, simply remind yourself of the single most important piece of information you will learn in Unleashing Your Potential 101. It is never too late for a YOU-turn (Insert audible disgruntled mumblings from my high school drivers ed teacher here)…
How to “Unleash Your Potential”
Step One: DREAM BIG and Believe in Your Dream.
You have the dream. You know it’s brilliant. What’s stopping you from pursuing your dream? If not now – when? Now is the only time you have and procrastination is simply not an option.
Step Two: Engage in Fearless Creativity
Paint, draw, sculpt. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly! So what if you can barely draw a stick figure or that your painted flowers look like they belong on your grandmother’s refrigerator? Creative activities will take you out of the “daily grind” and allow you the opportunity to expand your awareness of yourself, others, your dream, your circumstances, and the world around you. Let go.
Step Three: Always be in a State of Constant Refinement and Growth
Are you preparing for your past or for your future? Unless you are moving forward, you are in a state of either regression or stagnation. Regression is like driving in LA traffic by staring in your rear view mirror. You will inevitably cause a metaphorical pile-up by trying to move forward while dwelling in the past. However, if you have stopped entirely, then you are facing the ‘up the creek with no paddle’ scenario” and boy does being stagnant stink! The only thing that can grow in a stagnant environment is bacteria and parasites and smells your neighbors may have to eventually call the authorities to address.
So stay up on the trends, know the terminology and try new tactics. Find your mission statement and make that your cornerstone. Then you can begin to build with new stones in new directions. While you are at it, knock out a wall or two in the process — you’ll love the view!
Step Four: Be Grateful for Your Successes and Failures
Success? It is great, isn’t it? It’s exhilarating! That feeling of being on top of the world is what propels us to repeat those actions that brought us our first success.
Failure? We would be lying if we said it was equally exhilarating. Failure carries baggage. You want to hide it. Bury it. Sweep it under the rug. You feel guilty. After all, nothing good ever came out of a mistake…except for the inventions of Play-Doh, the Slinky, the Match, Silly Putty, Post-It Notes, and the list goes on and on and on.
Studies have found that the knowledge gained from success is often not retained while knowledge from failure lands itself smack-dab in the middle of the long term memory bank. Failure is a common theme in the origins stories of the greatest men and women in history. Did you read about the the writer, the inventor, or the absolute genius who was an overnight success? The truth is that the large majority of every “overnight success” has ten years of hard work under his or her belt. Often failure is just one or two minor adjustments away from the brilliant success you were hoping to achieve.
Success and Failure is on your path. I’m not a psychic (it’s a numbers game people!), but the bottom line is to never give up, adjust as necessary and remember your employees, coworkers and even your boss will also have noteworthy failures. We are all students of both experiences. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Step Five: Support Others in Their Quest to “Unleash Their Potential”
Sometimes you may end up taking your success for granted. The easiest way to remember where you came from is to suddenly lose everything, but I would like to suggest a less dramatic way for you to strike a balance as you move forward.
Through giving back.
When you are asked to give, you may immediately think in terms of money. While investing in someone’s business is clearly an option (and an option that we are thrilled to advise you on one-on-one!!), giving is not just a financial concept.
What have others given to you that contributed to your current success? Advice? A sounding board? Their time? This assistance from others may have completely turned your circumstances around and now you have the opportunity to do the same for someone else. Simply giving your time to listen as others vent or bounce new ideas around is a priceless gift to the recipient.
Giving to your community is not only a huge benefit to the organizations or individuals you are helping, but it also takes you out of your comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you the opportunity to appreciate your circumstances, to learn to problem solve in new ways and to identify new processes to benefit the global community. Additionally, while you are being completely “selfless” in your volunteer work, the free advertising for your company on banners, newsletters, emails and websites cannot be overlooked. In an organic marketing plan, this is the gift that keeps on giving.
Giving respect to your client, your coworker and your employer is being open-minded and pausing to consider an idea instead of immediately insisting it won’t work. It’s giving space for others to show their talents, explore their ideas and try new things which will make your company a coveted place to work. By encouraging the success of others, you are also ensuring your own success. The loyalty and support you’ll receive by giving cannot be measured, plus, you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve made someone’s world a better place.
Unleashed = Unlearning
Ultimately, unleashing your potential means you are fully immersed in the process of unlearning. As a child, you were creative. You were a talented artist, you made up games, you had imaginary friends, you had superhero powers and you believed in magic. Somewhere along the way, you were told to act your age, think of the future and to be practical. Dreams became frivolous luxuries you couldn’t afford.
So you were promptly put in a tidy box that had a tidy bow and given a shiny new wind-up mechanism to stick straight out of your back and make you work ridiculously hard. Luckily, your new corporate-issued robot brain would help you stay on track.
Sound like the plot to a horror movie? I couldn’t agree more.
I’m not asking you to change. I’m urging you to remember who you are through unlearning. Stretch your legs a bit. Climb out of the box. Remove the stick. Rest. Shut down the brain – even if it is just for a little while every day. You can even keep your pretty reflective shell, but remember that you have a lovely gooey creative center as well.
Unleashing your potential requires that you make time to follow your bliss, begin thinking with your heart again and believe in magic rather than the illusion.