Reaching Your True Potential
Are you trying to reach your full potential in life? Maybe you think you have missed your chance? Or you’ve tried and failed before, so, you don’t want to try again? Throughout life, many people want to reach their full potential and often put themselves down if they haven’t done so by a particular age and time.
If you are experiencing similar feelings of frustration or even regret about the direction of your career or life, this article is intended to help you examine the question, “Am I reaching my potential?” This is not the same as asking, “How do I rise to the top?” or “How can I be successful in my career/life?” Rather, it’s about taking a very personal look at how you define success in your heart of hearts and then finding your path to get there.
1. Develop a Goal
Goals big and small can be the stepping-stones to a happier life and the way we set them can make a difference to achieving them. Having goals for things we want to do and working towards them is an important part of being human. The path towards our goals may not always run smoothly or be easy, but having goals, whether big or small, is part of what makes life good. It gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, points us in the direction we want to go and gets us interested and engaged, all of which are good for our overall happiness.
2. Don’t Let Popular Opinion Dissuade You
You have a goal, it excites you, but once you share it with others, they all start telling you how risky it is and that you’d be better of letting go of that idea. It’s easy to get discouraged when people around you don’t support you. When they only see the reason why your idea won’t work and come up with all those “good advice” of what you should do instead. The world has seen too many brilliant ideas being given up on because of this. So, don’t let that happen to you. Don’t let others discourage you from your dreams.
3. Practice Discipline
Self-discipline is NOT something we’re born with. It’s a learned behavior which requires dedication and deliberate practice on a daily basis like any other skill you want to perfect. Some people find developing self-discipline more challenging than others, but this skill is an absolute MUST on the way to unlocking your full potential in life.
4. Be Confident
Being confident will help you achieve your goals. Although believing is not enough on its own, negative thoughts will slow you down. Take care of yourself. Dress well, brush your hair, sit with good posture, and groom regularly. Think positively. When you have a negative thought, rephrase it positively. Do not compare yourself to others. Instead of dwelling on how you stack up to other people, focus on yourself and your goals.
5. Accept That You Will Fail
Let’s face it. We all make mistakes. Most of us know that failure is a reality of life, and at some level, we understand that it actually helps us grow. Intellectually, we even acknowledge that the greatest achievers — past and present — also routinely experienced colossal failures. But still, we hate to fail. We fear it, we dread it, and when it does happen, we hold onto it. We give it power over our emotions, and sometimes we allow it to dictate our way forward (or backward). Some of us go to great lengths to avoid failure because of all the pain and shame associated with it.
In any failure, there are factors which we simply cannot control, anticipate, or change. You can beat yourself up all you want — but if everyone else can’t control those factors, then why should you be stressing about it? Focus on what you CAN control. Focus on what can make you better.
Failure is where self-doubt is at its highest. We naturally internalize everything around us into one negative ball of doubt that will rage against us. We won’t have control of that energy, but you can’t go down with it either.
Accepting failure is your FIRST chance at doing something different, at trying something new, at making progress in your goals in your life. The only time it’s your last chance is when you throw in the towel. For everything else, this is the first day of something new.
6. Learn to Embrace Uncomfortable Situations
While it may not feel like it in the moment, a little bit of discomfort goes a long way in terms of personal development. Sure, no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it’s a big part of improving your performance, creativity and learning in the long run. Routines may make you feel at ease and in control, but what a constant routine really does is dull your sensitivities. Think about the times in your life when you’ve driven the same route repeatedly: after a certain number of trips, you start tuning out most of it. Have you ever had a trip to the office where you barely remember what happened after you got in the car? If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might find yourself tuning out much of your life on a daily basis. That’s why being uncomfortable is something you should embrace. Putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower; that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things.
7. Set Small Goals to Achieve Big Results
Big goals are exciting. But these large, long-term goals have downsides, too. They can set us up for failure if we set goals that are too big to achieve, or if we don’t break them down and work towards them systematically. Setting smaller goals for shorter time periods makes you more flexible and quicker to adapt to new information or changing circumstances.
8. Take Time to Recharge
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be difficult to take a step back and focus on ourselves — but scheduling a little me time is essential for our mental health.
So much to do, so little time. There’s always a good reason not to take time to recharge your batteries. But it isn’t a luxury: It’s a necessity. “Relaxation is not a frivolous pleasure,” says Louise Handfield-Champagne, a Montreal-based psychologist. “It’s vital to our health.” Among other things, it reduces blood pressure and decreases muscle tension. What we mean by “recharging” can look differently depending on your life, but essentially it means self-care and rest. It’s not something you do just on vacation, either; you should be taking time out throughout every day to recharge. Find something that resonates with you. Try taking a walk. Take a hot chocolate break and focus only on that. There’s no glory in being a martyr for constantly staying busy; take time to recharge and be good to yourself and your life.
9. Trust your intuition.
Intuition comes from experience and instinct. Although you must be open to change, you should also be willing to trust your own experience and knowledge. Trust your experience, but be open to new experiences too. Your intuition can help you make better decisions. Remember that intuition and contemplation are not mutually exclusive. You can use your intuition to help inform your decision-making process, even when you are not relying on it fully. Intuition is a helpful tool for making quick decisions. This can free you up to work on other important goals. You do not need to dwell on every decision, but acting on intuition does not mean making the decision lightly either. In your journal, keep a list of the times your intuition helped you. Reference your journal when you are working through a problem.
10. Never stop.
Achieving your full potential is a lifelong process. You will achieve many goals along the way, but always stay committed to the process of self-improvement. Our abilities are not static and fixed. Even after you achieve your goals, continue to abide by the checklist you created earlier. This will help you continue to progress even further than you thought you could. Failure is not absolute. Samuel Beckett wrote: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Follow this simple premise and you will be able to continue to work toward achieving your full potential.
How much success have you accumulated in your life? Whatever level you have attained, you can do more. Never limit your potential success and never limit what you will do to create and keep that success. Have monster goals and attack them hard. Remember that people who are highly successful — in both their professional and personal lives — continue to work, produce and create long after they’ve flourished.
When it comes to your career, never work for your quota; work to your potential. Working for your potential will keep you highly motivated. This also ties into your ethical obligation. You know what you’re capable of, not others. Quotas are numbers made up by others for you to hit. How did they come up with that quota? Don’t operate by what others think is possible.
Understand also that you will not reach your full potential without increasing your knowledge. You must train and invest in yourself to make yourself better.