When we were young, amongst the various life lessons and wisdom so often imparted by adults, one fact was often drilled into our heads by teachers and parents regarding our futures. When we didn’t do our homework, our teachers were quick to point out that if we worked harder we could do whatever we wanted with our life. When we looked up at our parents over dinner and asked what we’d do as adults, they’d share the sentiment.
“You can be/do anything if you set your mind to it.”
Unfortunately that tidbit of info is less of a “fact” and more an “encouraging lie.” The fact of the matter remains that some people aren’t cut out to be aerospace engineers or neurosurgeons.
We do, however, all have within us our specialty. The thing or things that we’re best at, the scenarios we live and thrive in. And to truly come into our own, we need to learn how to best tap into that potential and learn to recognize it in both a personal and business setting. From there, we can put in the hustle and effort required to reach our peak.
“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential,” -Winston Churchill
Realizing Yourself and Your Potential
Before you’re able to reach your full potential you have to better understand what your full potential is.
In large part, your potential is going to stem from your strengths, the things you excel at and do better than others. If you’re a strong writer, recognize that; if you’re a creative mind, capitalize on that. Take a moment to grab and pen and pencil and list some things–whether they’re work related or not–that you do well. (An aside: this exercise can also be great for your self-esteem)
Your potential extends beyond just your strengths, however. While it may seem counter-productive to focus on negatives, listing your weaknesses can help your development as both a professional and a person. Sometimes this task proves difficult, particularly if you refuse to be honest with yourself. The Harvard Business Review suggests asking others what they perceive your weaknesses to be if you’re struggling to identify them on your own.
Once you’ve established what you do well and don’t do so well, it’s a simple process to move forward and take steps to improve. Realizing, for instance, that you are an adequate writer but lack ample creativity to write a book can open up doors to tapping into your creative potential and finishing your first novel.
Reaching Your Potential
Once you’ve outlined what you deem to be the areas in which you excel and those in which you struggle, improvement is right around the corner. Basic goal-setting activities can help you reach your potential faster than anything else. It’s important to take things slowly and in stride, however. No one goes from mediocre to a superstar overnight. Taking small steps and setting small goals–particular those which you can consider accomplishments in and of themselves–are important to reaching your potential once you’ve realized it.
Putting in the proper effort is also key. Without adequate effort, nothing will be achieved. In the world in which we live now, we cannot expect to simply skate by; it has become a dog-eat-dog world of cutthroat tactics and bigger and better businesses outshining and outperforming those who don’t reach their true potential. Without hard effort–without the day to day hustle of bettering yourself and your business–you will never find yourself becoming the best you that you can be.
Potential In Business
Recognizing the potential in a business setting extends beyond observations. Sitting back and taking a reflective moment to assess the business’s needs and daily operations won’t get you particularly far in seeing real, change-driven results. To truly capitalize on a business’s untapped potential, you have to remove all limitations. By limiting yourself to what you see in front of you, you’re effectively capping your potential at what you can see, not what you can attain.
And what you can attain is [almost] limitless if you display hustle. Working towards recognition and achievement of your potential ruthlessly, doing whatever you can and need to in order to reach these goals and milestones defines hustle. In my next post I will delve deeper into the importance of hustle in the workplace and in getting ahead in life.