I have always been fascinated by potential, to the point it became my purpose for launching Impact2Lead in late 2013. In my mind, potential represents hope and things imagined but not yet achieved.
Merriam-Webster defines potential as existing in possibility; capable of development into actuality. I look at potential as an aspiration with a passion and enthusiasm for what has yet to be realized. Simply put, positive energy towards something big with a purpose.
When I was younger, a lot younger, I thought I knew everything and really didn’t seek out help to unleash my own potential. I lumbered through early adulthood certainly wanting more but not understanding or diving deep into what would get me there. The fact that I was blind to it was sure clear enough for the companies I worked for. Guess they assumed if I wasn’t interested then they weren’t either.
I managed to figure this out as time went on and thankfully there were a few people along the way who took a special interest in me to get me focused.
Getting focused sounds relatively straightforward however there is more to it. The process, patience, and effort needed to unleash your own potential, resides in your heart and soul. The sum of its parts must equate to a purpose geared to helping others, not simply achieving self-oriented success.
There is nothing wrong with ambition, frankly you must have it in order to unleash your potential. However, a misguided focus on ambition to simply climb the ladder, make more money, bolster the ego, be the talk of the town, see your name in lights, etc., will ultimately leave you with the empty feeling of unfilled potential. It can also be a career limiting approach in an era where the evolving workforce is demanding leaders and employers that care.
Here are some steps to help along the path to unleashing your own potential:
• Determine what differentiates you from the rest and be precise/clear about how it can help others – be passionate
• Build your vision statement – your purpose
• Clearly understand the commitment needed
• Identify your core values
• Develop a plan of action to get where you want to be and get help
• Determine the skills you have that match your vision
• Cultivate those skills
• Prepare yourself for setbacks and make certain you learn from them
• Surround yourself with people that will make you better – avoid getting caught up in negativity at all costs
• Exist to help others
• Protect your personal brand
In looking back, I am grateful for those who helped me. I am grateful I did not derail myself during those times of impatience and can think the only reason I get to do what I do today is because I sincerely cared for others.
“Helping individuals and organizations unleash potential through impactful leadership” is not just a slogan under the signature line of my email, but rather a calling. Leaders that pay attention to this, will unleash more than their own potential. They will leave a legacy.
Next up; how organizations can assure they are focused on unleashing potential to drive performance and a culture of excellence.