How to tap into your potential
Imagine making a list of all that was possible for you to do. Not only would that be one incredibly long list but it would be tricky to know what to include or leave out of this list. Like this list, the idea of POTENTIAL can be overwhelming because of how complex and limitless it is. Potential describes all that is possible but has not yet been realised. It is the dormant abilities and qualities that could be developed into something useful in the future. So how can we take advantage of potential in a way that does not leave us overwhelmed into inactivity?
The analogy of a seed is useful in thinking about potential. Until it is planted and nurtured, a seed cannot become what it was destined to be. A seed on its own could easily be mistaken for a lifeless stone when indeed it has life inside of it. Sometimes we can be like this too, even though there is so much life inside of us! Using this analogy, I will share some practical ways we can tap into all that life, all those possibilities and the potential inside of you.
1. Believe in the power of the seed
Just like a farmer/gardener believes in the ability of every seed that he plants to bear fruit, so should you believe in the ability of your ideas and goals to bear fruit. Why does the farmer believe this? Because that is what the seed is made to do, seeds have been bearing fruit for generations and therefore it gives the farmer faith that the seed is viable. This fundamental belief that whatever you set out to do is possible is a great motivator and a common trait in many successful people. When we consider other people's achievements, there is often a temptation to think success is unique to them because of finances, opportunities or privilege. Don’t fall for this! Instead choose to see your commonality - and that is the ability to believe in what is possible and the power over your mindset. Start there and you will be in a good position to succeed. Considering other people’s success should give you hope that you too can also do whatever you set out to do.
Visualise the fruits your seed will produce and write them down. I recall early last year writing down my mission for life in rough notes - I wanted to be enhanced and enhance every person or activity I engage in with my God-given gifts. I didn’t know exactly what that would entail practically and what exactly the God-given gift was. But that act of WRITING down my mission led to BELIEVING, which led to DISCOVERING my relational strengths, which led me to coaching. The fulfilment I get from coaching is indescribable! With the help of friends and ‘unofficial coaches’ in my life, I cut out all the noise and zeroed in on what was important to me. Then I mustered the confidence to pursue it. I am now living out my mission because I believed.
2. Nurture the seed
For any seed to grow, the environment has to be right and so it is with your potential. You can't influence everything about your environment. However you have the power of two things - relationships and time. We are all familiar with the feelings associated with having a productive day and how we feel when we have wasted the day! Someone recently said that whenever we lament about wasting time, we need to reframe it as wasting our life instead, because your life is measured in time. That is an uncomfortable thought but is very true indeed. Everyday is a gift and to make the most of it, we need to allocate time to things in order of importance. This means saying no to some things, pruning or weeding out whatever is not helpful. It may mean reading books, taking courses, building relationships. Be conscious of the fact that a seed doesn’t just sprout the moment it is planted. It spends time getting its roots grounded so it can have access to nutrition and be stable. From above it looks like nothing is happening, but a lot is. To grow your idea/goal into a reality, spend time establishing roots, creating pathways to nourish it, don't be in a hurry, but keep the momentum and keep working.
3. Harvest your fruits
After all that growing, the time to harvest will come and this is when you have to take action, implement or create. Sometimes, we delay the harvest because we want things to be perfect. Or because we are afraid of the reception we will get. The truth is aiming for improvement is much better than aiming for perfection. Improvement means that you have something to begin with and then you optimise it, perfection on the other hand, can leave you paralysed and you end up with nothing. Take action even if it doesn't give the results you expected. You haven’t failed, look for the lessons to learn and dive back in. Set some new goals and give it another go. It may take lots and lots of goes to get the result you hope for, but it is worth it.
Doing this, tapping into your potential is what makes this journey of life exciting, fulfilling and worthwhile. It is the best gift you can give yourself. I have shared in another blog post that we are all creators and sharing our creations brings us personal fulfilment. In addition, sharing your creation also nourishes others. A seed doesn’t bear fruit for its own procreation, the main purpose of its fruits is to nourish others.
There is potential in all of us; whether it remains trapped within or shared with the world is up to us. What steps can you take today to create an environment that nurtures your potential? Generally, us women folk tend to be nurturing by nature and are most likely nurturing the potential of their kids, husbands, partners etc. But we must not neglect to nurture ours as well because when we bear good fruit we will nourish all those around us.