Reaching Your Full PotentialJeremy (my boss) was the first person to point out to me that saying, (and we’ve all said it) “but he has so much potential” is not saying something good about that person, but quite the opposite. When you think about it, what is the point of having potential when you don’t make an effort to meet it? I was at a Construction Specification Institute conference recently and one of their keynote speakers, Andrew Cornell, CEO of Cornell and Cookson Companies, spoke about the Five Tools to Reaching our Greater Potential. I’d like to share them with you because they were very inspiring. It doesn't matter if you are selling paint jobs, driving a big-rig, or staying home to raise your children; these can apply to everyone, in every station of life.
- Set audacious goals. We’ve all heard about audacious goals, but seriously…set them, and do something about them. Write them down, and balance goals for personal, family and work. Rate yourself annually. These goals will commit you to a specific future. That’s worth repeating: These goals will commit you to a specific future. They will help you say no when needed, which is important to balance your life, and they will radically alter your self-perception.
- People need adult supervision. Find mentors, coaches, even an advisory board. Find people who have been where you want to go and keep them close. Invite peer review and ask what you should keep doing, start doing and stop doing. Create a third party framework for your own accountability and write it down.
- Create an image of your future self. This has to be visual, a picture, a photo that you look at every day to remind yourself of what you want for your future. Photoshop your head on top of the body you desire. Cut a photo of yourself and paste it next to a photo of the environment you are working towards. It will be a daily reminder of your future. You will be more likely to create your future self if you have a photo of what you’re striving for.
- Move de-energizing people away from you. Find can-do people in your life. Spend time with them. Those that are sucking your life energy out of you will have to find someone else. De-energizing people require more focus and attention, which distracts you from your potential. Get away from them.
- Reflect on compliments. I find this to be one of the most difficult tasks. When people pay you a compliment, learn to simply say “thank-you” and don’t extinguish them in your mind. Listen to these compliments. They are truths about your potential.
Start taking these steps but don’t make contingencies. Don’t create time frames in your mind that you’ll start these steps once something else is completed. Start it now. Finally, but most importantly, it’s one thing to take these steps toward realizing your potential, but think about what you want to leverage your potential towards. Think about what realizing your potential will do for those around you. Remember…ultimately, this is not all about you. It’s about your family, co workers, friends, those around you. What is the point of realizing your potential if it’s not doing something to better others? This is not self-serving, but self-fulfilling. Peter Drucker said it best by stating, “The only real mission for a human life is to serve others.”