Maybe it’s your time now. Maybe it’s time to be all that you can be and to get the most out of your life. If you are not experiencing career success; if you are not satisfied in your personal life; if you know there to life than what you are experiencing, then it is time – time for you to unleash all of the potential that is hidden within you. And it does all start with you – not your friends, family members, conditions at work, and so on. It begins with a change in attitude/thought, confidence, self-esteem, goal setting, and then, of course, action. Here’s 5-step process.
1. Changing Thought and Attitude
Nothing happens in anyone’s life that does not first begin with a thought. Thoughts and the words that accompany them are powerful. They can either limit or liberate us. The first step in reaching potential is to get rid of all of those negative thoughts that you carry around like a garbage can full of trash. Some of those thought are, “I’m not smart enough to go to college; I probably won’t find the right relationship; I won’t be able to find a better job; I’ll never have enough money to live nicely; I’m afraid to try that”. All of these things, rolling around in your head, control how you act. If you continue to say you can’t go back to school (for whatever reason), then you won’t do it. Here’s something to try: When you have a negative thought, write it down – start keeping a list. Once you get them all written down, look carefully and see how you can counter them. For example, instead of, “I’m not smart enough to go back to school, say “I could try one course, maybe even online, and just see how I do.”
2. Your Goals
No one achieves his/her potential without goals. Goals begin with desires, so you will need time alone to research yourself. Yes, research, because that is how you discover what you really want. What would be your ideal job, lifestyle, relationship, etc.? Now, back to that writing again. Let’s take the ideal job, for example. Suppose that would be owning your own business. Write down as much detail as possible. What product or service would you sell? What projects would you run? What do you need to start that business? Who would you sell the product or service to? How could you market it? Without realizing it, you are developing a plan to meet that goal. Now, what could you do in the next week that will get you started? Give yourself a deadline for that and put it on your calendar. Communicate that goal to a few trusted people. Then you “own” it, and you will feel much more responsibility for it. Big goals are achieved in steps and stages. Instead of looking at the end right now (that can be intimidating), just look at the first step. That’s doable.
3. Eliminating Fear
Fear results in lack of confidence and ultimately very low self-esteem. People who fear change, striking out on a new path, or taking risks to improve their lives, are just stuck where they are. They live in a “comfort zone,” but that comfort zone is a place of no progress. The only way to cure fear is by taking action, in small steps at a time. The first action, the next time you have a fear is to write it down. What exactly do you fear? Once you have it out and on paper, you can ask yourself a couple of Questions. Why do you fear this thing? Is it because you have failed at something similar in the past? Are you afraid you will fail now? Then ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen? If you fail at something, you’ll still be breathing. Sometimes when we write down the worst that could happen, it really does not seem as horrible as it was in our minds. Once you have finished this little exercise, write down one small action you could take toward that thing you are fearing. Give yourself a time limit for that action. Maybe it’s a phone call; maybe it’s finding an online course; maybe it’s getting your resume updated for an eventual job search. Take one step.
When we were kids we used to day dream and imagine a lot. Somehow, as we matured and life got in the way, we lost the time and the desire to dream and imagine. Our days, and sometimes our evenings are filled with “to-do’s.” We finish up our day and fall into bed, tired and ready to sleep. Even when we have trouble sleeping, we ruminate about worries and problems. Learning to become a kid again and to daydream and visualize is a wonderful thing. Now that you have a goal, get a picture in your mind of what you and your world will look like when that goal is achieved. Go to that place in our mind several times a day, if only for a few minutes. When we learn to keep a vision of a great end result, we develop a positive attitude toward the goal and will work harder to achieve it.
Just as visualization is important, so are the words we say to ourselves. Here is the self-talk that people who reach their potential engage in. “I can do this; I can learn anything I need to learn; I am worthy of good things; I am going to get this done and do it well; I can spend the time I need to spend to meet this goal; I will stick to what I have begun and follow through.” And as this self-talk becomes a habit, you will find that you begin to achieve the things you set out to achieve. And don’t forget the gratitude part. People who reach their potential are grateful that they have the skills, the talents, the motivation and the support of a few good people. Now, use these tips as a bit of a checklist for yourself. Are you doing, on a daily basis, those things that will push you toward reaching your full potential? Keep this list. Read it every day. A great deal of reaching potential is developing those mental habits that allow you to take action.