Having “high potential” does not mean performing at maximum capability. While many believe they are doing all they can, a huge number of professionals are frustrated because they are coming up short of expectations. There is a paradox of potential that haunts many people in their career journeys.
There is a real gap between potential and results, and if you want to do more and unlock your potential you have to be clear about what you are trying to accomplish. Not every bit of potential will interest you in going for the highest levels. I have a daughter who is a great archer, and may have Olympic level capabilities, however she does not want to pursue archery beyond attending classes for fun. We all have many things we are naturally good at that are not our priorities, and that is okay.
But when you want to excel, you have to be clear on the path your want to take and you cannot do it alone. You need to seek out the right people to help you maximize your potential. Plans, purpose and people are key to your success.
1. Plans. Many debate the value of goal setting, but if you want to perform at your highest levels you must know where you are headed. Knowing the destination is something you would hope for your airline pilot. Those who discredit goals setting would never board a plane with pilot who do not have a plan. Having goals does not guarantee a clear path to all your desires, but without knowing the direction you can easily get lost. Having a goal makes it very easy when you are faced with decisions along the way.
2. Purpose. Simon Sinek says it best in his first book "Start with Why". Much like a plan, Sinek says knowing you why makes it easy to make choices in your career. Everyone has a purpose. It is what gets us out of bed in the morning and keeps us working into late hours. If you know your "Why" you will be get more done and inspire all who you encounter.
3 People. All opportunities come from people. In our world where so many are addicted to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media tools, most agree that after a decade of these tools they do not really have more friends. Some feel they have fewer strong relationships. When you invest in people and cultivate meaningful connections, you will always find more opportunities. Choosing people and establishing real friendships is paramount to achieving all you can do in your life.
In trying to find you right path, you have to pay attention to where you skills and your ambition overlap. You must be clear on what you want, why you want it, and seek allies to help you get there.
In my long and ongoing study of "potential" I am finding the more I examine my own capabilities and the steps I am taking to do more, the more I am able to accomplish. Never leave success to chance. Potential is great, but without clear actions you will get lost in that gap.