All of us would hope to reach our full potential at some point. We want to stretch ourselves past just being adequate and do the best we possibly can. And while this is a very common goal among professionals, many of us struggle to reach that point. So, where is the disconnect? What obstacles stand in our way, and what strategies do we need to adopt to get there? Here are some ideas to help you start harnessing your full potential:
Some of the Obstacles:
So often, fear holds us back from achieving the things we want. The fear of failure, in particular, keeps us from trying new things. It’s not our fault, fear has been ingrained in us as a necessary defense mechanism. Rather than allowing fear to run our lives and control our success, we can take calculated risks by weighing the potential consequences and then make informed decisions. When we approach things this way, we’re more likely to see reason and set fear aside.
Lack of Motivation
Another obstacle to overcome on the way to reaching our full potential may be low motivation. Sometimes people lack the ambition to keep pushing towards the success they want. Many of us set lofty goals but don’t commit to the work necessary to get there. Start thinking about exactly what it will take to achieve what you want, while still keeping your big-picture goals in mind. Accomplishing some smaller steps along the way to a big goal can keep our motivation in high supply as we keep making progress. More on setting the right kind of goals, here.
We have to be self-aware if we want to reach our full potential. Many of us either don’t recognize how skilled we are in an area, or we vastly overestimate our abilities. Each of these presents a problem. Believing ourselves infallible can certainly hinder our success, while not understanding the depth of our abilities can detract from our confidence. The more we can honestly look at where we’re at in relation to where we’d like to be, the better our chances of maximizing our potential.
Some Strategies to Adopt:
Often, there’s not enough space in our comfort zones to reach our full potential — we have to look past what we believe is realistic or safe. Identify what you think is just out of reach, and then give some real thought to what it will take to reach it. Get creative about the possibilities. The most successful people have had to push themselves to strive for more than what is comfortably within their reach. Remove your safety net and allow yourself to get into uncomfortable situations (within reason). New challenges like these will usually create unexpected opportunities for growth and allow us to engage more of our potential.
Create Some Smaller Goals
If we want to truly believe in our own potential, we have to prove it to ourselves by achieving some small victories. Start by setting a couple modest goals. Make sure to write your goals down as you create them so that you’ll stay on track and can chart your progress. And each time you’ve achieved one of these goals, however small they may be, you’ll see an increase in your motivation and self-worth — both of which are precursors to reaching your full potential.
Consistency and Persistence
Only with consistent effort and persistence can we utilize our full potential. It’s never easy — not for anyone. With full schedules and demands coming from every direction, keeping our drive at a high-level day after day can be a real challenge. Experiment with creating new habits that make it easier for you to work on the things that are most important. Establishing a stronger support system for ourselves goes a very long way in helping us maintain our motivation over time.
It’s a little different for each of us, so you’ll need to identify what ‘reaching your full potential’ means to you. After that, push outside your comfort zone, create some simple goals and achieve them, and stay consistent and persistent in the face of challenges. You’ll begin to see that you’re attaining higher and higher levels of potential all the time.
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