Five Ways to Maximise Your Potential

People often assume that success or failure, winning or losing, comes down to the potential (some might call it talent) of an individual, sporting team, organisation or group. And while the amount of potential on tap matters, what matters more, and what tends to be more of a predictor of success or failure, is how effectively, that individual or group can exploit what they’ve been given.

The guy who has the genetic potential to run a hundred metres in 9.6 seconds but never trains, never gets uncomfortable, never follows through on decisions, is always looking for the shortcut and does most of his food shopping through the window of his car, will never measure up to the guy with the 10.2 second potential who constantly finds a way to maximise his genetics, opportunities, training, nutrition, resources, coaching and time.

Unless, of course, Mr. 9.6 decides to stop wasting what he’s been given.

Some of us have spent years not using what we’ve been given. Not maximising our potential. Scraping the surface but not exploring or exploiting it. Kind of like owning a Lamborghini that never leaves the 60kph confines of suburbia. So much power but such a waste. I could give you a hundred reasons as to why we do it but in most instances it comes down to fear. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. Fear of embarrassment. Judgment. Rejection. The unknown. Of losing control.

Fear.
Fear.
Fear.

Like most things, this pattern of underwhelming behaviour is not something to be remedied in a day but if this message resonates with you then today, I’m offering a few getting-started suggestions:

1. Stop worrying about what others think. Let go of the need to please and conform. It’s exhausting and unnecessary. It’s your life, your potential and your dreams. Don’t allow your insecurity, fear, ego or people-pleasing ways to sabotage your potential and don’t give your power away.  

2. Face your fear. You know the one. Or ones. Avoidance, submission, laziness and denial are the most effective ways to squander talent. For years, I have worked with people who transformed from the inside-out (mentally, emotionally, socially and professionally) by finding the courage to pursue their dreams, to take action, to explore their potential and to do what scares them.

3. Be the exception. Be the doer. Participate in life. Have a crack. Avoid the unproductive, wheel-spinning majority who spend too much time talking, planning, intending and waiting at Procrastination Central. Better to spend a life making mistakes, learning lessons, gaining experience, winning a few, losing a few and riding the inevitable bumps, than to find yourself sitting on the sidelines being a spectator in the game of life. Despite the fact that this post will resonate with many, we know that statistically most people who read it will change nothing over the long term (behaviour or results). I hope you’re in the minority. Posts on websites don’t change people’s lives. People change people’s lives.

Or they don’t. ;)

4. Stop looking for ‘the Secret’. You are the secret. You are the solution. Have less faith in the promises and products of others and more faith in yourself. When your self-belief and your potential collide, look out!

5. Interrupt your patterns. Do new things. Or, do old things in new ways. Embrace the new and unfamiliar. The way you eat. Exercise. Process information. Socialise. Study. React. Communicate. Work. Ask questions. Learn.

Same produces same so today, try a little different. :)

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlotte February 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Hi Craig,
Your post hit home, I am in that minority where I still have managed to continue to worry what people think, & fear of making mistakes!!!
More learning & doing for me I think!!!!

Long time since my last comment I no!!
Hugs Charlotte x

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Craig February 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

Hi Charlotte… Long time! How’s marriage (and life)? Hope everyone is great.. x

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Love in India February 13, 2013 at 1:20 am

The fear of rejection or embarrassment is one which I’m yet to conquer Craig.
Very pertinent post.

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Craig February 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

Hi Love in India… I think that particular fear is an ongoing challenge for most of us. :)

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jen February 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

Hi Craig,
Loved the post today, so very true. I have made huge gains in the last 12 months very good reminder to keep chasing the dream of what I want and not worry about what people will think around me.
Thank you
Jen xx

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Craig February 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

You’re welcome Jen :)

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dave February 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

Hi Craig,
This is so very me today. My biggest stumbling block I face since commencing my ugly duckling/swan transformation thingy last July, is ME.
Constantly telling myself since i completed the couch to 5km that i will never be able to run 5km without stopping. Due to a light bub moment a few weeks back and a healthy dose of attempting to ignore the ‘old’ voice insie of my head I’m now running 10km non stop.
In fact, this morning I have just ran 11km.
Old Dave still babbles away inside my head telling me that I can’t, I won’t etc, but there is a new voice there now getting louder every day shouting: I can. I will.
Thanks again Craig reminding me that inspiration is for writers and artists, and that it’s commitment that wins every time.
Dave

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Craig February 14, 2013 at 10:19 am

DAVE! You F’ing rock star! Well done Man. :)

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Sandy Fishwick February 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

I prefer the doing and not telling people till later, one because when I share I can see the expression on their faces quicker then they realise and that is off putting so I prefer to do something and tell people later. I shared yesterday a dream I have and watched the reaction, so today post is very helpful to remind me to ignore peoples responses.

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Craig February 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

Do what works Sandy – good for you :)

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Trish B February 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Great post, Craig.
Loved the ‘When your self-belief and your potential collide, look out!’.
You’ve reminded me (again!) to stop letting fear of others’ disapproval stop me from achieving my goals. Thanks for that.
Trish.

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Craig February 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

Welcome Trish :)

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Bag 'o' Shite February 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Hi Craig,

Long time lurker, loved today’s post. The question for me is, ‘Where do I start’? There is so much potential in all of our lives, I get a bit overwhelmed and so end up doing nothing. Not sure how to explain it but I know you know what I mean. I just dont want to waste anymore time, it goes far too quickly.

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Craig February 14, 2013 at 10:24 am

Hi B.O.S,

identify the (one) area of most need in your situation and start there. Do anything to create momentum, don’t over-think it and do your best to more be strategic and accountable and less emotional…

You might need to make a brave decision or two… :)

Reply

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