“You’ve got so much potential.”
Depending on your age, stage, and current realities that declaration can either feel like a blessing or a curse. When you’re a teenager or in your 20s and someone says you have a ton of potential, it’s hopeful. Inspiring. Something to look forward to. But if you’re into your 30s and beyond or you’re frustrated with your life, that word can feel like a thousand razor blades. Missed opportunities. Settling. Giving up or giving in.
I remember a number of years ago my coach, Hendre, asked me what percentage of my potential I was living into.
Pause. I’m a pretty high achieving person. I like goals. I get a ton of stuff done. I tend to pride myself in all I’ve accomplished in my years in life (yes, I have issues I’m working through). In comparison with others, I’m doing pretty well. But that’s the problem!!! “In comparison too…” Comparison isn’t only the killer of joy. It’s also the killer of your potential.
Un-Pause. Immediately I knew and I blurted out the answer - 60%. SIXTY PERCENT. That’s like a D in school. Practically failing at living my own life fully. I knew that I was not growing into my potential the way I could. Not in comparison with anyone else. I run my own race and no one else’s. At the end of my life I get to account for how I spent my days and gifts. Only mine. Fulfilling my potential and purpose is the work I get to do.
For me, I realized that most of my potential was buried because I was performing at a pretty high level. I was getting things done and making an impact in the world. But I was also hiding. I was settling. I was letting my fear be greater than my faith.
Since that Day of Reckoning, I’ve been on a quest to pursue my potential so I don’t waste a thing. I don’t want to live with any regrets because I didn’t have the courage, didn’t take the risks, didn’t do what I know needed to be done. I want to multiply my gifts not simply for myself but for another. I don’t want to kill my potential for the sake of comfort or any other defense mechanism.
What about you?
What does the word “potential” mean to you? This year is the year for it to be a word of blessing. Don’t let your potential be a kliler for your purpose, confidence, or impact.