Have you ever had the thought how far can I go when thinking about your life? When our children were a lot younger, one of the questions they would ask, almost as soon as we pulled off our driveway, was ‘are we nearly there yet?’ The question implies that there is a destination, a finish line. When I was listening to John Maxwell recently, he recounted hearing this quote from Earl Nightingale:
“If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.”
John took up the challenge studying an hour a day on the topic of leadership, and in his mind counting down the time until he was an expert. As time went on his thinking changed as he realised what he was dealing with was a potential question. Five years had become a kind of finishing line. John changed the question instead to how far can I go? He stopped counting down and decided instead to keep growing.
My challenge to you today is to ask yourself the same question: ‘how far can I go?’
The question itself removes the idea of having made it. It changes your posture from one of knowing it all to one of humbly asking what can be learnt from a situation.
Where is the opportunity? What is your potential? These are questions you can also ask about those you lead. Some of those you lead may go past you in terms of their potential which gives you an opportunity to equip them on the way.
No Finishing Line
In order to live towards your potential there are some practices you need to commit to:
1. To keep growing be aware of the three pillars of potential: Awareness, Strengths, and Choices.
If you grow in all three you can just keep growing. As you grow in your awareness you understand you have blind spots, you will be dependent on others to point them out. When you know what they are, you become aware of what may be undermining your influence. Develop your strengths and bring others in to cover your areas of weakness and grow in making right choices after all the choice you make makes you.
2. Continually invest in your growth.
Be intentional in your essentials. What areas do you need to grow in? John Maxwell uses the acronym C.L.E.A.R. Communication, Leadership, Equip, Attitude, Relationships.
3. Maximise your mentor.
You need a mentor who has been where you are, who understands the road you are on. In order to make the most of the relationship make sure you prepare for your time with them, what questions do you want to ask? Then take action on the advice you receive.
4. Follow your heart.
Be true to who you are. You can’t excel at anything you don’t enjoy or have passion for. You stay in the game because your heart is in it. If your heart is not in it then find something where it is.
“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we\’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”
5. You give up so you can go up.
In order to reach your potential, there will be continual trade-offs. In order to achieve your potential, there will be a cost; sacrifices will have to be made. Determine where you want to be, and commit to paying the price.
Anything worthwhile is uphill.
The question of how far you can go can only be answered by you. We often allow limiting beliefs to get in the way of potential. Determine that your best days are still ahead of you and adopt the practices above.
Make this day your first step in finding out how far you can go.