Unlocking your potential is not as easy as opening your front door

Unlocking your potential is not as simple as opening your front door with your house keys.  Each one of us can unlock our potential but not all of us are able to.  Why is that you might be asking?  I will give you two analogies.  It might be because you are trying to open the right door with the wrong key.  Or, maybe you are trying to open the wrong door with the right key.  For, you to develop and unlock your true potential you need to know: 1) who you are, 2) what you want out of life, 3) how you are going to get there, 4) what your barriers (internal and external) are and take the appropriate action to overcome them and 5) be prepared to go on a ‘voyage of self-discovery’.

Who are you?

Self-concept is very important i.e. how you view yourself.  If you view yourself as ‘capable’ then you are more likely to try things out even if you fail that will not deter you and you will try and try again until you succeed.  However, if you view yourself as ‘incapable’ you will find excuses not to try because you may be afraid of ‘failing’ or you may have such low self-belief that even if you try and you fail you may believe that it is not worth trying again because failure is inevitable (self-fulfilling prophecy).  So, who are you?  How do you view yourself? Do you believe in yourself?  Do, you give up when the going gets tough? Do, you embrace new opportunities?  Are you able to step out of your comfort zone? Can, you cope with failure?

What do you want out of your life?

Have you thought about what you want out of life? I know that I have and many times I have pushed it to the back of my mind and avoided thinking about it.  This is a simple but deep question that everybody should ask themselves and make every effort to answer. At, its essence this question is about your ‘future’ and the ‘type of life you want to lead’!  Do, you want to be happy?  Do, you want to be rich? Do, you want to find your soulmate? Do, you want to find inner peace?  You may want many things, or a few so think about what they are?  Try, to remember that what everyone wants out of life is different according to their personality, age and stage and other factors such as their socio-economic and cultural background.  Also, what we want out of life is something that is sometimes subject to change which is natural because all individuals evolve and so do our dreams, hopes, aspiration and wishes.  Additionally, what you want out of life is about what values you hold dear e.g. health and well-being, wealth, security, prestige, power, status, altruism, fame, success, love, happiness, friendship etc.  If you don’t know what you want out of life that is okay!  When, you’re ready get a pen and journal and start to jot down the things that you currently value and think about the things that are important to you for your future.  You can brainstorm what you want out of life and even draw it too.  You’ll figure it out!

How are you going to get there?

John Donne the great English poet rightly said that: “No man is an island!”  What, this quote means is that nobody can survive by themselves because we are innately social animals. Life at a very basic level is about ‘surviving’ but to truly unlock one’s potential we need to aim for ‘thriving’.  To get to where you want to be you will need to invest time and effort e.g. learn a new skill, gain professional qualifications, make sacrifices in your professional or personal life, start thinking differently, be more future orientated etc. 

However, to be successful you will need the help of others by:

  • Gaining support and encouragement from your family
  • Surrounding yourself with positive people
  • Replacing negative friends with supportive ones
  • Getting help from a career coach
  • Enlisting the help of a life coach
  • Seeing a therapist
  • Finding a mentor
  • Networking

What are your barriers internal and external?

We all have barriers some are internal (lack of self-awareness, poor self-belief, low self-confidence, fear of failure, shyness, stress-related illness, mental health issues etc.) and some of them are external (financial, health, educational, cultural, social etc.) including (sexism, racism, disabilism, ageism etc.).   Sometimes, individuals face both internal and external barriers.  Life is not fair!  But it is important for you to circumnavigate life’s treacherous seas and not only stay afloat but sail life’s undulating waves with confidence and resilience. Whatever, your barriers are you need to be proactive and find ways to overcome them and if that is not possible which it may not be you can learn how to effectively cope and manage.  If you need counselling, there is no shame in accessing help. 

Be prepared for going on a voyage of self-discovery

When, you go on a ‘voyage of self-discovery’ it may be splendid, or you may not always like what you find. Facing who you are or who you thought you were head on is not everybody’s cup of tea. Also, evaluating where you are at this point in your life and where you want to be in the future can be at best uncomfortable and at worst mortifying.  But, to unlock your true potential you need to face your demons and vanquish them.  The way to unlock your true potential is to discover who you truly are and what direction you want your life’s compass to be heading in. The power resides within you to do anything you put your mind to!