Developing your potential: What does it mean and how do you get there? Anna Hewitt



Reaching our full potential is often something we know we should be doing but don’t always know how.


Employers often say they want their employees to fulfil their potential and achieve success. This can be an exciting journey but also one of confusion and self-doubt, especially if you’re questioning: “What do I even have the potential for?”


Reaching your potential is often confused with reaching the top, but they are not synonymous. Your potential is much more of an inward journey and discovering what success looks like to you. This way, you will feel happier and more fulfilled in what you do.



Here are three ways you can start to develop your potential with confidence...


1) Cultivate curiosity


We may not always see it, but potential is within us all. Career progression is no longer linear in today’s world of work so finding opportunities may not always be obvious. It will require a learner's mindset.


Being more curious, asking questions, staying open-minded and having an appetite for learning will make you understand yourself and your values better, think outside of the box and motivate you to try new things. This may spark new ideas and open up different possibilities you’ve not even thought of.


Think about how you can develop your curiosity. Where are the current opportunities for you to develop your abilities? What questions could you ask? Who in your network could you turn to?



2) Play to your strengths


If you want to understand your true potential, start by recognising what you’re brilliant at and do more of that! Your potential is about achieving as much as you can within your natural capabilities - what you're good at and find effortless to do.


Once you’ve identified your strengths, you can start leveraging them, which will give you the confidence to take on new challenges.


If you’re unsure what your strengths are, go and seek feedback from colleagues, your boss and those that know you well. Ask them to describe you when you’re at your best. You can also complete a free strengths assessment like The Gift of Standout one by Marcus Buckingham.



3) Whole-person approach


Your potential does not exist in a vacuum or in one or two parts of your life. You need to look holistically at all components of your life - work life, family life, friendships and well-being - and understand how they connect.


Sometimes, taking a step back can identify where blockers may be that are stopping you from making progress. Consider how you are resourcing yourself in all areas of your life to fulfil your potential. What actions are you taking regularly to look after your mental, physical and emotional well-being? What support do you need?


Remember, reaching your potential is not a one-off activity with an end destination. It’s an ongoing journey that will evolve and develop as you discover and learn new things. Staying curious and open-minded is key. The only limits you have are the ones you put on yourself - your potential is waiting to be unlocked!


 

Anna Hewitt is a careers and leadership coach based in Oxfordshire and the founder of Steps into Strides. Anna pivoted her career in 2020 from the HR corporate world to business founder and coach, and now helps others reignite their joy at work and find more fulfilment in their careers. Click to view her partner coach profile page.