Contentious as it may be, I’m going to say it anyway... I don’t actually like the term potential! Yep, I know that was not what you were expecting me to begin with. So hear me out...
Potential suggests a finishing line, which of course there may be when we celebrate achieving a goal or finishing a race. Reaching your potential and being the best version of yourself suggests that’s it and you can’t get any better.
In the broader sense though, as living, breathing, evolving creatures whilst still on this earth, there is no finite end game.
No! It’s about having an eye to the past, enjoying the present and continually progressing to a promising future. Comparing your performance against your own and not falling into the rabbit hole that is social media and benchmarking yourself harshly against that of others. Applying stretch and giving yourself the time and space to grow.
So here are five top tips to reaching your potential... and beyond!
1) Set goals that fire you up
To accomplish your goals takes hard work, commitment and determination. Establishing new habits, getting traction and keeping a momentum going is underpinned by passion and perseverance. If you’re floundering with your vision at the outset, chances are you won’t get far off the starting block. Meaningful goals that are going to excite and fulfil you are the ones that are aligned to who you are and what you value.
Our brains are wired with a negative bias and so we’re more likely to dwell on what we still have to do as opposed to what we’ve done already. Set yourself tangible milestones, and as well as reviewing what went well/ didn’t go well, remember to celebrate those little wins along the way. This doesn’t need to have a monetary tag attached to it... it just needs to contribute to your overall sense of wellbeing and accomplishment.
3) Encourage a growth mindset
Rather than viewing something as black or white, success or failure, look for the shades of grey (not necessarily Fifty! 😉) and the nuances. Be curious, learn and master. Welcome and accept constructive feedback and vice versa, see the opportunity/ challenge in what you might have previously perceived as a threat and prioritise learning rather than getting caught up in the need to seek external approval.
4) Practice self-compassion
Be mindful of how you are feeling and reserve judgement. Accept yourself for who you are - strengths and growth areas - and be kind, especially when times are tough. We are often our most harsh critic! Think about the advice you would give a friend in this situation. Is it different to the narrative in your head, and if so, how?
Strive to strike a balance between taking ownership and accountability for your mistakes whilst recognising that you will have setbacks which enable you to enhance your performance.
5) Honour your self-care
We all know to put our own oxygen mask on first in an aeroplane so we can then tend to the needs of others and the same principle applies daily whether we’re flying or not! Self-care is getting enough sleep and providing your brain with the downtime to process information fundamental to your overall wellbeing, concentration, learning and productivity. It is making exercise both do-able and enjoyable so you can build it into your day, boosting your immune system, mood and resilience. And it’s knowing that whatever your ‘thing’ - for me it’s chocolate, cheese and wine 😉 - you don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat food that your body and mind will thank you for. Of course, it’s about more than this but these are the foundations.
So potential and progress is a life journey and not a destination. Live, love and learn to your heart’s content!
This article was written by Oriel Camp, founder of Oriel Coaching. Oriel is a wellbeing coach helping busy, working mums to reconnect with what’s important to them so they can make calm and confident life and career choices. If you’re ready to make positive change happen, Oriel offers a free 30-minute clarity calls. You can get in touch with her at email@example.com or find out more on her partner coach profile page.