Never in a million years did I ever think I would l write a blog that had a picture of a Green Bay Packers player. Maybe Vince Lombardi, but never a player. I am a life-long Bears fan and have an un-shakable loyalty to them, but success cannot be hidden. Since the focus of this piece is Maximizing Your Potential I could not think of anyone more relevant than Aaron Rodgers, considering what he and his teammates did yesterday. You had to smile at his post-game press conference yesterday when he was asked what he was thinking about the last drive. Not the 500 lb linemen coming at him, not the incredible pressure of the moment, not the fact the season was over if they failed to score and certainly not what he was going to say to his teammates in the huddle. He simply said, “my breathing.” “I was just trying to keep my breathing steady?” Huh?
Truth be told, that will be another blog for another time when we talk about what goes into being a peak performer who is in the moment. But still, your breathing? Love it! See, Aaron Rogers epitomizes an individual who understands his skill sets and works at every aspect of his game to make the most of what he is capable of becoming. There is so much that goes into the pursuit of maximizing your potential as an athlete it is scary. Not just becoming the best player on your team or in your league, but actually making the most out of your God-given talents, whatever that may mean.
By definition, potential is having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future. Potential is a very real and sometimes scary thing. Scary because sometimes it contributes to our limiting beliefs while at other times a person’s approach to maximizing their potential is the number one contributor to their massive success. See, that part in the definition that talks about “in the future” scares the heck out of people, because they want to know how long in the future. Along with; How hard are they going to have to work? What type of pain are they going to have to endure both mentally and physically? Will the end result be worth all the sacrifices? How are they going to know if they are on the right path and if they are close? Isn’t there an easier way? Why does it seem easier for others? How good can they really be? What if things do not go quite as planned? What if they fail? What if something out of their control happens? What if the position they covet is given to someone else? How will they ever know how good they can be? What if someone is naturally better than them?
The list goes on, but these concerns are all things I work through with my clients. In coaching, I focus on the client’s potential rather than their performance. In my role as an executive coach I do very little talking except for asking questions to help pull the answers/solutions to my client’s challenges from their sub-conscious to their conscious to help raise their awareness of what they are capable of. I like to call it emancipation of their untapped potential.
Below are some things you can do to help you in your effort to maximize your potential:
Identify your sweet-spot
Your sweet-spot is where your passion intersects with your skills and you are working in the space you are passionate about everyday. What is it you are passionate about and how does that align with your strengths? It does not mean you love every detail of your job, there are still going to be challenging times. Take some time and write down your three greatest strengths as well as what you are passionate about.
Have a vision
It is critical to put time and thought into becoming clear about what you want your life to look like and why. In other words, see the big picture. Having a purpose and reason provides you the special kind of energy you need to stay focused and not get distracted. I have my clients write out 4-6 sentences describing their vision along with ten reasons why that vision is so important to them.
Have a game plan
Having a plan in place is essential for you to maximize your time and resources every day. Not only having goals, but also having projects and tasks that are attached to those goals. If you look at my free eBook 6 Steps to Successfully Planning a Powerful Day, it is laid out for you.
Being positive is not a naive quality, it is a self-disciplined decision in the face of conflict, confusion, chaos and change. Each and every day our word is filed with negativity and despair, when in reality we have so much to be excited about. When my clients are struggling to find the positives in tough situations, I will ask them to write down three potential positive outcomes and how they and do their part to see to it that one of those come to fruition.
Focus on one thing at a time
There is nothing productive about mastering the art of multi-tasking. It has been proven that for each additional task you try to do at once you decrease your productivity by 20%. Write down your three biggest time wasters and own them. Be aware of when they start popping up.
Demonstrate character and leadership
Character and leadership are often the difference between a good performance and a great performance. Great leaders go out of their way to do things for others, regardless of what is in it for them. It sometimes means speaking up after careful thought and expressing an unpopular view. Like athletics, you need to play with confidence and sometimes wild abandon. What action could you take right now that would strengthen your character and contribute to your growth as a leader?
You must be able to grow through adversity and failure. Step outside your comfort zone while operating in your strength zone with creativity and commitment to the process. It is the ability to stay true to the process over an extended period of time, no matter what cards life deals you, that will provide you the greatest chance at success. One of the best ways I have found to work on resiliency is to focus on the task at end and recognize each small victory while working through challenges.
There are obviously a number of other factors that will contribute to putting yourself in position to successfully work toward maximizing your potential. Things such as keeping it simple, taking care of yourself mentally and physically, timing, excelling at critical tasks, decisive decision making and others. It is a grind and one that should be embraced.
Working toward reaching your potential is entirely up to you and you alone. Identify your vision, make a plan, attack the plan with positivity, demonstrate character and leadership and resiliently pursue a course that reflects who you truly are.