I’m going to give it to you straight.
No one gives a DAMN whether you live up to your POTENTIAL or not.
What Is Potential?
1. possible, as opposed to actual
2. capable of being or becoming
5. possibility; potentiality
6. a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.
Potential is not actual. It’s possible.
And in this post, I’m viewing potential as something we examine within ourselves, not by comparing ourselves to others.
I had a powerful conversation with a mentor recently, and he reminded me that potential doesn’t mean a thing.
It won’t get you a healthy body, pay the bills, create success, or get your dream relationship.
It’s not real. It’s not actualized.
Now, your friends or family might be disappointed if they see potential in you or expect something greater. But they can’t do anything about it. Because they can’t force you to meet your potential. Plus, they’ve got their own lives to deal with.
A Brief Story
I can remember a time when I had high potential but low standards and expectations. And it centered around finances and self-worth.
I was working for a small brewing company as a delivery driver making $12 an hour. I enjoyed the work and the company culture. After working there for about a year, they started experiencing some financial trouble, and the employees got the short end of the stick. “‘The company is experiencing tough times, is it alright if we pay you next week?”
At the time, I had low standards and expectations for myself in regards to work, self-worth, and money. So, I just let the pay freeze slide for that first week. Then it began to snowball, “Can we get you NEXT week?” After a while, I stopped asking, but I still went to work.
When it was all said and done, I was owed over $6000 in back wages.
My family and friends kept asking me, “What are you going to do?”
They knew I wasn’t respecting myself, that I wasn’t living to my potential. But they knew they couldn’t MAKE me do anything.
And I didn’t care. I didn’t care that I had such low standards and expectations of myself and the company I was working for. I didn’t care that I wasn’t living up to my potential. I was just floating along…a leaf in the wind.
It wasn’t ’til a close friend nearly forced me to ask for SOME payment that I finally took a stand. So I asked my boss for $1000…and I got it. But for some reason it was so hard to ask for something that I already EARNED. I quit the day after I got that $1000 check.
And to this day they still owe me a lot of money, and I doubt I’ll ever see it again.
I rarely share this story. I cringe just thinking about it.
Of how low I valued myself.
Of how I didn’t stand up for myself.
Of how I knew I could accomplish more but didn’t do A DAMN THING about it.
So this goes back to my initial point: No one gives a DAMN whether you live up to your POTENTIAL or not.
It’s easy to WANT more, but to EXPECT more (especially from yourself) is a whole other ballgame.
Now, don’t take what you already have for granted. Be GRATEFUL for what you have.
And don’t take this as a reason to be a selfish asshole. Expect more, but come from a place of ABUNDANCE, LOVE, and SERVICE.
It’s easy to get caught up in playing small, safe, and comfortably in our culture. I know because I’ve done it so many times.
If you really WANT something greater, why don’t you do something about it?
Ask yourself honestly:
How often do you settle?
How often do you take what life gives you and not expect more?
Legendary pro basketball player Julius Erving has a great quote around this issue.
“I demand more of myself than anyone else could ever expect.”
Go do it. Demand more and make it happen.