In his recent Leadership Wired Blog, Are These Four Things Keeping You from Reaching Your Potential?, John Maxwell, writes: “I believe that we all have potential. God has designed each of us to do something great. But why do so few people actually realize all of their success potential?” Great leaders all have dreams and aspirations. There are four things, he suggests, that can limit their potential in achieving them.
- Choices that limit you – The thing about decisions is that they have consequences. And some decisions have more damaging consequences than others. If you’re not reaching your potential, the first thing you should do is examine your past choices. There’s a poem that I really like that goes,
“There is a choice you have to make
In everything you do.
So keep in mind, that in the end,
The choice you make, makes you.”
- Impatience with the process – Every good goal usually is more difficult, takes longer, and costs more than we anticipate. When we rush or abandon the process, we often keep ourselves from reaching our potential. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” Expect the process of success to take time, and embrace it.
- Failure to pay the price – My father taught me when I was very young that in life you’re either paying or playing. If you play now, you’ll pay later. But if you choose to pay now, you’ll be able to play later. But no matter what, you always have to pay. Have you counted the cost of achieving your goals? Have you been paying the price, or did you hope you could avoid it? Charles Schwab said, “When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.”
- Failure to think creatively when problems arise – Problems will arise. That’s a “when,” not an “if.” Like expecting a process to take time, anticipating problems allows you to prepare for them. Then you’re able to be proactive in your approach to them, instead of just reacting emotionally when they occur.
Maxwell concludes saying: “The ‘seed of greatness’ exists in each of us.” As Zig Ziglar, author, wrote: “You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” And to this Ziglar added: You are the only one who can use your ability. It’s an awesome responsibility.” Grow, feed and nourish your seeds of greatness. The one thing that you do, or person you touch may change the world or someone’s life forever… “the choice you make is you.”