7 Steps to Help You Experience Your Potential
We often don’t realize just how much we come to life when we get to experience ourselves pushing toward our potential. That is, when we’re using our talents and skills full-on, being our most authentic, and challenging ourselves to do the things we dream of doing—but often put off out of fear or not feeling ready.
The problem is, we get stuck in our routines. And if we’re not growing personally and professionally, we’re going to feel stagnant—something humans are not meant to be. The mental weight of that—knowing we’re capable of more but not moving toward it, can even cause health issues.
That said, applying any one of the following actions each day can help you move toward your best, most fulfilling life.
- Put your unique gifts into play. Every one of us has innate gifts and talents that can help make the world a better place. When you’re working them, you feel like you’re in what psychologist Gay Hendricks calls your genius zone. Think about what you know or have that can help others in terms of knowledge, insights, talents or skills. (Read about finding your passion here, and another article on how to make money from it). We feel good when we’re contributing to a greater cause, whether that means family, community or on a more global scale. In fact, studies show it makes us healthier too. But we often forget to put our talents and gifts to work in the hustle and bustle of routines. If you’re not using them daily already, get those skills and talents, the ones that only you have, out of the closet and put them to use! Whether that’s making people laugh, bringing people together, writing to inspire, teaching, organizing, healing, helping people improve their lives—whatever you do best. You don’t have to be perfect at it; you can hone your skills as you go.
- Stretch. In order to grow and get a sense of what we’re really made of (and accomplish things we never thought we could), we need to stretch beyond the boundaries we’ve put up for ourselves. We humans don’t like to go beyond our comfort zones (a result of our brain trying to keep us in our learned safe zone), but going for it gives us a physical and mental boost. We gain confidence and feel great when we challenge ourselves. Especially when we find that we’re stronger and more resilient than we thought. In those areas of your work and life you’d like to grow, try pushing just beyond your current abilities a little bit at a time. It can be uncomfortable at first. But doing that continually is how an athlete masters her sport, and how we master ourselves.
- Grow. You have so much power. To learn and improve your life in any area you choose. Knowing that is a way of forward-thinking that psychologist Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success calls “growth mindset.” You are never stuck with what you have or what you already know. You have the choice to keep learning and improving. Take courses, read books, attend seminars. Do one thing toward building your human capital and expanding your skills and intelligence every day.
- Specialize. Have one thing that you do better than everyone else, preferably something you love and that has meaning for you. Work on it daily in some way, for example, spending 20 minutes of your morning reading or practicing and honing your skills. Being a specialist also ramps up your earning potential.
- Socialize. Studies show our social connections are one of the most important determinants of a healthier, happier life. So get intentional and strategic about who you spend your time with. Surround yourself with like-minded people who support, encourage and push you to be your best, and who are always moving forward themselves.
- Accomplish. No matter how your day goes, try to accomplish one meaningful thing that you’re proud of. Every small victory we have triggers the release of the happy chemical, dopamine, which fuels you to want to achieve another small victory. Not only can it motivate us internally, but it can create an upward spiral of accomplishing that makes those small victories morph into bigger successes. It also just makes you feel good about your day.
- Find Beauty/Feel Awe. You know that sense of awe and wonder you had as a kid when you discovered the ocean or sand or snow or climbed a tree for the first time? Turns out it makes us happier. “[Awe] happens when people encounter a vast and unexpected stimulus, something that makes them feel small and forces them to revise their mental models of what’s possible in the world,” writes Jake Abrahamson in Sierra Magazine, and it can change the trajectory of your life in profound ways.
Tapping into at least one of these daily can make you feel more engaged, in tune with your most authentic self and inspired to go after your dreams.
Which one of these steps could you implement this week? And how would you apply it? Wed love to hear from you in the comments below.
If you found this post helpful, please Like, Tweet and Share as it can help inspire others. And as always, thank you for reading!
Adapted from an earlier post.