On a recent family vacation, it quickly became clear that the currency we carried would not be useful where we were. I had to convert the money I had into the local currency to purchase goods and services. I had the potential to purchase what we needed but without conversion, my purchasing power was useless.
I view potential as simply what’s possible but not guaranteed. It’s possible to be a great salesman, leader, farmer, writer, storyteller, communicator, ‘A’ student etc. All these directly reflect back on potential. There was a time when Michael Jordan had the potential to be a great basketball player but after he hung his jersey, it wasn’t his potential but his potency on the court that sealed his legacy as the greatest to step on the hardwood. Potential is a reflection of the gift and purpose you have but potential alone does not guarantee a life of significance. There are many people who were termed as, having lots of potential but, like the prodigal son in the Bible squandered the wealth he was given, they too squandered their potential with instant gratifying pursuits that derailed them. Unused or underutilized potential eventually breeds procrastination and a life of frustration.
One of the laws of energy states that, energy is neither created nor destroyed but is converted from one form to another. Potential, just like energy cannot be destroyed, it is either converted into waste or into potency. Potency happens when the potential within gains traction through daily effort to become visible, useful and impactful. Having potential can be a blessing but can turn into bondage and a burden when it lies dormant.
What can we do daily to convert potential into potency?
Apply your highest and best in the areas you find great success
One of the hardest temptations to avoid is comparison. I fall victim to it on many occasions. Our eyes and ears are gates of entry for the temptation to be entertained. What/Who is the greatest influence of your definition of success? Success is often defined by what we see or hear about others. We desire to do what others do mostly because of their success, not considering that our gifts, purpose or potential are not the same. Your greatest success is in the area of your gifts not in the area of someone else’s. Discover your sweet spot, stay in your lane and be comfortable in your own skin. Success might take longer for you but stay the course and be true to your purpose. One of the well-known stories in the Bible is David and Goliath. Saul, Israel’s king at the time attempted to put his armor on David, to which David responded, “I cannot fight in these, I have not proven them.” (1 Samuel 17:38, 39). Just because someone else has success in an area doesn’t guarantee you will have the same success. I encourage you to reflect and develop your own definition of success as you apply and express your God-given potential in the right direction. By defining the success, you will have the building blocks for significance.
Eliminate what saps you
This applies to what drains, depletes, steals, weakens, or bleeds you dry. Take an inventory of your life and inspect what’s sapping you. The three proceeding questions can assist when taking what I call the Sap Assessment Questionnaire (S.A.Q):
- How necessary is it?
- What is it costing me?
- Are the returns worth it?
Ignite Momentum by Initiating Movement
The smallest opportunity you get and use is the best time to ignite momentum in your life. Best-selling author and financial expert Dave Ramsey uses a system called the debt snowball as a debt reduction strategy. Its effectiveness is in the momentum you build as you see your debt move from plenty to empty. Momentum starts with movement and its sustained with discipline. I have used the debt snowball and seeing the debt disappear increases motivation. Capitalize on and maximize every opportunity that comes your way to pull out the potential within you.
Have you noticed that the rear view mirror in your car is always smaller than the windshield? Where you are headed is always of greater significance than where you have been, even though there are many unknowns in the future. If before you leave the house on a road trip, you consider all the unknowns such as; too much traffic, the possibility of an accident, the potential of getting a flat tire, the car breaking down, or getting a ticket from the police, you might end up not leaving the house to begin with. When we replace every negative “what if” with “nevertheless” we embrace the uncertainty with confidence and forge forward into our destiny. Use every day as a platform for a better future.
Always be Connecting
In the 90’s, the phrase “Always Be Closing” was made into a strategy to motivate salespeople to have one thing in mind when selling to a customer: closing the deal. It’s no longer an effective strategy as sales have become dependent on building long lasting relationships instead of a ‘one night stand.’ By, “Always Be Connecting” we seek to establish not extract. It’s through connections that we make contributions. Small keys to always be connecting are; remember people’s names, listen with empathy, speak with honesty, and be present as much as you can. Have you noticed the number of websites that offer free trials or free valuable information? The idea is to lower risk and increase trust, thereby establishing a relationship. In short, learn your ABC’s.
One last thought: Potential can be viewed as a seed but I also see it as a deep river flowing within each of us. When we understand or gain the insight about the great potential we have within, that insight becomes the bucket to draw the potential out.
Always Cheering You On!
Waiyaki M. Waiyaki
“Live by Design, not by Default”