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How to Ignite Your True Potential

By Karen Vally on 20 May 2021

"Every rewarding career will bring ups and downs, bad days, bad weeks and bad months. Everyone will face setbacks and discouraging situations. Some people abandon their plans when they hit one of these bumps. They lose their way and ultimately undermine their own performance - and the wound is all the more painful because it is self-inflicted...There's nothing anyone can do to prevent you from reaching your potential. The challenge is for you to identify your dreams, develop the skills to get there and exhibit character and leadership. Then, you need to have the courage to periodically access, make adjustments and pursue a course that reflects who you truly are." Robert Steven Kaplan.

How crucial it is to know who we truly are. A few years ago, while still working as a financial advisor for Old Mutual, I was invited by one of the other managers to his team's meeting. The speaker went around the room asking each of us, several times, until we reached a point where we could no longer provide an answer, "Who are you?"

I began with the various roles that I was playing in my life at the time, starting with my relationships, but when I came to my career, "I am a financial advisor," and he responded with, "Who are you?" I found that I could go no further, because at that point in my life, I did not truly know and understand who I was.

I do now, several years later, and that process will continue to unfold. I naively thought, at the peak of my career, that I "had arrived" and that was how life was going to be until I retired. Little did I know what bliss lay around the corner...(I used to say, at that time, when I experienced the discomfort of being in a job where one knows that something is missing, "I don 't have a choice.") Coaching was to show me how to see things differently and would ultimately give me the courage to pursue my passion, empowering others with the skills they need to shift their focus, bring out the best in themselves and reach their true potential. I am driven by the deisire to do for others what my coach did for me.

To reach your true potential, it is helpful to know your strengths and recall your successes and then to steadfastly build on the knowledge of these two vital resources. Know what energizes you and expands your perspective, and apply that knowledge to every aspect of your life and work. Feel confident and optimistic about your life and your career. Be an effective leader of yourself and others by paying attention to your character traits. Be aware of your challenges and ask for feedback. Be humble and willing to work on your "blind spots."

Embrace uncomfortable challenges, be open to learning new skills, ignore those who try to discourage you and challenge your mind's attempts to sabotage your willingness to explore the territory beyond your comfort zone. Practise breaking big goals down into more realistic and achievable steps. Reward yourself all the way up to the top...

You have within you all you need to reach your true potential. Most people never do so because they allow themselves to be held hostage by the memories of times when they experienced failure, hurt, rejection or disappointment. 

What is stopping you from reaching your true potential or have you reached that exhilerating pinnacle of your life already? I would love to hear from you...

"Loving what you do gives you the strength to weather personal setbacks, overcome adversity, face and address your (blind spots), and work the long hours typically needed to reach your full potential." Robert Steven Kaplan. I agree. 



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