This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
Discovering my own definition of “full potential”
This will probably not make any sense… but very little does when you create beliefs about the world and you later find out that they aren’t true at all.
I had a reaction to a colleague’s comment last week that was meant to be positive, but which I took to mean something along the lines of “you’ve got problems, and you’re a failure who needs to do a lot of work.” Oh, how I hate that voice!
But thanks to my accessibility to tools and my old coach, I was able to dig deep into this reaction, and I found out that my unspoken definition of living a full life is Richard Branson.
Meaning, that if I do not live a life like Branson’s (with the ownership of multiple companies, relying on hundreds, maybe even thousands of staff, living on an island, and a business that will take people to space) I am a failure.
Which is not true. On Tuesday I was invited to give a talk at my old high school’s Career Fair about running a PR business. Many of my teachers were congratulating me on that and telling me how successful I am. From their perspective, they have only known me as a student, and they have no idea what I’ve been doing the last 15 years. So I imagine to them, having accomplished this is a success. To me, I have achieved some success but not even a smidgeon close to Branson’s level of success.
I realized that I must still do a lot of work to realize that my “success” is different from others’. And, I actually DON’T want to do all of the things Branson does. I want to go to space, but I don’t want to be responsible for the spaceship that takes me there. I don’t need to live on an island, and I have two businesses that I’m still trying to make succeed without any permanent staff, so I say no thank you to the hundreds of businesses and thousands of staff to manage. So my Branson definition of a fully lived life was actually something I didn’t want.
My coach said that she believes the term “full potential” is misleading, because once you reach that potential, there is no more potential. Which is why even though we reach certain goals in life, we have more and we keeping striving for more growth. Potential is unlimited, but limitations are real. My limitation is that I will not have hundreds of businesses like Branson, live on an island, or run a spaceship. I am not going to make six figures tomorrow. But, I am living at my full potential in every given moment so there is no need to feel like a failure at any point in time.
It takes practice and an active mindset to have a “glass full” perspective 24/7. How do you help yourself to see your potential and work through your limitations?