Ways To Live Up To Your Potential

3-part series: part1, part 2 and part 3.

Now we’re cooking…You have set definite goals – you have a definite purpose – you have researched and know the specific steps to take to achieve those goals and you have decided to be flexible and develop a more pleasing personality. Now what?

Ways To Live Up To Your PotentialWell, just because you have a clear purpose, know what you want, are willing to work on developing your potential, and willing to be a nice person, success will not drop into your lap overnight. (Wouldn’t it be nice if it would?) 🙂

You will probably find that one of your first steps in achieving your goals will be to take a job somewhat below where you eventually want to be. I know, that’s not a fun thing to hear…But you’ve already analyzed the steps to your goal, so you probably have already planned for this. However, you do want to advance and as quickly as possible.

As you advance toward your goals, you will undoubtedly run up against some difficult people (maybe even difficult bosses), and there will be times you’ll need to deal effectively with them.

Since you are working on becoming a nice, enthusiastic person and a team player, you already have half the battle won. Your attitude is as important as the other guy’s attitude when you are dealing with difficult people.

Always keep in mind that your job is a training field for you. You are getting paid as you learn the things you need to know to achieve your goals. Pretty good deal, right?

If you view your job as a paid opportunity to advance toward your goals, you will be an asset to your boss. You will also be a happier, more productive person. Viewing your job in this manner will allow you to view the difficult people as an opportunity to grow.

From them and the situations they create, you will learn to negotiate with, side step around, and draw out the best in others without letting yourself become upset. Each time you successfully deal with one of these people you will gain confidence and probably friends to add to your support network.

The skill of negotiating with difficult people and the confidence you have gained from these encounters comes in handy when you are ready to ask for a promotion or raise even if your boss happens to be a nice person.

Successful negotiation is not a contest of wills it is working together to solve a problem or come to an agreement. It is an opportunity to learn how others feel about the issue.

Always be prepared and know who you are talking with.

-Always know as much as possible about the person; marital status, family, hobbies, education, difficulties, attitudes, and whatever else you can learn. The information may give you an understanding of the person.

If you know the circumstances, you will easily find the most effective way to get your point across. At the very least, the information will make the person seem more familiar which will give you more self confidence.

Know the issue not just your opinions about it. Be able to back up your opinions with reasons and research. If you are asking for a promotion, know the demands of the job in question. Know and be honest about how much of the job you are already qualified to do and how much additional training you will need.

If you may not be as qualified as someone else applying, be prepared to negotiate for a smaller than offered salary until you are fully trained remember the training is worth a lot to you. Be enthusiastic and focus on your strengths don’t boast but give a simple and accurate listing of the strengths you feel make you a good candidate for this job.

The strengths you bring forward can and should include specific job related skills, your present accomplishments on the job, your interest in the field (not just this job), your enthusiasm, your ability to work as a team member, and other personal traits that will be an asset on the job.

Always enter into negotiations with a calm and reasonable manner. Don’t let emotion and emotional outbursts have a place at the negotiating table. You must be in control of yourself if you want to get your point across.

People are more likely to listen to your views if you present them in a calm and reasonable manner;

  • Present your ideas with conviction but don’t try to intimidate others or be demanding.
  • State your views simply, completely and orderly.
  • When you are expressing an opinion rather than a fact, use a qualifying “I think” or “In my opinion.”
  • When others are expressing their views, listen carefully and ask questions if something isn’t clear.
  • Don’t disagree until you are sure you understand their position. When you do disagree, do so in a pleasant non threatening way. Something to the effect of, “I see what you mean, but . . .” or “I can understand why you think that, but . . .” are a couple of great ways to begin a statement of disagreement.
  • Be courteous and leave them a chance to save face.
  • Be prepared to face people who are not calm and reasonable. Don’t let them get to you. (much easier said then done sometimes!)

Remain calm and reasonable and even be a little sympathetic. Let’s say you have entered into negotiations with your boss for a raise and he blows up with, “I can’t afford to give you a raise. This business isn’t exactly a gold mine. Don’t you realize how tough times are?” Remain calm. Put yourself in his shoes. Try to find something you can agree and sympathize with.

For instance, look sympathetic and agree, “I know you have a lot of expenses and you work hard to keep this business going. It must be really difficult for you sometimes.” This will probably not be the response he expects. It will probably take the wind out of his sails.

Most likely he will calm down, and since you are sympathetic to his problems, he’ll be more willing to listen to you. Then discuss the reasons you are a valuable asset to him. Don’t threaten but calmly and reasonably discuss the bargain a small raise is.

With that small raise, he’ll be keeping a happy and fully trained employee who knows the company. When you consider the expense of finding and training another individual, giving you a raise is a bargain for your boss.

Play “Let’s Make A Deal.” Be prepared to deal. Don’t expect to get everything you want. If you are willing to gracefully make some concessions, you will be more likely to arrive at a satisfactory deal.

After all, a negotiation has at least two opposing sides. This means someone else has something they want, too even if that something is simply to leave things as they are. Arrive at a compromise that everyone can live with. Remember, you are working at your long range goals, and you may be negotiating with them in the future.

Developing your potential more fully is a key to happiness and fulfillment. Although we have discussed this in terms of a job, these same concepts can be used in many other areas of your life.

In developing your potential to it’s fullest, you will want to become a more efficient person get more done in less time so you can take full advantage of the opportunities that you make for yourself. You will note that most effective, successful people seem to accomplish a great deal. It’s true that this is partly due to enthusiasm, but there’s more to it.

The first barrier to efficiency is procrastination putting off getting started. You may not want to do the task at hand so you keep putting it off until tomorrow. Look at it from a different angle. If it’ll have to be done sometime, tell yourself, “why not do it now, and get it off your back.”

And that’s just where it is! On your back dragging you down. Putting things off makes everything harder. If you keep putting things off, you’ll soon have several things piling up, and then the sheer number of tasks you have backed up will make it seem impossible to ever get caught up.

Sometimes you don’t even realize you are putting things off. You may keep yourself extremely busy doing things of little importance to unconsciously give yourself excuses for doing the things you really should be doing. You say to yourself, “Look how busy I am. I just can’t get everything done.” But the result is the same as when you know you are procrastinating. It soon bogs you down. All you are doing is “running in place.”

So how do you beat procrastination?

Admit to yourself how often you do it and determine your methods of doing it. Not very difficult when you become aware of the tactics some of us use to hide from ourselves what we are doing.

The key in overcoming procrastination and becoming more efficient is organization. Plan ahead. Know what you want to accomplish today, this week, and in the long haul.

Make lists. The lists for today will probably be more detailed than the longer term lists. That’s OK. Now look over the lists and rank the tasks in order of importance. Make three or four groupings based on importance. Within each group, star the things you least like to do.

Each day you will have a “today” list to work on. Tackle the tasks that are most important first. If you have several “most important” tasks on your list, take on the least liked things in that grouping before you do the better liked ones. When you have accomplished a task, check it off.

You’ll be surprised what a good feeling you have when you check things off. What a sense of accomplishment! It’s an incentive to do the next task on the list. When you have completed the tasks in the first grouping, begin on the list of next importance. Again do the starred items in that group first. Keep on checking things off as you get them done.

Do you see what is happening? You get the most pressing, least liked tasks out of the way early in the day when you are fresh and rested. As the day goes on you will feel less and less pressure. You have reserved the less important tasks for the end of the day when you will be more tired.

With this system you will have not only increased your efficiency but also reduced some of the stress in your day. Stress can get in the way of efficiency. Your new efficiency will help you develop your potential. It is, in fact, a part of living up to your potential.

All of us have untapped potential perhaps even areas of genius that we have neglected to develop. Whether your concept of success has to do with business, love, friendship, sports, a combination of these or something else, fully developing your potential will help you achieve your goals.

If you can learn to assess your potential, set realistic goals, and go after those goals with determination, organization, and purpose, you will apply your potential more fully, gain confidence, and be a happier and more successful person.

Living Up To Your Potential

3-part series: part1, part2 and part 3.

Living Up To Your PotentialOK. You have decided what your ultimate goal is. Make sure it is a defined goal, not just a generalization like, “Someday I want to be famous.” That just won’t cut it.

You need to define exactly what you want to do. Set your time frame. Know what you have to do to get there. You don’t need to know every little detail, but you do have to have the big picture and many of the details.

Research . . .

If you have a goal in mind but don’t know what it takes to reach it, then you need to find out. Do some reading, talk to people who know, ask questions and listen to the answers. Think that sounds like a lot of work?

Well, remember what you are preparing for your success and happiness. Surely you want to put a little effort into that! Anyway, a little research into what it will take for you to reach your goals isn’t too difficult.

You will be focusing on your strengths, on your purpose, and on learning and doing. If you have chosen a goal that is right for you, focus on that goal and devote the necessary time.

It may take a bit of self discipline at first, but your determination and interest will carry you through until the focusing process becomes a habit. When you have a real desire to accomplish something, your ambition should only require an occasional shove…a nudge every now and then.

Visualization . . .

Get into the habit of visualizing your success. Now, sitting around and daydreaming in general isn’t what I mean. You need to visualize specifics.

To return to the basketball example, daydreaming about being carried off the court on your teammates’ shoulders is just daydreaming. (Although pretty cool)

Picturing in your mind how you will work a play if your opponent makes a particular move, picturing your exact response to it, is visualizing specifics. If you run through specific moves in your mind, you will be prepared when that need for those moves appear.

Never be afraid to use your imagination to visualize new and better ways of accomplishing things.

Creative Thinking . . .

Here in your mind, try doing things in different ways, outside of the usual. This is a creative process. You may have heard of creative thinking. Training yourself to think creatively is largely learning to let your imagination work on methods that are different from the “way things have always been done.”

It’s breaking away from the idea that a thing can be done effectively in only one way. It’s looking at a problem from all angles. Just play a game of “what if.” Ask yourself, “What if I did this thing this way?” It’s OK to get a little crazy sometimes. But, you must also spend some of your thinking time at specific visualizations of the moves you need to make to accomplish your goals.

Visualizations are important but actual physical practice of your skills is important also. Practice the boring little skills that are necessary as well as the skills that you enjoy. Don’t let yourself rely on just the things that come natural and easy to you. Develop your limited potentials as well as those that you feel are your blessings.

Work on developing the more general attributes that are important to almost any goal:

Success comes more easily to those who have a pleasing personality. This is not to say that you should bend over backwards to everyone’s wishes. Rather, develop an attitude that is respectful of other’s opinions but true to your own beliefs.

Be flexible don’t be so rigid that you can’t accept another’s opinion when it is superior to your own. Be willing, even eager, to learn from others. hanging your opinion in light of more facts is a sign of strength of character, not weakness. Be willing to extend a helpful hand and be a team player. Develop a sense of humor – be polite and caring, but be your own person.

Learn to tame your emotional responses. You’re more susceptible to screwing up when you let your emotions get in the way. Of course, everything we do is done based somewhat on our emotions, but strong emotions have a little place in decision making.

Keep your emotions in check. Try to delay decisions if you are emotional that day. Learn to ignore your emotions and use a common sense approach to arrive at your decisions.

Develop the habit of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm works like a magnet it draws people and success. It’s a pleasing personality trait that people like to be a part of. It’s extremely contagious the people around you become enthusiastic and become more cooperative. Enthusiasm sparks originality and purpose.

We’ve talked of working to develop habits;

The habit of focusing on your goals – on your strengths – of learning and researching – of visualizing and the habit of enthusiasm.

Now we will talk of habits in a little different light breaking them. I know . . . this can be a little difficult.

First, recognize the ones that may be annoying to others. Offensive habits can hold you back from success, they are often a part of an unpleasing personality; grumbling or grunting at people instead of answering them – gazing at anything but the speaker when in a conversation – smirking or sneering when you don’t agree.

Anything that is an automatic, displeasing mannerism. After all, a habit is something that we do without thinking much about it. You will have to spend some time at this and be very conscious of yourself. Ask someone you trust to help you with this self evaluation. Keep an open mind for some of that critical feedback.

It may take a lot of work to break yourself of some not-so-professional habits. Try substituting a different, more pleasing behavior for the habit you wish to break.

Part 3: Ways To Live Up To Your Potential

Live Up To Your Potential Already . . .

3-part series: part1, part2 and part 3.

Listen readers. If you’re finally ready to build on your talents and live up to your full potential, all you have to do is learn to apply them . . .

Beginning right here . . .

Live Up To Your Potential Already . . .First off you need to recognize that you have the power to change your habits to acquire new skills and fully exercise the ones you already have.

You can improve your performance, your productivity, and the quality of your entire life.

Do you really think it’s all luck, intelligence or dedication? All of these things do figure in they all make a difference. But we know intelligent, talented, hard working people who do not consider themselves very successful or even happy. And we also know people who are not exceptionally bright but seem very happy and successful.

So there must be something else, some backdoor way into success. Actually, there are several hidden ways in achieving your peak performance living up to your full potential.

Your success at business, friendship, love, sports just about anything you try is largely determined by your own self-image. Your unhappiness is something you choose. So, you’re thinking . . . nobody chooses to be unhappy. Well, maybe not but you have to consciously choose to be happy, self confident, and successful.

Happiness is attainable when we go after it directly. So is self confidence. Both seem to be more “side products” rather than something you can achieve.

So how then, can consciously choosing to be these things be of any value? Well, the secret is to focus on other things.

An exercise to take away . . .

Begin by making a complete assessment and an inventory of yourself. Make a few lists of all the things you can do well. But, be honest with yourself.

When that list is done, make a list of all the things you’d like to do, even if you think you can’t do them well.

Then, make a list of all the things you would like to do, if you could.

Now, list your hobbies.

Let’s reiterate your lists . . .

1) What I do well

2) What would I like to do even if I can’t do them well

3) What would I do if I could

4) What are my hobbies

Now, go back to the list of things you can do well. You are probably being much too hard on yourself. Most of us are. We have this little voice in our heads telling us things like: “You’re so dumb,” or “You can’t learn to do that,” or “You never do anything right,” And guess what?
We actually listen to that devil of a voice . . .

Now’s the time to shut off that voice you can do it and add a few more things to the list of things you can do well. Pretend you are your best friend it’s amazing how much more forgiving and charitable we are with our friends than we are with ourselves.

Now that you are your best friend, you should be able to add a few more items to your “do well” list. But do be honest don’t list things you feel you really can’t do well.

Next, go to your list of things you like to do but you feel you don’t do well. Speaking as your own best friend, do you think there are some things on this list that could be moved to your “do well” list? Probably. If you like to do it, chances are you’d do pretty well at it. Treat your hobby list in the same manner.

Next, go to your list of things you would like to do if you could. Ask yourself, “Why can’t I do this, if I’d like to?” Put your reasons on another list. OK. So you have a lot of lists going what good is that going to do? Well, you have just made an assessment of yourself. If you have been truly honest in making these lists, it may even be a fairly accurate one. Probably it isn’t, but that’s OK.

This assessment isn’t carved in stone. It’s subject to change. But for now we will work with what’s on your lists. At least you have a place to start.

Look over your lists again. You are focusing on all the things you feel you can’t do and the reasons why you can’t do them, right? Well, don’t.

Focus On What You Can Do Focus On Your Potential. Make it a habit to focus on your strengths. Don’t forget to include your undeveloped potential as well. Train yourself to focus on your potential instead of your limitations.

Now that’s not to say that you should ignore your list of reasons for not doing some of the things you would like to do. Not at all!

But what we tend NOT to do is look at them from the viewpoint of your strengths. For instance, you’d like to play basketball but you think you are too short, so you don’t even try.

In this case, you are looking at it from the viewpoint of your limitations. Now, when you look at it from the viewpoint of your strengths, you would say, “Well, I may be pretty short to play, BUT I am fast. I can handle the ball well. I have a lot of stamina. I can’t change being short, but I sure can refuse to let my limitations overcome my strengths.”

You see the difference? Focusing on your limitations lets those limitations make your decisions for you. Focusing on your strengths lets you make the decision.

Go back to our example: when you’ve decided to overcome your height limitations to play basketball something you really want to do you will be more determined to develop your strengths to compensate. You will do well, because you will be doing what you really want to do and you will be determined to develop the full potential of your strengths.

Very few people concentrate on fully developing any of their strengths. That’s where you will have the edge. You know your true disadvantages but your determination and your purpose will inspire you to fully develop the talents and skills you do have.

OK. You probably have no interest in playing basketball. Then go to your assessment of yourself. What do you have a major interest in? What do you have a natural aptitude for? Go for it. Devote yourself to something you really like to do.

Don’t choose something just because you think you could make more money at it than by doing something that you would really rather work at. You won’t work to develop your full potential.

You’ll probably start out with lots of enthusiasm, but it will be short lived. It will be a chore to go to work. You’ll probably find yourself hating to go. It’ll be difficult to work on improving your skills because you don’t like what you are doing. Your success will probably be limited by your growing lack of interest and ultimately . . . you won’t be happy.

So devote yourself to something you really like to do. You’ll enjoy your work, you’ll be enthusiastic, and you’ll probably find yourself working on improving your skills just for the sheer joy of it.

You will be working to reach your full potential. You’ll soon find you are making more money at this truly interesting occupation than you ever dreamed possible. And because you like what you are doing, you’ll be much happier.

When you know you are working to your full potential and you enjoy your work, you’ll begin to feel successful, self confidence and happy.

But, you must be realistic and honest. Don’t B.S. yourself. If you set goals that you can’t possibly reach, you’re simply setting yourself up for failure. The key here is a realistic and honest assessment of your potential.

Although most people will be unnecessarily harsh in their assessments, it is easy to become too hopeful when you start breaking down barriers.

For instance, you’re extremely interested in and fond of music and would love to be a singer. It would be rather ignorant to set up a singing career as your goal if you can’t even sing a note (some talents are inborn).

But, not all is lost. If you have knowledge about the music business and would be happy being involved in some other way, by all means then go for it . . .

Next would be to set a time limit.

When you set a goal, you will most likely set times for achieving certain steps along your way in achieving your final goal.

Even if you don’t set the time frame in stone, you will probably have a pretty good idea of how long you are giving yourself.

Word to the wise . . . Think about it and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve them. Don’t go setting yourself up already by not giving yourself enough time.

And don’t get all goofy if things don’t work out as you planned. Sometimes, finding our place takes both time and error. All of us experience failures.

The key is to view the failures as a learning experience if nothing else, failures teach us what not to do. Remain calm – focused and flexible. Concentrate on your strengths and potential, and the right thing will come along . . . sooner rather than later.

And no quitting at the first sign of boredom. Even if you have truly found your niche, you will not feel enthusiastic 100% of the time.

Oh . . . One more thing NOT to do. Don’t compare your progress with other people. That’s a big no-no. There will always be someone else who looks like they’ve got it made, or looks like they’re getting where you want much faster and easier than you.

Who cares? Maybe they are or maybe it just seems that way. So don’t bother with it. Focus on what you’re doing and work to develop your skills and talents to their full potential.

If you are a competitor . . . compete with yourself.

If you have reached point A today, make point B you’re next step. Improve on yourself and don’t worry about the other guy.

Part 2: Living Up To Your Potential