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.