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#MTtalk Review: Unleashing Potential In Ourselves and Others

June 12, 2018


“When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.”
– Zig Ziglar, American author and motivational speaker

Have You Got What it Takes?

My friend, Randall, is highly talented. He’s excellent with mathematics, a creative thinker, fantastic with computers and electronics, and formidable at making plans in difficult times.

But Randall is constantly frustrated with himself and his life because of what he perceives as his lack of success. Despite his high intellect and competence, Randall lacks an important element for success: self-efficacy. He simply doesn’t believe that he has what it takes to be highly successful.

His story isn’t unique – there are many Randalls out there. I’ve been there, too, and I still think of myself as a work in progress because I know I have potential that hasn’t yet been unleashed. And, I was a typical late bloomer – so, late bloomers, don’t give up!

Take Action to Change Your Life

I’d like to share three elements with you that helped me to start the process of unleashing my potential:

The Little Voice in My Head
I always had a nagging feeling that I could do more, and achieve more. Whenever I reflected on my life I realized that I wasn’t even close to what I could be. This feeling made me so uncomfortable that I was compelled to take action.

Tough Times
A major life event catapulted me out of my comfort zone. The four years following my divorce were difficult: I basically had to start my career over. I went back to university and rebuilt my life. It took lot of self-discipline, and sometimes it felt impossible to put one foot in front of the other. However, I learned that I was stronger, and could push much harder, than I’d previously thought. The experience taught me that the only thing that held me back was my lack of self-belief.

The Company I Kept
I sought the company of positive, successful people who were constantly pushing their boundaries. Eventually, I found a mentor who supports and encourages me to this day. As my accountability partner he helps me to stay true to the standards I set for myself, and his belief in me never falters.

The process may not be the same for you, but it’s my sincere wish that you discover the recipe that will unleash your own potential. It’s not always an easy ride, but it’s certainly worth it.

Unleashing Potential in Ourselves and Others

During our #MTtalk Twitter chat last week, we discussed unleashing potential in ourselves and others. Here are the questions we asked and some of the responses:

Q1. How do you know what your potential is?

@DreaVilleneuve Your potential is limitless. Your commitment to discovering it needs to be, too.

@SayItForwardNow Our potential is linked to our ability to learn new skills, and our belief in ourselves.

Q2. What holds you back from reaching your full potential?

Sometimes we find ourselves in an environment where we aren’t encouraged to unleash our potential. That aside, it seems we are often our own worst enemies.

@SaifuRizvi Our laid-back attitude holds us back from reaching our full potential.

@KrisGiere Many things can contribute to holding back our potential: a deficit mindset, shunning our authentic selves, and an overreliance on external praise, among others.

Q3. What difference would it make to your life and career if you unleashed your potential?

The central theme that emerged here was that unleashing your potential definitely improves your life and career. What’s more, it has a positive impact on the people around you.

@maat333 That’s the beautiful thing: you can’t know it beforehand, but it will surely improve your life in every aspect… and it will also be good for others and  society. Of course, we are talking about good potential!

@OliviaGriffinMA Unleashing your potential can make an enormous positive impact, not only on an individual’s life, but on the world around them as well. We inspire people more than we realize when we take that path.

@harrisonia When others recognize and appreciate your greatness, it helps strengthen your confidence. Being unleashed helps the individual AND others.

Q4. What help do you need to unleash your potential?

@PG_pmp You need the right coach or mentor to guide you, and to help you realize the capabilities you possess.

@ZalkaB I try to take every opportunity life puts in my path as a tool to work on my potential and growth. Also friends, family, colleagues, Twitter chat friends, online connections, inspiring talks, books, and podcasts.

And thanks for this beautiful thought, @GThakore: “You need a happy mind, healthy hands and a hateless heart.”

Q5. What’s the link between a person’s purpose and potential?

Everyone who responded felt that purpose and potential are inextricably linked: one fuels the other.

@Midgie_MT With a clear sense of purpose, we can head in a straight line toward our goals and stretching our potential. Purpose helps us to deviate less from our goals.

@SanabriaJav One’s purpose is the vision and/or mission they have for themselves. To accomplish that, an individual needs the skills, qualities and support to achieve the mission. If they link up, the potential is there.

Q6. How does the external environment impact a person’s ability to unleash her/his potential?

@MicheleDD_MT Roadblocks that prevent people from achieving their full potential – poison work cultures, bosses that keep their people “small” to make themselves look good, environments where failure is punished.

@s_narmadhaa A positive environment believes in us even when we don’t. It sees our potential and helps us seek it despite our insecurities. A doubtful environment only dampens our spirit.

Q7. What might “unleashing potential” actually look like for a person?

@Yolande_MT The detail won’t be the same for everybody, but it’s about becoming the best possible version of you.

@DrRossEspinoza Giving yourself permission to be on the road to fulfilling your purpose.

@KobusNeethInst Doing something bigger than you thought you could do. Doing something that scares you, and doing it well.

Q8. How can you support employees to help them reach their full potential?

@Mphete_Kwetli Be there for them. Share the success of winning. Give them room for improvement and give credit where it’s due.

@TwisterKW Ask questions. Listen. Remove barriers. Offer tools. Challenge them. Celebrate with them. Give feedback. Be available. Be honest. Believe.

Q9. What are the benefits of unleashing the potential of your team, and/or the organization?

@carriemaslen When a team performs at peak potential, you’ll see teamwork, employee engagement, job satisfaction, and the ability to solve complex challenges together.

@JusChas Unselfish growth and opportunities for your team to be the best they are capable of. Even if you lose them. Those members will forever credit you for their success.

@MaryEllenGrom Innovation. Engagement. Collaboration. Creativity. Satisfaction. SUCCESS!

Q10. What can you do differently tomorrow to start unleashing your own potential, and to help others reach theirs?

@yehiadief Making sure that I realize how deeply my own actions affect me.

@MarcyLField Allow my light to shine. Doing so gives others permission and hopefully motivation to let theirs shine. Just imagine how that light would drive back the darkness.

@thevijaymahajan Set small goals and achieve them. By adopting these habits, you can start reaching your full potential. And in the end, it all comes down to believing that nothing can stop you from achieving what you want to do. The only thing holding you back is yourself.

To read all the tweets, have a look at the Wakelet collection of this chat, here.

Coming Up

We’d like every workplace to be happy and healthy, and a place where everyone has equal opportunities. But, unfortunately, sexism is still alive and well. In our poll this week, we’d like to know which type of sexism you most often experience or observe in the workplace. Click here to cast your vote.


In the meantime, here are some resources that will help you to learn more about unleashing potential in yourself and others:

High-Performance Coaching
Managing High Achievers
Aptitude Testing
How to Stop Procrastinating
Managing “Rebels”
Beating Self-Sabotage
Building Self-Confidence
Coping Under Pressure
Dweck’s Fixed and Growth Mindsets

Members of the Mind Tools Club can also access the full versions of the following articles:

The Nine-Box Grid for Talent Management
Avoiding Managerial Self-Sabotage
Identifying Great Career Opportunities
Changing People’s Habits
The Power of Good Habits
Breaking Bad Habits

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