Growing up I was always told that I had a lot of potential and as much as I did not have a full understanding of the word, I knew that what was said in the "positive tense" indicating that I will be doing big things or doing good work as I get older in life. I am certain most of us would have heard this while growing up and possibly some of us with children would have said it to our own children. As I got older and still not having an appreciation of the word, I started thinking potential was elusive, mythical, not real. Where is it? and how come other people were seeing my potential and not me? Further on in my life I totally gave up on seeing potential it was no longer real, just something people said as a nice gesture.
One evening, my manager observed I was still at the office. I was trying to create a spreadsheet sheet even though I had no prior experience in the application. He came over and asked me what I was doing and I explained to him what I wanted to achieve and why, and surprisingly enough he pulled a chair and sat with me assisting me along the way towards completion of my task. I was surprised he assisted as much as he did and asked him as to how come he took the time and his response was "WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY TO LEARN, THE TEACHER SHOULD BE READY TO TEACH, especially when they have potential".
And there that elusive, unreal, faux word came up again! POTENTIAL. But this time something was different, POTENTIAL felt real, tangible enough where I can hold it even though it has no physical form. For the first time I also saw my potential. What would have made this difference? Let us first take a look at the word.
- English Language
Adjective: Capable of being or becoming
Noun: A latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed
Meaning: Unapplied Energy
So what made the reintroduction of this word so different? We will have to look at three components;
Purpose: My reason for staying late that evening was not exactly the creation of an excel spreadsheet, but it was the ability to use the sheet as a “tool” so that I close more sales, and earn a higher income. Having a purpose gives direction to your potential.
Work: Potential is stored energy, with energy being the capacity for doing work. And work referring to the activity involving an applied force or movement (energy). Far too often I have seen collegues having the potential, but not willing to do the work involved towards realizing their goals.
Mentorship: The polishing of a diamond is a process used to bring forth the beauty and value of the diamond. This same polishing happens in humans through mentoring. The old parable "Give A Man A Fish" is true among us and without the right mentorship from our parents, teachers, managers, coaches, etc...many of us will settle in life with what is in front of us. Mentorship goes deeper than just answering questions or providing help on occasion. It is an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue and challenges towards an end result where the reciepient improves or achieves over time.
These three components are important and can be extremely dynamic when combined together. It is important to note however, that realizing potential without a purpose and work is unrealistic and all efforts will result in failure. Purpose and work are the two must haves out of the three perquisites. The cliche “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” is incorrect until we use the word “APPLIED” before knowledge. If we look up the definition of the word applied, we will see that out of the many meanings it will refer to the word “WORK” at some point.
It is important to note that as much as this is written with the intent of improving the human condition towards positive outcomes. These same components can also be used for negative outcomes as well.
So I ask;
What is your potential?
Are you wasting it?
How do the three components factor into you achieving said potential?
Written by: Lyndon H. Brathwaite
Inspired by: Real Life Events
***Change the Routine_Create the Opportunity_Make the Difference***