Have you ever wondered why you aren’t achieving your full potential?
Are you experiencing the Itch?
You know, that feeling that you could be more, you could be better, you could accomplish greater things in all areas of your life?
The sense that you are stagnating and not maximizing your gifts and talents.
If this is your experience, it is a good thing.
It means you are uncomfortable with complacency.
It means you want growth, not a comfort zone.
You want progress, not inertia.
You are not alone. Many people are in that ‘stuck’ place but the good news is you can get unstuck and live your best life yet.
In this guide, you will find out the things that may be keeping you from realizing your full potential and what you can do to finally shake things up and gain forward motion.
Ready? Jump in!
Can You Reach Your Full Potential if You Don’t Believe in Yourself?
What do you think of yourself? Have you ever stopped to wonder?
Your perception of yourself is your biggest success motivator. You could have amazing talent, outstanding opportunities, enviable resources, and a bright mind but real success will be elusive if you do not believe in yourself.
Let’s state that again: Nothing will happen if you do not believe in yourself deeply.
If you want to get into better shape, you must believe that you have what it takes to accomplish this goal.
If you want more responsibilities at work or you want to grow your income from your business, you have to believe deeply that you can do it.
Self-belief is not the same as over-confidence. When you are overconfident, it is easy to overlook the blind spots, to take excessive risk, to overestimate your strengths, and downplay your weaknesses.
Self-belief on the other hand is acknowledging your vulnerabilities and the possibility of failure, understanding your weaknesses and choosing to move forward by tapping into your strengths.
A fundamental lack of belief in yourself is what keeps you in the same position. You do not believe you could do better and this manifests as your outward reality.
Of course, believing in yourself is easier said than done. This ability comes easily to some people but for the majority of us, we have to make a choice and work consistently to build a system or a habit of self-belief.
How Can You Build the Habit of Self-Belief?
First, feed your brain with the right message. Most of us have been brought up with messages all around us that cement self-doubt.
To undo this, you have to fill your mind, heart, and soul with inspirational messages that will help you view yourself more positively. For example, start by reading stories of other successful people.
Second, get into the habit of internalizing positive affirmations that reinforce a strong belief in yourself. Every day, recite your powerful affirmations verbally and mentally.
Third, visualize what your life would be like if you were to achieve the things you aspire to whether these include better health, more freedom, greater financial stability, or deeper spiritual wellbeing.
Lastly, choose to take action, no matter how small. The more you push the boundaries of your comfort zone, the more you will start to believe in your own ability.
Looking at Failure the Wrong Way
Given a chance, everybody would avoid failure like the plague.
In fact, avoiding failure is a basic survival instinct.
However, the difference between people who realize and even surpass their potential and those who do not is how they relate to failure.
The most successful people are not the adrenaline junkies or those with a large appetite for risk. They are the ones who know that failure is a constant possibility but that it is OK to fail.
Reach Your Full Potential: Fail to Succeed
Failure is a great teacher. It is only when you fail at something that you are able to realize opportunities for learning and growth.
When you look at many of the people who have achieved great fetes, you will find multiple instances of failure in their life. Rejected manuscripts, prototypes that never saw the light of day, lost jobs, people giving up on them, broken relationships, and the list goes on.
These people will tell you that they did not succeed despite their failures. They will tell you they succeeded because of their failures.
Of course, you can decide to take the path of least resistance and perhaps you will be just OK. However, if you really want to move your life to the next level, you have to become comfortable with failure.
You have to reconfigure your relationship with failure. You have to take a leap of faith and do what needs to be done despite the very real possibility that you might fail.
Relating to failure in this way takes a lot of courage, self-belief, and most importantly daily practice. Every day, you must make the choice to push yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone.
A Lack of Self-Awareness
Do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are?
Many of us think we know ourselves but often, we overestimate our strengths and underestimate our weaknesses.
While you should definitely identify, understand, nurture, and maximize your strengths, you should also be very aware of your weaknesses.
I know, we are told to be positive, look on the bright side, focus on the good stuff, and forget the bad things.
A positive mindset is absolutely crucial. But, your weaknesses, not your strengths, could be what is keeping you from attaining significant breakthrough in the various aspects of your life.
Take for example a manager with excellent organizational skills. She is committed to her job, and has the expertise and experience to complete work responsibilities. Yet she is constantly being passed over for promotions.
She thinks, perhaps, it is time that she moves on to another environment, one that ‘values her talents.’
When she talks to her life coach about her feelings of disgruntlement with the stagnation at work, the therapist makes a suggestion. Before leaving her job, she should “interview” her colleagues for feedback on her strengths and weaknesses.
The manager initially did not know what her weaknesses were and thought she was an amazing manager. She was surprised when her colleagues pointed out that she was a poor communicator, which made her unapproachable. Her micromanaging tendencies also made her less desirable for higher leadership positions.
She was able to work on the behavioural tendencies that were sabotaging her success and guess what, her well-deserved raise came sooner than she expected.
Moral of the story?
Cultivate awareness not just of your strengths but also of the tendencies that could actually be setting you back.
Ask for feedback from trusted people and keep an open mind. You should definitely self-assess but do not just leave it at that because, sometimes, we are not always objective.
Another person’s input might be just what you need to identify those blind spots that you need to work on to make headway in the different areas of your life.
Self-awareness is the window to self-improvement. When you know yourself, then you can embark on a journey of continuous improvement and that’s how you achieve a breakthrough. It is how you move from one level to the next.
You Lack A Center
If you do not know what you want, how can you achieve it?
If you do not have a plan, how can you get there?
It’s a busy world where so many things are vying for your attention. There are so many new shiny “toys” calling out to your wallet. So many diets and workout programs available to try. It’s ever so easy to feel scattered.
You know what else is easy? Becoming stuck in this state of trying to catch up with the latest distraction, all this while failing to prioritize what is really important to you.
While I am not suggesting that you live a hermetic life, in an increasingly noisy world, it is really important to centre or ground yourself. You need to cultivate a strong sense of focus.
The word ‘focus’ gets thrown around easily but what does it mean?
What Is Focus?
Focus simply means directing your interest toward something. That’s pretty intuitive but at its core, focus means ignoring everything else and directing your concentration to one thing at any given time.
Focus does not mean concentrating on a single thing at the expense of others. It is not about neglect. On the contrary, it is about giving yourself space to say ‘yes’ to one thing that requires your attention now.
You can do all the other things later. But right now, you need to choose the one thing that deserves your attention.
Cultivating focus is not only such a critical productivity hack; it is also a powerful way to trigger forward motion especially in the areas of your life that feel stuck.
Do All Successful People Have It Easy?
Here’s the thing, you might look at successful people, people who’ve got it together and think they have an infinite reserve of focus.
The truth is even the most ‘together’ people sometimes lack motivation and focus.
They are also carried away with all the gizmos and happenings vying for our attention.
When it’s time to go to the gym and pay attention to what they eat they struggle too.
They are not always driven to concentrate on one task for long periods of time.
Yes, sometimes all they want to do is chill and do nothing.
But the difference is that these people still find a way to push through the lack of motivation and boredom to do what they need to do to get to the next level, and the next one.
That’s the power of Focus
Deciding that you will concentrate on the one most important thing despite all the other things that are enticingly calling your name.
That’s what separates the elite who achieve breakthrough after breakthrough from the rest of the crowd.
How Do You Cultivate Focus?
Focus is not a one-off productivity hack. It is something you have to nurture every single day for it to become an engrained habit.
If you want to master the art of focusing, first realize that in spite of living in a fast-paced world, you have the power to choose what gets your attention. Only you can decide what is important and what is not.
Then, determine the one thing you need to do that will help you on your journey toward achieving your full potential.
Next, fall in love with the process of doing what you have decided to focus on. Embrace the bursts of motivation and surges of boredom in one breath. Push through it. Show up. Put in the work that’s needed to get you the results you want.
Failing to Take Responsibility for Your Own Success
You have probably come across someone who is perpetually complaining about how others do not ‘recognize my talents’ or do not ‘see my full potential.’
In some instances, these sentiments might be valid. It could be true that the reason why you are not realizing your full potential is simply that you are not in the right environment.
The people around you and the latent environment you spend most of your time in can be a hindrance or a motivator for success.
Even if this is the case, you are the only one who is responsible for removing yourself from such an environment and finding one that allows you to be your best self.
Instead of relinquishing control and power to outside forces, you can stand in your power and put yourself in situations that let you move from one great level to another.
This is entirely different from constantly lamenting about how others are not seeing your full potential or talent and not doing anything about it.
No one will truly recognize or see you until you put yourself in a place with a fantastic view.
Time to Realize Your Full Potential
Venturing outside your comfort zone is never easy. However, if you want to make the most of your given talents and capabilities, you need to put in the work. Believe in yourself, understand yourself, centre yourself, and be responsible for yourself.