If you’re wanting to make more of your talents, live up to your full potential, then you need to learn to use them. You have the power to change your habits, to acquire new skills and completely use the skills you now have. You can improve your performance, your productivity, and the quality of your entire life.
What makes a high achiever? Is it luck, intelligence, talent, dedication. All of these things figure in, they all make a difference. But we all know intelligent, talented, hard-working people who don’t consider themselves very successful.
We know people who aren’t exceptionally bright but seem happy and successful. So there must be something else, some secret to success. Actually there are several secrets to achieving your peak performance, living up to your fullest potential.
Projected Self Image
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. But, you’re thinking that no one chooses to be unhappy. Well, maybe not, but you have to consciously choose to be happy, self-confident, and successful.
Happiness is elusive when we go after it directly. So is self-confidence. Both seem to be more “byproducts” than something that you can achieve for itself. So how, then, can consciously choosing to be these things be of any value. Well, the secret is to focus on other things.
Make A Lists Of Your Strengths
First, focus on your potential. Begin by making a complete and accurate assessment of your strengths. To do this you need take an inventory of yourself, so you’ll be making a few lists.
Sit down and make a list of all the things that you do well. Be honest with yourself. When that list is done, make a list of all the things you like to do, even if you think you can’t do them well. Now list your hobbies.
Then, go back to the list of things you can do well. You’re 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,” or something similar.
And even worse, we listen to that voice as if it’s telling us the gospel truth. So now, 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?
There probably are. If you like to do it, chances are you do pretty well at it. Treat your hobby list in the same manner.
Ask yourself, “Why can’t I do this, if I’d like to?” Put your reasons on another list. 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 assessment.
It probably isn’t, but that’s okay. This assessment isn’t carved in stone. They’re subject to change. But for now we will work with what’s on the lists. At least you have a place to start.
Focus On Your 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.
If, however, you 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 probably soon find you’re making more money at this truly interesting occupation than you never dreamed possible. And because you like what you’re doing, you will be happier.
When you know you’re working to your fullest potential, and you enjoy your work and begin to feel successful, you will find that self-confidence and happiness will soon follow.
But, you must be realistic and honest with yourself. If you set goals that you can’t possibly reach, you are setting yourself up for failure. You will make yourself frustrated and unhappy. The key here is a realistic and honest assessment of your potential.
Know What You’re Capable Of
Although most people will be unnecessarily harsh in their assessments, it is easy to become too hopeful when you start breaking down barriers. If, for instance, you’re extremely interested in and fond of music and would love to be a singer, it would be unreasonable to set a singing career as your goal, if you can’t sing a note.
But if you’re knowledgeable about the music industry and would be happy being involved in some other capacity, then it would be reasonable to pursue a career in the business.
Be wary of making otherwise perfectly reasonable goals unattainable because of stringent time frames. When you set a goal, you’ll most likely set times for achieving certain steps along the way to achieving your final goal.
Even if you don’t set the time frames formally, you will probably have a pretty good idea of how long you are giving yourself. It’s wise to sit down and formally set these goals. Think about it and give yourself reasonable time to achieve them. Make a deal with yourself to view these time limits as flexible.
Always Stay Positive
Don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out as planned. Sometimes finding our place takes both time and error. All of us experience failure of one magnitude or another.
The key is to view the failures as a learning experience, if nothing else, as failure teaches us what not to do. Remain flexible. As long as you keep focusing on your strengths and potential, the right thing will come along, and probably sooner rather than later.
But don’t quit at the first sign of boredom or failure. Even if you have truly found your niche, you won’t feel enthusiastic 100% percent of the time.
Who Cares What Others Think
Don’t worry about others, don’t compare your progress with that of others. No matter how successful you are, there will be someone else who, to you, looks like they’ve got it made, who looks like they’re getting where you want to go faster and quicker than you are. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not, but who cares.
Focus on your own achievements. Work to develop your skills and talents to their fullest potential. Compete with yourself, your short term goals should be based on today’s accomplishments.
So if you have reached Point A today, then make Point B your next objective, improve yourself and don’t worry about anyone else.