“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
“Living up to your potential.” Sounds like a good thing – right? Getting better at things means that we will become more influential, effective, sought-after, respected; and this means that we will have greater control over our careers, decisions, and our remuneration?
It’s a nice thought, but I wonder how true it really is? The connections are true enough, there is a lot of evidence linking personal development to personal success. But how true is it that WE believe personal development is a good thing? How many of us take real responsibility for growing our own personal effectiveness?
Let me begin to illustrate this issue with a question. If we were to de-personalise the idea of improvement, and consider instead any object, what is the most useful thing to help us to improve its ‘performance’? For instance, what is the most useful thing to help you develop the top speed of your car? Or the weight of your baby? Or the shelves for your lounge? The answer is the ability to measure it: speedometer; scales; rulers.
But how do we feel about measuring ourselves? Subconsciously, many of us prefer to hold an impression of ourselves which is uncontaminated by facts. Our self-confidence is important to us, and we tend to avoid things which risk undermining it. But if our self-confidence is rooted mainly in our current performance, it is often difficult to differentiate between un-measured confidence and complacency.
Deep self-confidence is rooted in our value as a human-being, and the deep well of untapped potential that we all have within us. From this rooted confidence, it is not only safe to develop an accurate picture of our current performance (since such a picture neither defines or diminishes us) it is an essential pre-requisite to understanding how best to grow and develop ourselves – to tap into our potential.
So do you really believe in yourself and your potential? Or are you trapped in a prison of maintaining your current self-image? Here is the acid test: If I offer you a way to objectively and easily measure your current impact and influence on those around you – do you take it? Do you eagerly grasp a tool which can help you be more effective in your work and relationships, or would you rather not risk your current self-image?
It’s a brave choice … to pursue what might have been!