First a quote: “One way to change people, is to see them differently.” Barry Stevens
Let me start today with a simple assignment for you to consider in the week ahead:
Step 1) Before you read any further, please reflect briefly on a few of the people you will encounter this week. Please include family, friends, and people from the professional side of your life, including work associates and colleagues. Visualize each of their faces, even if for only a few nanoseconds.
Step 2) What is your perception of who those people are today and who they might yet become in the future? Is there a gap? There should be. Why? Because we all have untapped potential yet to be explored, discovered, and encouraged. No one is exempt from this truism.
One of our responsibilities as parents and leaders is to encourage those around us to strive for their full potential, both in the present and in the future. Before we can do that, we must believe the untapped potential exists, intentionally search it out and help them to discover it as well. They also must believe it exists. I will never forget when one of my early mentors saw more potential in me than I saw in myself or would have ever imagined.
Sir John Whitmore once said, “We must see people in terms of their future potential, not their past performance.”
I would argue it is easy to look at other people and see their faults and imperfections. It takes discipline, discernment and focused attention to sense the yet unseen capabilities in others. When do their eyes light up? Where do they exhibit higher levels of energy? When do they stay later or give extra effort? Where are the dormant skills just waiting to be released? What is needed to bring it all to life? A little maturity? Confidence? Training? Mentoring? Perhaps just a few simple words of encouragement?
This is perhaps a topic for another week but worthy of at least a mention here. We all have unconscious biases when it comes to other people, especially people who are different than ourselves. As leaders, we must intentionally value diversity and consciously recognize talent wherever it might be hiding, just waiting to be discovered.
Step 3) Ask yourself what impact you might have on the individuals you thought of in Step 1. Will it be positive, negative or neutral; intentional or possibly unintentional? What actions will you take this week? Where can you build confidence and how? In what ways can you mentor others to help them see beyond their current reality?
I’m not sure any of us will ever fully recognize the potential impact of our words (whether careless or thoughtful) might have on the lives of other human beings.
In what ways will you help someone discover their untapped potential this week?
How will you live, or lead, differently or better this coming week?
Bonus quotes below.
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
Do you know someone who might benefit from this weekly leadership minute? If so, please feel free to pass along the subscription link below:
- “It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.” —Zig Ziglar
- “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson
- “Your past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future.” — Marilyn Ferguson
- “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.” —Winston Churchill
- “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come.” – Author Unknown
- “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain