Failed potential is a common theme in life coaching. I can’t tell you how common it is for someone to work with me who says, “I know my life can be different…it’s complicated.” I empathize with this feeling of being lost and knowing there is more for you out there.
When I hear this, it is music to my ears! It means I am working with someone who believes in themselves and their potential, they just need me to coach them and work through the “it’s complicated” part. Helping with the complications are where I shine as a coach.
If you feel like this…like you are living the same groundhog day over and over and not getting where you feel you are meant to be you are not alone. And if you have that flicker of light inside of you that says you were meant for more, keep that flame alive! That’s the spark we need to get you moving!
First, we are going to look at some ideas that feed into your idea of failed potential. Once we move those out the way, we can start tapping into our true potential to design the life we want! Let’s go…
Failed potential is only a real thing if you let it determine your choices.
The Voices of the Past:
When I dive into my client’s background I usually hear other people’s voices come out. For example, a client might say “Being a photographer won’t pay the bills” and I’ll say “Who said that to you?” and sdfhdkghksdhgkahgahgkahka Eureka! An explosion of wonderful epiphany emerges!…”My dad,” “My brother, “My husband.” These are what I call Voices of the Past. These voices are in your head on the daily, but you may not realize they are there or that they are keeping you from what you want the most.
The first step in removing these voices that feed into your idea of your failed potential is to recognize they are there in the first place. What are those voices telling you? Who said them? Do you believe them? What facts contribute to their truth?
Once you work through the Voices of the Past, we need to tap into your voice, otherwise known as your “self-talk.” Yes, I know you don’t stare at a corner talking to yourself out loud. I’m talking about the thoughts you have in your head.
Self-talk is underrated, however, it is most important in understanding our potential.
Tap into your self-talk by listening to what you are saying to yourself. Write it out. Does it make sense with what you want? Is it hurtful? What do you want to change about it?
For example, if you want a promotion and your self-talk keeps saying “You don’t deserve a promotion” that’s not too helpful in moving towards your potential. How can we change that? Perhaps by saying, “You deserve that promotion! Let your boss know you are interested and see what she is looking for!” Sounds a lot different right?
Pay attention to what you say to yourself. I think you’ll be surprised. Often we have the harshest voices. I like to say if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, you can’t say it to yourself!
When we think of feedback, it can take us back to our coaches in high school on the field or feedback from your last review at work. The feedback I’m talking about here is personal, not necessarily performance-based. You can start by asking your 3 closest friends/family to describe you in 3 words. See what they say…
If you are looking into a career change, ask someone, “Could you see me becoming a ________?” This feedback may surprise you and may also show you that you are capable of more than the “voices” in your head tell you. Heck, you could throw out a question on social media these days and see what comes back! It could be about anything…a new book you want to write, a logo for your business, if people would read your travel blog if you started one…the possibilities are endless for feedback.
Look for feedback often and continuously. Be grateful and thank those who take the time to give it. By doing this you open the lines of communication between yourself, what you learn, and your potential. And the more you can use and learn from this feedback, the more comfortable you will be in receiving it whether it’s positive or negative.
Write it Out:
Writing this all out to better understand yourself can be intimidating if you aren’t used to it. My clients find that writing all these concepts out that we’ve discussed in this post most beneficial to their self-discoveries in reaching their full potential in their life design.
Get yourself a cool journal (or use the notes app of your choice) and start writing out your thoughts, feelings, goals, and feedback so you know where you are coming from and where you want to go. Keep it positive with frequent reminders that you feel there is more out there for you, reminders of your goals, or maybe some kind words or affirmations. In other words, don’t be an asshole to yourself. You deserve better for yourself!
Find your Footing:
Lastly, we need to find your footing. Failed potential doesn’t come out of grounded determined people who are actively working towards a better future. You need a plan that is visited I would recommend either weekly or monthly to be sure you are making progress towards what you want.
This plan needs to include your continuous feedback from others as well as your reflections. What do you think of the feedback? Of your progress? How do you feel about your life right now? Do you feel motivated? Do you still feel failed potential? What can you change next week to do things differently, think differently?
Failed potential isn’t failed if you are acting towards what you believe you can become.
If no one’s told you this today, I believe in you! I believe that you have the potential to become the person you want to be, so go out there and start making things happen!
If you want to read more about potential, I recommend the following book:
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