Build On Your Potential. Be Great.
You want to be great, make a difference in the world and in the lives of others. You get out into the real world after having done very well all through high school, college and early career, and discover that you still have a lot to learn to be great.
You make a few mistakes, and you may feel like you are asking “dumb” questions. You may also have ideas that you think are genius, but they didn’t turn out as you thought.
You realize you’re a novice not an expert with all the answers.
People who become great – no matter their field or area of endeavor – are those who are willing to be uncomfortable over and over again on the way to mastery. When you’re really learning, you are acquiring new skills or understanding and behaving in new ways.
Here are eight ways you can be a life-long learner and be great.
1. Define Great for You: Greatness can be anything you want it to be. Be a great leader, a great artist, a great athlete, a great writer, a great parent. To help with this, ask yourself: What is
- a greater expression of me?
- a greater ideal of me?
- the highest potential of my life’s work?
2. Establish a Possibility Mindset: Believe in the possibility of being great. Our expectations of possibility are so powerful they change our physiology. According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, when we begin to ask questions about possibility, we engage the forebrain in new ways of thinking and behaving, and we begin to move from the old to the new thinking and feeling. In other words, when you announce to yourself your intention, and you believe in your abilities, you set into motion your vision and it becomes a possibility
3. Challenge Self-Awareness: Continually challenge your own preference for being good enough at things or for holding yourself back because you want to be perfect. Instead, shift from being perfect to being willing to be in that awkward place of “I don’t really understand this right now”.
4. Nurture Self-Leadership: When you are grounded in a personal mission and purpose, then you can respond to people and situations and make the right choices without losing yourself. Tracy, a mid-career executive, said when she stopped trying so hard to “make it” and “fit in with someone else’s expectations” of her, her confidence improved and she began to fulfill her destiny.
5. Foster Self-Compassion: How do you put in context all the stuff coming at you on a daily basis? A little self-compassion goes a long way when stretching outside your comfort zone and breaking through any limiting beliefs and stories that may hold you back. Be disciplined in setting goals for your day. Then, in the evening, ask yourself: “Did I do my best today to meet my goals today?”
6. Embrace Novelty: Become comfortable in novel situations by staying curious and open while continuing to explore and improve. When asked how she came up with the variety of plots and characters for her scripts, a Hollywood screenwriter replied, “once a week I make a point of doing something out of the ordinary for me. Even small acts can make a difference. If you wear your watch on your left hand, wear it on your right hand. Or, if you never wear hats, wear a wild hat one day.” These small acts and a curious mindset are the essence of creativity and real learning.
7. Seek feedback: There are many ways to ask for feedback depending on the situation. Feedback can be valuable when it broadens our awareness of the impact our behaviors and contributions have on others. In general, when you ask for feedback, listen deeply, ask for clarification if you are unclear, then make a plan to integrate the feedback into your decision-making and future actions.
8. Connect with Success Partners: Seek the support of a mentor, coach, and/or mastermind group. A mentor is a little further along on the journey. A coach serves as an objective sounding board and catalyst for you to reflect, stretch and realize your potential. In a mastermind group, the harmonious energy of the individuals connects. This connection creates a powerful synergy that is used to brainstorm, problem-solve and create powerful solutions that can only come from the power of the group’s collaborative, harmonious energy.