The realms and reams of writing about “potential” are 90% self-help quackery and 10% physics papers that you have accidentally stumbled across on your search engine voyage to write an intro for your most recent blog.
As evidenced by the time I followed a “free burgers” sign into a mystical forest like a slightly more frequently bipedal Scooby Doo, I am a susceptible person at heart.
I have to admit that I can see the appeal of the wisdom in the writings about potential from men in tight black t-shirts whose only real, heavily ironic, success lies in having convinced you to buy their book.
As these influencers shift their focus from the humble pen and paper (you can picture them considering a pen and paper as a sub-optimal way to transfer information) to the feedback loop and filter fuelled nightmare of social media, it has supercharged their message and gave rise to “hustle culture”, where the only things that matters is professional success at any cost.
Our youth are in danger of falling victim to these shysters parables and their definition of “success” primarily measured in Bugatti ownership deeds and divorce settlements to ex Playboy models.
And when times are dark like this, the world calls out for one man.
A man who recently caught his third mince pie of the day with his foot and was so impressed he called his girlfriend in from the other room to “have a look”.
A man who will run 400 feet to kick a football back to some teenagers who themselves are only 10 feet away from the ball to show he’s “still got it”.
A man who is being self-flattering quite honestly by even referring to himself as a man.
It’s me, I’m talking about me obviously, I’m here to fix the problem with another terrible blog.
I’ve had well over 12 minutes of therapy by now, and in therapy, I recently had a revelation, which means my therapist told me something but due to the nature of our relationship I am allowed to say I came up with it by myself.
A lot of the negative outcomes in my life (stress, relationship strains, times I have not been able to catch a mince pie on my foot), are due to my one-dimensional view on “potential”.
I used to see potential as something to be achieved in an academic or professional sense, whereas my social life and relationships were more nebulous, immeasurable and crucially, confusing.
But what if that wasn’t the case?
If I am, as I say I am, committed to reaching my potential, it follows logically that I must be committed to reaching my potential in all areas of my life.
If I’m not, and I only prioritise professional success, then I will never reach my full potential, which is the thing I was worried about in the first place, and now you can see why I waded in to waist deep water after my therapy session whilst listening to Ludovico Einaudi songs.
We are conditioned from a young age to A) succeed in our career at the cost of other areas of our life and B) permit ourselves to be pretty crap at the things that make us human like relationships and friends and talking to people about feelings.
If we could just put the same emphasis on reaching our potential as friends, partners and parents, I think we (and I am fully projecting here, but like I said, I covered this in therapy which is the Monopoly Get Out Of Jail Free pass of life so I am allowed to) would be much happier, much more productive and much less likely to spiral into a depression that ends with 6 footheld mince pies and a gallon of beer every night.
It’s all about balance, and being self aware and caustically honest with yourself.
We all know whether we are letting work get the best parts of us. It’s easy to tell, even from a purely statistical basis of how long we are there for or our monthly outgoings on subpar meal deals from the shop next to the office.
We all know there are ways we can brave and address these issues, these things that stop us from reaching our full potential, but we won’t approach them in the way we will with our professional issues. This means we limit our overall potential by only focusing on our career in an ironic attempt to reach our “potential”.
And whilst this blog may seem like I am advocating a life of flip flops and 2pm finishes, the self-awareness cuts both ways. You have to be deeply aware of what you can provide at work, what you should be providing, and the maximum level of effort you can provide to lead to the best possible outcomes for yourself and your business, whilst also maintaining enough energy and sanity to reach your potential outside of work.
If there is one thing I can leave you with, it’s that I am not completely insane and this blog does make sense mostly.
If I am permitted two things however, it’s that it should be everyone’s duty to reach their potential, but also to not pigeon hole their definition of potential. I truly believe that each individual person has a lot to offer professionally, personally, socially and in love, it’s just up to them to reach it.
Have a great day and if you are attempting to catch any pastry-based food on your foot in the future, the key is to not follow through too much and flex your toes, happy I could help.