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Published on September 7, 2020

6 Steps to Understanding Your Potential and Achieving More

6 Steps to Understanding Your Potential and Achieving More

Whether you’re applying to a college, choosing a career path, or going through a midlife crisis, the big question is, “What are you capable of doing?” This world may have fed you with unrealistic expectations from the beginning, and it may be keeping you from understanding your potential.

We’re all told there’s some hidden talent deep within us that will be our saving grace one day. More often than not, though, you’re only wasting your time in finding your ‘talent’ instead of spending that energy to build your potential.

If you can understand your potential, success will be knocking at your doorstep. Let’s dig in to find out the not-so-hidden secret tips that will help you create your own empire of success!

What Is Personal Potential?

Before understanding your potential, you need to know first what personal potential really means. There’s a high chance that you have the wrong definition in mind, but that’s not your fault because it’s how most of us think of it.

People generally tell you that you’re naturally gifted with personal potential. Your true potential is supposed to be an activity that you can do amazingly with minimal effort. With this perspective, you’re always in search of a hobby that you think you’re good at. You keep looking for this unknown nature’s gift.

What you don’t know is that personal potential has more to do with your mental strength than your so-called gifts. It is anything that you wish to be. Hence, even if others say that your fashion sense is terrible all your life, you can still end up being a successful fashion icon.

What you need is willpower. With your courage and a firm intention, you can achieve whatever personal potential you want.

Potential and talent are not the type that you need to wait for before they come to you. They are qualities that you build within yourself with hard and smart work. There’s no magic wand that brings out your inner potential except your own will.[1]

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you have to follow another successful individual’s footsteps blindly. Yes, it’s always great to have some advice, but your potential and the path leading to it is probably way different.

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The key is to try understanding your potential instead of forcing something on yourself just because someone you know has managed to pull it off.

How to Find Your Potential

The personal potential is all about hard work and strategy. Here are six tips that will guide you on finding motivation and putting it to good use.

1. Identify Your Inner Voice

The first step towards success is to listen to yourself.[2] Bear in mind that you’re not looking for your potential here but only figuring out what you truly want in life.

Your potential is ultimately what you work for. Thus, it’s best to work for the things that you desire so that you enjoy the process.

Think of the things that you enjoy or would want to be good at. Do you aspire to be an artist, for instance? Would you love to be a theater actor, even though you’ve never acted on stage before?

Please make a list of your desired wishes and then downsize it realistically. It matters to keep your inner voice in mind while doing so. Don’t aim for things that may improve your image in society, bring you a lot of money, etc. Remember: your self-satisfaction needs to be a top priority.

Similarly, there’s a chance that you’re great at something but despise doing it. Say, people around you love your voice and are always ready to hear you sing. However, there’s a chance you hate it despite the elaborate appreciation. Things like this should also be noted down so you can recall that you want to stay away from them.

2. Make Conscious Efforts

Once you’ve planned a suitable final destination, it’s time to make an effort.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it: your personal potential will not come waltzing into your life. You have to work hard to get to it.

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Understanding your potential requires conscious efforts in the right direction. It won’t just click one day randomly; you have to work to find the answers.

You may start experimenting now. You know that you want to either have a law firm or own a restaurant. These are two very different career choices, so take small steps in one direction and figure out if this is something you’re willing to put your energy and time into.

As an example, since you can’t decide between being a chef or becoming a lawyer, you try the former first. Even after six months of showing consistent effort, though, you keep overcooking your food. When you ask your friends to taste it, they hardly ever give you positive feedback. Despite following the same recipe every time, your dishes taste different every time.

You’ve put in six months in this craft and tried hard enough to make a decent meal, but there’s no sign of improvement. Of course, you need to take it a sign that cooking is most likely not the right choice for you.

You can then work towards your other option. Discuss the situation with experienced lawyers, get internships, research about it online, and find out whether you’ve got what it takes to build a successful law firm.

3. Define Your Goals

SMART goals play an essential role in your life, especially when you want to accomplish something.[3]

Defining goals will help you stay on track to understand your potential.

At this point, you’ve already figured out which route to take. It’s now time to take systematic steps.

Assuming you know the SMART goals and how to devise them, you need to add some additional steps to the process.

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With every goal, define your intention. Please take note of whatever you think you’re aiming for and the reason behind it. For example, your intent behind joining an SEO training workshop is perhaps to improve your readership so that you can accomplish your passion for running a world-famous blog one day.

Next, write down the value. What will this particular workshop do for you that you cannot gain from other similar sources? In the example above, the workshop may be facilitated by a person you’ve always been inspired by or is mainly for the niche that you prefer.

Lastly, think about the cost. Whatever input you have to give for achieving the value and fulfilling your intent, bring it to the table at this point. While you shouldn’t be working at a loss, you must be able to generate at least the same amount of money by implementing what you have learned, primarily if you’re paying $50 for a workshop.

4. Set Milestones

One mistake that a lot of people make in hopes of understanding their potential is aiming for the stars in the first go. They set their mind on the bigger picture and directly go for it.

That’s not how you get successful. As mentioned above, it’s the baby steps that take you to your destination. Yes, it may extend the timeframe of the entire journey, but it also increases the chances of having a practical outcome with minimal hurdles.

When you set milestones, try to break down the long-term process into smaller segments. So, if you’re passionate about developing an advertising agency, don’t put your focus on the final picture alone.

For your first milestone, therefore, you can enroll in a media school where you can learn all the basics of advertising. After that, you may work for an agency to familiarize yourself with their process. Then, get in touch with a local videographer to create an ad for a relative’s business.

Step by step, you pave the way to your big goal. You can work on the weekly or monthly milestones that may end up contributing to the bigger picture when you divide the workload.

5. Accept Failures

Bear in mind that you’re only getting started. Even though this is your passion, you can’t possibly be perfect at it immediately.

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Failures and inconveniences are part of every success story. It’s alright to have some unexpected issues here and there. Don’t let them demotivate you.

Failing does not mean that you have to shift your path. It only means you’re learning more, and that will eventually help you grow beyond limits.

6. Celebrate Your Successes

It is also vital to be very appreciative of yourself. It will keep your spirits high throughout the minor mishaps.

The secret is to celebrate the little successes. Every time you accomplish a milestone, pat yourself on the back.

Track your little achievements so that you can remember them every time you feel down and need encouragement.

Bottom Line

Understanding your potential and unleashing your inner voice isn’t that hard. It requires strong willpower, patience, and baby steps in the right direction.

Unfortunately, this fast-paced world has made life so complicated that the more straightforward things like finding your potential seem almost impossible. If you’re strong enough to keep things simple in this chaotic world, then you’re on the path to success!

More on How To Know Your Potential

Featured photo credit: Jeswin Thomas via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Growurpotential: Talent Is The Product of Hard Work
[2] Harvard Business Review: Reaching Your Potential
[3] Mind Tools: SMART Goals

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on September 25, 2020

5 Powerful Self-Care Ideas for When Life Is Stressful

5 Powerful Self-Care Ideas for When Life Is Stressful

Stress doesn’t discriminate. It affects everyone, invariably in different ways. Regardless of how stress shows up in your life, I think we can all agree that it’s present. When it does show up, it takes over the show. It then becomes difficult to stay in the present moment or show gratitude for what and who we have in our life. In the eye of the stress storm, everything is tossed around into oblivion. This is probably when self-care finally comes to our mind.

How Does Stress Show Up?

On a physical scale, stress tends to be behind many of our typical ailments, such as headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, or body aches and pain.[1] When we’re in stressful situations, our body activates our fight-or-flight response. According to the American Institute of Stress, when the body is in this mode due to stress, “the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands, triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.”[2]

Why is this important? While our fight-or-flight response is extremely helpful when we’re in situations that risk our survival, not every situation is that dire. However, the body doesn’t know how to differentiate between such scenarios. Rather, we become accustomed to seeing every stressful situation as dire, and essentially locked into this fight-or-flight response automatically. This causes us to burn out because our body is constantly fighting or fleeing from threats that are not causing us any real harm.

On a mental and emotional scale, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior.” Everything is interconnected. When our physical body takes a toll due to stress, this has a domino effect on how we process our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see correlations between depression and anxiety when it comes to dealing with stress.

How to Combat Stress?

Below are five self-care ideas for combating stress in your life. Consider implementing them into your daily routine for the best results.

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1. Start a Brain Dump Writing Exercise

When you’re overwhelmed with thoughts, it can become very difficult to stay present and focused. This could affect you at work, in school, or in your relationships. It’s as if your mind were filled to the brim with thoughts that are constantly competing for your attention. If left unattended, this can affect your performance or your state of being. Stress is just brewing!

One exercise to get this under control is called a Brain Dump, and it’s exactly how it sounds. Start by getting comfortable with a pen and paper or your favorite journal. Without any special formatting or introduction, just start writing any and all thoughts that come up. Consider your paper a blank canvas onto which you’re going to spill every thought, no matter how small or unimportant. This can look like a laundry list, a jumble of words, or a paragraph. Don’t think too much of how it looks. The idea is to give your thoughts an exit. Once they’re on paper, they’re no longer swimming in your head for attention.

Once you have them written down, leave them as they are. We have a tendency to want to fix our thoughts. Instead, allow them to simply exist as they are — they’re not right or wrong. Consider coming back to this exercise daily or whenever you feel like you have a lot on your mind.

2. Sweat It Out

There is nothing more therapeutic than moving the physical body when it feels the weight of stress. Energetically, we carry our day in our body! If we’ve had a particularly difficult day, that energy is going to feel tense and unsettling. This is why it’s so important to move and really break a sweat!

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America,[3]

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“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.”

Find what exercise regimen works for you, and commit to it for a few days per week. Scientists have also found that even 10-15 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a tremendous effect on your body. Go for a run, take a spin class or a power yoga class, or dance the stress away in Zumba. Whatever gets your heart rate up and breaks a sweat is one of the perfect self-care ideas to keep the stress away.

3. Seek the Care of a Therapist

Sometimes writing out our thoughts and feelings doesn’t seem quite enough. This is common and to be expected. After all, we are complex human beings who want to understand and process our emotions on a deeper level. This is why having a regular therapy session is so beneficial!

In the presence of a professional, we can open up about what stressful situations we’re going through. We don’t have to keep our emotions bottled up, and we know that our honesty will be protected and safeguarded.

Additionally, when we’re feeling stressed, we often want to simply vent and get things off of our chest. Having someone on the receiving end who will simply listen and hold space is a truly healing gift. We can often leave the session feeling more empowered, seen, and offloaded of the stress we brought in.

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Lastly, we may be able to receive guidance from our therapist on a particular situation we’re struggling with. Having someone else’s perspective on something we’re too emotionally close to can be just the right solution.

Here are more self-care ideas from a therapist: Self Care Tips During Difficult Times (A Therapist’s Advice).

4. Interrupt Your Day

This may seem like a derailing technique, but give it a shot! Interrupting your day means introducing something entirely new or random into a routine that is very monotonous or typical.

If your work or school day is the same sequence of events every single day, bringing in an interruption can be quite conducive to your productivity and creativity. This can look like pausing in the middle of the day for a yoga stretch at your desk or in your office. It could be playing your favorite playlist in-between meetings or taking a walk outside for lunch. Not only does this stir up new energy for your day, but it can also de-stress your day.

As I said in the earlier tip, when we’re too close to a situation or conflict, we have a harder time breaking away. We’re so emotionally and mentally invested that we don’t see how that proximity is affecting our health. So, interrupt yourself when you’re feeling stress coming on, and do something fun, random, and refreshing.

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5. Get Some Energy Work Done

Energy work is anything that is being done to improve the circulation and energetic flow of the body. This could be a massage, Reiki session, chiropractic adjustment, or acupuncture. As I said in a previous tip, moving the body helps move the energy that is blocked or stuck. This is why exercise is so important. However, sometimes we need a session where that work is done for us by a licensed professional. In such treatments, we have the luxury to relax and receive the benefits of the treatment. It’s a beautiful way to self-care!

Final Thoughts

Stress is unfortunately a common part of our life. It affects everyone, but to what extent it affects you is personal. One thing is for sure, and that is that stress has a tremendous effect on our physical, mental, and emotional state. This is why regular exercise is so important, as well as mental stimulation and emotional release. These self-care ideas won’t necessarily guard you from ever feeling stressed, but they will help you manage it better.

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Featured photo credit: Alisa Anton via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Mayo Clinic: Stress Management
[2] The American Institute of Stress: How the Fight or Flight Response Works
[3] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Physical Activity Reduces Stress

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