You have taken a massive step in exploring your full potential. The most important part of success and achievement is in planning. The very start of the process may have been a long time ago; dreaming about your hopes and passions. Slowly the dream you built in your imagination created an urge to make it a reality and here you are with the next part of that process.
By reading this exercise, you have demonstrated to yourself a deep desire to be more successful in your life. This is a really significant phase in self-‐improvement. Sometimes, however, it is very difficult to clearly identify where exactly you will find success.
This exercise will guide you in the important decision-making process. Choosing a direction in life or finding your niche, requires focus to succeed. Once you have made a decision you must remain committed to make it work. Too many people have doubts once a decision is made and quickly change direction.
Table of contents
Success cannot follow self-‐doubt and the resultant lack of intense commitment. The decision-‐making process is therefore extremely important. I hope this exercise will assist help you explore your full potential. It is in reality a process of self-‐understanding.
The answer to your search for the skill which is most likely to bring success to your life is most likely staring at you in the face. We look at other people and admire what they do while ignoring what they see in us. This exercise will guide you to identify your skills that you can most easily develop to bring you success.
The reason you downloaded this exercise is probably difficult to describe. The statements below will hopefully guide you.
- You believe that you can be way more successful than you are present.
- You want to live a more meaningful and successful life.
- You are motivated to succeed.
- You regard yourself as a leader.
- You realize that you have great potential.
- You feel the need to develop your potential.
- You would love to do more for your community.
- You know that you are creative but fear and doubt are holding you back.
- You want some excitement in your life.
- You wish you had the confidence to break free.
- You feel stuck where you are.
What this demonstrates is that you have all the ingredients to be successful, you have the motivation and the drive to achieve but something is hindering you. You could, no doubt, give many excuses to explain why you are not making progress in your life.
Self-‐doubt is very destructive. It neutralizes any positive energy and stifles the drive to achieve.
This negativity happens because we are inclined to concentrate on our weaknesses. This is the manifestation of self-‐consciousness and feelings of inadequacy.
There is little doubt from your answers to the list above that you have the potential and the motivation to be very successful, you are probably bogged down by feelings of fear and inadequacy because you focus more on what you regard as your failures rather than your potential to succeed.
While we have an obligation to be the best version of ourselves possible and to train accordingly -‐ we owe this to our employer, to those we serve and, above all, to ourselves – we must accept that we cannot be great at everything.
Too often, when we train for work, sport or hobbies, we often focus on our areas of weakness rather than developing our strengths.
In many areas of life, we employ specialists. An athlete in any sport will normally specialize in one discipline. Likewise, surgeons who are highly-‐trained doctors will specialize in just one joint or organ of the body so that they can excel in their field. These people train to be the best they can be in this area of excellence.
What is important is that they have already discovered where their area of excellence is. This will be something they enjoy doing. In reaching this point in their careers they will have stopped doing many things that they don’t enjoy.
However, even at this stage in life, many will suffer from what is known as imposter syndrome. Wikipedia describes it thus:
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-‐achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Because high achieving and highly successful people find performing in their area of excellence to be so easy, they do not appreciate their value to others and how they are valued by others. They find praise to be unnecessary and undeserved for skills that are intrinsic and that they can perform so easily with pleasure and enjoyment.
Finding your area of excellence
What areas of excellence do you have which you do not value but which mark you as different from your friends and colleagues?
How can you use the example of the ‘imposter syndrome’ to help you to explore your potential for excellence and success and to find your niche in life?
Here is a set of questions that will help you find your area of excellence.
- What is it that your friends and colleagues would say that you are very good at?
- What is it that they may tell others to ask for your advice on because they regard you as the best at it?
- What do people ask for your advice on?
- What are the tasks for which you may say to others; ‘leave that to me? I’ll do it’? You do this because you know that it causes stress to others while you enjoy doing it.
- What can you do far more quickly and efficiently than other people?
- What tasks do you that you can become completely lost in?
- Which of the essential tasks of your day and your week do you look forward to doing?
- What was the nicest compliment you have received?
This short process should reveal your skills which you take for granted but others find great value in them. These are the skills that may make you feel like a fraud when you are praised. You willingly help people in this way for free because it is a pleasure to do so.
Your answers to the questions above show how others value you. They point to your role in your community and the workplace. They point to skills you have which you could develop further and build a successful career from.
To get the maximum benefit from these exercises, write a list of all the answers you can think of to each of the questions. Do it also for the first list of what your real motivational urge is telling you.
Come back to the lists many times and add further thoughts as they come to you. Study and refine the list so that there is no repetition. Rewrite and reword the points to make them clear statements of how you feel. These could be points you can list in your CV and during an interview.
A great method of refining the lists is to ask yourself the question; ‘if I was only allowed to say one of these things to define myself, what would it be’? Then prioritize the points by doing the same for the second and third and so on. The value of this process is obvious.
Interview in a life
The best description I have heard of the process I am describing is; suppose there was someone you dearly wished to meet and impress. You meet them by chance in a lift and you have a once in lifetime 30-second opportunity to impress them. What would you say about yourself?
The final step in this process of preparing that 30-second presentation is to explore where you may be most creative. There can be no better way to spend your life, than working very successfully at what you regard as a hobby.
If you were to write your life story, just about the happy you; the story of your happy memories. Starting from your earliest childhood memories. This would be the story about memories of when you were entertaining yourself and lost in your own world in the games. What points would you write about? What were your favorite pretend games?
Do a similar process for different stages of your life.
What activity was you most creative in?
It may have been drawing, or cooking or gardening or making things. The possibilities are obviously endless.
The next stage will be at school. What did you excel at or were regarded by peers and teachers as being very good at? Think of the activities or subjects in school which you most enjoyed.
Finish the story by adding all the hobbies and activities which give you the most pleasure now.
Refine this list in the same process as above so that you can identify your areas of greatest creative potential.
In working through these exercises, you will hopefully have confirmed to yourself what is driving you to seek change in your life. You will also discover the talents you possess so that you can successfully exploit them.
Using all the ideas you have compiled about yourself, spend time asking the simple question: ‘if I had to choose one thing at which I could happily spend my life, what would it be?
Your ‘lift speech’ is almost ready. When you have written it, read it aloud. Record it and listen to it. Using the different parts of the brain involved in writing, reading, speaking, and listening is an amazing way of gaining clarity in expressing the statement of You.
Now you need a plan to develop that skill so that you can exploit it into a great success.