4 Ways to Discover Your Potential Within You
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – General George S. Patton
When I was in elementary and high school, being brought up in an Asian competitive culture, I was told that I needed to be excellent in every aspect in order to get into the best universities. In addition to school, my parents sent me to tuition classes for every subject I had taken, piano lessons, Taekwondo lessons, art classes and so on. Back then, I was quickly classified and incepted with the idea that I am not smart because my academic results were average compared to my cousins who were straight A students. Despite excelling in activities that require experiential learning such as sports, getting heavily involved in clubs & societies and so on, it was never satisfying for my parents, my relatives, my teachers and my peers.
Over time, this became the foundation for my life: “I am this person”… “I am not this person”… “I can do this”… “I can’t do this.” My persona was sculpted with these labels.
Fast forwarding to my working life, I landed my first job in one of the MNCs situated in Singapore. In fact, to many, it is one of the best companies to work in. I was earning a 5-figure income back then, the people around me were the proudest people on earth. However, I reflected upon my career which required me to work 14-16 hours a day, sometimes even on weekends. Whenever I had the time, I would return to my home country – Malaysia to visit my family. Despite being with my family, I did not spend much quality time with them because work just kept flowing at the last minute. I was physically there, but my heart wasn’t there. My work consumed me to the extent that I took things for granted at home. My beautiful pets – Hugo and Cooper, came to greet me and I shooed them away. I rarely visit home, but I rejected my mom coldly when she heated up home-cooked soup for me. All I ever did was lock myself in my room because I felt so worn out with everything around me and always needed a peace of mind. I decided that this couldn’t go on any longer and I needed to reflect hard on my career. Over time, it came down upon me – the dreadful and heavy workload that individuals like me go through were caused by indecisive leaders. Most leaders in large organizations influence their staffs or basically people around them to use their own perceptions and methods to achieve results, whereas they could have empowered the people around them to utilize their own methods in order to achieve greater results.
One day, I took the leap of faith and left the corporate world to discover my purpose in life – something which I have always been unclear about. During my journey of self-discovery, I stumbled upon two amazing and humble men who literally changed not only my life but the lives of others around me. And here I would like to share with you the experience that I have gained from these two individuals in elevating the potential within you in your own way.
Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. The pursue your personal growth.
In today’s world, 40% of what tertiary students learn will be obsolete in a decade time according to education experts, information can be obtained through our fingertips and rules of getting ahead are constantly evolving. In order to succeed in today, we need to ‘unlearn’ the old rules and relearn the new. This includes rethinking of our assumptions, the way that things usually work and ‘relearn’ what is relevant to our life and career.
I used to have the belief system which was drilled down from my parents that the only way to succeed in life is getting the best academic result so I can get into the best company to climb the corporate ladder. Clearly, I wasn’t happy with my life back then, I reflected upon my belief system and ‘unlearnt’ it. I made the choice back then to let go of this old belief system because it wasn’t supportive of my life. I ‘relearnt’ my definition of success which is to be happy and to have a greater purpose in life. I learnt that our life does not have a known expiry date like products that are sold in the market. I was determined to find out my purpose in my life that it has got to be more than working 14-16 hours a day. Ever since I left after a year in pursuit of my purpose, I had transformed more than 700 people through training and coaching. Just like what the futurist Alvin Toffler once wrote: “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.
Dare to dream
When do you last dream about who do you want to be? About what do you want to achieve near future? And when was the last time you were working towards your dreams? Dreaming is good, it often brings us closer to a purpose greater than ourselves. When we dream, we focus on the things that we truly want from the bottom of our heart. That way, it encourages us to bring out our unique self.
Start to dream, start setting up your goals NOW. If not now then when? Ask yourself: “If I would not have any limitations, what would I want to achieve?” It is okay if it is not perfect, perfection delays action. Most of the time, the only way to find out the perfect is through trial and error.
Take one small step at a time
Once you have set your dreams or goals, start thinking and taking small steps one at a time. By taking small steps, your mind will collect and build evidence that you are more than what you think. When there is no action from you, your brain will think that your dreams/goals are wrong, hence creating doubts. As Dale Carnegie once wrote: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
Question to ask yourself: “What would be the smallest or easiest first step for you?
Now you probably get things going through those small steps you have taken and you probably face a couple of challenges. Most of the time, we often have forgotten to remind ourselves how much progress and achievements we have made when we face obstacles. Hence, keep a list of moments that you would like to say thank you. Make sure you also record down the small moments such as you started a 30 minutes workout in a week, meet a new person, sold your first product, wrote your first blog content, attended your first music class. When you doubt yourself, it is important to go back to this list and review it all again to thank yourself that you have made it this far.
If you would want to discover and awaken the potential in you, you got to start believing in yourself.
I am more happy with my life. My family acknowledged me after attending my training that success is no longer money. I had let go of my unsupportive friends, the people I am attracting now are positive and supportive to my life. I have absolute clarity on my purpose and developing a career through it.