1 : existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality<potential benefits>
2: expressing possibility; specifically: of, relating to, or constituting a verb phrase expressing possibility, liberty, or power by the use of an auxiliary with the infinitive of the verb (as in “it may rain”)
Potential is probably one of my most favorite words on the planet… it tells me about possibility… it assures me that dreams are real.
The question I ask myself is why … if we are all built for potential and come
equip with the mechanism for dreaming, then why aren’t more people happily living out the life of their dreams and reaching their full potential. Thinking about this question I realized that there are several enemies to our potential and then when I really really thought about it… I realized they all boil down to one single stumbling block.
Number One: Fear.
Fear is an insidious foe. Fear of being laughed at… Fear of failing… Fear of losing friends… Fear of having someone not like you… Fear of getting physically or emotionally hurt… FEAR. Don’t get me wrong, fear has it’s place… Like, when you are in Africa being chased by a lion… fear will help you run faster and longer! 🙂 OR… Fear will help you automatically slow down when driving around a sharp turn… or Fear will help you make better choices when deciding whether to eat that expired yogurt, but seriously… when it comes to reaching for your dreams… Fear has little or no place. Fear is what stops you from taking even the smallest step towards your goal.
Honestly, fear is the number one stumbling block… because everything else that you will list as reasons for NOT following your dreams will ultimately boil down to FEAR. Think about it. You don’t want to change jobs, because you “are afraid” you won’t be able to make ends meet. You don’t want to enter the contest because you “are afraid” you won’t win.
This fear, eats at us and tells us that we aren’t good enough, or strong enough, or brave enough… and yet… our potential is there. It sits and waits for us to step into it and make our dreams our reality.
Let’s say, hypothetically, you were starting a new network marketing business (I can see some of my readers smiling) and you have this great product… and not only do you have a great product, but there is an even better compensation plan for really building your business and getting other people involved. You feel like, WOW everyone wins!
Statistically did you know that only a small fraction of the people who get involved in legitimate Network Marketing companies ever make the big bucks… and do you know why? FEAR. Most people would lay blame on the product, the compensation, but if they were really honest with themselves, they would understand that they failed to follow the plan.
They failed to follow the instructions, follow the footsteps and the advice of the people who ARE making the big bucks… why? FEAR. They were scared to make the phone calls, they were scared to walk into a business and speak to the owner, they were scared to bring it up to their friends.
What about losing weight? (ha ha ha don’t laugh) You would think that there is no fear involved in weight loss, because you would think that its as easy as joining a program. Then why do people wait? Why do people not make the choices that they know are right; that they say are right… because sometimes those choices are hard… and they are afraid. Maybe, deep down, it’s fear of failure… or fear of “what if I try and it doesn’t fix the problem” or fear of what someone else will say?
FEAR. Is a great motivator to push us forward (fear of living on the streets may prompt you to take a second job) but that same fear is what will keep you from working out a plan to leave your dreams.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say, your dream is to compose music and play music professionally. Well… I can tell you have no experience here, but I know that most people, have to have a plan, have to stick with the plan, have to find a mentor, have to follow in someone’s footsteps, have to OVERCOME THEIR FEAR… and move forward. The overnight sensation that you and I hear on the radio and see featured on TV has probably been in the business for years working their way up the ladder.
Brian Tracy said it best in his book, “No Excuses!: The Power of Self Discipline for Success in Your Life, “The fact is that everyone is afraid, and usually of many things. This is normal and natural. Often fear is necessary to preserve life, prevent injury and guard against financial mistakes. So, if everyone is afraid, what’s the difference between the brave person and the coward? The only difference is that the brave person disciplines himself to confront, deal with and act in spite of the fear”
Yeah, I said all that… and I’m telling you the hard truth and it’s a hard truth to wrap your brain around because it comes with responsibility… and think about it… with responsibility comes POWER. Then… with that power you can reach your potential.
I’m writing this today because I recently recognized that I was afraid. You know, I consider myself a pretty brave and outgoing person. I have no problem standing up in front of 100 people and talk about things, teach them things, have a conversation… but the other day I realized I was scared.
I was on my way to work and I was listening to the Brian Tracy book that I referenced before… I listen to it on audible in my car.. I ADORE that, it’s like learning something new every morning on my way to work.. it’s awesome. Anyway, I was driving to work and he described something that blew me away…. let me quote it to you first.
“I can’t, this is the fear of failure and loss and stops us from taking action. It is experienced physically starting in the solar-plexus. When a person is really afraid their mouth and throat goes dry, their heart starts pounding. Sometimes they breathe shallowly and their stomach churns, often they feel like getting up and running to the bathroom. These are all the physical manifestations of the inhibited negative habit pattern, which we all experience from time to time. …. this fear paralysis action it often shuts down the brain causes the individual to revert to the fight or flight reaction”
So, I was totally blown away when he read this to me because I had just had this reaction when speaking to my ex-husband about an upcoming court date wherein he decided that he didn’t like my nonplussed attitude and started pushing my buttons. I knew he was pushing buttons, and I knew that he was being a bully but I couldn’t stop my heart from racing and my stomach from flipping.
When I heard Brian Tracy read that description from his book…. it was like a
First — I now knew what had happened, I had experienced real fear…
Second — I also knew I wasn’t alone… I mean, if a guy I never even met, could describe how I felt that last time my ex-husband threatened to do something … then there must be others like me
Third — if it was fear, then I can do something about that. I can work on not being afraid.
Finally — if other people have pushed through to achieve their dreams, then I can too!
Finally… I could BREATH and understand my potential, it was like admitting that fear to myself was completely liberating. Honestly… having that unnamed unrecognized reaction was absolutely debilitating. It stopped me from doing things that I knew I should do to create a better situation… a better circumstance.
KNOWING that I was afraid, that was what stopping me was just simply FEAR, allows me to be brave. To have the courage to plow through and get to the other side and experience the benefits of my potential.
Let me be clear. I was blaming someone else for my situation. I was blaming someone else for how I felt, how they made me feel… how it made me react and act and move forward or stay put. That pivotal moment when I could put my finger on it… actually say out loud, without shame, embarrassment or reluctance that “I was scared” was the same moment that I realized… I was in control of that fear. There wasn’t anyone else or anything else that could MAKE me feel a certain way. I, was the one giving someone elses words and behavior power. I, was the one that was reacting to someone elses words or behavior… and guess what… I am the only one that has control over myself… unless I GIVE SOMEONE ELSE THAT POWER.
So, I have released myself from that fear by recognizing it… what does that do? It allows me to move forward, I can anticipate how I will feel, I can steal myself, coach myself and ultimately, practice the courage to keep moving forward to reach my potential!
You. You are also pure potential. Take a deep breath…. concentrate on what you want. Think about what you really want, then tell me yourself why you don’t have it. I know, it will start like a story… but remove every character besides yourself. Tell yourself with only yourself in it…
NOW, look at your answer.
If your answer seems start with “I can’t” or “I don’t” (like: I can’t afford it, or I don’t have the time) PLEASE realize that is an excuse. Dig a little deeper to find the action stopping fear… and then you will be able to work towards overcoming it!
Courage is not the absence of fear… courage is being afraid and doing it anyway! You can do it.
So, let me ask you. What is your dream? and What are you afraid of?