In this New Year – Will You FULFILL your potential? Read this to see if this is one reason you aren’t…

(Part I of multi-part series of 3 parts of Success: Aptitude, Attitude & Action)

Whether we are selling a product or service, hitting a golf ball, or leading others toward a common goal, success in reaching our goals is tremendously dependent upon the level of confidence and belief in ourselves…

This is likely no shock to those of you reading.  However, the amazing part is that most of us don’t realize how we dramatically impact our own levels of the belief.

“Faith is not believing He can, it is knowing He will.”

Therefore, faith in ourselves is not believing WE can, it is KNOWING we WILL.

As a spiritual person, I’ve always loved this concept – it’s a very big mind-shift from what most people have within themselves.  But whether we are spiritual or not, it’s also a concept that we all need to apply to our lives.  You see, many of us say we believe in ourselves and usually we feel we are sincere but how many times do we realize that we really don’t believe it or have faith in US?  We normally confront these internal belief systems in critical times and then things don’t result as desired and we have this sense of failure.

“Positive attitude has little to do with being able to accomplish, you still need aptitude; but it has everything to do with the likelihood.


We hear plenty about attitude, positive mental attitude (PMA) has been all the rage for years.  Sometimes programs on PMA costs thousands of dollars – and almost make it seem as that ‘having good and positive thoughts’ is all that’s needed.  Well, that’s just hogwash.  Sure positive mental attitude is important but…

The success of Positive Mental Attitude has more to do with our perspective toward ourselves, it prevents our minds from unconsciously throwing hurdles in our own way and allows our emotional minds to freely interpret occurrences as opportunities rather than judging the world from a perspective of fear.  It IS extremely important – it’s just not all that is important.

When speaking about aptitude, we’re talking about capability, skill, knowledge and even prowess.  BUT aptitude NEEDS attitude.  Why you ask?  Because with just aptitude you get thoughts – intellectual thought and planning of what can be accomplished WITH those abilities.  Capabilities beget possibility – essentially, aptitude determines potential.

As we all know we often hear about kids or athletes or even business people that don’t reach their potential.  What is this all about – really?  If everyone in the world can see the potential within them, why don’t they excel?  Can everyone be wrong in the assessment?  Is the prowess that we all see just a mirage?  Likely, no.  So what happens to all of the aptitude; to all of the capability; to the potential within this individual?

You all know this person, we’ve all likely met many of them.  They are the person with skills that everyone else admires.  If you don’t know to whom I am referring, they are the person about which people often say something like, “I wish I had half that guy’s talent”; or “she doesn’t have a clue about how good she is.”  – Now you know the person I’m describing, right?  This can be a young athlete or a middle-aged businessperson; an authentic salesperson or professional athlete.  The roles in which we see them are innumerable.  So what happens to their potential?

The simple answer is this:  It remains stagnant or it withers.  I’m a big football fan and enjoy the sport but having had a professional NFL player as a client makes me look deeper.  The NFL is filled with a wealth of individuals who have potential and yet we witness so many of them fail to reach their potential.  Jerry Rice is in my opinion, the greatest receiver to ever play the game, in fact most people would have to include him in their top three, at least.  He set every significant record for receivers, most of which are still in the record books.

But the interesting thing about Jerry?  He was NOT the fastest; he was NOT the tallest; he didn’t feel he had the best hands – no, he just worked the hardest and wanted it the most.  Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t slow or short – just not the quintessential receiver that the NFL would describe as the one with the greatest physical attributes.

Another great receiver, Michael Irvin.  When asked why, as a star of his team, he was able to run across the middle to catch a ball with no fear, while knowing he was going to be hit and hit hard, his response?  He said he was always afraid, he said he was always terrified.  BUT he said that the fear of getting hit was far less than the fear of failing in the NFL and having to go back to the ‘hood’ from where he came.  That fear was so great in him that it motivated him to accomplish so much of what he did.

On the other side of the coin, there are many who ‘believed the hype’ out of college and just didn’t want or think they needed to work at it and to continue to grow and develop.

One of the reasons that I use sports to describe the concept of ‘potential’ within us is because it is never clouded by ‘who you know’ as we see in business so often; it is simply based on capability and success.  But what we can bring from these scenarios into our lives is the awareness that they all have something in common… Belief.

“Vision is much more than ‘seeing’ your goal; it is, with every action you take, the result your mind sees as the foregone conclusion and consequence of those actions.”

Vision is a term that has been all the rage for almost 20 years now.  It is used so much, like many other terms, that the essence and true meaning almost is lost because the terminology connotes a big picture concept.  However, in it’s root Vision is ESSENTIAL.  My quote above communicates this.  Having a Vision is not planning; it is not a goal sought to be reached; and it is not a concept.  It IS the foregone conclusion of consequence of the steps we are driven to take – on the way to fulfillment of the Vision.  It is almost a state of awareness that success is INEVITABLE.

So okay, now we have potential from our aptitude.  This means we have of the tools within ourselves to ‘make it happen’ if we have the aptitude, we have the expertise or the knowledge, we have a plan to follow and we have the skills to succeed.  The question is – Is That Enough?

The answer is a resounding – no.

NOW, we also need the attitude, the internal belief that we CAN do it.  The sense within us that we WILL do it.  BUT, here’s the problem – this is where tremendous numbers of people fall short. Why?  Because it comes down to FAITH and BELIEF in ourselves; not in our potential but in our likelihood of success.  AND that likelihood of having positive mental attitude has everything to do with our internal barometer of success.  Are we that good, can we do it or do we deserve it?

Believing that we can is able to be derived from a few different arenas; one can be upbringing or training as we’re young and there are others we’ll discuss in future articles.  But the aspect we discuss today is this; regardless of how we obtained our belief, it is usually  based on whether we unconsciously and internally feel that we deserve the consciously desired outcome – when there is the commonly held internal belief system based on ‘reward’ and ‘punishment’.

A person may have the skills to be the most monetarily successful salesperson and make a few millions dollars – BUT unless they internally believe they deserve those rewards – regardless of how badly they desire it, they will absolutely, without fail, unconsciously sabotage their success to those desired levels.  In sales production-oriented companies, I refer to this phenomenon as the levels of assimilation of success.

Three common causes for the un-fulfilled potential:

1)  Internal and UN-realized belief system that success conflicts with our values; a kind of sense that humility and suffering is what ‘good people’ do and that pride and major success breed arrogance and selfishness.

2)  Trained view of self; this arises from the unconscious lessons we’ve learned from others – usually during childhood and adolescence.  Often arising from the jealousy, envy or negativity from past losses or failures of others (sometimes caretakers) that unintentionally erodes our internal belief system and creates an unconscious ‘less than’ perspective and the “I don’t deserve it” perspective.

3)  Guilt, shame or sorrow over our past deeds and behavior; many of us have the unconscious belief that we should be punished and deserve to suffer.  Surprisingly, this unconscious belief does NOT have to be solely from past mistakes or regrets.  Survivor’s guilt can have similar results.  People who have escaped unhealthy and traumatic relationships can have the same unconscious effects as well.  Many people suffer from the effects of this cause from numerous circumstances within their life.

Internal belief systems can tremendously impact our success and is common when a person was raised within a belief system of right and wrong that begets punishment or reward.  It’s common within families of any of the traditional religions.  Even within families that are Atheist in belief, they generally will have the same underlying concepts of reward and punishment or fair and unfair.

Raised a Catholic, I was taught that God is omnipotent and all-knowing and that Heaven was the reward for doing great here and the other place was for those who hadn’t. I once had a philosophical conversation with a priest and I was confused on the part we’re discussing here.  I said, “If God knows we are going to sin before we sin and has forgiven us, why do we have to confess our sins by going to confession?”  His answer was short and direct, “So that we can forgive ourselves and get direction as to how to atone for them.”

Whether you’re religious or not doesn’t matter for the point – his answer hits the point we confront within our conscience.  Are we punishing ourselves – unconsciouslyMany of you reading will say that’s ridiculous… and then tomorrow on the way to work, you’ll start thinking and remembering and then think some more and then say hmmmm…

Most Americans have some religious background or at least have the belief that the Ten Commandments make sense and therefore doing ill to others has consequences. Many of us interpreted this to mean we must pay for it – here.

“If you are unsure or doubt whether life here is the end, why not live like you’ll be graded on your performance – ALL of the rest of us will be glad you did.”

Most of us have done things or said things we regret or that had bad outcomes to others, I know I have.  They were at the time for seemingly the right reasons and believing I was helping others or eliminating their pain but like most of us, they were merely a result of not confronting who we are or out of fear.   The answer is not to live in the past and regret but to understand our reasons, as misguided as they may have been.  With this awareness, acceptance can occur; we then can adopt how we will live and impact others in the future.

“Shame and guilt cannot exist in those who’ve achieved self-acceptance, self-awareness and have developed and follow their core values.”

One of the other causes of lost potential is the assimilation of a ‘norm’ within us.  Studies have shown that people throughout their life, seek similar levels of which they are accustomed.  This occurs in several levels, personalities, finances and levels of success.  A person who grows up within a certain framework of finances tends to strongly assimilate to that same level throughout their lives.  Please note – this isn’t because they consciously seek this level, it is merely the result of their unconscious internal barometer of measurement.

On the face of the concept, many people reject this concept as hogwash as well; but it isn’t.  How many times have we heard of a boxer who strikes it rich only to lose all of their money and return to nearly their financial status prior to making it big?  Or the NFL player who goes broke after having made millions.  The statistics of the percentages of lottery winners who’ve lost all of their money in few years is in alignment with this concept.  The rest of the world states, “how could they have lost all of that money?” – The re-acclimation to their prior state is exactly the explanation.

Well, we do this with our finances, levels of success and in relationships.  Why?  Because our emotional mind, which is in control of controlling our emotional survival – considers anything that it doesn’t know or hasn’t experienced before as a threat and therefore, is unsafe.  How is this possible?  Because to the Emotional Mind anything unknown is a threat, since it can’t calculate or determine the consequences of events, having not experienced it before.

In workshops or conversations I am sometimes challenged by a participant to this concept until we delve into the basis of how men and women can leave an abusive relationship and then end up in another.  It’s not done consciously – it’s what the person ‘knows’; to the emotional mind, ‘normal’ merely means what it has experienced and survived.  The term does not reference better or worse – just ‘normal’ for our emotional mind, and therefore survivable.

Once we break that ‘link’ of norm we can escape that pattern in relationships, finances and business.

Once realizing this, it becomes entirely clear how others can become so materially successful without seemingly caring about others (here you can insert criminals, some of the Wall Street tycoons and other people who care only about their material gain).  If they have no internal barometer of right and wrong in the reflection of their worth, any mis-deed against Man is allowable.  Make sense?

So getting back to the ‘potential’ within us, there really is no element of deserve –  .

So evaluate whether you or loved ones internally have the belief of ‘deserve’ – and consider how to deal with it.  Consider Discovery Coaching to eliminate it and to reach your potential – but no matter what, just realize that you might be putting those hurdles in your own way.

And if you feel like me; I personally believe that He will judge me – there; think about it, if you believe in Him and the hereafter, He’ll let you know how you did here and possibly grade you accordingly – but where do you get off having the audacity to determine what punishment you deserve, if He is responsible for your punishment?  BE the best you can be – understand you are NOT perfect nor are you supposed to be; so don’t punish YOU if you have done your best.  And if you haven’t?  Then atone for those deeds but punishment isn’t the answer – in any fashion.

And, if you don’t believe in Him or a Supreme Being, then why punish yourself now, why NOT succeed and make amends of your past deeds by making your mark on the world in a positive manner with the successes you can achieve?

Either way, never allow the gifts and skills that you have, to go unfulfilled or your ‘potential’ to wither.  We can always live in the past and unconsciously dictate our future based on our perceived self-value and worth, resulting from our experienced dramas – but why would we want to?

Nearly every single Discovery Coaching client of mine ends up realizing that their past events AND the resulting unconscious internalization of value and worth is the driving force behind their lack of fulfillment and lack of success in their personal lives or their business lives.  People talk about self-worth and inferiority complexes but this is where it comes from and it is what determines our success and the true willingness to achieve it.

“Inspiration just might be the greatest gift a person can receive and motivation is likely the second.”

Your gifts are special and unique – they just are, you can’t debate or deny it.  You can however prevent the world from experiencing them – but again, why would you?  We NEVER know when our actions or our gifts will inspire others or motivate others.  I am not stating this is easy, in fact it’s often easy to be ignore the gifts – but this will always result in lack of fulfillment and wondering, ‘what’s it all about’.  Our world is in turmoil and needs as much inspiration as possible.  YOU never know when the child who will discover the cure of cancer will be inspired by you.

I’ve had the absolutely humbling experience of having people claim that I changed their life.  With two of these individuals, there was only a 45 minute conversation with them, which they say altered their perspective on life and who they were.  I take absolutely zero credit for this, merely providing them insight – which is part of my gifts.  We just never know when and how we can improve our little corner of the world.

Think about it, your past deeds or the ones you should have taken, for which you now regret internally should not deprive the rest of us in the world of seeing your talent or living in the world which you could improve… even if your just catching a football.

“Fact:  When lost in woods without direction, people walk in circles in an effort to escape. It’s no different when lost in life. Find your path”

Please share this with those that might just need help fulfilling their potential.

David A. Jones, President of Captive Coaching and Consulting, llc

– Discovery Coaching improves people’s lives by finding and eliminating the emotional hurdles placed in their path by self or others that negatively impact their personal or professional lives.

About captivecoaching

David Jones is the founder of Captive Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Captive was founded to serve two aspects: 1) To assist with the growth of individuals in their personal and business lives as well as their relationships 2) To improve the employee production, employee retention and profitability of businesses by applying the principles of APACHE theory.
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