So what are the practicals for fulfilling your potential in life?

I have talked in previous blogs about how to fulfil your potential in life, but now I want to talk about the practical aspects. How to actually do it.

You will remember the four principles of fulfilling your potential in life are:

  1. Make the most of what is special about you.
  2. Overcome your inner obstacles to fulfilling your potential.
  3. Learn to feel the support of Life itself.
  4. Take action to improve your life.

Now, let us look at the way you can go about this. For each of the above topics, there are two components: training and living. Training is how you improve your self-awareness and skill level. Living is what you do with your new level of resourcefulness day-to-day; it is how you treat yourself, how you are in your personal life, and how you are giving your gift to the world.

Over the next 4 weeks we will talk about each of these 4 topics, both in terms of training and living.

Today, I’d like to discuss the first topic, Make the most of what is special about you. 

Make the most of what is special about you

There are 5 sub-components:

  1. Your Life-Calling: your purpose in life. Having a Life-Calling helps you to be more successful, happier, healthier, more fulfilled and to live longer! If you put your Life-Calling into your work you will enjoy it more and find it more meaningful1,2,3.

You can ask yourself, “What is most important in my life? What do I love the most? What makes my heart sing? There are also more sophisticated Life-Calling exercises we do on various workshops such as The Personal Transformation Intensive and The Life Talent Programme.

Read more about Life-Calling here.

  1. Your Life Vision: how will you know you have had a great life? Spend some time making a beautiful movie in your mind of how you would like to be and feel at the end of your life. See yourself and hear the sound-track too. Make the vision so juicy it is worth committing your life to it. This exercise can be done as a guided meditation or a self-led meditation.
  2. Your strengths: what are you great at? What are your talents and skills? A simple method is to interview your friends on the topic of “what am I really good at? What are my skills?”. Interview 7 people, each for 10 minutes. There are also helpful strengths psychometric tests such as Gallup Clifton Strengths which I use on courses. Your Life-Calling + your strengths + your personal history is what gives you your unique gift to the world.
  3. Your resourceful memories: memories of times when you were at your best and in the flow. Remembering, exploring and bringing these memories to the forefront of your mind will increase your self-confidence, and the well-being from these memories will bring out the best in you.
  4. Your circle of supporters: memories of people who believed in your potential and, perhaps, even loved you. Remember what they said, see their face and how it felt. This is a powerful tool for increasing your self belief.

There are several methods we use to accentuate the best in ourselves during the 4 day The Personal Transformation Intensive: Life Talent Level 1, Friday 17 – Monday 20 January 2020 and the 15 day (over 4 modules) Life Talent Programme: Level 2 starting on 6th March 2020.

The general pattern of the training is that I make a presentation on a topic and then demonstrate an exercise or methodology in front of the group with a group member. The participants then divide into groups of three and replicate the exercise, with each person getting a turn to be the explorer, the coach and the observer. Being a coach and an observer really helps you understand the material more deeply so you can apply it to yourself more fully. This is usually followed by a group discussion and Q&A on the topic. Quite often we use guided meditations, which I lead. This has a number of beneficial effects. These meditations engage the body and our emotional feelings. If you want to change your mind, you can just use your head. But if you want to change your heart you need to engage the body.

Why is this good to do in a group rather than through 1:1 coaching?

There is something very powerful that happens when a group of people work together to help each other fulfil their potential.  We are all affected by the culture we were brought up in and the culture we now live in. In a workshop or ongoing programme we create a “green-house” culture. We believe in each other, we say “yes” to each other’s vision, we see the humanity in each other, both the great and our individual difficulty, and we start to believe how the members of the group can transform lives. And if we believe they can transform their lives… maybe we start to believe that we can transform ours. Self confidence has two components: your own view of yourself and what you can achieve, and other peoples’ view of you. The view that other people have of you changes your own view of yourself.

Positive regard, compassion for your difficulty and belief that you can express your true potential, has a self-fulfilling prophecy effect. Our belief helps make it come true. Aspiring Olympic champions need to have the goal of winning a gold medal, they need to take action and train, and they need to develop the belief that they can get gold. We grow through being seen by others for who we truly are.

Next week I will write about how to work with the second principle “Overcome your inner obstacles to fulfilling your potential”.

Working with our psychological obstacles is more difficult than working with the good stuff. That is because, in order to change disempowering emotions and beliefs about ourselves we need to be vulnerable – both with ourselves, but also with other people.

But it has a magical effect: it is very tiring pretending to be more than you believe you are. Once we start to reveal who we authentically are, we discover a) it isn’t as bad as we thought b) other people also have negative beliefs or narratives about themselves… and these disempowering beliefs and narratives can be healed and transformed through self-compassion and the positive regard of others. When you believe this is possible for others, it is not long before you believe it is possible for yourself.

Once we realise that we all have the human condition of greatness and vulnerability; that everyone is the same, we can relax a little. And that relaxation and self-love is, in itself, a healing force.

Self-love and the compassion of others (I use the word compassion instead of “love” as the latter is tooo much of an intimate word for British people to use ). Forget all the fancy psychotherapy methods you have heard about. Love is the healing force for your personal psychology.

I will write more about this next week.

If you want to read more about the four principles of Life Talent you can read previous posts.

  1. Make the most of what is special about you.
  2. Overcome your inner obstacles to fulfilling your potential.
  3. Learn to feel the support of Life itself.
  4. Take action to improve your life.

Notes

  1. Amy Wrzesniewski, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Yale University’s School of Management. Wrzesniewski, A., McCauley, C. R., Rozin, P., & Schwartz, B. (1997). Jobs, careers, and callings: People’s relations to their work. Journal of Research in Personality, 31, 21-33.
  2. Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work. New York: Broadway Books.
  3. L. Hill, N. A. Turiano. Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood. Psychological Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0956797614531799 Psychological Science July 2014 vol. 25 no. 7 1482-1486