5 Ways to Quit Living Small & Find Your Potential


By, Michelle Carvalho

The majority of us will go through life without tapping into our full potential, or even a small portion of it. 

The primary reason this happens is due to the way our society is structured and the subversive messages born of that structure. The vast majority of us are presented with this tiny window of possibility and we fall for the okeydoke. Like those before us, we wait in line for our turn to crawl into it. Most of us squeeze through this limiting window and jump into any career chasing money, or some other perk that has nothing to do with our true potential. We fail to acknowledge our talents, the things we love to do, or the skills we've developed naturally; so we rarely form the visions we need to set personal goals and inspire the drive to achieve them.


 Let's talk about how we can unlock your hidden potential to accomplish the dreamy objectives buried beneath self-doubt, worry, and day-to-day obligations. It's time to quit living small and set yourself up to do big things, whatever that means for you.

1. Discover Your More Obvious Talents

The very first step is to identify your talents – it is a crucial step towards assessing your individual potential. You must be clear about your natural expertise so you can feel secure and separate from everything average. Set aside time to find out what has made you successful in the past and what your career aspirations are for the future - no matter how big or small, every detail counts toward the bigger picture. Getting together with the people who know you best is a great way to find out which of your talents are being overlooked - by you.


Taking the time to ask each person who is a part of your inner circle what they think you're good at will open you up to ideas you probably didn't have before speaking to them. ...Or, those conversation will re-ignite passions that fizzled out along the way.


I teach you how to guide this type of self-assessing conversation step-by-step in this article. Once you have read this written reflection, follow that link to do a bit more fun work and self-discovery, which guarantees to help you learn more about your hidden potential.


When you speak to others who know you, they each tend to have good ideas about the talents you have based on observations they made over time. The things you do that make you stand out from the rest can be considered assets.


Whether you work for yourself or plan to apply for a position at an outside company, knowing your unique skill sets and talents will be the springboard for your personal and career trajectory. It also lets you know the exact areas about yourself to focus on. This kind of awareness will help promote growth and advancement in whatever field you choose. 

2. Comparing yourself with others is a "Potential Killer"

The moment you start comparing yourself to a friend, colleague, or relative, it becomes more likely for you to notice the things they have achieved, and begin to mentally downplay and over-analyze all the things you haven’t done. Instead of feeling good about yourself, you'll begin to approach your contributions as not good enough. I don't believe in competing or being competitive in the traditional sense because it most certainly leads to the habit of trying to outdo others, which always ends up causing more harm than good.


So instead of making comparisons between yourself and others become an avid observer of the things you like about other people. Appreciate them but be mindful that each of us has something great and unique going on inside that is eager to get out, even when you're not so sure about yours. Those talents are in there, and with patience you will know exactly what they are.


When you notice characteristics or skills that interest you in another person, go ahead and approach them because it can be something you also want to try. Let them know they inspire you, even when you feel intimidated. Introduce yourself, allow yourself to be a part of their flow. Offer to contribute something to their movement if you feel you have something that can add value in that moment. Following self-assessment you will realize the qualities you have to move you forward. Hooking up with people who are doing incredible things that impress you is the perfect opportunity to explore and develop those parts of yourself.


Aligning your self with people you feel competitive toward will help you not only learn from them, but realize that there is always room for you to show your stuff. No one can be you, no matter how great they are at what they do. They can't be you even when you share similar skills and talents.

3. Focus on Your Strengths

No one can do everything well.


Since we know it's normal for everyone to be weak in some areas, it's crucial to direct our focus on the things we do well. You may have a green thumb but can't cut lettuce once it's been harvested. You may be a really good writer but suck at standing in front of people and speaking face to face.


Now I'm not saying if this were the case that you should give up on speaking in public. Sure, when time allows you can work weak areas you need to strengthen to advance your causes - BUT, focusing on your strengths will help you remain confident, and keep you encouraged. Without being confident in something you do well, it's difficult to believe you can do anything else. Acknowledging, and consistently mastering the skills and talents you're already good at pushes you to develop and expand into new areas.


You become a fearless creator by default.

Concentrating on your strengths prevent you from wallowing in weaknesses and psychological laziness.

The latter will only bring misery and self-doubt, while concentrating on the former gives a better sense of personal fulfillment and forward progress.


Most likely, you are great at many things, so take some time to think back into your life. Pull out the old photos and reminisce. Read the comments left behind in your high school graduation keepsakes book. Travel back through memory lane to reinforce the things they loved about you growing up. Life has a way of pushing our connection to our potential behind the recesses of a busy and stressful life. It's where obligations take precedence over getting to know how great you really are - even though it shouldn't.


There was a time when you knew what you were good at, and with a little practice you will unleash your innate and acquired skills and talents back into the world.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that's strength.”

Arnold Schwarzenneger

4. Don’t let failure bring you down

Yes, it is easier said than done because failure is a setback that causes emotional and mental turmoil no matter how good we are, which in turn can hinder progress. But it is good practice to expect and accept that things won’t always go your way. Use each failure as a “hard lesson” so you can stay in the game and keep working toward achieving your goals anyway.

Keep it 100% real with yourself.


You can do this by opening your mind and focusing on the failures of the people you know who are now successful. They also failed many times in their lives before reaching noticeable levels of accomplishment.


I read a lot, literally all throughout the day. When I am not writing - I am reading about the experiences of other people. I have learned so much about their journeys that it helps keep me humble and inspired. Choosing to and acknowledge the hard-knocks that others face before reaching the fruits of their labors is a useful mental exercise that works to remind us that it hasn't been easy for anyone.


Believe me, I've tried to disprove this fact as some kind of fluff theory. But, it is a fact that most of us go through a lot once we decide that being average won't cut it. We fail and screw up more than we can count before we reach a point of accomplishment where subsequent failures begin to matter less. There are an infinite number of mental strategies and tools that can help us stay reaching for big goals regardless of whether we're winning or not.

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    Remind yourself of the times you failed but eventually got what you were after.
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    Spend some time reading about the setbacks of successful people. 
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    Pick one who you admire; to keep in the back of your mind for inspiration when you need it.

It is also important to note; the grander the goal, especially if accomplishing it brings great rewards, the more difficult it will be to accomplish it. And there could be an overwhelming amount of obstacles and failures to overcome before you experience mastery.


Let's use my guitar as an example of one of the things I struggle with, but love dearly so I will never quit trying to play it well. It's easy to forget how normal failure is in our digital society that is obsessed with celebrity and flashy accomplishments. The camera arrives at the end of the goal and delivers the sweet spot to all who watch. However, it fails to let us in on those difficult days spent in the trenches long before the person we're praising became so great at what their doing.


Don't take your bloopers personal. Dive into the lesson and learn how to laugh at the mishaps - even when it hurts - bad! Mainly because any failure that left you alive was actually a blessing and a lesson. One day you will find out which blessing each failure was hiding, if you haven't already. I have failed in relationships, business, and family before I realized that most of my failures are simply important circumstances that help make me a master in those areas.


The best thing about the downside of a major fail is the opportunity to reset, revise, and reassess. That next shot could be your best shot, the one that makes it in the basket from across the court - and that's why you must commit to keepin' on after each mistake.


5. Challenge what you think know

Humans are creatures of habit, pattern, outside influence and personal knowledge, but it is good to challenge your beliefs often.


This practice forces your mind to leave the familiar territory of your normal thinking habits and develop newer and perhaps better ways of envisioning your self. Whether you know it or not, your image of self has been impressed onto your brain by many factors over time. The image you have of yourself influences your actions, and it can limit your potential or expand it. The way you see yourself takes a strong hold and becomes personal truth, but that vision is as real as your imagination allows it to be.


You can think yourself into a world-class contortionist with muscle flexibility good enough to join the Cirque du Soleil - or - you can hold yourself prisoner to an outdated personal image that causes you to be rigid, afraid to take chances, and too mentally stiff to take the actions you need to take to develop your potential.


The person you are trying to become is guided by your beliefs about yourself, and those beliefs have the power to help or hurt your ability to tap into your unlimited potential. When you know who you want to be and what you want to do, one of the first things you must do is believe those things are possible.


One way to do that is to interrupt your current self-image. Spend time opening your imagination to wild images of you doing things you never imagined or even think are possible. Feel the resistance if any shows up when you imagine yourself flying like a bird. As far as we know, no human can do that - but no one can stop you from imagining it.


The problem arises when we look at ourselves as the person we think we are in the moment. This causes us to feel resistance against our efforts to believe we can do and be better than we are right now, then give up on our new ideas and desires. Relax. If you practice enough, it will become fun and easier to envision yourself doing the things you want to do and much more.


Mentally rehearse each skill and talent you want to see manifest into your life. There is now hard core scientific proof that this works, so no worries. I plan to go over a lot of these scientific facts and studies in my blog posts. I want to see you reach potentials you didn't think were even possible.


See yourself with your soul mate, or holding the book you published and sold to your fans.

Whatever you want to do or whatever skill you want to master, begin the process by imagining yourself already doing it. Once you believe it, you will continue to work toward it because in your heart you are already certain you will get there eventually.


This kind of thinking guides the body to do incredible things. Remember, the universe forges connections between your thought process and beliefs to your real life experiences, like a magnet to iron. 


Teaching yourself how to view things from a different and entirely new perspective opens you up to a new world of possibilities. These are the habits that can change your life, improve your circumstances, unleash your potential, and empower you to become the best version of yourself - which is surely above average.


Nothing is impossible when you put your mind, heart, and actions into it! And there is nothing small coming out of the life of a person who knows how to think big, believe in those thoughts, cultivate those desires into circumstances they can really experience. 

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