Written by Kim Cordell | Product Development Administrator, European Medical Journal | @EMJ_Kim
Way back at the beginning of the year, when I was asked to create content and a schedule for the Future Leaders blog posts, I decided that I would write a post based on course progression. Yet, having sat down to write this, I didn’t want it to be merely a list of what we have covered over the past 5 months, especially when we have danced through numerous topics in the sessions and there is so much to mention it wouldn’t fit into one blog. I began sifting through my designated Future Leaders notebook, sat surrounded by some of the required course literature, and scrutinised take-home notes that I had made at the end of each session with Fluid Business Coaching, and that’s when it jumped out at me.
Potential. If you look it up in a dictionary, it can be defined as: “Having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.”1 This is largely the theme my take-home messages from each session fell into. If the definition of ‘potential’ sets the bar, referring to the abilities demonstrated by an individual to perform at a certain desirable level, then we all have a role to play in reaching not only our personal potential but that of our workplace too.
But, and this is a big but, how does one go about reaching their potential and why do we so often fall short of reaching our goals?
There are a million reasons why individuals don’t reach their potential, and the excuses given are heard billions of times around the planet each and every day. If we take New Year’s resolutions as an example, where an individual resolves to be a better person on January 1st, by losing weight, quitting smoking, eating more healthily, and the rest, it is almost guaranteed that if you ask them again on March 1st how their goal is going, it has become a fleeting memory in the distance. Why’s that, you ask?
Well, if you ask me, it all boils down to taking accountability for one’s actions, and being ready to make that change. You may find yourself vowing to make this the time that you’re going to change something about yourself or your lifestyle, but nothing will change unless you do. As Ray Moore writes: “The truth is that, although everything changes and we all have the potential to adapt and work successfully with the change, sometimes it takes a little time before that change is accepted.”2 The comfort zone is a place we have all found ourselves at one point or another, falsely led to believe that this layer of security will keep us cosy and protected from the outside world. However, if you are continually living the same routine week in and week out, you’ll never break through that barrier and become closer to reaching your potential.
But I’ve got news for you. You can break through your comfort zone, and seek that change you have been dreaming of. No one else is going to be accountable for your lifestyle, no one else is going to be disappointed when you don’t reach your goal, and no one else will understand your mentality of wanting to reach that target, which is why you need to be the one who takes ownership of your goals. Mack Story states: “In life, one of two things are going to happen. You will either move forward and pass others on your way to success, or you will be passed by others on their way to success. We must become responsible, take action, and begin making effective choices. We must act, or we will be acted upon.”3 And he’s right. If you want to reach your goal, you need to take a step back and question what it is you are willing to do to reach that milestone and how you plan on making it achievable.
Every business has their objectives, and to ensure these targets are met, your taskforce needs to be aligned with your mindset, and comprised of gold-medal winners, something which we here at EMJ are very familiar with. As Ray Moore notes: “Professionals surround themselves with the best internal and external professional team possible, so they can be stretched. They do not fear others expertise but welcome the chance to learn from them – to grow themselves and their enterprise.”4 Whether you take this into consideration for your personal or work environment, to grow towards reaching your potential, you must surround yourself with the best. These talented individuals you find yourself with, will not only raise the performance level of colleagues and companions, but will teach their model behaviour that shapes high-performing culture.
Through working at EMJ, I have been given this incredible opportunity to work towards reaching my potential by embarking on the first Future Leaders course. Finding myself almost at the end of the course, I can already see, in just a few short months, a change not only in my mindset, but in how I approach tasks and work towards goals. As an individual who enjoys stepping out of my comfort zone and into the unknown, it is a path I am glad I am taking. As Benedict Cumberbatch once said: “The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun.”4
- Oxford Dictionaries. Potential. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/potential. Last accessed: 15th November 2017.
- Ray Moore. Change, the levels: Can you step up to the growth challenge? (2015) UK. North Charleston: CreateSpace, pp.35-53.
- Mack Story. The #1 reason people don’t reach their true potential. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/1-reason-people-dont-reach-true-potential-mack-story/. Last accessed: 15th November 2017.
- Ray Moore. Comfort zone, the Levels: Can you step up to the growth challenge? 2015, UK. 55-80.