Realize Your Potential
“…emerging from the subway station at the foot of the World Trade Center… The volume of the towers, their size, screams one word at me, etches it into my skin as I pause atop the stairs, holding on to the railing: Impossible!“Philippe Petit, Man on Wire
As it turned out, walking on a highwire between the Twin Towers was not impossible: “I am at the top of the world, with all of New York City at my feet!… I laugh with joy — and conclude the crossing with ecstasy instead of oxygen in my lungs.”1
Ironically Petit did not consider himself a risk-taker, as he was known for his intense preparation and rehearsal. Still, his most famous walk proves that “you can go to incredible places as long as it is your passion — not fame or fortune — that’s guiding you.”2
1 P. Petit, Man on Wire, 2008, p203
2 T. Lammers, DirectConversations.com, reviewing The Walk, 10/2015
With passion, preparation, and hard work, there is no impossible.
The feeling of satisfaction from achieving your potential can be amplified when your goals are connected to a higher level purpose.
Around the world, leaders have identified 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) aimed at improving the welfare of people and planet. There are now formalized, agreed-upon metrics that organizations can use to measure progress toward sustainable value creation. In relation to the welfare of people, the Human Capital Index consists of several metrics in the areas of health and education.
Sea Change Upon Us
By now most people are aware of the extent to which technology is impacting our lives and livelihoods. It helps to understand where and what skills are in demand, and then seek training to improve your position. The WEF report “Towards a Reskilling Revolution” charts paths industry by industry for displaced workers to find new opportunities through reskilling / upskilling efforts.
Another change impacting society is that more and more product offerings are being sold in the form of services. In a similar vein, corporate cultures are starting to shift from finite to infinite thinking, one which takes on a more service-oriented point of view.
While reskilling relates to “what” you do, the infinite mindset speaks more to the “how” and “why” of it. Being aware of these sea changes will be helpful as you make progress toward your career aspirations.
A Fulfilling Career
Where the finite mindset may view career progression through a series of annual increments, the infinite mindset considers instead the overall body of work. This may span positions and even employers over time; it can also include contributions made through volunteering, professional societies, college alumni groups, publications and more. To fully realize your career potential, expand the scope to include your entire body of work.
A Balanced Life
Making time for the arts, music, creative writing, and community volunteering are all ways to affect balance and greater overall fulfillment in your life. Achieving one’s potential can be in any of these areas as well, beyond the workplace.
Seek out resources that will keep you growing, expanding, dreaming. In Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , he offers a well thought-through system for doing just that.
Philippe Petit had another approach: from his boyhood, he kept a red box labeled “PROJECTS” and filled it with newspaper clippings, drawings and notes. “These files are not business ventures, but projects that ripen in the clouds. The secret desires of children who spend afternoons in treetops. Dreams.”