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OR … Why You Bought $14 B in Self-Help Books Last Year (and, for the most part, it was a waste)

‘Potential’ is a spring-loaded word: It either triggers fear or inspires action. Potent, sitting smack at the beginning of the word potential, means that something or someone has great power, influence or effect. Add three little letters (ial) and, curiously, potential becomes a diluted version of its root: It means possibility, capability, latent ability or capacity. Potent is definitive, potential is passive.

Potential, in and of itself, is exactly nothing. Like a car without an engine, it sits there looking pretty, teasing us with our fantasy of where we could go. The glitch? Without fuel, it can’t take you anywhere.

While most people have the potential for doing something personally meaningful, there are those who continue to talk about doing ‘it’ and these who are actually doing ‘it’? What’s the difference between the two? The latter made the decision to set aside their fears (of not being enough, of being alone, of not having the resources, etc.), minimize their limitations, and maximize what they’re made of. It’s not that they didn’t have fear, it’s just that they realized that success begins with the decision to be, well, successful.

What happens to the people who don’t use their potential? Again, there are two distinct groups: Those who recognize that they have potential and choose not to exercise it, and those who don’t even bother asking the question. The latter don’t subscribe to this newsletter, so it’s irrelevant. The former, on the other hand, may languish in mediocrity, blame others for their failure to succeed, become depressed, read tons of self-help books, straighten their desks a lot and, pretty much, beat themselves up for not having the courage to show up in their own lives.*

How do you transform potential into performance? Make the decision to do so. This sounds simple but may not at all be easy. Let’s face it, while it’s great that you’ve got the goods, it would be better if you used them. Potential remains a word unless it’s activated. It’s not results. It’s not success. It’s not personal power. It’s not getting what you want. Is it?

Someday Someone is Going to Do Something

Want to “turn your potential into performance”? Here are ten questions guaranteed to spur movement. The order of importance and the level of emphasis is unique to you: It’s what makes you potent.

  1. Where am I now?

  2. Where do I want to go?

  3. Why am I going there?

  4. Where am I now in relation to that goal?

  5. What steps do I need to take to get there?

  6. Is anything standing in the way of my getting there?

  7. How will I feel when I get there?

  8. Am I trusting myself?

  9. What are my gifts and talents that can help me get there?

  10. What is the one question I’m most afraid to ask?

Have fun with these questions. Take the time you need. Respect yourself. Value your gifts. Honor your journey. Live your gratitude. And remember.. Some do. Some don’t. Which one are you?

What compels YOU to move forward in your life? What keeps YOU stuck? I want to hear it all! Want a hand? A mentor? A guide with 30 years of experience helping thousands of people, just like you, to create your ideal job or business, and earn what you deserve, while making a difference in the world? I’d love to be that person for you.. please visit me here for more information

PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS in the comments below.

Remember to like this article and follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and all your other favorite sites.

* Taken from Nancy’s book, Impact! What Every Woman Need to Know to Go From Invisible to Invincible (Wiley, 2010)

Are you ready to make a change? Are you willing to put aside and work through your obstacles to realize your potential? Then schedule a 15-minute complimentary call with Nancy on our calendar .


Nancy D. Solomon, MA Psych is the CEO and Founder of The Leadership Incubator where she helps leaders identify, address and resolve people problems before they become profit problems so everyone can focus on what they were hired to do-- INNOVATE AND DRIVE GROWTH.

Known as The Impact Expert, she is a main stage speaker, expert trainer and veteran coach who helps leaders solve key issues related to leadership development, employee engagement, and advancing women.

Nancy has made a difference for such companies as Microsoft, Target, Acura, Westin, Nordstrom & ADP as well as with many passionate individuals.


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