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How to reach your highest potential

Reach your highest potential! Your altitude is the highest potential that you want to reach although is easier said than done it can be done. It can be a daunting task and these tips will help you.

It is assumed (with caution) that you know some of the basics for reaching your altitude and being successful – proper nutrition, have breakfast, get a good night’s sleep, remove distractions, have a plan and exercise regularly. These are all important but it takes more than these common tips to truly reach your potential.

Envision Your Future Self

Picturing yourself in the future can be challenging – look in the mirror and really ask yourself what is my altitude, what is my highest potential and do I want to achieve that? Some people are able to do this quite comfortably and others find asking trusted friend or engaging a coach to be helpful.

If your altitude or highest potential relates to your career and it is to become a Vice President – envision yourself in this position. What will your office look like, how will you treat your team and peers, what will you wear to work, what will create a great day, what will create a bad day? Really spend some time envisioning yourself in your new role.

Become Comfortable with Failure

This is a tough one. The concept of failing is hard to accept and even harder to become comfortable with. Many people are raised to succeed, to ‘win’ and be competitive. There are high expectations to meet, failing is often not an option. One of my best lessons learned in recent years is that one cannot truly succeed and enjoy success until you have taken a risk, tried and failed.

The feeling of defeat can be overwhelming and filled with regret – we tend to ask ourselves “why did I do that, why did I say that, I should have done, I wish I did…, etc.” It is these questions that encourage us to reflect on our decision making process and to learn.

Failure is a very powerful change agent – failing allows us to move forward and improve. We do not want to fail because we do not want to disappoint our colleagues or loved ones and we do not want be vulnerable.

J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series) presents the benefits of failure during her 2008 TED talk on “The Fringe Benefits of Failure“. There are many benefits of failure and sharing these and the relevant learning is important for success.

The amazing thing is that when you fail and you are comfortable with it, others are rarely disappointed – they admire your vulnerability, how well you bounced back and how resilient you are. Not only will you appear stronger, you will be stronger. Being vulnerable is a great strength that will make you stronger and push you closer to your altitude.

Have Self-Awareness

To reach your altitude you need to have a great sense of self-awareness – ask yourself these questions (and answer them)

  1. What impact do I have on others?
  2. How do others perceive me? Is this the same as I perceive myself?
  3. What are my strengths? What would others say my strengths are?
  4. What are my weaknesses? What would others say my weaknesses are?
  5. There is often a disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us – these are often called blind spots.

Speak with a friend or engage a coach to work with you to improve your self-awareness and work to work on your blind spots. Once you have a great sense of self-awareness including your strengths and weaknesses you will be well on your way to reaching your altitude.

Ask for Help

Once you answer the questions about self-awareness it is time to ask for help. Being comfortable with asking for help is another strength – it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It is a sign of being smart, being able to understand yourself and knowing who you have in your network who may be able to help you.

No one has ever reached their true potential and become successful all on their own, with no help.

Most people have a wide network of contacts – some you know well and others not so well (think about your LinkedIn network!). Become comfortable asking for help from others, take a chance and call them or e-mail them. Most people are willing to help and if they are not that is OK, thank them and move on.

Reach out and ask for support or advice if you need help going around, over or through any challenges – having support to improve is a critical to reaching your altitude.

Be Humble and Show Gratitude

Humility and showing gratitude are two of the most important character traits that are an absolute must for reaching your potential. Very few great leaders or successful people have reached their potential without being humble or thanking people along the way.

One can be confident and humble. Finding the right balance of these is challenging but important – it can be part of self-awareness building.

Humility shows through as one becomes more comfortable with failure, being vulnerable and asking for help. And of course when one asks for help or anyone provides support directly or indirectly this is a great opportunity to say Thank You! Be gracious and let them know their support is appreciated and how the help has contributed to you reaching your potential!


By Nicola (Nicki) Morris

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