What is your potential? 7 Tips to utilise more of it.


While working on my thesis for my Masters in Design Innovation, I was looking at how might we transform leadership using Design Thinking. In the Ideate phase, brainstorming, one of the techniques that I love, is creating a Metaphor Map. I was intrigued by the insights and their similarity to electricity. Therefore, I decided to learn about the basic principles of electricity. The first thing I learned was about Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy. This inspired me the most. When a car is sitting on top of a hill, it can be considered Potential Energy, once it is pushed/moved on to the hill and starts rolling down it the Potential Energy is converted into Kinetic Energy. I started considering my own potential, my business, people on the street and the world as a whole. How do we capture and utilise this potential to the greatest capacity? Here are 7 tips for both Personal and Business, using the car analogy, that I believe we can all use.

  1. The direction is Important! – I have first-hand experience with this one. I’ve seen a few walls close up in my time. Thankfully no cliffs. The clearer the destination, the faster the momentum and less loss of results. You will also reduce going off course. Changing direction whilst in momentum will also reduce your effectiveness. You can always find another hill of course. Get clear on your Vision (Personally & Professionally) and remind yourself of it, daily.
  2. Initial Forces Required – First things first. The only reason why the car has potential is that it’s at the top of the hill already. You got yourself to where you are now. How that happened is a different story. You are here. Let’s see that hill. How big it is, the slope, the surface, really depends on a lot to do with the second force required to get that car moving. What is your Passion, Desire, Drive and how much effort are you willing to push into it to get it moving?
  3. What is your Ometer? Wonderful to be racing along at speed. Or is it? What are your outputs? What do you want to get out of it? Unless you know in detail what results you want, you will waste energy and miss opportunities. Be really clear on: What is the purpose behind your actions?; What are the outcomes?; How are you measuring the effort?;
  4. How Streamlined are you? Normally there are forces that work against momentum. How well optimised are you for this? What have you done to ensure you are performing at your greatest capacity? What have you learned about these opposing forces and how can you overcome their limitations. Is there another use for these constraints?
  5. How prepared are you for Risks/Opportunities? Flying down that hill, what are the things you can’t see yet? What plans do you have in place to react to positive or negative situations appearing? A steeper faster hill might appear, off to one side, on the way down. Will you pivot and are you ready for that. The hill might lose its gradient. An obstacle might get in your way. You can not prepare for all eventualities although you can teach yourself on how best to react for the best possible outcomes.
  6. Where are you losing Momentum? This may be the biggest lesson for us all. That myth about only using 10% of our brains. I was wondering though. What percentage of our potential do we utilise and waste? Are you on the right hill? Are you pointed in the right direction? Are you converting and how effectively? What is distracting you? Remember that you need to be getting back, at a minimum, the effort you are putting in.
  7. Where is your Exit? Fear not. You can have more than one. Knowing the stages that you are exiting is good for a number of reasons. When you know where the bottom of each hill is, you can be prepared. It allows you to understand incrementally what you are trying to achieve. Making the measuring easier. It gives you the ability to check your performance and adjust, whatever is needed, for the next hill. It also provides you with the opportunity to be realistic with how much effort you need to invest at the beginning.

You may have heard the saying, “Knowledge is Power”. I disagree. It’s as powerful as a parked car, with the handbrake on, on top of a hill. Not using its greatest potential. It is the use of knowledge, that is power. How can you tap into that power? Perhaps begin by becoming more aware of your greatest potential and then decided how you might convert it into reality. Bit by bit. Reviewing it and repeating. Resistance is futile with persistence.

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