Episode 110: Are You Achieving Your Potential?

Do you ever wonder what it will take to reach your potential in life? In this episode, Jimmy shares the steps to help you identify and reach your potential in life.

Episode Keys

  • Identifying your fears that are holding you back from reaching your potential in life and how to overcome them.
  • Why you must find time daily to think about the future and the pathway to reach your goals.
  • When you should be rising from sleep to gain an advantage over your challenges in life.
  • How you are unique and the talents you possess are needed by the world!
  • The most critical emotion that must be summoned to create the life you desire.

Podcast Transcript

Hey, I’m Jimmy Williams. Good morning on this wonderful Monday morning, as we celebrate a start of another great week in your life. You know how I know it’s a great week? Because you’re going to make it a great week. You see, life is lived, not so much in the external of the body. The satisfaction of life is not achieved in the external of the body. You see, it’s only within your own brain, your mindset of how you approach your day, that determines whether you’re satisfied with your progress, or you’re not.

You know, this podcast has given me an opportunity to reach out, to touch lives, and to be touched by the lives of the people that send great comments and give us feedback and want to help us grow the podcast outreach. I’m hoping that you find some of that yourself. I would love for you to share the link to this podcast with someone you know. Let’s help spread some joy, some kindness throughout the entire planet. We’re in excess now of 52 countries. Things are going much better now that the pandemic is starting to lift in most of the world. And I will tell you, I am pumped for a great summer here in the United States.

But I want to talk with you just for a few moments about something that is vital to your happiness in life. I want to tell you a quick story. I have known some people that could be showered with what we would consider material blessings, could be showered with opportunities, and still be the most unhappy people on the planet. The whole issue boils down to their mindset. What do they dream about? What do they have that pushes their button to perform greater than they have, at what level should they reach to reach their full potential?

So, today we’re going to talk about, what is your full potential in life? Now, Mother Teresa, she is a Saint now, canonized in the Catholic Church. She is one person that left this planet with the most joyful of soul and being. She said that she did not need more than the shoes on her feet, and she would be content. Now, folks, that’s a pretty low barrier, you think about. But consider what she did in life. She poured herself out to those starving and defenseless children in India. She reached out to the poorest of poor to make their life better by giving of herself. She reached what I would consider for her to be her full potential. Now, I’m not mother Teresa, don’t want to feign that I am. I do want to say though, that only she could tell you that whatever her potential was, that she had set it up in her life to do whatever she was chosen to be. And I can assure you though, if you look at history, and that’s what judges us, when we look at our potential, the history that we leave is what tells me in my mind, Mother Teresa truly lived her potential.

So, let’s talk about, what is potential? Potential is simply defined as the existing of possibility, capable of development, and to the actual, to become reality. So it’s just that simple possibility you have within yourself that if you work at it, if you hone it, if you develop the skill, you will reach your potential you have within. Today, we hope to instill in your mind the concept of achievement potential.

Now, in a future podcast episode, I’m going to talk with you about what I call creative destruction. So, we’re going to build on this a little bit, so stay with me, listen to these podcasts episodes each week. But this is actually going to help you today to look at and understand the concept of achievement potential. This is one area that many of us should give more focus, energy and attitude. A quote from the classic book Walden by Henry David Thoreau, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” This is one of the saddest situations faced by far too many people. Today, as I said in the opening, is your day. You will learn the secret to realizing your potential in this episode, how you can start the process of becoming bigger, better, and bolder than you’re currently contributing to your world.

So, let’s just get started. First, the number one factor holding you back from realizing your potential in life is courage. Now, that’s a big word. I understand that. I’m not asking you to face battle of a gun blazing, a knife in your mouth, chasing down bad guys. That’s not what I mean by courage here. I don’t mean courage to even walk a tightrope over Niagara falls, as you’ve seen some of the stunt men and women do. I mean the courage to simply take the first step, putting in the work, or accepting that all greatness must accept and adhere to some form of risk to be realized.

You see that R word. That R word is a big, big word for a lot of people. Sometimes you have people in our clientele that come in and say, “Well, I want to simply earn X on my investments without any risk.” And I always tell them, “There is no such animal on the planet that can contribute to your lifetime security with those parameters.” It just does not simply exist. So, courage is simply a muscle that requires resistance to become stronger.

Now, if you look at your right arm and you flex that bicep, and you look at the size of that bicep now. To make that arm bigger, more powerful, stronger, you must put it under some pressure. You must place your arm at some risk, because only by the tearing down or ripping in the muscle, does it grow bigger. Now, I don’t mean that to sound worse than what it is. It’s just that that’s how the body functions. That’s how we work. Some of your most talented athletes today were not with the bodies they currently have on TV. If you’re at the NFL, those young men did not come to the NFL with that body, in most cases. They had to work at it. They had to become stronger by resisting weights that were much more heavy than they previously lifted.

So, how do you know when you have enough courage to take the leap from lifetime security to exponential opportunity? There is no specific measurement I can give you. However, there is an attitude that will, quote, “tell” you when you are ready to take the next step. Think about the people you know that are afraid to fly on airplanes. I hear you. It’s 2021, and you’re saying, who would be afraid to fly on an airplane? Well, I got news for you. There are plenty of people have a fear of flying on airplanes. They’ve watched too many of these shows on TV where the plane just goes down, for example. Everyone, of course, is gone from the plane. And at the end of the day, they see themselves sitting in one of those seats in the movie.

I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got over a million and a half miles of flying over the years, and I have yet to be placed in such a risk that I felt totally uncomfortable. Now, there was that time when we left Boston’s Logan Airport. Did I mention it was during the winter? Now, your first question to me is not going to be about the airplane. I’m sure your first question to me is going to be, Jimmy, what were you doing in the Northeast during the winter months? Valid question. I had some business that had a time commitment I wished to take care of, and I did get it taken care of. But on the way to the airport, it starts really snowing. The temperature is dropping. My thought is that I will not get to the southern state of Oklahoma and be in warm weather today. But they loaded us on the airplane. The captain came on the PA system and said, “Well, as you probably can look outside the window of the aircraft and notice, there is a tremendous amount of snowfall mixed with some ice.” Now, the lady sitting next to me looked at me and she said, “Oh, I don’t like the looks of this.” And I looked right in her eyes, and I said, “I think this will be the most serene and most comfortable flight you’ve ever taken.” And she looked at me with such an odd look in her eye like, are we even on the same planet? And I simply said to her, “Watch what they do before we take off. They will have such preparedness in getting this plane ready to fly, that you’re going to see, this will be one of the most boring of flights you’ve ever booked.”

Well, I, in my own mind, was thinking that’s the case, but what happened is they de-ice the plane, they pushed us back and got us in line to take off. Now, when you’re at an airport that is as large as Boston Logan, and you have any kind of weather mishap that causes the planes to be slowed down in the takeoff sequence… In other words, you may have to sit on the tarmac a few moments before it’s your turn to leave the airport. The problem arose, and they de-iced us, they pushed us back, and we go out and get in the queue, and we’re ready to go in about 10 minutes. The problem of the 10 minutes became paramount. Within 10 minutes, the flight PA system came on. The captain said, “Well, we feared this to happen, and we’re going to have to go back to the gate and de-ice again. They’ve had us on the tarmac too long.” Now, the potential of that plane was, if we would just put the fuel to the floor and let’s go, push that throttle stick forward, get us in the air above the clouds, life would be fine. As long as we stayed on the ground, and I hope you understand the scenario I’m drawing here, where all of the danger was, you would not realize what you were meant to be built for.

You as a human, if you stay in your current environment, instead of looking to grow, and to realize your potential, will certainly not see the success that you were made for, that you were endowed with by our maker. So this lady sits, now pretty pale, to my right and says, “Well, we’re going back to the gate. This cannot be good.” And I said, “I promise you, they’re going to de-ice us, we’ll probably be the first in line, we’ll take off. Everything will be fine.

So, I’m going to jump forward. We’ve taken off now. Everything is going in the air. And then the plane starts to circle back to the airport. Now, this is a little unnerving for her. And she says, “Are we turning?” I said, “I’m sure we’re turning to get around some weather or some pattern.” I was just trying to think of anything I could to calm this lady down. And I said, “Sure, we’re just starting to get away the weather.” And then all of a sudden, the captain comes on the PA again. He says, “Well, we’ve got just a little issue on the starboard engine.”

Now, for those of you that hadn’t been in the Boy Scouts like myself, or been on any kind of Navy-type situation, where you’ve been on the waterways in a boat or whatever, starboard means the right side. So I looked at there and sure enough, starboard engine is not even turning. So now, instead of mentioning to the lady the problem we have, I said, “Have you noticed this flight magazine? It has some beautiful destinations in it.” So, she starts looking at the magazine, not even really paying attention to what’s being said on PA, because she’s got her headset in now. Well, what she didn’t realize until we started really losing altitude to go down, I don’t mean losing it. We were actually claiming the altitude, going down to get back to see what was going on with the engine. I will tell you, this lady finally got to the point we were about almost to land, and she says, “Hey, we’re landing.” I said, “Sure, no big deal. It’s just preliminary.” And we get almost to the ground and the pilot or co-pilot comes on and says, “We’re going to have to de-plane. This plane’s engine on the starboard side can not be re-fired.” The engine could not be started again to be used in flight. She looked at me and she said, “I thought you told me this was going to be the most boring flight of my life.” I looked her right in the eye, and I said, “So far, it’s not been very exciting for you, has it?” So, I probably didn’t keep her as calm as she had liked to have been. But the point was, the plane on the ground was seeing the danger exposed to it, versus in the air above the clouds, what it was built to do, to take people from one place to the other. So, why do you board an airplane if you’re like me, without even thinking about it, and others may be afraid to do so? What’s within us that says, it’s going to be okay. You have done one thing that that person with fear has not been able to do. You have enlarged your comfort zone to include flying on airplanes.

Now, there are other people out there that, I don’t know I would want their life, but these are like, if you will, people that hunt rattlesnakes as a fun pastime, they have enlarged their comfort zone to know that dealing with these very highly venomous snakes is not that fearful for them. Me, I just don’t want to befriend one of these snakes. So, you’ve got to do one thing to expand your comfort zone. You’ve got to give that fear a name. Once you name it, you then prove your ownership and capability to defeat it, and boost your courage to move forward.

One of my favorite historical authors is Mark Twain. His quote about fear and courage is most appropriate for helping us build our courage to reach our potential. Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear. Mastery of fear, not absence of fear, builds your courage by enlarging your comfort zone by taking small actions to overcome some of your lowest fears.”

So, the number one factor holding you back is courage. It takes courage to realize your potential in life. The second factor in reaching your potential is to simply stop and think. Yeah, I know what you’re going to say, Jimmy. When do I have time in my busy schedule just to stop and think during a given day? How does this lack of action helped me reach my potential? I can almost hear that being yelled.

Well, first, the world is a noisy place. So many things are vying for your attention and decisions that have to be made all day long. The best method of finding creative solutions to difficult challenges that are holding you back is to clear your mind in a quiet space for a period of time each day. Now, I didn’t say do this once on a Sunday afternoon and your whole week is going to be perfect. No, that’s not what I’m saying, but I recommend the best time of day for this type of creative thinking to be at 5:00 AM. I can already hear the moans. Well, why do you think 5:00 AM is good? Because this is the time of day before the phone starts ringing, email notifications start sounding, and your family isn’t stirring to need you for anything. This is the sacred time of the day that you, in most cases, control the actions and responses of your day for your purposes only. You are the captain of the ship, and that day you own it. You are in control.

I journal in the mornings when I’m working out a creative solution to the next step of my journey for realizing my potential. Robin Sharma, author of the 5:00 AM Club book, said, “It’s not about the end goal. It’s about who you become by consistently pushing to the edge of your limits.” That’s the key. It’s not the waking at 5:00 AM, it’s the evidence of what you gained from doing so that makes it so powerful.

This process will not ensure immediate realization of your potential, but it will equip you to reach your potential when you practice this habit of giving yourself quiet time each day, to think about the creative elements needed to help you reach greatness.

The second factor is just so simple. You must stop the frenetic pace that you find yourself almost on a daily basis, and have quiet time to think.

And lastly, to reach your potential, you must identify what your potential may be. What I mean is, that you must clearly define what you wish to be in life, who you wish to be in life. This isn’t something that should be taken lightly.

I loved another quote by Mark Twain. He had a quote that said, “There’s two of the most important days in your life that will be identified as such. The first is the day that you’re born. And the second most important day of your life is when you figure out why.”

So ask yourself, do I enjoy what I’m currently doing in my life? My career? If you can’t answer in the affirmative, is it time to revisit the number factor mentioned in this episode, look at the word “courage”? If you do enjoy what you’re doing, are you finding areas within the organization that rewards you in a way that keeps you motivated to become better tomorrow than you are today? If you find yourself failing to answer emphatically, yes, to both of the questions, it’s time to break free of the bondage of fear and move into the potential you have within you to make this world a better place for all of us.

I’m reminded of a story of one of the most successful businessman in the United States. This man looked for opportunities where others simply saw rubbish. In his teens, his parents divorced, and he worked to help his mother with living expenses. Working after school and weekends, pumping gas and driving a truck, he eventually graduated high school and joined the Army. After a brief stint in the Army and a year or so of college, he left school to work with a family friend, driving a garbage truck.

Now, right there. If we stopped right there, wait a minute, Jimmy, what in the world does this have to do with meeting my potential, with realizing my goals and dreams? I’m not going to drive a garbage truck. Well, that’s the difference between you and the gentleman I am telling you about. Where many of us would not see the value in driving a garbage truck, Wayne saw the beginning to his potential being realized.

After a few years, he bought his own garbage truck and began to work hard on his potential. He would drive the truck from 2:30 AM till noon. Did you catch that? He’s driving a truck for 2:30 until noon, and then starts knocking on doors to bring in new business. After growing his business to 40 trucks, Wayne took his company public. With an eye toward opportunities, Wayne bought a struggling company and turned it into an industry juggernaut. The name of that company was Blockbuster. Well now, wait a minute, Jim, you said he was driving garbage trucks. That’s right. I’ll get to the rest of the story in just a moment. Finally, not happy with simply being successful in the eyes of the world, Wayne bought three professional teams, sports teams in three different sports, and they were all located in the same market. He won two national championships with the teams, placing him in the record book for the only owner of three teams in the same market to win two national championships. His net worth has grown to $2.8 billion. Of course, I am describing Wayne Huizenga, the founder of Waste Management Incorporated. Has Wayne reached his potential? I would guess he would say no. He’s got a long ways to go.

You see, I’m pointing to an area of life that what people see for you may not be what you yourself identify as your happiness, your greatness, your potential in life. If we are to realize our potential, it does take courage. It’s a muscle you can build by simply working on the lowest fearful item you have today, and let’s overcome that. The second thing, you must find time for deep strategic thinking on a daily basis. I highly recommend 5:00 AM. That works for me. It may not work for you. My point to this is, find the time that you are not interrupted, so that you can devote your concentration and thoughts to overcoming some of the biggest challenges you face. And then lastly, you need to identify what your potential would be. What am I talking about? I’m talking about those big, hairy, audacious goals that give you the greatest enjoyment. You see, each of us possesses a talent skill or trait that will allow us the opportunities to reach our potential.

This week as your challenge, I want you to identify one fear that you possess, and spend time in quiet thought to determine which steps you must make to conquer the fear, and begin to live your full potential. If you would, please share your fear and approach to getting past the limitation in your life on our Facebook page at Live a Life By Design.

Until next week, go ahead and be a bigger, better, and bolder person tomorrow than you are today. You only have one life, why don’t you live it by your own design?

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