When we were born, we had a certain set of natural “gifts,” and a certain set of physical or body structure. We have the ability to influence these to some extent, but there are limitations. Shaquille O’Neal is 7’1” tall, weighs over 300 lbs, and wears size 22 shoes. He has the talent and physical size to be a basketball player, he could never have beaten Bill Shoemaker (most famous horse jockey (I had to google this)) in a horse race. And according to The SportsRush magazine Shaquille believes he was paid to dominate on the court, not to work hard in practice sessions. Of course, the four championship rings do substantiate his ability to dominate over his 19 seasons. However, three of the championships were with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, and one was with Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat.
Shaquille O’Neal believes he was paid to dominate on the court not to work hard during practice sessions.
One may wonder if there could have been more…….please understand, I certainly could not have played against him! It is not my place to judge. It is not anyone’s place to judge. If you or I were Shaquille O’Neal, we most likely could not have filled his shoes physically in more ways than one! We should not ask to be anyone else - AND - no one can be you as well as you. No one can be me, any better than I can be me…..and some days, that can be a challenge as well.
And yet, let me ask, without intending judgment, what was Shaquille’s potential, more championships?
More importantly, what is my potential? And conversely, what is your potential?
Shaquille made his choices; and they have no effect on mine, or yours.
Besides, life is NOT a competition. Well, yes, there is competition, but typically only when we choose it. The challenge is that we do not always choose it appropriately. Too often
when we choose it, it’s because we are already down, frustrated or disappointed with our current situation; therefore, we make ourselves “fail” or certainly not look good. We intentionally choose to destroy our mindset and our self-esteem. And then there are others, some of whom we call ‘friends’ who also feed us negative vibes. And the news……the news is nothing but bad news. Let me offer this, it’s one of my favorite quotes for this type of situation. Credit goes to Paul McLaughlin, “Never take criticism from someone that you would not take advice from.”
What are we to do?
There are three steps to reach one’s potential.
The first step is to become fully aware and clear of what we want to accomplish, what we are trying to do, and even why we want to do it. If our why, our purpose, is not strong enough, our motivation and momentum will struggle. And we will give up thinking the goal is too difficult. It's not really that the goal is too difficult, but rather, that we do not want it enough. And no matter how much others may want you to succeed, if you don’t want it more than they do, it will not happen. If you were to go on vacation, you must DECIDE where you are going, and why you are going in order for it to be as successful as it could be. I’ve gone on vacations with friends, but if we want to experience different things during the adventure, then, without a spirit of compromise and/or a goal of spending quality time together, the trip will end up one-sided, and someone feels taken advantage of.
At Leadership Harbor, we frequently use some assessments to gain greater insight into our personal behaviors and strengths. Our most active assessments are:
Maxwell DISC (awareness of our behavioral, communication and leadership strengths)
Working Genius (understanding our where we achieve joy and fulfillment in the work we do (we could work in this area almost all day), our working competencies, and our working frustrations (If we have to do this all day, every day, somebody is going to get hurt)
GPS (God- Personal-Social: our favorite faith assessment to understand our relationship with God, others, and ourselves and where we can grow spiritually).
The second step is to focus on strengths. No one EVER succeeds by focusing primarily on weaknesses; however, when we maximize our strengths, we have the potential to make significant strides. The assessments mentioned above, help to clarify our strengths so we can make sure to focus most of our efforts in these areas.
The third step is choices. Our choices do not always have to be our priorities, but our choices are our actions. And our actions determine our successes. In order to succeed, we must work within our strengths; and in order to grow, we must expand beyond our comfort zone and face the fear that holds us back. I am not assuming that you have any fears……I am saying that I have had fears. Maybe you have too?
There is a lot more to unpack, but this gives you a great starting point. You will go further following these simple steps. And if you were to set up a Discovery Session with one of our Leadership Harbor / Maxwell Leadership Certified Coaches, you will truly wonder how far can I really go?
One more thing, you may wonder, do I really need a coach, which is a simple name for a "Thinking Partner” and different from a mentor? The simple answer is, ‘no;’ however, after recently watching the Masters Golf Championship, do you think any one of those guys even considers playing the course without his “Thinking Partner?” More than carrying the golf clubs, this person is adding value to the thought process of where to best put the next shot, in preparation for the following shots. If you want to be the best version of you, that you can be, consider what a “Thinking Partner,’ a coach, can do for you!