It seems that the word “potential” carries negative connotations in some circles these days. Some experts seem to think labeling a person with having potential is unfair and places undue and excessive expectations on a person. I suspect these pundits have reasons for saying such things, but I, for one, feel they are a bit off base with all of this.
You see, I think that everyone has potential and not only that, it is a God-given and God-designed potential. Granted, singling out an individual and continually lamenting over how they fail to live up to their potential can be a negative thing. Sometimes this course of action ends up just frustrating the targeted individual more and makes them even less likely to seize their potential and move forward to a more productive life. I have found that rather than repeatedly pointing out where a person has failed to live up to their potential, it is more beneficial to assist the individual to find out what motivates them to make a firm and lasting commitment to becoming the best that they can be.
Finding what internal mechanism will turn the key of motivation for an individual is not always an easy task and, when you get right down to it, only that person can actually discover his or her personal motivator. If I am working as a coach with a person, what I normally do is ask the individual to spend quiet time with the Creator, seeking answers and direction. I have found without fail that this works, not always overnight, but with amazing consistency. This stems from the reality that it was God who placed this potential inside of the person, equipped that person with all they ever need to realize that potential, and is more than willing to provide motivation and direction in pursuit of that potential.
In my own case I have discovered that my “motivators” have changed over the years and sometimes change with amazing regularity. I have also found that this tends to keep me fresh in terms of my outlook and my overall approach to life. For example, a year or so back it dawned on me that whenever we fail to realize our God-given potential, we are not only hurting ourselves, and not only the world at large, but future generations as well. I had never thought of these issues from that angle before and, as I looked at my then three-year-old daughter I gained not only a new insight into the importance of realizing my potential, but a deeper sense of commitment and motivation.
A few weeks later, as is often the case, I was reading Dr. Myles Munroe’s excellent book, Releasing Your Potential, and discovered several passages that spoke directly to the issues of potential and future generations. These words by Dr. Munroe only served to strengthen my commitment to being the optimal version of myself for the sake of others, especially future generations. Here’s what Myles Munroe shared:
It is the awesome realization that if your potential is not released, it will affect this generation and all the generations of man yet to live. Even creation will testify against you. If you abort your potential, you will be robbing the world of the treasure you came to this planet to deliver. The fact that you were born is evidence that God knew earth needed the potential you are pregnant with. It is, therefore, imperative that you refuse to leave this planet without giving birth to those dreams, ideas, visions, and inventions you carry in the womb of your faith right now. /releasing 29/
What lies behind you is history and what lies before you is future, but these are both tiny matters compared to what lies within you. You may not be able to change your past, and your future is yet unlived, but the present provides you with opportunities to maximize your life and the ability that lives within you. You must take responsibility for your ability….Are you living a stillbirth? Are you aborting your entire purpose for living? I encourage you to take responsibility right now for your ability. Determine to activate, release, and maximize your potential for the sake of the next generation. Leave your footprints in the sands of the history of your country. Live fully so you can die effectively. Let your life write the speech of your death and give your potential to the family of man for the glory of God. Remember “well done” is much better than “well said.” Don’t just talk about your potential dreams, visions, and ideas. Step out now and determine to do them. Dare to believe that you have already accomplished is but a minute percentage of what you can do.
In closing, let me encourage you to spend time reflecting on the issue of your personal potential and take your reflections, your thoughts, and especially your questions to God in prayer and mediation. Discuss these themes with a trusted spiritual friend and/or mentor. And don’t forget to especially focus on what motivates you to get moving into proactive pursuit of your God-given potential.
All in all, it will be time well spent.
© L. Dwight Turner 2009/ All Rights Reserved