I know that I haven’t met you, but I think it would be safe for me to say that you are selling yourself short. I know that sounds presumptuous but I haven’t met many people who think too highly of themselves, who think they are more capable than they actually are. I’m sure most of us have said ‘no’ to an opportunity because we didn’t think we were ready for it, we didn’t think we were capable of it. That is why I know that you are selling yourself short because you are human, you are like the rest of us, insecure, scared of failure, worried about what people will think.
I don’t say any of this with judgment, but for us to start off on the same page, realising that all of us underestimate our potential.
In my life, I got presented an amazing opportunity to apply to be the Youth Pastor of a church with an incredible reputation. I remember applying for the job and thinking, “I don’t think I have much of a chance.” So much so that I was surprised to get a first round interview. After that interview, I remember my mum called me and asked me how I went, and what I thought. I said to her, “I think it went fine, I don’t think it’s a possibility, they will want someone better than me.” I think you can already see how this plays out, but I ended up getting offered the job and accepting it. It was amazing, I felt simultaneously excited and overwhelmed. I remember thinking at one point before I moved, “Man, some of their volunteer youth leaders will be better leaders and preachers than me.” (I mean I was right, the team I work with are incredibly gifted.) Twelve months in though, I have realised something pretty incredible. I can do this job. As in, it’s actually something I was capable of doing. That whole time I was underestimating my potential.
I’m telling you this, so that you can see that all of us underestimate our potential, but that it doesn’t do us, or anyone else, any good to do so. In fact, through this experience it has opened my eyes to the importance of knowing what we have the capability to do.
As I said at the start, I know that you are reading this, and that you underestimate your potential.
What I want to challenge you to do though, is to live up to your full potential. To decide that you aren’t going to be someone who underestimates yourself, but you are going to be someone who maximises every little bit of potential that you have within yourself. We are going to look at a few different aspects of how we can do that over a few posts, but this post we are going to focus on our MINDSET.
In particular, two aspects of our mindset that we can apply.
Get a realistic understanding of yourself.
I know, some of you are sitting there thinking, “My understanding of myself is realistic.” It’s not though, it’s safe, it’s easy, it’s less responsibility, it’s less scary. It may be what you have been told by others, but if it is stopping you from believing in yourself, and is causing you to say no to opportunities that are presented to you, then it’s not realistic.
A realistic understanding of yourself doesn’t underestimate your ability, instead, it acknowledges it.
It says, I love dancing, and it’s something that out of all the things I do, I’m good at. It says, I really enjoy helping others through their problems by listening, so I’m a good listener.
It says ‘yes’ to opportunities that present themselves in areas that you love, or for things that you are good at, even if you don’t feel ready yet, because you know you will be made ready through the process.
One of the underrated keys to this is to let trusted others speak into your life, and I don’t necessarily mean ask them to do that, but look at how they do it. Say, for example, you love photography and you have someone ask you to take photos for their wedding. You don’t have much experience so your natural reaction is, “I couldn’t do that.” Yet, let’s change perspective, do you think they would come and ask you to take photos for their wedding if they thought you couldn’t do it? Do you think that their end game is for you to take horrible photos so you look like an idiot, and their photos are ruined just so you look bad? Can we see the poor logic? If these people have asked and invited you to do something, it’s not so they can watch you fail, it’s because they believe that you are the person WHO CAN DO IT!
Let those moments speak to that doubter in your head, and say to it, “Look, others think I can do it.”
Who do you need to turn to, to ask for their perspective on who you are? Is it a spouse or partner? Is it a boss at work? Is it some of your close friends? Whoever it is, make a time this week to meet with them and ask that question. What am I good at? What do you think I was created to do? I mean it, do it now, send them a text!
Doing this helps us to get a realistic understanding of ourselves, by adding the perspective of others, to our perspective of ourselves. Together, those two create the most realistic view of ourselves. One that doesn’t underestimate ourselves, while not overestimating ourselves.
But that’s not all. The second thing we can do is
Determine your mindset.
For many of us, so many things in our lives are outside of our control, but the mindset that we have isn’t one of those things (except in the case of diagnosed mental health issues, and chemical imbalances). What I mean by it is we can determine what we let immerse our mind and influence our mindset.
For example, what we listen to. I remember being 18 years old and having my first experience of heartache and what did I listen to? I listened to songs about heartbreak, about busted up relationships. I remember my parents telling me to be careful, because those words can affect me, and I remember thinking, “you don’t get it.” (Thought with appropriate teen sass and angst)
Yet, I have been realising that after all these years, my parents, were right. I do have to be careful about what I let into my head. Knowing this I have now created a morning motivation playlist that I play every single day on my drive to work. It’s simple, but it is full of songs, and little message clips full of positive sayings, full of truth about who I am, and it speaks over me the attitude that I want to have as I go about my day. I now walk into work pumped, focused, determined, and confident, because that little playlist speaks those words over me as I drive in.
This is why I think we can determine our mindset because I can determine what I listen to, I can determine what I read, I can determine my outlook on situations. I can determine the mindset that I carry so that it helps me get closer to my full potential.
What do you need to do to determine your mindset? Could it be that you need to make your own morning playlist? Could it be that you need to create a short list of declarations that you speak over yourself every morning? Maybe, you need to put up quotes at your workplace, your desk in your room, or on your phone. Whatever it is, do what you can to determine your mindset. Don’t let your mindset stop you from reaching your full potential.
The reason I am so passionate about this is that there isn’t anything I find more disheartening than watching people meander through life, ending up doing something that pays the bills, but that they don’t love, that leaves them wondering if there is more to life, that leaves them wondering if they were created for more.
I don’t want that to be the outcome for you, I don’t want you to sell yourself short. In fact, I want to see the opposite I want to experience the joy that comes from reaching your full potential.
I believe that you were created for more than you realise, I believe you have more in the tank. I believe that you were made to live to your full potential, not just for the joy and purpose it will bring to you, but the impact it will have on the lives of others.
Make the most of this life that you have, give the world the incredible gift that is your full potential.
To finish I want to leave with a quote from the movie Coach Carter. A quote that I hope, challenges you, stirs you and inspires you to give the world your full potential.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
You have more potential than you realise, don’t let any go to waste. Determine today to get a realistic view of yourself, to determine your mindset and reach the full potential that sits within you. The world deserves your full potential!
May you keep growing!
Your encourager, your supporter, your biggest fan,