Discovering Your Potential

We often settle for an outcome that is far below what our potential might provide. We are uncertain about what we are capable of and scared to test the boundaries in case we might lose what we already have. We listen to all the negative voices around us and choose to live a lesser life than what might be possible. Exploring your real potential is the starting point to creating a life of enduring success, but we also need to know what success is for us.


Active Knowledge Question:

What are the limits to your capabilities?


The Start

Success is an enabler of our potential. As we strive for success, we discover and activate our potential. Creating a clear image of what success is for you is the key to unlocking your true potential. Without this clear image, you will never be able to bring your true potential to the forefront.

Competing Against Others

Success has absolutely nothing to do with what others think of you or measuring your achievements against theirs. That is a fool’s game. It is a fool’s game for two reasons: 

  • Firstly, they are not you. What is important in your life and brings your strengths to the fore is unlikely to be the same as someone else’s. By looking to others for acknowledgement – even through statements like, “See, I beat you.” – you are tying yourself (and your success) to someone else’s affirmations. You don’t need that. Sure, look to see what others are achieving as a broad benchmark, but step beyond it and compete against someone truly worthy (see below). 
  • Secondly, you do not win by watching someone else. Think of the runner who continuously looks over their shoulder to see who is behind them. You do not win by focusing on the score or watching your competitors and trying to outperform them. You win by focusing on your goals and what you must do to achieve them. Winning and goal-setting are about performance and process, not outcome. Step out in fulfilment of your goals rather than watching someone else. Leave them behind, and don’t bother to look back – now you’re talking about success. 

If you want to compete against someone truly worthy, compete against yourself. That’s right: compete against yourself. Adopt the mantra of ‘better every day’, and no matter how good you did yesterday, you are going to do better today and better again tomorrow. Just imagine the compound effects if you improve every day. Before you know it, your achievements will be beyond your wildest dreams. 

We Are Told What Success Is?

Society likes to tell us what success is and to require us to conform and pursue its definition. However, the starting point to realising your true potential is not listening to what society tells you but instead discovering the truth for yourself.

At the end of each day, you want to feel a real satisfaction in the effort you have put in and the rewards you have achieved. You want to feel an abundance within, a real joy and quiet knowing that you have worked hard for the rewards. This is what achievement and being successful is all about. 

Wealth is, at best, an outcome – a product of being successful. But it is not the ultimate outcome that everyone seeks. Instead, wealth is pursued as a means to an end. Often that end involves things such as a magnificent home, an expensive car, or overseas travel to the best destinations. But is this really what is sought from success? 

I believe the real end sought is the freedom to pursue and achieve happiness in life. Society tells us to chase wealth as this will provide us with freedom, and the wealth can be spent on all the things that can deliver that happiness. But I don’t think any of us are silly enough to believe that wealth will, by itself, deliver a life of enduring happiness and success. 

We just want the freedom to do more things that give us joy. It sounds a bit corny in today’s society to say, “I just want to be happy.” But in all honesty, it is what our heart searches for and it’s why we ‘buy’ all the things in our life, as we think they will bring joy to us. And maybe they do for a fleeting moment. But enduring happiness comes from within and cannot be sold or purchased. It is created by you through the pursuit of a life of enduring success and is a renewable resource that comes from within and will become your fuel for life. 

Are you comfortable with pursuing happiness in your life and openly saying, “This is what I want”? 

Why Is There So Much Confusion About Success?

As I discussed above, from the day we are born, I believe we are taught to look at success through the achievements of others. “See what they achieved?” and “Why can’t you be as good as them?” are common put-downs. We are taught to measure our success against the achievements of others. And while it is good to acknowledge how well someone else does, it is not necessarily a healthy way to develop our own sense of success. 

This approach also leads to measuring success on simple metrics: money, position and power. It does not support an individual to recognise their personal strengths and build a successful life upon those elements unless they can be converted into money, position and power. 

Here are a few of the most common questions and statements that people ask about success, which will quickly show why so many are confused: 

  • What does success actually look like?
  • How do I know when I am successful?
  • Does success mean I get what I want?
  • Can I ever have enough?
  • Surely not everyone can be successful?
  • There will always be someone more successful?
  • It’s not my fault that I can’t be successful.
  • It’s not just fair – I’m not given the same chances as others.
  • I deserve to be successful.
  • There are more important things in life than being successful.
  • I’m just hanging out for retirement.

Developing a clear picture of what success means to you and being centred in that view is critical to developing a life of enduring success. I said it above but let me say it again. Ultimately I believe there is only one true measure of success, and the source of that success can be and is infinitely diverse. Why infinitely diverse? Because it is up to you, and you alone, to discover what it is you wish to achieve in your life, to set your priorities and to then journey forward in their achievement. 

The Journey 

Success is never about the destination. Success is all about the journey. Therefore, enjoy every moment of the journey and each key milestone as you reach and pass them. 

I believe that within every person, there is a natural potential for great success that is unique to them. Who is to say that what you find joy in, where your natural areas of success lie, is not as ‘worthwhile’ as something our wealth-driven society cherishes? 

Great success for you lies in identifying that uniqueness and exploring the journey of stretching and leveraging your unique gifts for all you can. Success lies in individual choices, consciously and unconsciously, that determine the path of our journey. Please note the emphasis on stretching and leveraging. A life of enduring success requires hard work and will not just be handed to you on a plate. Once you know where you want to go you must take it to the limit and beyond and not just think it will come with ease. 

Often the greatest challenge we face in success is overcoming the barriers placed before us. The real challenge, however, is that these barriers are often not external. They are instead internal barriers that prevent us from moving forward – beliefs, paradigms, frames of reference. Overcoming these barriers requires our growth and development as a person and will be a constant focus of your journey. The stronger you become as an individual, the weaker these barriers become. 

We must always remember that our journey is and will be unique. And while we can look to others for examples and guidance, they are not you; therefore, what works for them may or may not work for you. Your dreams, imagination, and willingness to play and explore what is possible will form a fertile soil where your passions can grow. Give yourself permission to explore where your passions lie; through this, you will discover your path to success. 

Finally, remember that your journey never ends. No matter where you may be on your journey, there is always another step, another leg and perhaps even a new journey. So the mantra ‘better every day’ in everything you do has no end. 

Plan And Act

Nothing comes without hard work. And you want every ounce of effort you put in to add to all the other hard work so that it all counts; it all compounds. Nothing is wasted. I’m sure many have heard the expression: “Yes, l became an overnight success – it only took ten years of hard work.” 

Enduring success requires that you think carefully about what you want to achieve. It’s about the right goals for you, the right plan for achievement and the right energy to bring it all together. There is an alignment that works for you and makes success so much easier than simply banging your head against the wall because you are following what was right for someone else. This is where wisdom comes into play. 

It all starts by pausing for a moment and reflecting on the past. You want to understand, firstly, what has worked for you in the past and what has not and why. Secondly, you want to start with a sense of self-achievement, which requires you to dig deep and begin to appreciate your individual successes of the past. 

You can begin to craft your goals and future from this knowledge and foundation. You begin to unpack and express your dreams and ambitions without reservation. You just let it flow as you have never done before and when you are exhausted, pause and reflect. Now comes choice and prioritisation. You can’t do everything at once, so you begin to prioritise these goals. Consider where your real passions and strengths lie, where your seasons and balance are, and then shortlist five goals to achieve the balance you seek in life. 

Next is the real test. Do the goals you have listed as priorities carry the energy required to ensure they will be delivered? Are they compelling or simply nice? Remember, compelling will get you there, but nice will fail. So now you are beginning to tap into your courage. 

From here, it is about recognising the impact that pursuing these goals will have on your life. It’s about understanding and being real about what it will take. At this point, it’s about recognition and affirmation. You will unlikely get there if the goal is not feeding on your strengths. You must think: I understand the goal, the challenge it represents, why it is really important to me, what I need to do and that I am committed to achieving it. If a goal is not compelling, it’s unlikely to be the right goal and, therefore, unlikely to be achieved. 

The next task is taking the challenges and setting out the stepping stones to achieving that goal – in bite-size portions. This will be your roadmap and the accountability plan that you will map into your P-GAP (personal goal achievement plan), and finally, give you the strength to endure until the goal is won. 

Now you just start step by step by step, only focusing on the next step and not looking too far ahead, or even back for that matter. Each week/month/quarter, you should pause and check off what you have achieved. If you have maintained your plan and just taken each step at a time, you will be amazed at how much you can and will achieve. At these pause points, you should renew, refresh and reward yourself, re-energise and then continue. Remember, it’s about planning, focusing, taking step by step, and then allowing the benefits of compounding to take effect. Before you know it, you will be amazed at your achievements and how successful you have become. 

This approach to achieving your goals will become ‘wired’ in habits, and you will develop the Achiever Trait. A trait that will allow you to: 

  • Appreciate your past, know your strengths and carry forward the lessons learnt.
  • Know that you can achieve.
  • Be a dreamer and a passionate person who is always excited by what lies ahead.
  • Know where your priorities lie in order to deliver the life of success you want.
  • Stoke your fire to achieve.
  • Know honestly what it’s going to take and be willing to embrace it.
  • Be a planner and set the steps so you will always reach your goals.
  • Have the courage to take the first step and the strength to take each step thereafter until the goal is won.

A life of enduring success is possible for everyone. Remember, it’s about wisdom, courage and strength, empowered through the right approach. Here are some tips that will assist you:

  • Be honest with yourself.
  • Don’t run yourself down (or allow others to).
  • Don’t limit yourself to what you dreams may be.
  • Work to your strengths.
  • Prioritise what will have the most profound impact on your life.
  • Use imagery, such as pictures, to create passion.
  • Be realistic while stretching and leveraging yourself.
  • Use mantras and habit building to strengthen your efforts.
  • Be patient with yourself, and don’t give up.
  • If possible, find someone to support and encourage you unconditionally.
  • Rejoice in your achievements.

Practice, practice, practice being an Achiever. Work the steps and refine your process – always with the right attitude. Look to the Achiever Trait and grow, build and develop these traits within you. Be conscious of them and work on them. The more you practice, the deeper your understanding will become. Don’t be superficial. Dig deep and strengthen your understanding. Mastery comes through repetitive practice and refinement over years so that the capability is hardwired into you, and you don’t even have to think about it – it becomes a reflex action. This is the Achiever Trait hardwired! 

And remember: successful people constantly train to be successful! 

Eight Steps

Here are the eight steps captured in the narrative above:

  1. Perspective – Create perspective by appreciating where you have been and what lessons that journey carries for you. This will allow you to craft better goals and make better decisions in the future. 
  2. Recognise – Recognise and list what your great achievements are and in what areas of your life they have been. Appreciate the fact that you have and can achieve. Identify what the enablers of success are for you and how you can use these enablers as your key strengths. Begin to redraw your self-image and recognise that you can achieve. 
  3. Ambition – Life should energise you. This is your opportunity to set out those ambitions you personally want to achieve across all aspects of your life. Your list should thrill and excite you! 
  4. Priorities – Your core-ambitions list acknowledges all your learnings – outstanding achievements, challenging experiences, absolute failures, best decisions and the right focus and balance. It’s the right list for you to take advantage of your strengths to the max! 
  5. Passion – It’s getting real now. You can see your goals, you can feel the success – they are what you really want, what you have been longing to achieve. You are going to make this happen! 
  6. Impact – Your goals are now real and are staring you in the face. They are challenging you to take them on! You know the goals, you know what you have to do to beat them down, the outcome is so real there is no denying it, and you are aching (and a little bit scared) to achieve them. 
  7. Momentum – Big challenges are easy. You just take them on one small piece at a time; before you know it, you will be over the summit and on the other side. Setting out bite-size steps to achieve each goal allows you to build a program that will underpin your achievements.
  8. Compounding – Your commitment is real, your goals are enticing and exciting, you have set yourself up to succeed, and you are building your achiever trait with each step you take … keep going and don’t stop! 


Discovering your true potential is a journey of exploration tailored for your uniqueness. It starts with an understanding of what success means for you and not just following what others do. Pursuing achievement and success in your life is a journey that will allow you to unearth your interests, passions and strengths. It is a journey of enduring success.


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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel