I was seven or eight years old, and my mom got me into dance classes. It was me and a bunch of other girls that have been taking lessons since forever, the niece of the teacher’s studio included. It turns out I was not that bad; actually, I was being pointed out as the example of how to do this and that very quickly. I was feeling great until the teacher’s niece got very jealous and started to give me the evil eye, quickly followed by the rest of the girls. And what did I do? I quit.
I was in high school, it was my first year. It turns out that one of the so-called popular kids liked me. I didn’t know who this kid was. All I knew was that I received a note telling me that a bunch of girls (that apparently were this kid’s entourage) decided they were going to kick the crap out of me after class one of these days. What did I do? I begged my parents to change me to another school, and they did. I quit again.
I was at work. We were trying to figure out how to cope with workload plus the additional scope upper management wanted us to take in, and I started thinking about a new approach to doing what we did. I did some research and discovered the marvelous world of lean, agile, and design thinking (nerd alert!). And I decided to figure out how to apply them to the HR work we were doing.
I pitched the idea to my boss, who loved it and encouraged me to go for it. Then I explained it to my team members. One of them looked at me like that girl from The Exorcist when she saw Father Karras coming, because it meant to turn everything we were doing upside down. Only this time, I’ve had enough. This time I moved forward. I ignored this person and guided my team through a transformation journey of our ways of working. Six months later, we were kicking ass, leading regional projects while keeping our local clients happy.
I had learned until that point that being good at something or standing out of the bunch, meant rejection and humiliation. I had to force myself to push forward instead of quitting, which was the coping mechanism I had used until then. But it wasn’t until I forced myself to do so, that I felt connected to my personal power. I claimed, for the first time, my place at the table. I realized what I could do, I went for it, and I let myself be proud of what I accomplished. I made no excuses for being good at it, no matter how much it bothered someone else. And since then, I promised to myself never letting that go.
I want to share this with you because, in one way or another, you had learned to sell yourself short in one area of your life. And if you continue to do that, you will never tap into the full potential of who you are, you won’t discover how amazing you can become. Based on my journey, I want to tell you how to identify if and when you’re shying away from your full potential, so you can choose better.
Sign #1. You feel safe but disappointed.
Running away from taking a leap, daring to shine, doing something you´ve never done, or embracing how good you are, could feel like a relief. So you take it as a sign that you shouldn’t do it. In reality, it just means that you are stepping in your comfort zone, which, of course, will always feel better because you already know how to do things there. However, you end up with this feeling of disappointment that you cannot shake off, and that is the alarm signal you should look for because it means you just betrayed your true gifts.
Sign #2. You are flooded with negative emotions after choosing the safer route.
Since you know you let yourself down, you might be angry, sad, depressed. And if you can end up with depression, apathy, overall frustration, and never feeling satisfied with anything about your life.
Sign #3. You don’t feel your personal power.
You could end up saying things like, “I will never get what I want” “I am not good at anything,” and you let circumstances decide over you. You quickly hand over your personal power to the situation and mistake giving up with being flexible.
If you ever identify that you’re feeling like that, chances are that you just let yourself down by choosing to hide your true potential. So the next time you feel like that, pause, analyze, and force yourself to take a different route.
Let’s close for now with these takeaways:
Be a decent human being, but don’t ever apologize for being great.Takeaway #1
The comfort zone is never a good idea. Ever.Takeaway #2
If you see someone else struggling with allowing their real potential show, encourage them. Don’t ever be like those girls giving the evil eye.Takeaway #3
Feeling bad after making a decision is the perfect moment to pause and choose better. And you can always choose again.Takeaway #4
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Until next time,