One of my biggest fears is reaching the end of my life and realizing I left some of my potential on the table. So how exactly do you find out what your potential consists of? Get well acquainted with showing up, the unknown, change, and failure. Experiencing failure is a surefire way to discover where your boundaries truly lie versus living comfortably in the limited scope of hollow successes. In the words of Ellen Sirleaf, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Risking failure and facing your fears head-on is the greatest catalyst to quantum leaping into your ideal reality.
I unconsciously made it through most of my life flying under the radar. This was made very apparent to me during basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where I instinctively followed the rules and did what I was told to avoid any reprimands from the drill sergeants. My approach to life for most of my adolescence consisted of this check the box, following the societal script, and becoming financially independent narrative. I should’ve found my peace of mind at the finish line, right? Sure, I found security that way, but I wasn’t able to find myself, to experience and express what I came here on this earth to shout from the rooftops. I achieved all of my left-brain goals, but now what? My creativity, feelings, emotions, unconventional ideas were all stifled because of my fear of being seen. And thus, limited me to discovering my true potential. Taking the bold step into the limelight of my life unlocked possibilities that my right brain had been dying to reveal to me all along.
Oh, the lovely unknown. It has managed to get such a bad rap over the years. This fear is one of the reasons why 95% of our oceans are yet to be explored. Our human brains cannot get comfy with the idea of things we have yet to experience. We want to understand. We want to know what’s going to happen in our lives. And the idea of not being in control and surrendering to life can be simply terrifying at times. The unknown is where our dreams finally get to breathe. It’s the liminal space that allows life to show us how our dreams can grow into something more beautiful than we can ever imagine.
Predictability used to be the hallmark of security. Throughout humanity, we have been conditioned to resist change. My favorite philosopher, Alan Watts, said it best: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join in the dance.” The more you welcome change into your life, the better prepared you are to adapt to it. One of the greatest changes you can make to reach your potential is the ability to change your mindset about what you are capable of. What would you pursue if you were guaranteed to succeed and the result would change your quality of life for the better?
I have a very intimate relationship with my failures. They have given me inspiration, motivation, and direction in life. I am very much indebted to them. Your failures can be one of your greatest resources for achieving your dreams, realizing your potential, and experiencing your highest timeline. Every successful person is a living breathing example of what it looks like when you befriend your failures and use them as fuel for your passion and perseverance. Our biggest opportunities usually appear on the other side of our defeats. Failure never fails at showing us the path to who we are.