How can I fulfil my potential?
This is a very important question you should ask yourself
Many athletes and coaches won’t explore the topic of how to achieve your full potential – I’d encourage you to be one of the few that do. So how can you convert your potential so that this is your best or most enjoyable year or season yet?
In my experience, there are too few athletes and coaches who seek to look in the mirror long and hard enough to then squeeze out almost everything they can from the time and resources that they have. Instead, for most athletes and coaches, they live with the nagging feeling of “if only I’d done this” or “I wish I had tried that” or they live in blissful ignorance of what might have been. The result ends up that their skills and talents are under-developed and that they really could have achieved much, much more.
So what is stopping you from achieving your full potential?
Below are 3 possible reasons why you are not getting the results you could do and how you can step it up:
1.Failure to take ownership of your success
Freddie Mercury once sang “Time Waits for No One” – a very significant line. Unfortunately, athletic careers can be very short in comparison to non-sporting careers so time can disappear very fast, rapidly dissolving your potential in the process.
A danger sign that you need to be aware of is when you begin to drift and just let events and situations take care of themselves without questioning yourself or getting others to question your approach.
To make every second count I encourage you to ask yourself – am I allowing my sporting career or potential to drift? May be ask a friend or someone you trust what they think too.
It is your responsibility to ask yourself this question, don’t wait for luck or another day – take ownership of your skills and talents right now.
2. Not understanding why you play or coach in your sport is hugely important.
Every athlete and coach has potential. Potential is then converted into skills and experiences, and possibly more potential, and more skills and experiences if you set the right goals and go on to take massive action.
Two young athletes may start out playing sport together as children with the same potential, yet could quickly have very different potential profiles.
Athlete A may be a drifter with no goals or perhaps they listen to the wrong people and go on to choose poor goals. Motivation then begins to dwindle, and they don’t convert their potential.
In contrast, Athlete B has used their drive and ambition wisely, rarely losing sight of why they play their sport. Reflecting in a strategic way, setting great goals and using their time effectively to achieve those goals.
Being very clear about your “why” and how your goals are going to help you achieve your potential builds self-efficacy and confidence. With an inner self-belief you’ve got a much better chance at achieving your potential.
There are no short cuts to success, for most athletes and coaches, successful conversion of your potential comes from having the right habits in place. Making small but conscious steps towards your dreams and ambitions every day.
Think of it in this way, for every day you do the right things it is like putting a £1 in a jam jar each day. You’re unlikely to notice the contribution today or the next day but you will in three or six months time when your jam jar is half full of £1 coins.
3.Self-doubt can hold you back from achieving your goals
Simply setting the right goals won’t help you achieve your potential. Yet, having a steely inner self-belief that your goals will work for you and that you can achieve them will give you a much better chance of reaching your potential.
Timothy Gallwey, in his “Inner Game books”, describes the equation P=p-I , or Performance = Potential – Interference.
In other words, your performance is equal to what you are capable of when you remove interference, which can be real obstacles or mental obstacles where you get in your own way such as self-doubt or unrealistic expectations.
I encourage you to work towards removing these obstacles, by seeking to improve your confidence and mental toughness.
For 3 more tips for you to fulfil your potential, read the next blog in this series, How to unleash your full potential – Part two.
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Sport Psychologist located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally
T: +44 7734 697769