No limits: Reaching your potential

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Apple TV’s “The Big Door Prize” is a great reminder of how to consider reaching your potential. In the 10-episode Apple TV original, residents in a small town enter a machine, which then tells them what their full potential would be. Answers include royalty, storyteller, and father.

And, of course, as people embark on their professional marketing careers and as companies build their marketing teams, it’s essential to understand what it means for people to reach their potential. After all, the more people reach their peak performance, the more they can contribute to a content performance culture.

In this article, I discuss the following:

What does it mean to be reaching your potential?

Reaching your potential means, in the simplest terms, that you are in a profession and role that entirely takes advantage of your skills and passion and mostly gives you joy.

Reaching potential is an interesting thing to consider. Who decides what the full potential is? How do we even know we reached it? When did we overshoot it? The Peter Principle is an excellent example of that. People get promoted until they reach a role that overshot their potential and skillset and, at times, are incompetent. That can be hard on them and even hurt the teams they are supposed to lead but can’t.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but remember that there’s always a learning experience involved.

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How to know what your potential is, and in what area?

Our surroundings – including the people, opportunities, and our own reactions- influence what we do in life. For example, I went into journalism early in my career after hearing about the trade from a veteran newspaper journalist while lifting weights in Germany in the early 1990s.

We can be influenced by opportunity, too. What programs can we get into, can we get an internship on the right team, and do we need to spend time working jobs to make ends meet before reaching our true potential?

All those intertwine—opportunity, influence, and interests. And to an extent, it’s hit and miss.

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The impact of external factors on reaching your potential

Just like on the Apple TV show, external factors can be huge. Why else would people follow in their parent’s professional footsteps, or not when they don’t want to be too similar to them?

How else could a show like that even work – if external influences don’t matter? Give people a piece of paper with their full potential, then let them mull over it. Even those who reached their apparent full potential wonder if that’s it.

Have I really reached my full potential with what I’m doing? It’s probably a result of the “what’s next” society we live in. Yay, we reached a goal, so what next goal should we go after? And indeed, good marketing teams create new goals and try to go after them, but just like for people maxing out their skills, at some point, the current market is maxed out, too.

But external factors certainly influence what people do with their lives. Would I ever have gone into journalism without that 1990s influence? Yet, somehow, I would have had to learn about the industry somewhere else.

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What risk is involved while trying to find your potential?

The most significant risk is that we might be on the wrong track, but we keep going down that road due to external influences and internal beliefs. At some point, we might be burned out, feel useless, or even a failure. It’s also realistic to remember that not everyone can be above average. After all, if everyone is above average, that becomes the new average.

Don’t give up; try to figure it out. It’s hardly ever too late to make a change, pivot, or determine that a decision was the wrong one. There’s only one way, and that’s moving forward.

Reaching our full potential is a bit of trial and error, but the closer we get can benefit us and the teams we are on. So it can be a good feeling because we bring value and with the skills we have.

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