One experience in my career is consistently the most rewarding. That experience is helping someone to discover their potential.
Many people realise that they have the potential to challenge themselves, to learn and to develop new skills through their schooling years. Some people never meet a teacher who inspires them and do not receive support from parents, friends or other community members to extend themselves. The first time some people encounter a purposeful supportive and challenging learning environment is in the workplace.
I have met so many people who can describe the effect of the first manager who believed in their potential. Someone took an interest in their work and their capabilities and encouraged them to do more. Often this moment of transition came around their first promotion when they were picked over others because of untapped potential. With the encouragement of a supportive environment and the push to do more, these individuals can go on to discover extraordinary talents. I know people who took up their university studies midcareer and went on to do PhDs or into the heights of new occupations as a result. I know people who never took formal study, but became the smartest and wisest CEOs in the business through practical experience, understanding of people and a keen intelligence sharpened by life experience. A few people get there on their own. Most require challenge, support and encouragement to start the journey of self-improvement.
We can all play a role in helping others to realise their potential. Sometimes all it takes is a simple act of recognition of potential to spark people. At other times, we can play a role to show people a possibility and begin coaching them into action. Even realising a small amount of potential can transform a person’s outlook, experience and life. This is work we can do as parents, managers, peers and community members.
What small step can you take today to help someone see their potential?