Your Potential Will Expire, Why Not Unlock It Now?

   March 15th, 2013             Blog

I recently watched a TEDx presentation given by United States Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton.

Jim Shelton speaking at TEDxMidAtlantic

Jim Shelton, Former Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the US Department of Education.

Pointed out by a professional colleague (who won’t let us use the term mentor), it was important, meaningful and impactful to hear Mr. Shelton speak about the entire room being full of people who were once, “potential Colin Powells.”  What was more interesting was the fact that the dGC team recently had a conversation about potential…but not in the sense of unlocking it…but more from the aspect of potential lost.

In God’s economy, nothing is slag. Nothing is wasted. In every scar there is a lesson. In every memory there is potential to make more. – Toni Sorensen

​A former consultant had worked with us as we launched a new client, had developed a good rapport with us – and the client – and we were progressing nicely. So much so, that at one point the former consultant asked what the future held. We were pumped. But somewhere along the way, said consultant became different. We worked with, counseled, modified and adjusted. And finally, after more stress than necessary, had to say thanks-but-no-thanks (with documented steps and details). Yet, we were the bad guys.

Sometimes, there isn’t always a good fit, even as you travel down the path together…things change. And we understand that there may be challenges.

The issue, for me, was we had provided access, autonomy and training to allow all ability to unlock potential.  So much so that it was a huge disappointment that it didn’t work out.

So, when an organization, its leaders or even your friend/co-worker give you the chance, provide you with the resources and encourages you on your way…think of this: your potential will expire.  You can’t expect to continually be granted opportunities.  You have to maximize those that are offered, you are positioned for, or that fall into your lap.  And if you don’t, at a certain point, people move on to the next person who ‘has potential.’  Find a way to unlock your potential when the opportunity is presented to you.  And be the next Colin Powell.  Not a potential Colin Powell who missed out.