The Potential You See in Others is Your Own Great Potential

How quick are you to judge a person’s potential based on your pre approved cognitive notion? I am a co-founder of a startup digital marketing agency and I get to meet and appraise a lot of people everyday, may it be a potential client or employee. I understand that as a leader (being a woman, at that) it is a bit common for us to do a lot of things ad hoc, spontaneously evaluate the potential of individuals and circumstances. We cannot risk to appear indecisive or unsure -which is commonly viewed as a weakness.

The thing is, if we judge too quickly or improvise instantly we might miss out on a catch!

I always try to improve. I take inspiration from stories that I come across and keep the little nuggets of wisdom from it.

I would like to share one that would remind us to not dismiss something because it doesn’t appear as beautiful on the outside.

One morning a man was out exploring caves by a seashore. In one of the caves he found an old and dirty canvas bag with a number of hardened clay balls. It appeared that someone had taken the time to roll up a bunch of clay balls and then left them in the sun to bake and dry. The clay balls didn’t look like much, but the man was fascinated by them. He took the bag out of the cave. As he walked along the beach he would see how far he could throw each of the clay balls into the sea. He didn’t really give it much thought until he dropped one. The ball had been accidentally dropped on a rock and cracked. Inside he found a beautiful precious stone. Breaking open the remaining clay balls he found each one contained a similar precious stone. Fortunately for this man he had found hundreds of dollars in the remaining 20 that were left. Unfortunately, as he later realized, he had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their treasure into the sea; lost forever. He could have taken home thousands of dollars and maybe even more, not just hundreds.

Do we see the individual potential in others? This story demonstrates the need to look beyond the clay. Every one of us ought to lead because we care about others. Great leaders get their greatest satisfaction from seeing people succeed; seeing others doing better than they believed they could, or doing things that they didn’t realize they could do. Every person has buried treasure waiting to be discovered. You also have buried treasure in you.

In order to find that treasure and unlock the individual potential, we as leaders have to deeply care about those we lead, exercise patience, humility, contentiousness and the courage to give guidance.

How many clay balls do you think most of us throw out to sea?

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