“Person holds blue pencil against black surface next to pencil set” by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

Reach your full potential and live life on your terms

‘You have so much potential, and if you’d only just put your mind to it, you would do a lot better.’

I have heard that statement from quite a number of people a lot of times in my life time, and I haven’t even lived that long. But rather more importantly I have told myself that on too many occasions to number, and maybe you have done so too.

Where the people who told me that wrong? Or was I wrong on each occasion when that thought crossed my mind?

No they were not. Neither was I.

Deep down I have always known I could do more. I have always known that I could give it more than 100% and exceed my OWN expectations. I just always assumed that reaching my full potential was something that would occur automatically like a natural progression of life. For a long time I always assumed that through just telling myself that ‘I will be the best I can be’, it will happen. And that by just continually living every day the same way I did, I would automatically flip the switch and open the flood gates to what I can really achieve in life.

Well, that didn’t work.

Not only did that routine not get me and my goals to where I needed to be, it also made me became an expert on feeling stuck and mindlessly comparing my life with others. Eventually I felt drained, stuck, and low on energy; and these became my daily companions.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had success on quite a number of things, success that even I think has been great. But I have just never had that super extraordinary level of success that I know I can achieve.

And that is the thing.

Although other people can pass judgement on your work, give you compliments or criticize you, only you know what you’re truly capable of. Only you can tell if you are tapping into your full potential or not.

And knowing that makes all the difference.

So are you working towards being the best you can be? If not, what is holding you back? And how can you change that?

Consider the following and maybe you can relate.

Beating yourself up

Simply put, beating yourself up is basically just constantly criticizing yourself.

A negative opinion of who you are is the first thing holding you back from being who you are meant to be.

When we spend all our energy telling ourselves we’re not doing good enough, we have very little time and energy left to look inside and find our confidence to do things we want to do.

If you lack confidence in yourself you won’t achieve much. And this was a big one for me (Maybe still is).

The bottom line is this: confident people do everything better. If you can’t see your abilities and worth in this world, don’t expect anyone else to, either. Focusing your energy to become a more confident person will benefit you in every aspect of life.

When you stop beating yourself up and find your confidence you allow yourself to explore and experiment with your abilities, one tiny step at a time.

And eventually you will reach your full potential.

Your Fear of failure

The fear of failing limits your abilities in ways you cannot even imagine. How can you give it your all if failure is what you expect?

In a way when you fear failure you don’t work as hard as you would if you believed that you would succeed. You would not try your hardest to make your goals and tasks succeed, because in your mind failure is the only outcome.

Part of you would hold back. That is why you should ignore it and just put in your best.

Living up to our full potential means feeling the fear and doing it anyway. It means realizing we are living up to our full potential because of, and thanks to, the mistakes we make and what we learn from them.

Ensure that you work hard and build a strong work ethic.

Developing a strong work ethic imprints in your being a strong sense of self and a belief in your ability to achieve whatever life throws your way.

Adopting this attitude will help you reach your full potential.

Your lack of focus

If you can’t stay focused on what is important to you, you really won’t achieve much. In a world full of distractions it is now more important than ever to keep our mind on the big picture.

Paul J Meyer once uttered:

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.”

How true those words are!

Staying focused takes discipline and commitment. With so many distractions, it’s easy to get off track and not get anything done. That’s why staying focused on what you need to get done is key in reaching your fullest potential.

Focus on the task at hand and Focus on the big picture.

What does your big picture look like? What daily goals do you need to set in order to achieve it?

Anything that distracts you from completing the big picture and completing a task needs to be put away.

Lack of rest

How can you reach your full potential if you are all burned out?

Taking the time to rest and rejuvenate your mind and body will allow you to become re-energized for the next day. So make this one a daily habit.

You can only reach your fullest potential if you take the time to recharge. When you are constantly working without any rest, you will eventually burn out.

Reaching your fullest potential every day can become stressful if you don’t manage your time well and take the time to recharge. Take a moment and think about what recharges you. Maybe it’s spending some quality time with your spouse or taking a nice walk in the park or simply just closing your eyes for a moment to take in some deep breaths.

When you decide to recharge, solely focus on recharging and avoid getting distracted by wondering thoughts.

This simple habit will allow you to maintain you energy and in effect your momentum.

Final thoughts…

Everything good starts small.

Living up to your fullest potential will not happen in one day neither will it happen by accident. It will slowly happen over a period of time and only after you decide to take action to do so. So decide to take small steps each day towards that direction.

Start writing your goals down each day. Choose things just out of reach. And take actions to hit them.

It is a choice that only you can make for your well-being. I made that choice.

I’m being the best me I can be, right here, right now. And so can you.

How else can one reach their full potential? Have you done so? Leave a comment and share your thoughts in the section below.

Thanks for Reading :)

If you want to privately get in touch with me you can Connect With me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 300,118+ people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.