Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in Education

BNI Educational Topic –         Realizing your Potential                                    8/7/12

By Nan Nally-Seif, LCSW, TEP


The following ideas came from the book, Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others by Justin Menkes (Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, Mass 2011)

The author studied the differences between CEO’s who fail and those who show remarkable staying power. He did in-depth psychological interviews to get his data.

“Great leaders fulfill their own potential and equally seek to fill the potential for those who work for and with them.”

” Leadership means realizing potential – in yourself and the people you lead”

I thought the idea of realizing our potential which is a lifelong process, was a helpful topic.

There are 3 catalysts that the author discusses for realizing potential.

1) Realistic optimism: “having confidence without self delusions or irrationalities” It is setting “audacious goals, yet being aware of the challenges”.

Mr. Menkes, a leading expert and executive assessment, points out that Piaget, a French psychologist  in the 1940’s spoke about our innate need for new achievement. As adults we need to recognize and develop this drive.

Frequently as adults, our behavior tends to avoid and minimize confrontation with                     1) risk  2) danger or 3) un-pleasantries.  As humans we can have a desire to wind down and “curl up on the couch” in the face of danger or risk.  Frequently, we prefer not to live in the anxiety nor to focus on the problems or challenges at hand. This is complicated by the fight/flight response and adrenaline which act as “noise makers and distracters”. These responses are barriers  to our goal of keeping calm and focused at the task at hand.

2) Another catalyst for realizing one’s potential is subservience to purpose. This means having “great dedication to your work is a direct result of the importance you put on your goal”.

3) Feeling order in chaos: “this is the ability to find multidimensional problems invigorating”. There is a need for clarity of thought and a drive to solve puzzles.

Think about one thing that you need to focus on in order for you to realize your potential.