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Five Keys to Realizing Your Potential

By Valorie Burton
Author and Motivational Speaker

CBNMoney.comWhen I was growing up, we had a framed piece of wisdom that hung on a wall:

Don’t regret growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.

As I celebrate my birthday this week, that piece of wisdom is one of many that continues to inspire me.

I’d like to share with you just a few more lessons that may be just what you need to hear right now. There is nothing new under the sun, as King Solomon once said, but every now and then, we need to be reminded of what we already know.

These are five philosophies for experiencing your potential:

1. You are here for a reason.
If you are alive, there is a purpose for your life. Your purpose answers this simple question: “How is a person’s life better because they crossed your path?” Your purpose may be to bring joy to others, provoke thought, educate, inspire, teach, or connect people with one another. Whatever it is, it uses your natural gifts, talents, passions, and experiences (both painful and joyful) to make a positive impact on the world.

2. People can change (but you can’t change them).
We all have the capacity to change, but lasting change comes from within. External pressure may effect a temporary shift, but true transformation occurs from the inside out. Out of the heart flows the issues of life. Until one’s heart changes, transformation is impossible. It requires a personal commitment to facing truth and walking through fear in order to step out of habits and behaviors inside your comfort zone. So don’t waste your time trying to change others. Focus on changing yourself and praying for others.

3. Change is a process.
Occasionally, change happens “suddenly.” There’s the cigarette smoker who stops cold turkey or the person who becomes fed up and makes a major life-changing decision. But most of the time, change does not happen overnight. Give yourself permission to fail, learn from mistakes, and try again. Eventually, just as you learned to ride a bicycle or read, change will take root and won’t take as much concentrated effort. Adjust your expectations so that you give yourself the space to improve over time.

4. Fear is inevitable.
Expect it and keep moving forward. As you may have read in my book What's Really Holding You Back?, fear is the emotion that threatens to keep us from our dreams – if we allow it. One of the keys is answering your “what if?” questions: “What if I fail?” “What if I’m wrong?” “What if they say ‘no’?” “What if I’m not good enough?” Answer the questions that conjure up fear and you’ll begin pushing through your greatest fears.

5. Baby steps will get you to the finish line.
Getting stuck is a vicious cycle. Fear keeps you from taking action. Not taking action leads to poor results. Poor results convince you that you cannot succeed.

Consider your vision for this year and identify a simple step you can take this week to move you closer to it.

Lastly, I’ve learned that happiness is a choice. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Studies have even shown that when people attain the things they believed would bring them happiness, their level of happiness increases only temporarily, then falls back to their previous level. Having more money, getting married, having a baby, landing your dream job – these are all wonderful milestones, but they are not the key to happiness. You hold that key. It is your choice to acknowledge your blessings, love fully, conquer your fears, maintain perspective, nurture relationships, and live your divinely-appointed purpose that brings happiness.

My challenge to you this week:

Embrace the change you are trying to make in your life as a process. Don’t beat yourself up for not changing perfectly, succumbing to your fears, or taking baby steps. Allow it to be a process – with ups and downs – until you get to your finish line.

Journaling assignment:

How is a person’s life better because they crossed your path? With regards to a change you want to make in your life, what is your biggest fear? What baby step could you take forward despite your fear?


Valorie BurtonA sought-after life coach and speaker, Valorie Burton seeks to inspire people to live more fulfilling, less stressful lives. She is the author of Listen to Your Life, What’s Really Holding You Back?, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, Why Not You? 28 Days to Authentic Confidence, and How Did I Get So Busy?.

 

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