Igniting the Spark Within: How to Fulfil your Potential
Are you achieving your full potential in life? Or has that promotion in work managed to elude you? Maybe you’ve failed to find the love of your life, or perhaps you just can’t seem to make it to yoga class as much as you’d like. Don’t feel too guilty if you feel like you’re not achieving your highest potential. Many of us are failing to live our ‘best life’, whether that’s at work or home. Luckily, there’s something you can do about it. According to business coach and sales trainer, Orla Conneely, with a little work, the sky’s the limit when it comes to every area of your life. “Many people feel as if they're adrift in the world,” Orla begins. “They work hard, but don't seem to get anywhere worthwhile. The reality however, is that there’s only one person responsible for the quality of your life, and that’s you.”
1. Believe in Yourself
First up, if you’re going to be successful at living the best version of you, you must believe it’s possible. For that, you need to believe in yourself and your ability to make it happen. “If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for failure,” says Orla. “The difference between those who achieve success and those who don’t, is persevering with consistent action.” She recommends looking back at all you’ve achieved to date in order to boost your confidence. If for example you’re struggling in work, keep track of all your accomplishments to date, and the various pieces of positive feedback you’ve received. It’s easy to dwell on the negative, but writing down what you’ve achieved will really drive home how far you’ve come and build confidence.
2. Set Goals
So how do we go about making life changes? Well, start by setting some goals, says Orla. “If we don’t know our destination”, she notes, “we won’t go anywhere. So be very clear about what you want to achieve.” The idea of setting goals though, can be daunting. Aspiring for the highest achievements is admirable, but when you set too high a goal, fear of failure can creep in and you’re likely to return to whatever behaviour is comfortable. “Instead,” says Orla, “break down your goal into achievable parts. Focus on small wins instead of the bigger picture; this will motivate you to continue achieving.” Have you been meaning to get more fit? Start small. Don’t sign up for a marathon – ease yourself in with a light jog. Decide on an achievable number of sessions per week and congratulate yourself when you’ve done them!
3. Know Yourself
In order to set the right goals, we need to be honest with ourselves. For example, if you’ve decided you really want a promotion in work, you need to think about how to achieve it. Do you need to be more vocal during meetings? Perhaps you need an extra qualification. These are practical things you can start working towards. “Think about where you are now”, says Orla, “and what small steps you can take to move towards living the best version of yourself.”
4. Embrace the Right Mind-Set
When setting goals, we need to become aware of how we think. “Your mind-set is a collection of habits and beliefs that shape your behaviour,” says Orla. “Increasing awareness of your thought patterns is key when moving towards a new goal.” It’s important therefore to take a step back and look at your life. Maybe you’ve got into a negative thought sequence when it comes to meeting a potential partner. Is insecurity or fear causing you to build an emotional wall? “To start on the path of change, we need to recognise that there are patterns in our thinking, and observe how we talk to ourselves,” says Orla. “Your thoughts and self-talk should be moving you towards your goal.”
5. Learn from Failure
Naturally there’s always the chance you may fail in attempting to achieve your goals. The important thing is that you learn from failure, pick yourself up, and start again. “Remember that staying in the same place is often more painful than moving forward and failing,” says Orla. So even if you don’t get that job, commend yourself for trying, and remember all you’ve learnt during the application process. “Don’t be afraid to try and fail, just start again”, says Orla. “Persistence is key.”
6. Stay Committed
Finally, be aware that all this work requires commitment and the discipline to change. But remember, it will pay off in the end. “The pain of regret is much greater than the pain of discipline,” says Orla. “Life is short, so take action to achieve your full potential now.”