This weekend I ran my sixth half marathon. I personally believe that there are very few things or activities, outside of running, that stretch you and challenge you the way running does. When I got in to running several years ago, I did it just to lose some weight. I didn’t know that it would be a catalyst to a process that has pushed me in so many ways.
Most of us have not, or will never, put ourselves in situations that require us to be uncomfortable. It is not totally our fault, it is unfortunately ingrained in our DNA.
Here are three reasons many out us will never fulfill our true potential and what you can do instead to prevent this from happening.
You will never put yourself in the situation: When I first got into running, I didn’t know anything about it at all. I just started doing it one day. Then, I read somewhere that running an eight minute mile was considered really good. It meant that you were a good runner. A really good friend of mine told me that anything less than an eight minute mile is considered jogging. He considered the eight minute mile to be the great separator between runners and joggers. He said do you want to be a runner or a jogger?
I decided that running an eight minute mile would be my first goal in my new exercise program. The first time I ran an eight minute mile, I quickly learned what the difference was between what I was doing before and running that eight minute mile. I felt like the eight minute mile was full on sprint. I didn’t realize how slow I had actually been running. The day I ran that eight minute mile, everything changed for me.
I now knew what it would take for me to become better than average at running. I then set my next goal. Which was to run three eight minute miles with an average of eight minutes per mile.
I am proud to say I have accomplished that and then some since then. I have accomplished many of the goals I have set, and I am still seeking to accomplish a few that I have set that I just can’t seem to get to.
The best thing I did was to put myself in a situation to actually get me out of my comfort zone and push me beyond what I thought I was capable of. As I look back on my life, I now see that of all the things I have accomplished, it required me to go first and actually put myself in situations that I wouldn’t normally put myself in to.
To realize your full potential you have to seek out situations and activities that you have never been in before. They just won’t happen on accident. You must go to them.
You seek comfort over growth: We all have been really sick before. You know the feeling. You just don’t feel very well, and you are not at home. You may be at work. You may be on a trip. Or just visiting with family. But you are really, really sick and you can’t get comfortable, because you are not at your house and in your bed. You have to travel back home somehow, and for some length of time. All you can think about is that bed and how comfortable it will be when you finally get home. When you finally do get home, and you get in your bed. You immediately have this comfort feeling wash all over you. Now don’t get me wrong, you are still sick, but you are at least comfortable.
The comfort we seek in our every day life is no different from the comfort we seek when we are sick. The only difference is, when we are sick we know we are uncomfortable and we seek what will provide us comfort. Our bed, may be some type of medication, etc. However, when we are not sick and we are just living, we are never forced in to an uncomfortable situation. Instead we just live in the comfort zone. Most of us will never force ourselves outside of our comfort zone, because we don’t have to. We go through each day just being comfortable. It is easy, it doesn’t require much.
To get out of your comfort zone it requires you to put yourself in a situation where the chance to get out of the comfort zone could occur. Most of the time, people avoid this possibility at all cost. For you to grow and realize your full potential. You have to get outside of what is comfortable and plan, prepare, and seek opportunities that will force you outside of your every day comfort zone.
You think you have all you need: I recently talked to a person that said they have everything they need. They are an accomplished professional that has their own business. They live in paradise, they have their health, and everyone in their life seems to be doing well. Most people would agree that this person has it all. Having it all is great, and I have no doubt that this person is happy.
However, when you get to a point where you feel like you have everything you need and you are satisfied with where you are in your life, many times you stop seeking growth and development. Life is not all about getting to a point and saying, “I have made it, this is all I am going to be.” No. Life is all about maximizing and realizing your full potential. All of us have to be willing to try to reach our full potential. If you are capable of more, you must be willing to go out and do more. This is what life should be all about.
Like the individual I recently talked to that said they everything they need. The really interesting thing is that they said they have everything they need. In their conscious brain, they believe this to be true. However, in their subconscious brain, the part of the brain that doesn’t allow ourselves off the hook, is telling them that they are capable of more. Which is why I connected with them in the first place. They came to me, looking for more. They came to me and said, I know I need to work with you on these things.
What this situation tells me and what I already know. We as humans are always seeking more. In it is built-in to our DNA and genetic code. Many people may say they are content, but that is only because they have decided that is what they want to say. The real you, inside of you, is wanting more, you just have to listen to it and be willing to embrace it.
As I have recovered this weekend from my sixth half-marathon, I have already started planning for what I must do next. I am not satisfied with my results from my last race, because I know I am capable of more. I know I haven’t maximized and reached my full potential.
Let me ask you. Have you reached your full potential? Are you capable of more? Let me answer for you. No. You have not reached your full potential. And yes. You are capable of more. The question is: What are you going to do about it?
To your success and your future.