Fulfilling talent’s promise

Feb 21st, 2017 | By | Category: Commentary

Jeff Hough

By Jeff Hough

Talent and potential get used too often. Whenever we see someone who appears to be doing something better than the rest of the pack, we use it. Living up to the fulfillment of either term is a fragile process. Conditions must be perfect. Planets and opportunities must align for the individual to succeed.

Success is a fragile flower that needs almost perfect conditions to bloom. Many promising careers have never started because of naysayers or changing environments. One of the biggest roadblocks to success is the opinion of peers. Often, a friend’s positive advice can be as damaging to your journey as the negative. Too many dreams never materialized because of advice given with the best intentions.

Consider the last time you had an idea for a new project or opportunity. Did you go through a checklist of people to get their “approval” before moving forward? Did you discard the idea after one naysayer? Did you move forward after everyone said it was a great idea?

Too often we have to ask the world’s permission before jumping into the unknown. The problem with this strategy is the unknown. Each path is unique and filled with unforeseeable twists and turns. No one knows what lies within you and if something is within your ability to grasp.

Outside opinions are valuable, but only if the right questions are asked. Asking your mother if you should undertake a risky venture is never a good idea. A mother’s first instinct is to protect and nurture, not put you in harm’s way. The better question for mom would be if she would still love you, even if you failed.

The best questions to ask, are those providing insight into the path you are considering. Rather than asking, “Do you think I can do this?,” the question should be, “What are the risks?” That is information that only you can determine based on your tolerance for risk.

Every individual’s path is unique. Yes, there may have been others who have gone before you, but their situation was different. They had different backgrounds, upbringings, opportunities, and skill sets. They can provide valuable insight into parts of the unknown, but the real unknown lies inside you.

No one knows how you will react in any given situation. Everyone has different reactions to risk and uncertainty. Some fold in the face of adversity while others rise to the occasion. The point is progress isn’t made from a popularity contest. It comes from hours of toil and sweat and a tolerance of risk that makes others uncomfortable.

I often reflect on Apple’s 1997 Think Different advertising campaign. It celebrated the crazy ones, the misfits, the trouble makers; the ones who changed the world. Each person highlighted in the ad had talent and potential. More importantly, they fulfilled their potential.

The trick to fulfilling your potential is to stop asking the world for permission. Instead, you need to ask the right people the right questions. One of the key questions to ask is what are the pivotal moments in the process.

Pivotal moments are those crucial junctions containing risk. Those are the moments where you win or lose. Then the next question becomes “What is my end of rope factor?” When you understand the answer to that question, you will know whether or not to proceed.

Proceeding into the unknown is always scary. It is the unknown that prevents us from taking that first step towards our dream. Yet, dreams can be realized and life fulfilled if we listen to the little voice inside telling us we can.

Jeff Hough is a business author, blogger and speaker in Pocatello.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment