What a minefield! Does fulfilling your potential bring back horrors from school days?…. Rosie has potential but…sort of thing?
Strangely, my current angst has nothing to do with what other people think I should be doing to fulfil my potential and much more to do with what, I think I should be doing. That’s if I ever manage to wrap my head around the whole concept of potential?
It’s fair to say that some things just get you all fired up. It happened to me last week and I may go on about it for some time.
The Nut Factory in the Jungle
Last week I visited the East Bali Cashew company. It is a social enterprise; well as close as you can get to one, in a country which doesn’t seem to provide for it. It is a profit making company which is, very visibly, bringing economic prosperity to an area of East Bali which has historically been impoverished. Significantly, it is empowering it’s predominantly female workforce.
I thought “This is amazing. Why isn’t there more of it”?
Is it all about profit?
It’s a dance. To get something like that off the ground there has to be a desire for positive social change. Usually it’s the desire for profit which gets things going but profit and social empowerment are not mutually exclusive.
It’s not a universal truth but I am pretty sure the majority of people want to bring real benefit to others in everything we do.
Don’t make excuses?
We play it small, making all sorts of excuses for ourselves; we would do more if we had more time, more resources more contacts etc etc.
What if we really examined things? Simply asked ourselves, what can I do with the resources and time I have? Removed our excuses to do nothing! Or, if each of us actively looked at what we could do, not what we can’t?
How about, if got bigger? What if we allowed ourselves to be pulled up by a joint collective. Other people doing similar things.
So often we allow ourselves to be intimidated or jealous of what others have achieved. What if instead of allowing that impulse, we just allowed ourselves to be inspired and lifted by example.
You are not alone
I am a perfect example of all of this in action. I sat in an office for a couple of decades, knowing I wanted to make a difference but not doing anything very much. Mainly I told myself I wasn’t enough or didn’t have enough.
I read the F**CK it books and went on a F**CK it retreat (google it), only for my abiding memory to be of a fellow participant sidling up and saying in a conspiratorial way “it’s all very well for them, but some us have jobs and pensions!”
Adapt to your environment
And so I am here in the land made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert. My arrival comes about not because of a eventual epiphany but because of a spectacular case of crash and burn.
Well I am sorry, I am here saying that as women we can do more than find a cute South American boyfriend and although tropical islands are cool, there is no way you need to be here, or even, somewhere like this to fulfil your potential or raise collective consciousness. In fact, I’d say there is a hell of a lot more, to be done moving and shaking wise, in a traditional corporate environment. However, the problem is those environments are not set up to allow, women in particular to thrive.We need to create space for ourselves. In that fast paced “haven’t got a minute to myself environment” we need to consciously create time and space to, create and expand. It’s in that area I firmly believe I can provide support.
These are my 5 tips to create expansion and fulfil your potential
- Put yourself in a unfamiliar environments as often as you possibly can. East Bali Cashews was started by someone who spent a period of time in a community and observed that cashews where being grown there but then shipped out to other parts of Asia to be processed. Do you really know what is going on in your community?
- Seek out the company of people who are doing things you admire. It will spark ideas and you will find they are not super- human (don’t be disappointed, they are just like you).
- Take a break from artificial stimulants from time to time. You might thing that buzzing like a swarm of angry bees makes you sharp and gets things done. It does! It also stop you observing the detail.
- Develop a daily meditation or similar practice. It doesn’t have to be a formal meditation practice. You will know yourself if you are already doing something which allows you to quieten down the monkey mind chatter and negative self talk. It will be somewhere you automatically start to feel expansion and clarity. Whatever it is, do it daily.
- Read or listen to inspiring audio books. Here are two of my favourites around the topic:
- Yes that old favourite “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, Susan Jeffers and
- a newer one I have found “Pencils of Promise”, Adam Braun