A number of things irk me, and one of them is when I see untapped, underutilized or potential in someone or something being dismissed. I recently experienced an entire roomful of players verbally telling one of their teammates how they could see how much potential he had. Whether this person believed or could see what the others were seeing was in question, and unfortunately about a week later, it was clear he did not see what they could see.
After hearing about the person essentially throwing away their potential by deciding not to participate on the team anymore, I was really upset that this happened. The fact myself and the rest of the team could see his potential was as obvious to us as the nose on our face. However, for some reason, this person did not see or want to leverage what we were seeing. This should not have happened. Although it did, there was still an opportunity to help this person see what they could not see.
One of my abilities is helping to see potential and strengths in others they may not be aware of. In the case of this player, his potential was obvious to everyone else. It truly bewildered me that he could not embrace and seize the opportunity to capitalize on his potential. Instead, he chose to dismiss the potential talent he had, and what others admired in him. There are a number of reasons why this happened, but the main thing to concentrate on is how to help someone in this situation.
If you or someone else you know is dismissive or unaware of their potential, I honestly believe it is each of our responsibilities to help this person. I guarantee you at some point someone helped you when you could not see your potential. I’m also certain it made a tremendously positive impact on your life. Perhaps you are not even aware of this having happened to you? If not, you should take a few minutes to think about when this probably did happen. Why? Because doing this will allow you to appreciate and then see from a different lens how to recognize potential in others.
You do not need to be a manager, parent or coach to see potential in others. You simply have to be willing and open to looking for it.
So, now you might be thinking to yourself, what does this untapped or unrecognized potential look like? It can look like many different things. Some of it is recognized by your gut instinct, and other times it is 100% obvious (e.g., singing, writing, mathematical, drawing, athletic talent). If you are willing to look for it, and help others to embrace and take advantage of it, you will be giving them one of the best gifts we can give to another human. The gift of recognition of their untapped talent and potential.
When people are recognized for their potential, a funny thing happens. It’s similar to giving them an imaginary key to help them to unlock their potential. By doing this, you are allowing them to see what you see. By showing them and making them aware of their potential, you are helping them to develop the talent they were unaware of.
Imagine if everyone was looking out and helping others to tap into their potential? Obviously I believe everyone has potential, and it is sheerly a matter of other people being proactive and helping them to recognize it when they don’t. Here are some ideas on how you can more easily spot untapped potential in others, and what to do when you see this:
- They are naturally better at something than anyone else. Ask them if they are aware of what they are doing comes easily to them?
- Someone who is empathetic may not be recognized for their gift of being this way. Tell the person who has a high degree of it, how much you appreciate this talent, and ask them how they are using it to help others on a daily basis?
- Being a good listener is becoming a lost art. When you come across someone who is a strong listener, let them know how much you appreciate their talent, and ask them how they became such a good listener?
- Seeing acts of kindness should not go unrecognized, and some people are simply more kind than others. When you see someone being kind, let them know you appreciate their act(s) of kindness, especially if they were kind to you or someone else.
- If you see obvious, or not so obvious potential in someone and can do something about it, let them know you see their potential. Then take one more step and either help them yourself, or find someone who can do so.
Never let potential go unnoticed or allow it not to be properly channeled. Everyone deserves to have their potential recognized, and be given a chance to make the most of the potential they have. Don’t just be a bystander in witnessing potential, get out there and do your part to help others. The potential out there is unlimited, and will produce amazing results and opportunities when it is tapped into.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.
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