Your potential is limited by one thing: you. You only do what you feel like doing. You only do what’s comfortable. That’s why you don’t have what you want. And you are not alone.
In a recent U.S. survey conducted by The Conference Board, 55 percent of people were unsatisfied with their careers. That’s the highest level of dissatisfaction since the group began surveying business trends 23 years ago. I guarantee you, most of those people spent more time parked in front of the television or surfing the Web than looking for a new job today. We always do what’s easy; we do what feels comfortable, even when we are miserable.
At some point, everyone feels stuck and dissatisfied. Each one of us has issues we believe we cannot overcome. You can’t find love. You can’t start over. You can’t lose the weight. And because you feel hopeless to change, you give up. You say things are fine, you pretend it’s all good, but on the inside you know that you want something more.
Recently, I was sitting in the soaring nave of Harvard Memorial Church listening to the Rev. Peter Gomes. Gomes is a renowned theologian at Harvard University and has been awarded 36 honorary degrees. Were I to pick someone I believed to be immune from feeling stuck, I’d put money on Peter Gomes. But in that setting he revealed, “We’ve all grown tired of who we are. We long to become something more and to become who we were meant to be. That quest to become who you were meant to be is the purpose of your life on earth.
“I have grown tired of where I am,” he said. “I am tired of my small-mindedness. I am tired of my excuses. I am tired of who I am. I am tired of pretending that I have it all figured out. I want to become something more than who I am today. Who I am today, is not who I am meant to become. My quest is the same as yours. The question we all face is: What are you willing to shed to become who you were meant to become?”
Among all the brainiacs and overachievers filling the rows, there was a collective exhale. Gomes admitted he felt stuck, too, and allowed us all to drop the façade. We all long to become something more than who we are.
There is more in store for you than what’s going on right now. The problem is when you guesstimate the mental effort, the physical effort and the perceived consequences you’ll have to deal with, getting whatever it is you want seems impossible. That’s why you throw in the towel. That’s why you turn on the TV every evening instead of going to work on your dreams. You may be able to stop thinking about changing your life for a while, but the feeling that something’s missing will stick with you.
You want to know how to live up to your potential? Stop saying you are fine. Admit what you want to someone. And do the hard work to get it. I promise you, if you turn off the TV and you take the hard road, you will get what you want. If you do what feels uncomfortable, if you take the actions you don’t feel like taking, you can have everything you ever wanted. Your potential is within reach. You just don’t feel like reaching for it.