Defining Ourselves by Our Potential

January 31st, 2020 by Kelly Kienzle

“We tend to see ourselves as our limitations, instead of our potential.” 

I heard this comment recently and was struck by how true it is.  When faced with a challenge, how often do we ask, “How am I unprepared or unsuited to overcome this challenge?”  “What don’t I know?”  “What don’t I have?”

These questions are prudent when we face decisions with long implications or deep impact.  Yet how often is that, really?  What would happen if we instead defined ourselves by our potential?

Isn’t that what we do with children?  We don’t notice the limitations of children.  We don’t say, “He could never learn to stack those blocks” or “She doesn’t have enough experience to pronounce that word.”  No, we don’t make those judgments.

And why not?  Because we see and understand that children still have potential, just as the boys in the picture above express.  So don’t we, as adults, still have potential?

Potential is not a set amount we’re granted at the start of life that somehow runs out at a given point.  Potential is exactly that – – the ever-expanding possibility of more.

So, over the next week, notice when you define yourself by your limitations.  Notice how helpful it is to consider your limitations.  Then, make a conscious pivot to define yourself by your potential. You could potentially be happier and more confident.

If the 4- or 14-year old version of you had potential, then the older version still has it too.

Leave a Reply