We live in a society where many people desire to live a productive and meaningful life. However, sometimes the goals you have set for yourself may seem unreachable and your dreams unattainable, resulting in not living up to your potential. This can be due to circumstances you have encountered, setbacks due to tragedy or misfortunes, or just out of complacency.
Have you ever felt like there is more for you to accomplish in life but just lacked direction on how to proceed?
This article will discuss twelve steps to maximizing your potential and living a more productive life. My goal is to provide an insightful look at life and how to open yourself up to new opportunities that can change your life and place you on a more productive path.
Our discussion will include the following steps:
- Learn from your past
- Leave your comfort zone
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Be courageous
- Recognize your strengths
- Repurpose your skills
- Define your mission
- Create a plan
- Establish actionable goals
- Implement your plan
- Expand your network
- Live with a greater purpose
Let’s get started.
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1. Learn from your past
Part of living involves creating a blueprint for our lives. We may start with dreams and ambitions of accomplishing great things but get thrown off course. This can be frustrating and disappointing.
Your dream may have been to play in the NBA or NFL, for example, but you may have had a knee injury that prevented you from pursuing your goal. On the other hand, you may have landed a job or career that was not your intended goal, but you feel stuck and are afraid to change.
Yet, you may have aspired to start a business and could not get it off the ground due to circumstances beyond your control. Whatever your situation, it is essential to reflect on your past to understand what got you off track from reaching your life goals.
Allow your past to be an opportunity to see what caused you to stop pursuing your dream and begin the process of recovery to make changes and pursue your dreams.
2. Leave your comfort zone
I recall walking through a pet store and noticing the beautiful birds housed in cages. Of course, the first thought that came to mind was that it was nice to watch them and admire their beauty. But, at the same time, I wondered how the bird felt about being confined to the cage.
Was the bird happy and content? The bird was provided with food and shelter, but what would it do or become if it were free to live beyond this cage? This intrigued me and made me think of how our lives sometimes are similar to the bird’s situation.
For many people, there is an invisible cage that we live in. I think of it as a barrier that keeps us confined to our comfort zone. Leaving your comfort zone is essential to making changes in your life.
Facing your fears and developing a growth mindset is critical to making significant changes. This can be life-altering for some, but it is the key to opening new doors of opportunity.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
The measure of our success is often tied to how well we do compared to others. This can be in competitive sports, a grading system in school, and even materially speaking based on worldly possessions.
This desire to compete and compare our lives to others can be a barrier to our minds. If we focus on what others are doing and ignore our development, we lose focus on living the life God created us to live.
How do we change this behavior of comparing ourselves to others? It begins with self-awareness. Take time to count your blessings and recognize your uniqueness.
Become focused on becoming a better version of yourself each day by striving to learn more, do more and excel at being a better you.
4. Be courageous
Fear is another barrier that holds us back. We sometimes do not like to try new things because of the unknown, which can limit our ability to grow and develop as a person.
When faced with challenges or obstacles, it is easy to give up and not try to improve your situation. However, facing your fears with courage and determination can cause a momentum shift in your life.
I have watched sports teams fall behind their opponents and appear rejected with gloom and doom. However, the voice of one player encouraging his team members to fight on and not give up has a way of changing the course of the game. Players who feel defeated can quickly change their mental state of mind with hope when inspired to do so.
Likewise, in your own life, you can overcome challenges by believing in yourself and using positive inspiration from books or other people to help lift your spirits to fight on. Be courageous in facing what life throws at you head-on, and do not allow fear to paralyze you.
5. Recognize your strengths
Each person has unique strengths. Sometimes these strengths are hidden because they may not have been recognized or overlooked. So a question to you is, how do you realize your strengths?
You can recognize your strengths by asking people close to you to help uncover what you are naturally good at. You can also write down attributes about yourself that you do well naturally. Finally, look for patterns based on past experiences that highlight what characteristics shape your personality.
Examine what you are good at and use your strengths to pursue things you enjoy.
6. Repurpose your skills
A great way to begin changing your life is to seek new opportunities and redirect your skills into something that motivates and inspires you.
For example, you may find that teaching children is a passion you have and decide to go into teaching full-time. If this is a path you want to pursue, it may require you to further your education and get certified to teach in your particular subject area. This can apply to any occupation you want to pursue.
You may have other skills that can be used to provide additional income for yourself while doing something you enjoy. For example, register with Fiverr, a marketplace that helps you use your skills as a freelancer. Explore how you can use your skills to earn money working for yourself.
If you want to work from home with your own online business, start with Wealthy Affiliates to learn how to use your skills to begin your own online business.
Look at repurposing your skills as a way of pursuing new opportunities that add value to yourself and others.
7. Define your mission
Your mission in life defines the why behind what you are trying to accomplish. But, unfortunately, sometimes, we lose direction because we have not determined exactly what we want to achieve.
The benefit of having a mission statement is to provide motivation and inspiration to become a better person. This is where you state your life values and beliefs about how you want to be identified. It is a good idea to write your mission statement down and use it as a target for what you are aiming to be.
Let your mission statement represent the person you aspire to be and define who you are.
8. Create a plan
Winston Church ll once said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” Having a plan is critical to establishing a strategy to change your circumstances.
If you begin working on a project without a view of the end goal in mind, you set yourself up for frustration and disappointment because you may not get the results you had in mind. So instead, write down what you want to accomplish in life and use this as a target to aim for.
Use the plan as a playbook to guide you on what to work on and what goals to accomplish.
9. Establish actionable goals
After creating a plan with goals, breaking down your goals into smaller components is essential. This can be done by establishing specific actions you can take to achieve your ultimate goal.
Using the analogy of becoming a school teacher, for example, may require learning the requirements needed to be a teacher. You may have to speak to a career counselor at a college to understand what courses are required and develop a timeline to complete them.
If your goal is to start a business, it may involve researching what type of business you want to establish and setting up a list of steps to accomplish over time to get the business underway.
While establishing your actionable next steps, please keep it simple to allow room for you to accomplish milestones in increments so that you do not become overwhelmed. The objective is to concentrate on building momentum to complete your ultimate goal.
10. Implement your plan
Without action, your plans may not get off the ground. Taking your goals to the next level is important by putting them into practice. A way to implement your plan is by setting up a schedule or timeframe on when you will start your plan and how you will proceed step by step.
Writing this as a reminder and holding yourself accountable is always great. Imagine being your own boss and keeping yourself on task to get things done.
As you begin your plan, check what you have completed and make the necessary modifications. However, the vital thing to remember is to stick to it and be patient. Allow yourself time to move at your own pace while getting your plan underway.
11. Expand your network
We benefit from helping each other. Having other people to support you in your development to grow as a person is essential. Surround yourself with people who can encourage and help you along the way.
There are many advantages to networking with others in your career, business, or personal life. Namely, learning another person’s perspective and connecting with others who may have already accomplished what you are seeking to achieve.
Expand your sphere of influence to include people who can challenge, motivate and inspire you.
12. Live with a greater purpose
A way to live life with a greater purpose is to strive for something beyond yourself. This is done by pursuing goals you believe in, inspiring you, and motivating you to become a better person.
Looking back at the bird locked within a cage, imagine if you were the one locked in a cage like the bird. Would you desire to stay there, or would you rather be free to fly beyond the cage?
This question is one that each of us has to ask ourselves. Each person has a different path to follow in life, and only you can answer that question for yourself.
A challenge to you is to live a life that fulfills you and gives you meaning. Live with purpose and maximize your potential.
We have reviewed twelve steps for changing the course of your life and maximizing your potential. This included taking a look at your past to uncover where in life you got off course of pursuing your dreams.
The steps also outlined an action plan for leaving your comfort zone and not comparing yourself to others. Instead, be courageous in defining your mission and creating your own plan to identify your strengths for repurposing your skills, expanding your network, and living life with purpose.
You have one life to live. Start living your dreams by doing those things outlined and making them a part of your life’s goal to live a more productive and meaningful life.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on how you have taken steps to live your dreams. Thank you for reviewing this article. Your time is greatly appreciated.