Striving to achieve our greatest potential in all aspects of our well-being is not only the goal but a requirement in order to reach our potential in any individual aspect. Remember, though, potential is not perfection.
I remember being in a hospital room with my daughter one year before she passed away, only a couple of months after I left my marriage. The medical team had already fought for her life in the emergency room where they had to drill into her leg to place an intraosseous (IO) insertion into the proximal tibia because inserting a normal IV was no longer possible. This alone was almost more that I could bear to watch her suffer through. She was now having an hour-long seizure, and not for the first time in her life I feared this could be it for her, for us.
As my father sat and watched this one example of what we had been living through for seven and a half years and the unhappiness that had become my existence, he could see not only the fragility of her life, but mine as well. Seeing the pain in my father’s eyes made me able to envision the pain in my Heavenly Father, and suddenly I felt not alone.
Because my entire focus had been on my daughter’s survival, I was slowly losing the rest of my blessings, which included my other children. I was not even close to reaching any potential; in a sense I too was dying. I now understand that all our aspects of well-being are connected, and what we long to acquire in one is what we attract in all. The only thing I was attracting into my family’s life was the need to survive each day. Not joy, not fulfillment, not reaching our potentials, just literally staying alive.
It was then that I resolved to live each day I had with all three of my children as if it were our last in every aspect of life. In that final year the four of us laid the foundation of joy for a future unknown. We began to create precious memories and fulfill impossible dreams that we still talk about today. We learned to live—not concerned about needing the okay from anyone else—but to always fill up what was missing. It was our lives and we were going to live them.
We went on trips, we had an extra birthday party for Marina one day—just because we felt like it—and we laughed and cried and most of all loved, loved, loved. I have never worked so hard to retrieve something that I never knew was missing before that day in the hospital room: my life.
If you are chasing an impossible ideal in one aspect of your life to the point that you close yourself off from an entire beautiful world, you too will find the other aspects of your life falling by the wayside. Opening yourself up to change ignites hope and allows you to begin to attract what you really desire. Sometimes adjusting your perspective or definition of what success really means, by letting go of the things you cannot control, allows you to reach the ultimate victory of uncovering your true potential and those of others.
Today I hope that you will open a little more and reach a little deeper into realizing your life’s potential by letting go and letting in. Try to picture Our Father’s healing hands upon you and allow Him to take some of your heavy burdens and turn your sacrifices into surrender. Find gratitude for what you do have, for what you know you can count on today, and accept what you cannot.
As you seek to enrich the fullness of life’s potential, you will come to realize that every aspect requires nurturing and that we are not made to do it alone.
Reaching our full emotional potential, I believe, involves developing our emotional intelligence. It may be true that some people seem naturally to possess the gift of emotional intelligence, just as some have a higher intelligence quotient. Nevertheless, with a little effort, we all have the ability to expand our potential by using what we have more efficiently. Developing our skills through studying, organizing our lives, and setting boundaries offers us all room to grow in both areas of IQ and EQ.
Emotional intelligence involves our capacity to articulate and express our feelings and true desires as well as to be able to correctly interpret others’. It is being able to see all aspects of a situation and learning to respond appropriately through effective communication, verbal and non-verbal, to achieve win-win outcomes. This entails respecting the dynamics of others’ feelings and intentions while still honouring our own.
The other day we were experimenting with yawning and how it seems contagious. It is said that when someone yawns after watching another yawn, she is displaying empathy for that person.
What we noticed, though, is that when someone does not yawn after another has, it does not necessarily indicate a lack empathy for that person, but rather that she was not paying attention and her thoughts and focus were elsewhere. If you really want to emotionally evolve and reach your emotional potential, either in a specific situation or in general, the first thing to do is to become aware—be present and pay attention. The second thing is to develop communication skills, with yourself and with others. Like the yawn, once you notice, you are more inclined to respond. Your skills will determine how you respond.
Could it be that someone who seems to have little emotional intelligence or displays a lack of empathy actually was at one time more empathetic or sensitive but has learned to shut this off to protect himself from being overwhelmed? If your goal is to really evolve your emotional potential, realize where you may have shut it off and begin to turn it back on. Once you realize how connecting with others can increase your potential in all areas of life and help you grow into a more well-rounded person, socially and professionally, you can begin to make the effort to be present and engage.
Emotions, ours and others’, are a huge part of our lives. Consider what you can do to reach your emotional potential by striving to become a master of your emotions.
We have had some changes recently in the dental office where I work. They remind me, in a way, of divorce as they concern the end to a partnership. I can’t begin to tell you the number of lessons I’ve learned during this process, but let me tell you about one of the greatest. It applies to every aspect of our lives when it comes to reaching our potential.
It’s the need for STAFF—a Secure Team to Assist us For the Future. I actually said out loud that the next time I go through a divorce or the end of a partnership, I’m going to make sure I have STAFF, people to help me get to where I aim to be.
I’ve written before about the importance of building a team with the people we live and interact with daily, family and friends. I want to extend that to include all who may in some sense have a vested interest in taking care of us, so that e in turn can take care of them. It means, for example, giving back to our community if we want to have security. It means taking care of our people, our peeps, those whom we hire or seek out to help us do what we don’t have the time, talent, or resources to accomplish—if we want them to do a good job in return for us. It also includes the material things we bring into our lives that we care for so they can “care” for us.
Reaching our potential is a matter of constantly giving and taking, and as we do that, we help everyone else achieve their potentials. We need to look at our surroundings and notice what needs some TLC and where we are not giving it—before we expect to receive what we need from our surroundings. If what we see around us is less than we desire to receive, it might just indicate what we need to give more of as we build our STAFF.
Set a goal for your potential and then give this TLC to all that closely surrounds you—to whom or what you have brought into your world for a reason. Create the life you desire starting with your surroundings. If you want your home to provide you with safety, take care of it. If you want to feel as if you belong, allow others to find their place of belonging—or let them move on. If you want to feel valued, value. If you want to feel uplifted, uplift. Don’t hold or hoard anything or anyone that you cannot take care of, or they will not take care of you, and the relationship will end as a burden for both.
What you receive is an environmental response to what you honestly give to your STAFF. Build this and cherish it because what is surrounding you is always a mirror image of what you are offering. If your STAFF is lost and without direction, so are you. If your home is disorganized, so are you. If you allow yourself to see it all come together, and you are truly being honest with your intentions, together you and your surroundings and your STAFF will more readily reach your greatest potentials.
We often hear how innovative and successful people reach their goals and get to the top, and then hear about all that was sacrificed to get there. What we need to learn is how to not have to sacrifice anything important, by learning to balance all of the aspects of our lives. We want to be whole! What I’m talking about is knowing what you value in each aspect of wellness and what is truly important to you. We don’t want to be successful in a career and have no friends or lose the close and loving relationship we have with our children. Nor do we want to have a lot of friends but not do what we are truly supposed to do in life.
We are not reaching our true potential if we are not living in balance, getting what we need, giving what we can, understanding our limitations and the boundaries we are willing to push—without sacrificing our integrity and what is important to us, all and always without shame.
Here are some tips to reach your potential while always remaining in balance:
- First, decide what is important to you and what you intend to accomplish in life; know your priorities. With your lover, your partner, or your children in mind, ask yourself where you want to be in seven years and what you need to do to get there. Know what you are willing to fight for and what you are not. Ask yourself, “What have I always wanted?” Then pay attention to what happens inside when you feel that one of those principles or priorities is challenged; it is almost a feeling of grief. To fully reach your potential and stay on track means feeling whole, knowing yourself and understanding who you are in every aspect of wellness so you can stand strong for what you believe in because you know what you value most in life.
- Second, you need to feel that you have something to offer that also gives back. We all need to feel valued and achieve a sense of accomplishment in, for example, a fulfilling career or job. We also need to feel we are keeping up our marketable skills and, of course, having money coming in to enjoy some of the extras in life. Know your worthiness, know your worth. Know your capabilities and abilities, whether you are working in or out of the home. Then strive for balance. If you feel that the more you give, the more you are expected to give, you need to set boundaries and make those boundaries known. If you are young and eager, you may want to work fifty hours a week. But if you are not in that place and have found contentment in the lifestyle you lead, you may simply need work that will keep you inspired.
- Third, we need our friends, and we need to know we are loved. This fills our souls and makes it all worthwhile. I agree that the expression, “he completes me,” is not realistic; we have to be somewhat whole before we can enter into any type of healthy relationship. But . . . but, without our friends and lovers, we would not be completely whole. We might be like a doughnut, solid around the outside, strong and resilient enough that no matter what falls away, we will not fall with it, but still with a void inside, an empty hole. The key is to learn to depend on others and build lives with some, but never let go of our own dreams and independence—and the credit card in our own name.
- Fourth, what do you really love to do? What form of creativity do you long for and make time for? Where do you do this? Everyone needs to create or to have a hobby, and I believe we all need a room or a space for our hobby to be enjoyed or displayed. WE ALL DO! It could be an art room, a yoga room, a writing room, a music room, a sports hall of fame room, or a woodworking room. Find a space that can be your own where you are free to decorate or create or do whatever you desire.
Now to get started, go and write on the wall or a mirror or a board in your room: What I value, what I offer, who I love, and what I love to do.
In reaching our potential, it’s important that we maintain our integrity, which in this world of buying and selling and marketing can easily be compromised. When an aspect of wellness is out of balance, we can find ourselves losing sight of our own inner truth and what is important to us. For example, to make a sale, we put on a false face of pretending we understand or care about what another needs. When our integrity is not intact, we see and prey on others’ weaknesses—like every good con-artist. What we are really doing, however, is setting ourselves up to be preyed upon. Let’s instead try to see others’ strengths and focus on them. In the end this will make us stronger, more resilient, and eventually bring greater success because our successes will be solid and concrete instead of fleeting and unreliable.
As soon as we lose sight of our own integrity, we become “one of them,” and in the end, the things we value will also be fleeting and unreliable. The biggest liars have either ended up dead or in jail or become very lonely people. You choose . . . and don’t ever forget that you are an adult and do have a choice.
I love practising reflexology because I don’t market it. People come because they hear about. I don’t give false hope and only provide a safe and comfortable place for others to do their own healing. I don’t heal and am not a healer, but I can listen and touch the pressure points to stimulate their bodies to remove blockages while offering hope and encouragement in an hour or two of peace. That’s it.
If you are working at a job where you feel that what you are selling is overhyped with exaggerated claims, then think about what you are going to do to change this because that is what you are also attracting into your life: false truths and false promises. If it’s the company that you work for that is not living up to its potential and not delivering what it promises, what are you going to do about it? What are you willing or not willing to sacrifice? Your integrity? Your income? Your position? Your potential?
Let’s start living real. Let’s stop looking for the easy way out and start giving what we want to receive. Let’s start building solid, trusted relationships and work on getting ourselves into good, life-enhancing investments in our work and play and in our homes and our hearts. Listen to your gut, know your truth, and stick to your integrity to reach your ultimate potential.
giggle at the word potential when used in discussing relationships. “He (or she) has potential”. . . for what? That’s the key. Potential for love? For a future together? For wealth? Great sex? The truth is that who others really are is who they will always be deep down, and this will not change, no matter how much potential exists. People are not old houses on a home renovation show that can be gutted. If someone has potential to act kind, yet is a compulsive liar or cheater, there is only so much potential there. If someone is honest but admittedly lazy, this will not change no matter how many coats of paint you put on.
We have a desire to believe in others especially when we can see true potential. Once we start to believe and have hope in someone, we instantly involve the heart. When we care for someone, we may long to see that person set free from any restraints due to feelings of unworthiness. Yet this individual is the only one who can make his or her choices in life, as we have to make our own choices. Our sense of self-worth, however, will be positively affected by our choices when we realize our capacity and possibility to know true reciprocated love or friendship. Our choices will hopefully be those that also set us free to be who we really are because that is where our true potential lies.
Yet we have to bear in mind that who we spend our time with is who we become more like. Tolerating others’ poor choices can alter what we hold to be acceptable standards. This is true in our social life, at work, and even who we choose to sit beside at our child’s soccer game and how involved our conversations become. Know who you are and stand by your values and beliefs, or you might find yourself easily falling for another’s.
Protect your heart’s potential when it comes to relationships by knowing your full capacity to love and expect this in return. Know what kind of relationships you want, what you are worthy of, the kind of people you want to be surrounded by, and resolve to live your social potential.
What do you believe your physical potential is? There are, of course, physical aspects that we may not have control over, such as genetic predispositions to size and some areas of health—but choices, constant choices, are what it takes to reach our physical potentials. And don’t forget part of optimal physical wellness means listening to our bodies, knowing when to walk instead of run.
Our potential changes and fluctuates with age. I can feel even in the last few years that my physical potential has changed. Just yesterday I went skating, and I was slower and more careful than ever, knowing that the potential for getting hurt and not recovering is more likely at forty-four than thirty-five.
Our bodies have nutrient requirements that must be met so they can be pushed physically, and they need exercise to properly digest and process those foods and nutrients. It can be a slippery slope when we start letting our physical self go. My goal some years ago was to work in the office more, the office where I am on my feet all day and barely have time to take a washroom break or stuff a chocolate or a cracker in my mouth, let alone sit down to a healthy meal. My goal this year is to decrease the physical strains in the office and iincrease healthy exercise. I realize it’s time for me to commit to better physical health as my body is asking me for it.
I hope you will listen to your body too and realize what it is asking you to do. Pick one thing you are doing at the moment that you know is not healthy, even if it perhaps makes you look or feel good (or you think it does). In the long run, it needs to go, or it is going to be the one thing that decreases instead of increases your physical potential. Will you stop drinking any alcohol during the week unless it’s a special occasion, or stop all together? Butt out? Remove the candy from the house? Any of those simple commitments will add to your physical potential.
Commit to making one lifestyle change, not a fleeting promise to yourself that you know you won’t keep. Once a week will you go for a long walk or run, practise yoga, or book a massage? Will you commit to trying to do twenty sit-ups a day or making healthy fruit and veggie shakes for breakfast and cooking one nutritious meal for you and your family a day? Whatever age we are, we know our bodies are changing and we know there is something they need more or less. Although our bodies are miraculous, they are also quite simple and speak quite clearly if we only take a moment to listen.
Our physical selves are often the first to go when we are focusing on reaching our potential in the other aspects of wellness. But I believe it is impossible to reach our potential in any other aspect unless we are paying attention and working towards physical health and well-being. You are letting yourself down by letting yourself go. It is up to you how hard you decide to push yourself and what you can physically handle right now, but a few small commitments to your body is a good place to start.
To learn more about Janaia and The Seven Seeds, visit www.janaiahutzal.com