Potential—the sound of it brings images of opportunities, success, fulfillment, even hope!
It opens up possibilities. When I think about the potential I have as a human being, I get excited—and I hope you do, too. It is such a good thought to realize we all have potential.
On the other hand, when I hear the phrase unfulfilled potential—I feel sad. I think of missed opportunities and something being lost. In the book, Silver Boxes, Florence Littauer wrote a story about her father, who always wanted to be a singer but never was. She says he died with the music still inside of him. That illustrates unfulfilled potential perfectly. Not reaching your potential would be exactly like dying with your music still inside of you.
And it doesn’t matter how old you are, it is never too late to reach your potential—you may think you missed the boat on certain things, and, yes, there may be some things that are beyond your physical capabilities when you are 60 years old that weren’t when you were 20-something. But as far as becoming the person you want to be or reaching for a dream, it is never too late!
Not long ago, I heard of a man who went back to get his high school diploma at the age of 40.
He was scared and had to move past the limiting beliefs that had kept him from doing this earlier, but he saw the potential that was in himself, and with the help of his teachers, he received that diploma and a whole lot more—confidence, success and a hunger to keep improving himself.
A seventy-two year old woman graduated from medical school. The woman had been a nun her entire adult life. When asked why she had made the switch, she said the convent mandated retirement age sixty-five. “I knew God wasn’t through with me yet,” she said, “and it had always been my dream to be a doctor.” She spent the next seven years preparing for the career she would begin in her 80’s.
Which made me consider myself and the reason I got braces two months ago at 67 years of age—unfulfilled potential.
I had the opportunity to get braces when I was 15 years old. But way back then, I didn’t know one other person who had braces. A few years later, a few people at my high school started to get braces, but by then I had imagined all kinds of things that would happen to me if I did get them—the mean things people would say, how funny I would look, my voice would be different, my looks would change, it would hurt…….and so on.
Over the years I have visited several orthodontists--when I was 40, then 50, then 65--but each time I would convince myself I was happy with things the way there were. About 6 months ago I finally decided that I had made it this far with my crooked teeth and I didn’t need to get braces. Then the strange thing happened…I felt really sad about that decision.
Unfulfilled potential? I think that was it. I didn’t need to have straight teeth, but it was one thing that I could do something about and not doing so made me feel like I had missed an opportunity.
So, in January of 2022, I went to the orthodontist’s office and faced a fear I had had for over 50 years. I got braces. What’s the big deal about that? No big deal—kids
do it all the time. I took all six of my children to the orthodontist without any qualms at all—after all, they had inherited my teeth, it was the least I could do! But when I considered the thought of me getting braces, I had an irrational fear that I could die if I got braces. So you see, me even showing up for that appointment was pretty monumental!
But a crazy thing about unfulfilled potential—it can be a big motivator for finally pushing you into doing something that you are hesitating to do.
Since you are a lot like me, I have to ask—
What unfulfilled potential is waiting to be realized in your life?
What fears are holding you back from realizing your dreams?
Are you ready to “sing” and let your music out before it is too late?
If you are ready, I would love to be the one to help you face your fears and realize your dreams—it is never too late—until it is. Call me today!