How to Reach Your Greatest Potential

#tbt March 30, 2015

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to the Center for Nonprofit Management’s—where I am a consultant—young professional group and the 100 Black Women’s pilot mentoring program. In both conversations I shared tools and actions to create a sustainable and consistent personal brand. After each of those chats I reflected on some of the information that I share through my talks and consulting with people and businesses alike. Allow me to share how you can reach your greatest potential.

1.    Care about others. How often do you have a conversation with someone where you are completely engaged—tech and social media free? Almost never, right? The most successful—perceived or real-- people in the world care about others. It’s not because they have money or fame but rather because they use their influence to impact the community; they give their time, attention, and resources because they know that giving breeds getting.

Indulge me in a quick exercise. The next time you go to a networking event. Find a person in the room you know the least and have a 1-minute, engaging conversation. Start with statements like I am, I will be (or I do), and 1 interesting thing you should know. During the conversation you are challenged to put down your cell phone, look the other person in the eye, and ask follow up questions based on what they have shared. Ask yourself, did I learn something?  Now you can follow up and carry on a thoughtful relationship.

I adopted parts of this thought and exercise from author Keith Ferrazzi and realized the genius.

2.    Do more than talk. When I was a kid my dad would always say, there are two types of people in the world…doers and talkers. Which one are you?

Here’s an example: at a local middle school Kid A challenges Kid B to a fight at 3pm in the schoolyard. While I’ve never been in such a situation if I were Kid B I would be at home, or a safe distance, around 2:30 and may even watch with popcorn in hand from slightly afar. Why is it necessary to announce your every move?

What I learned about life, but even more importantly, my own business was that when you share too much you give away your power. We have so many platforms to share on but I always challenge my clients to share when they have gone from Do to Done or at least Doing. 

3.    Tap into your intuition. You are walking down the darkest city street and you come upon a pitch-dark alley. What is your first reaction?  More than likely, unless you are a stunt-double or trained martial artist, you are going to turn around and go the other way.

Intuition is that feeling that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, the goose bumps raise on your arm, or is the knot in the pit of your stomach.  While it can be a great feeling, more than likely we use it to keep us out of danger. Don’t dismiss that feeling. You know what ‘feels’ right and even what just looks right but isn’t. Begin to listen to your internal self.

4.    Find and follow like-minded people. They say the five people you hang around are those you are most likely to be like. I have a diverse group of friends who all fit into different sections of my personal and professional life.  I am proud that if you see me with any group you know they are either already where I am moving to or we are moving together.  I challenge you to analyze your circle and where you fit in it and where they fit with you. 

5.    Be different. Every view months I ask: What about you stands out?  Why do people call on you versus someone else?  It’s not about forcing the different to come out but rather identifying what about you already makes you different.

6.    Value You. It is important to respect others but it is even more important to respect and value your own time, talents, and resources.  Have you ever had someone stand you up for a meeting?  While they may be a perfectly, wonderful individual and we all make mistakes it can beg the question “do they value me or my time?”  Know that your time is worth something.  My belief is that I can always make money, it’s my time that I can never get back.

7.    Align Passion with Calling. I am always asked about the first steps of business building are and this is my answer. Passion alone is not enough reason to start something because as you can imagine we can find ourselves passionate about quite a few things. Instead it is the act of bridging the powerful emotion and boundless enthusiasm (passion) with what awakens you or is the reason you were placed here that will make waking up everyday to do some of the hardest activities seem rewarding. Here is another way of thinking about it. What will never happen because you didn’t create it?

I encourage you to take these as an entire group or individually as you need them and challenge you to see, in six months, what you have been able to reach and accomplish.

Cheers to reaching your greatest potential!

Kia Jarmon is creator of brand depth + facilitator of ideas + curator of conversation + sculptor of stories at boutique PR and brand strategy firm MEPR Agency. She also loves connecting businesses & people to their heartbeat and coaches them through a Brand Mapping program, where they navigate their brand compass. Kia is a 27 year life-time member of Girl Scouts and daily she lives by the promise "on my honor I will try…to help people at all times". You can find more or