Encourage Their Potential
Bottom Line: You can’t want it more than they do.
Whether it’s a child, spouse, co-worker, employee, or friend, you can’t want something for them more than they want it for themselves.
I was in conversation with my Pops today, and we were discussing his frustration with the business of a mutual friend. After 23 minutes of conversation, I left him with the above bottom line: you can’t want it more than they do.
When you care about someone, and you see their potential and the ability for success they have at their fingertips, it’s hard not to get frustrated when they aren’t quite living up to your expectations.
Take a moment, and please realize your dreams, expectations, visions, definition of success, and assessment of someone else’s potential mean NOTHING. Okay, well, maybe not nothing, but it definitely doesn’t come anywhere close to the power and influence of their own personal beliefs and objectives.
You cannot want great things, big or small, for another human being if they first do not want great things for themselves. What you can do is encourage someone to discover untapped opportunities trapped inside.
How to gently encourage the potential of “more” inside someone else:
- Approach with pure intentions. You see their potential, and you desperately want to help bring it out. I totally get it. Before you pursue any conversation with them, you need to gut-check if you are coming from a completely pure and unselfish position. Your intentions should be far from selfish or self-serving. They should not be based on what you want for this person but instead come from a place of motivation to help them achieve what they want.
- Clarify their vision. In order to help them achieve what they want, you will need to clarify their vision. This is the biggest step in the encouragement of potential process. You must understand their dreams, personal expectations of themselves, their vision, and how they define success. So often I see parents push their dreams on their kids when it’s not in the least big a part of the child’s dream. Shame on them! Or I see a friend pushing another friend to make an investment in the same MLM they joined when, in reality, the friend’s definition of success in no way aligns with the opportunity. Stop it! When you fully understand their vision, you can encourage them toward the future they want.
- Ask questions. I love asking questions. It’s a skill more people should practice. As a coach, I ask my clients lots of questions. Why? Because it’s the BEST way to get a person to uncover the answers they’re searching for on their own. If you want to get someone to tap into their hidden potential, ask great questions to get them to think deeper and consider more/new information. Ask the hard questions others won’t because it gets uncomfortable. Growth doesn’t happen when we’re comfortable but when we stretch to the uncomfortable.
- Provide tools. If you truly want to encourage someone to go after the “more” you see for them, start by giving them a toolbox. Providing someone with the necessary tools is critical. By “tools,” I mean providing helpful things like connecting/introducing them to a person who can help (think mentor or coach), information/education on a topic that will further their knowledge base, opportunities to stretch their skills, and time to figure some of it out on their own. These tools will rapidly unearth potential when they’re used after numbers one through three.
- Know when to push or pause. The hardest on this list, but definitely the most influential, is knowing when you should push a little harder and when it’s time to pause in your pursuit of potential. People are delicate creatures, especially when it comes to their potential and your opinions. It’s your job to assess the situation and know if you can politely push them into their potential or if you are doing harm to your relationship by pushing when you should instead pause. Take note: you can do permanent damage when you push someone into something they don’t want or are not ready to achieve.
More than anything else, you have to accept where they currently are and where they want to go. You can help them navigate that journey, and you can definitely help encourage them to do more, be more, and achieve all their dreams. Just remember, it’s about them and what they want because you simply cannot want something for them more than they want it for themselves. And you definitely cannot want a journey for someone who has no desire to travel that path.