I believe that within each and every one of us lie the seeds — the potential — to be great. All of us are born with the seeds of greatness within us. Right about now one of you out there is thinking “What about Hitler???” Yes, even Hitler.
So why do so few of us realize that potential?
I believe there are two things that are shared by those who realize their potential. First, they have an eagerness to follow their dreams even when it becomes uncomfortable not only to themselves, but to those around them. Secondly, those people have a singular vision – yes, they practice visualization. Creative visualization is the practice of seeking to affect your outer world by changing one’s thoughts and expectations and visualizing the desired out come
Tesla, Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Oprah and many more all had faced failure, fear and rejection on their journey to greatness. But they all stayed the course. In religious terms they had their eye on the sparrow. Notice that it is eye, singular –the spiritual eye — the all-knowing eye. They kept to the path on their journey, they believed in themselves and eventually they arrived in the Promised Land – their Promised Land since they created their reality.
So despite the belief that successful people are born not made, the truth is we are responsible for nurturing those seeds of greatness within us to grow to their full potential.
All of us have special gifts and talents but without nurture and development, they will fade and go to waste much as an unkempt property will fall into disrepair. Recognizing those God given, born with qualities and attributes, and unique abilities that only we have and making a commitment to taking them all the way is actually the easy part. The hard part is sticking with it when the going gets tough. The hard past comes when we reach a standstill and we need to take the necessary measures to keep developing our abilities and continue growing towards our potential. In hindsight, I can see so many times where I have fallen in the past. I have fallen off my path many, many times; I have also found myself on paths not of my own making. When this happens I remember a quote from the great Dr. Mayan Angelou grandmother: “I looked up the road I was going, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path,”
Growing pains are real. Trust me, I know this all to well. They are the most painful and challenging part of the path towards mastery and greatness. It is painful to have to recognize and scrutinize your weaknesses. It’s maddening to feel like you have to constantly start over whenever the time comes to learn something new so you can keep expanding your capacity to grow.
I’m going thru this maddening, painful part of the path currently. I’ve been unemployed for over a year now. I’ve had to reevaluate who I am and where I am in life as I go thru this period of my life. I’m learning to travel new paths. I’ve been told I’m too fat or too old to be considered a serious candidate for jobs. I’ve been told I have an extremely impressive resume and skill set and I’ll be hearing from them. Sadly, I never do hear anything. Not even a response to my follow up or thank you notes. It drives me crazy, but still I press on. I press on forging a new path – a path that is still shaded in darkness at times. I press on, focusing on this new path and seeing what I must be — sowing, watering, weeding, nurturing.
I love the house I live in; I love the land I live on, land that has been in my family for nearly 100 years. There have been times recently I wish I could immerse myself in an inspiring environment, to dive deep into my spiritual self and to take my art, my life to the next level. I can honestly say that I know I’m good at what I do but deep down in my heart and soul, I have never come close to the greatness that lies deep within me (I do know I’m great). Daily I work to nurture and express these gifts at the level of greatness and mastery that I know I’m capable of. I want to inspire others to do the same.
That’s the Utopian part of the story. The fact is this work is grueling and painful. Constantly I look at my weaknesses and commit to new physical, mental and spiritual practices that will address my faults and weaknesses. It means having to be honest with myself about where I’ve come from and where I’m at and gratefully accepting constructive criticism about things I’ve worked on tirelessly because I’m so make myself over. It means observing all my limiting beliefs about my worthiness, cleaning out all that old childhood programming from parents and teachers and my being good enough as they come up, and transforming them not once, not twice but as dozens and dozens of times as many times as it takes to have a real leap forward and exemplify the new belief. It means pushing through and showing up even on the days when I really don’t feel like it. And if the truth be told, I often feel like toast after having done the work.
We are meant to realize and express the greatness that is within each and every one of us. In order to do this, we must be willing to constantly shed layer after layer of assimilated knowledge, programming and experience to give way for the next lesson — the next level. And there’s no getting around the fact that growing hurts, — I hurt, and growing requires a great deal of humility.
The pain of regret and unrealized potential is even great. This applies to all aspects of life. It’s true in our spiritual quest, on the path of mastery in any creative endeavor, in our careers and in our relationships.
You have the potential for greatness. You are great. You just don’t realize it yet.