When I started writing about this topic I really didn’t know what I was getting into. I had some basic thoughts but as I’ve pondered and studied the idea of potential I’ve realized I could write an entire book on the subject. Yet another project for another time.
As I mentioned in the first blog, there was a point in the human race that God literally said that nothing people proposed to do would be withheld from them. That is a very powerful statement because basically God was saying whether He wanted them to do it or not if they set their minds to doing something, they would get it done (He did slow them down, though, by mixing up their language [Genesis 11:6-7]).
Every human being has amazing God-given potential to accomplish extraordinary fetes. But overall, the human race collectively has what I believe to be unlimited potential. And that is the point I have been meaning to make since the beginning. By ourselves, we are limited. Yet when we work together with teams of people and use the power of leverage, our potential to impact the lives of people can be limitless.
So just what is potential? As an adjective it can be defined as:
1. Capable of being but not yet in existence; latent: a potential problem.
2. Having possibility, capability, or power.
Or, defined as a noun it can be:
1. The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into being.
2. Something possessing the capacity for growth or development.
Human beings have an immeasurable potential or possibility, capability, or power to influence the lives of others. This “inherent ability or capacity for growth, development” can be clearly seen as the human population continues to grow, and beliefs, ideas, and philosophies continue to be proliferated all over the globe. And when you get right down to it, everyone seems to have an opinion about just about everything, and at some point isn’t afraid to express it.
Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward discuss in their book Launching A Leadership Revolution how everyone is “called upon to lead at some point (and truly several points) in their lives.” My pastor teaches that everyone is called to be a leader. And ultimately, the bible says we are all called to the ministry of reconciliation. So where does potential fit into this scenario? I’m glad you asked.
Let’s say Billy Bob has an epiphany one day and realizes his life is meant to be more than just working 40-60 hours a week and trying to fit in some “good works” here and there as well. By all accounts, Billy Bob’s friends would say he isn’t a bad guy. In fact, they’d say he’s a pretty upstanding man. He tries to spend time with his two kids and his wife, and even goes to church every Sunday. But Billy Bob realizes that his life is meant for more than that. So how does Billy Bob maximize his potential to impact the lives of people?
Referring again to Launching A Leadership Revolution, Orrin and Chris discuss what they call the Five Levels of Influence. The levels are 1) Learner, 2) Performer, 3) Leader 4) Developer of Leaders, 5) Developer of Developers of Leaders. According to these levels of influence, the first thing Billy Bob must do to make a difference in his life is overcome limiting thinking and become a learner. If Billy Bob is going to maximize his God-given potential as an individual, he must remove words from his mind and mouth like “I can’t…,” “I’m not…,” “I don’t…” “impossible,” and anything else that limits him from expanding his capacity to influence. Chris Brady says, “The most dangerous excuse you’ll ever have is the one you sell to yourself.” Ultimately, people are their own worst enemies.
Negative, self-destructive thoughts must be replaced in order to become a person of influence. This means one must become a learner. Billy Bob must change the way he thinks. If he wants new results in his life he must start thinking like a leader. And this process should never end. Ultimately, we will never be perfect and therefore will always have more to work on and to change. Billy Bob will need to become a life-long student, associate with other life-long students, and learn from others who have the results in their lives that he wants.
Secondly, Billy Bob must become a doer of what he is learning. The book of James says if we are hearers only, and not doers, we deceive ourselves. Talk is necessary, but talk without action is, as the saying goes, cheap. I actually would almost call it worthless. Personally, a pet-peeve I have is hearing someone espouse their “great wisdom” when they don’t even have the personal results to give credibility to their knowledge (I’m working on that). Actions absolutely speak louder than words.
The quickest way to influence the lives of people around us is to start getting results in life. Let your results declare to those watching you (and believe me, they are watching you) that what you are doing is legitimate. And to be honest, if what you are doing isn’t producing the results you want, then you either have the wrong information about what works, or you are working it incorrectly. Once Billy Bob starts getting results in his life and has mastered becoming a performer, he is ready to become a leader.
It is at this level and the levels above that I want to switch gears. If Billy Bob is going to become limitless in his ability to influence lives, he must understand that he cannot be the magic. Billy Bob must learn how to develop other leaders and be able to systematically develop people who develop people who develop people. The third level of influence is where a shift in thinking occurs. Billy Bob begins to realize that his efforts alone are limited. But if he can influence someone else to influence someone else and so on, his ability to effect change increases exponentially.
Levels four and five of the Five Levels of Influence as stated earlier are being a developer of leaders and then a developer of developers of leaders. It doesn’t take a master’s degree to understand that as Billy Bob learns to develop other leaders and then develop developers of leaders that his efforts potentially take on global proportions. His influence can theoretically continue for generations even after he has passed from this life to the next.
Remember, what is the purpose of our potential? If Billy Bob believes in a Creator, then He understands his potential is for the purpose of reaching people. And if he truly wants to reach the most people possible, he must learn to leverage the efforts of others in his quest to make a difference.
Orrin Woodward has truly mastered this process. If you find yourself asking how you can truly make a difference, rather than reinvent the wheel, I encourage you to visit the-life-business.com. Everyone is called upon to lead at some point in their lives. Why not tap into your God-given potential and then utilize the unlimited potential of a systematic process of developing others to do the same to maximize your impact on the lives of others? You won’t regret it.