Everyone has potential – masses of it. Turn it into capability.
Everyone has potential – masses of it. Turn it into capability. Photo Thinkstock

MIND YOU: Engage with purpose

AS A bit of a journeyman and wanderer in my younger days, I engaged with the world with the thought that I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I envied people who seemed to have clarity in the way they approached their lives - a roadmap or goals that were fuelled by ambition, status, money and perhaps a desire to be powerful even though that wasn't really my thing.

It wasn't that I was irresponsible - far from it. Given any task or role, I worked hard at it and achieved great things, but I wasn't really doing it for me. Often I was doing it because people gave me the opportunity and it was interesting to learn skills, and to gain and apply experience and tools. I just wasn't particularly ambitious.

As I got a little older and took on roles that required the ability to think outside the box, I realised that I had a strength in seeing the world in a less constrained way than some of my peers and could often find solutions that to me were simple and obvious yet were unavailable to others. I was surprised at that, and at the opportunities it provided.

Around this time, I was unsettled with my life, and I met one of the most inspirational people I have ever known, and worked closely with him through several successful business opportunities. I was amazed at his entrepreneurship, and he would use me to go and put things in place, giving me a freedom to act that was unheard of for my peers.

Knowing that I was unsettled, one day he sat with me and said, "You know - you have the most potential of anyone I have ever met!" This was from my mentor, a father figure, a key influence. My reaction? I said - and pardon the expletive - "F*** potential."

With that statement to me, I realised something profound: everyone has potential - masses of it. What he had prompted in me was a realisation that I was wasting my life, going through the motions. My purpose was to turn that potential into capability and make things happen meaningfully.

Within two days, I had resigned my role as his right hand and had accepted the role as GM for a lovely yet poorly performing hotel in Townsville. I was unleashed, and within the next five months and considerable effort in building a fantastic team and service culture, we received the Best Hotel Restaurant Award North Queensland.

When we take responsibility for appointing our own purpose and actively engage with things that are directed towards its achievement, amazing things happen. So my question is what do you really want to do, and what excuses are you making to not do it?

Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: http://www.mindsaligned.com.au.