Next time someone tells you that you have potential, don’t be quick to respond the Kenyan way, “thank you so much”. ( By the way, why do we have to add – sooo much? It’s like just saying thank you, is not enough). Kenyanese 101. Do not take that you have potential as a compliment. See it as an appraisal that you are living below your capacity. You need to up your game. That was the message in church last Sunday. I liked that perspective.
Many of us are living below our capacity. Fact. There are many reasons why that is happening. Our upbringing, our education or just how we have been socialized. Whatever the reason those factors seem to have a grip on us and we are often unable to rise above our circumstances and live out our full potential. Reminds me of my primary school reports to my folks that always said I have potential. It never made sense why they kept writing that but maybe it’s finally unfolding now.
That sermon in church got me thinking. We are born with gifts and talents deposited in us with the sole aim of using them as fuel to drive our mission on earth. We are all uniquely equipped to carry out certain tasks. So ideally it shouldn’t be difficult if we have what it takes to do that. What we are commissioned to do we are often equipped to do. The clash happens because we somehow get distracted by fitting in with the masses, or what our environment dictates. A case of trying to fit square pegs into round holes. When you pursue your dreams and passions, you are seen as awkward kiasi. People struggle to place you. That was me when I closed my business and ventured into coaching and photography.
We have heard of cases where children did university degrees just to hand them over to their parents after graduation and set off to pursue their true passions. What a waste of time and money. What if we could press the reset button and work on living from our strengths and passions at an early age (yes 40 is still early as that’s when life begins hehe). Mel Robbins said, “when we narrow our focus we expand our capacity”. Folks, there is no harm in specializing in what you are good at. Yes, I do agree that at times we are called to do stuff that we may be good at but not necessarily enjoy. That’s adulting and that’s fine but not as your main occupation. I’m convinced that as we grow older we should be doing more of what we enjoy and are good at. Start working on getting there.
But here’s the catch and that’s where this potential thing comes in. The Good Book says, “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities” – Luke 12:48. Could it be that our unused potential is preventing us from progressing onto the next season of our lives? We tend to desire bigger and better stuff yet we still have some capabilities lying idle at our current station in life. Could there be responsibilities we are absconding from currently? We need to follow through on what is on our plate now. That’s how we use our gifts. By being responsible and putting them to work.
We are all gifted in one way or another and it feels good when those gifts are recognized. But seating on our gifts (or using them partially) can be a dangerous comfort zone. You start deteriorating. It’s like buying a car and covering it in the garage not ever getting to drive it on the road. It will depreciate much faster when not in use than when being driven. That’s because it was made to be driven not parked. In the same case, I notice that houses depreciate faster when vacant. The pipes clog and stuff breaks and stop functioning.
I once read somewhere that when we are green we are growing, when we are ripe we rot. And that’s the color of gifts. They are green in my view. They should remain green so that we are constantly working on ripening them. So even when ripe they should be light green perhaps hehe. The more responsible we are the more our gifts should be in use.
When we follow through on what we are responsible for then we are given greater responsibilities. Initially, that may look like work. Remember opportunities are missed by many because they come dressed in overalls (work clothes). But that’s when you receive greater gifts to unleash on the universe.
Maybe we need a paradigm shift for us to live more in our gifts and get unshackled from the scripts that life has restricted us to. By welcoming relevant responsibilities. Maybe that will make responsibility enjoyable because we are using greater gifts that we have received. Soon the pegs and holes in our lives will align and we will encounter less resistance on the journey towards greatness aka living in our gifts.