How can you reach your potential

Exploit and develop potential: This is how it works

In order to achieve something and to move forward, we have to reach our potential. Those who do not do their best and do not leave the comfort zone let opportunities slip by. The bad news: We often fall short of our potential - with that comes the good news that you have not yet reached your limits and can tap further potential.

However, there is also a downside: expectations that are too high stand in the way of our potential. They block and can even lead to persistent failure. Achieving great goals with your own potential is desirable - but it should not be unrealistic. We show how you can tell that you are not reaching your full potential and give numerous tips on how to get the most out of your possibilities ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Meaning: What is the potential?

Potential (plural: potentials) describes the possible that is realistic under certain circumstances. It does not matter whether the current situation is close to this potential or is still very far from it. For example, athletes are often referred to as potential when they are not yet able to perform as expected.


The potential is the possibility that theoretically exists but has not yet been implemented in reality.



The potential is always discussed when it is not exhausted. Linked to this are the questions about the reasons, because if it is within the realm of the possible, why does it not work with the implementation? It can be direct criticism if someone constantly falls short of their own possibilities.

On the other hand, potential is also the ability to develop. It is said that there is still room for improvement and an increase is possible. So there is potential not only in people, economic potential can also lie dormant in companies. If a product can become a great success, it has enormous potential, even if development and production in the current state are not yet ready.

A job can also have potential - and that in several ways. An entry-level position may not be paid so well and the tasks may not match your dream job. You can, however, gain experience, advance in the company and thus earn significantly more at a later point in time and be promoted to the position you are aiming for - which allows you to fully exploit the potential of the job.

Spelling: Potential or Potential?

There is great uncertainty about the spelling. Is it potential or is it potential? Do the two terms only differ in one letter? When is it called potential and when is it called potential? The good news for reassurance: Basically, both forms of spelling are possible and correct.

However, the Duden recommends the spelling with "z", which is also used more often. It looked different before the spelling reform. Until 1996, Potential was only spelled with a "t". Only after the adjustments were made, the potential was introduced and made the recommended spelling.

Wrong approach for more potential

When it comes to potential, there is a common misunderstanding that manifests itself in a piece of advice that one hears over and over again: To reach your full potential, all you have to do is work harder, longer, and more effort. This is only true to a certain extent - and then it is reversed. Of course, success seldom comes on its own. You have to be willing to do something, to hang in there and make an effort. What is being done, but unfortunately often exactly the wrong thing. The seemingly universal solution: You screw up the number of hours invested in order to exploit the greatest possible potential.

Instead of better results, however, in the long run it only brings more pressure and exhaustion - but less success. The right attitude, motivation and willingness are much more important.

Navy SEALs 40 percent rule

If you think you can't do it anymore, you've only reached 40 percent of your capacity. It is not your physical fitness that decides, but your psychological fitness.



Studies also show the effects of one's own mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck believes that there are two types of mindset related to achieving goals and one's potential.

  • Fixed mindset. People of the category Fixed mindset (fixed = English for rigid, inflexible) have a static self-image. They classify their abilities as innate. If they fail, then the talent and potential evidently not enough. At least that's their opinion.
  • Growth mindset. People in the Groth Mindset category (growth = English for growth; here often translated as growth-oriented, dynamic) are completely different. They are convinced that they can achieve anything and that they have great potential for development.

Trusting yourself more, having the necessary self-confidence and being ready to work hard towards a goal is therefore more important for your own potential than the pure time that is ultimately invested.

5 signs you are missing your full potential

Are you really exhausting your potential or is there perhaps still room for improvement? We have identified six signs that can show you that you have even more potential than you are currently using:

  1. Your tasks will be easy for you
    Perhaps the clearest sign that you are not realizing your potential are the challenges you face in your day-to-day work. If you feel permanently under-challenged and can do all the tasks that arise while flying blind, you can be sure that you are far from reaching the limit of your potential.
  2. You don't learn anything new
    If you want to use your full potential, you should constantly learn something new. New processes and new projects should offer many possibilities for this. You can also learn from mistakes. If, on the other hand, you have the feeling that you are not learning anything new at work, it may be that you have already outgrown your employer and the position. However, if you are still inquisitive, you are not reaching your potential yet.
  3. You work in a bad working atmosphere
    The working atmosphere also has a major impact on whether you can reach your full potential. If you are only surrounded by negative people, you cannot achieve your best performance. Only in the right environment do you develop your full potential, otherwise you always fall short of your possibilities because others pull you down.
  4. Your manager is not giving you any feedback
    Only through regular feedback from your line manager, but also from colleagues or customers you look after, can you assess your true potential and thus also exploit it. Incidentally, the praise is not particularly helpful. This increases motivation and creates a good mood, but those who want to exhaust their potential have better chances in the event of criticism.
  5. You have no chance of advancement
    Unfortunately, not every company offers the opportunity to advance through good performance and great motivation. If there is no growth or if the employer is relatively small, promotions are more of a rarity. It will then be all the more difficult for you to reach your full potential because you are only treading on the spot. If there are no opportunities for advancement in the long term, a change may be necessary so that you can develop your potential.

Exploit and increase potential

Wouldn't it be nice if you could improve your performance with little effort, and in a short amount of time? Are you finally reaching the goals that you have set for yourself for a long time? Or to put it another way: you manage to reach your potential. This does not necessarily require major changes or major adjustments. Even seeming little things bring you closer to your full potential. We have collected tips and simple ways to help you achieve your potential:

Start the day right

How you start the day is crucial to how it develops. Already stressed, exhausted and annoyed in the morning? This usually affects the entire day. Instead, start as relaxed and motivated as possible. It can help to get out a little earlier. Then minor delays don't get on your nerves, there is time for a chat with colleagues and a cup of coffee in the office. The framework conditions are right so that you can develop your full potential at work.

Organize yourself

Your time and your capacities are limited, you can only divide the two sensibly if you keep track of the tasks to be completed. For your working day you need a timetable that you can use as a guide. This means that at the beginning of the week you create a rough plan for the coming days, but also that at the end of the working day you set the goals for the next day. Those who sink into chaos cannot realize their potential. Set priorities, work through the tasks according to a clear structure and keep your organization. You will quickly notice how your work improves and you can use more of your potential.

Establish habits

Targeted automation can make your work much easier and help to exploit the existing potential. This creates free capacities for yourself to devote yourself to the really important tasks. So you finally find the time to work out the idea for your own project or to tackle the long-awaited training. With the right habits and routines, some tasks almost take care of themselves. When filing documents, handling e-mails or documenting work processes, automation is ideal. Digital tools can help with this, but for other tasks you should create clear processes that are quick and easy.

Focus on one task

Realize your own potential by doing a lot at the same time? Scientists have now found that this type of multitasking doesn't work. Man cannot concentrate on so many different things and tasks at the same time. It doesn’t make you reach your potential, but makes mistakes and slows you down. It is better if you concentrate on a task, work on it efficiently and without errors, and then devote yourself to the next item on the to-do list with the same concentration and care.

Ensure good cooperation

In order to be able to exploit one's own potential, the cooperation in the team must also be right. When working on a project together, you cannot be at your best if things hack and stall in other areas. It is also important to have good relationships with employees from other departments with whom you work regularly. Improve communication, coordinate and help everyone pull together. In addition, you can receive valuable input and feedback from colleagues, which in turn will benefit your work. Use the expertise and experience of long-term employees, for example, to expand your potential.

Take breaks

You can only achieve your potential if you are 100 percent efficient. Exhaustion and overwork do the opposite. Therefore, take sufficient breaks to be able to perform at your best. Working nonstop for 12 hours a day may look like a lot of work, but it is not focused and productive. Just a few minutes in the fresh air on a short walk can awaken new strength. You shouldn't spend your lunch break at your desk either, but use it to relax.

Stay up to date

The world of work is constantly evolving. For this reason, knowledge becomes statute-barred very quickly. If you want to use your potential, you have to keep your own specialist knowledge up to date. Otherwise new features and innovations will be missed and suddenly you will be overtaken by the competition. Observe current developments on the market, find out which innovations are currently being hotly debated in research and get an idea of ​​how the competition is doing. The more up-to-date and extensive your knowledge, the more helpful it is for your potential.

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