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Review: TSOL’s How to Realize Your Potential

 In Careers, Insights, Life decisions, Realizer Blog

Thanks to The School of Life for inviting me to attend their 3 hr evening class, How to Realize Your Potential facilitated by Sophi Bruce. I reviewed their class How to Make Up Your Mind last year and gave it 10/10 so how did this year’s workshop go? Read on…

At the end of the workshop, Sophi asked us all to share one insight, one idea and one action. That’s quite similar to my company, Realizer’s, tagline – insights inspiring action. So I’ll share my reactions under those headings.

Insights from Realize Your Potential

Our group each shared their biggest insight. The most popular by far was from Herminia Ibara’s book Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing your Career:

“Don’t assume you have to make a big change and commit to it. Experiment. Try on new roles. See what suits you”

The idea of running small experiments – for example, don’t quit your job now, try some evening work first – is a simple one which I’ve written about before, but it IS a great reminder. And the group felt very liberated from the fear of change. You could almost hear a sigh as the pressure released.

From the same book came a second insight:

“If you want to try something new, the contacts you need aren’t in your current network. Shift your connections.”

People felt galvanised to go out and meet new people, ask for their advice. And stop trying to make something happen with the wrong people.

The last insight, maybe my favourite, came from the audience. Each person had taken a turn to say why they were interested in realising their potential more. Everyone – including me –  had said either they were unsatisfied with life, or that they aspired to explore more. To not settle. Then came Shelley*.

Shelley, speaking directly after me, said, “I feel I want to realize my potential in order to help others more.”

Boom. A lightbulb went on in my head. Realising your potential is bigger than you. We almost owe it to the world.

Ideas from Realize Your Potential

Many people in the room made big decisions, on the spot, to commit to moving to the bush, starting a business, changing the way they are with their loved ones.

But two ideas stood out for me.

First, Sophi had us write down 7 events in our lives where we were fully alive. Then we used these as inspiration to draw a picture, based on a picture called Personal Values by Renee Magritte.

magritte personal values

As you might expect my drawing, consisting of a cave painting, a ferry, a surfboard, sleeping children and a few other things, was a complete mess.

But it has inspired me to actually commission someone to make a proper painting which will connect me back to the seven most magical times in my life. Let me know if you are friends with an under-employed but brilliant artist!

Second, I played around with the idea that each of us knows what our ideal self is, and how our ideal self would behave in any given situation. But we don’t always live up to it. There’s a reality gap. So, I’m going to research and develop ways to help people more consistently live up to their ideal self.

That could be based on what’s worked with me – to know and use my 5 personal values. Or it could be another recommendation I got from Shelley – an NLP book called Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman (also a course at Sydney uni).

Actions from Realize Your Potential

Dee is a mum of three kids under 5. She wanted to “be a kick-ass mum” and she came up with this great action. Instead of going through the motions and doing the right things, bring your passions into your parenting. I loved that idea, thanks Dee. Gonna get my girls on the surfboard tomorrow!

Building on the idea of shifting your connections, I’m going to look up a couple of people I met at the course to see if we can share some inspiration / mentoring.

And last but not least, I’ve got this idea from a wedding in March. Jen was doing her speech and said one of the reasons she loves Harry is that he brings her breakfast in bed every morning, and takes care of their daughter so she can sleep in. I really want to do this, notwithstanding my kids waking me up at 5am this morning.

So wish me luck. Maybe it’s not that hard after all to take a step closer to realising your potential and making the world a better place.

Thank you to Eleanor and Polita at The School of Life for inviting me. Click here to see a calendar of upcoming classes.

*All the names in this article have been changed to respect privacy.