How Do You Spot High-Potential?

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in career development, careers | 0 comments

How Do You Spot High-Potential?

Somewhere along the way of spending thousands of hours, talking to hundreds of people about work, it occurred to me that no one has higher potential than anyone else.

At first, this sounded like an odd idea and was easy to ignore. Outward signs of career success suggested otherwise but the same notion of higher-potential kept coming back, and kept showing itself in all kinds of different and unexpected ways.

The beating heart of working in career development is making people feel more confident at times of career decision. Supporting people until they feel more comfortable – and are able to think more comfortably – even during times of stress. Feeling more confident and finding a greater degree of comfort with our work/life thoughts – whatever our past, present or future experience may be – is achievable and accessible to all. We all have high-potential here too.

Ask yourself if you really believe deep down that it’s impossible for someone – anyone – to be world-class at something. You only have to listen to someone talk about what they do – or what they would like to learn or do more of – to see signs of high potential, however small.

If you are a careers professional, this idea should resonate with you. Ask yourself about the potential of the last person you met or the next person you meet. Is it possible for that person to be outstanding at something? Given a little time, space & encouragement, what might that something be?

Experience has taught me this a more realistic way to think about everyone’s potential. Which of us could really reliably pick out the 10 year-old destined to do great things? Who could spot the 20, 40 or 53 year-old who will go on to fulfil and develop their true potential? Read any great success story and you will find someone who doubted themselves, and someone whose potential was doubted by others.

What does it feel like to look for something that may well be there, in place of denying its existence? It feels better is the simple answer to that. We can all make good, maybe even great career decisions, and we can all learn to think and feel more comfortable about where we are, whomever we are, whatever we have done in the past, and would like to do in the future. If meeting and talking careers with thousands of people has taught me anything, it’s this… We all have high potential.

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