Human potential is limitless. We all have infinite potential. In reality, the idea of achieving your highest potential is quite misleading, as we are always capable of more. Our potential is fuelled by our belief in it. As Napoleon Hill said, “whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
So, what is getting in the way? If people all have infinite potential, then what prevents any given person from accessing it and achieving their desired results?
Of course, all situations are context dependent, so the obstacles, barriers and challenges stopping one person from successfully moving forward are going to be different than for others. The place to begin investigating is by gaining awareness about the situation. To gain this awareness, you need to step out of the picture and play the role of the observer. When you observe yourself in the situation you’re in, what awareness can you gain?
Gaining awareness involves acquiring an understanding of what the given situation has to do with you. Why is this situation showing up? What are you meant to learn from it? For what purpose is this experience happening for you (not to you)?
In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), we use the following tools and techniques to empower people to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from seeing their potential and bringing it to life. NLP describes the way people combine perception, thought and action to get their specific results. In this way, we can uncover the root cause of these obstacles and problems, and make changes that lead to desired results.
In NLP, we use this awareness around the situation and your part in it as a vital step toward identifying secondary gain. Secondary gain occurs when the gain of the problem outweighs the pain of the problem.
Understanding this paradigm requires one to evaluate the situation to see what they’re gaining from it. Secondary gain is not always obvious and may require some deep reflection and questioning to grasp. However, you can trust that if a problem is showing up and sticking around, then it’s doing so for a reason. You’re gaining something from it, and this gain is preventing you from moving through the problem and into solution.
Secondary gain shows up to provide people with a sense of having their fundamental needs met. For example, secondary gain may occur to provide a sense of safety and security; to keep us playing small so we stay in our comfort zone; or to prevent us from playing too big so we avoid judgment or failure. Alternatively, secondary gain may give us a sense of love and attention that we are otherwise lacking, even if the means to finding this love and attention is unhealthy. Secondary gain serves a purpose that often feels good in the moment but will stop you from creating the results you’re looking for. Once the secondary gain is identified, you have the ability to make a different choice, while still ensuring that your needs are met. You can move forward knowing that you are safe, while being okay with stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk. Ultimately, there is no failure; only feedback.
Understanding secondary gain allows you to build an advanced level of awareness, which is the difference between real empowerment and hanging out in the self-help section at your local bookstore. It’s absolutely necessary to make real and lasting changes that lead to success.
Embracing the unknown
People often avoid tapping into their potential out of a fear of the unknown. It’s human nature to keep doing what we’re doing and to remain in the same situation, even if it’s dreadful. We do this because that situation is familiar, and we trust that which we’ve survived in the past. We’re programmed for surviving instead of thriving. If we really want to thrive, we need to change the way we’re programmed to respond.
One of the key foundational beliefs of our empowerment trainings in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is that people have all the resources they need to succeed and to achieve their desired outcomes. With a lack of resourcefulness, we tend to stay stuck in our problems. But by accessing the power of the mind and making use of the resources all around us, we can all overcome our greatest challenges. When the barriers that stop people from accessing their resources are removed, it creates space to connect with the greatness already inside. This allows people to be in a resourceful state and work toward their goals.
Trust that you already have everything you need to succeed and by being resourceful, you can access the tools and help that you may require to get there.
Your potential and your dreams are infinite, and the same is true for the students and clients with whom you work. Imagine the possibilities when we allow ourselves to truly explore the greatness inside our own empowered minds!
Note: I train NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner programs alongside two other trainers from Avalon Empowerment. My website will soon be updated with more information about the trainings. For now, people can find out more at avalonempowerment.com.