Stratford Managers recently updated its web site with a new tag line Achieve Your Potential front and centre. I’ve been reflecting on what this really means so as a French-speaker my first step was to consult a dictionary.
Potential: adjective, \pə-ˈten(t)-shəl\; capable of becoming real
Achieve: verb, \ə-ˈchēv\; to get or reach (something) by working hard, to become successful, to reach a goal
My first impression was that achieving your potential is a single step process. You set a goal then you achieve it. But that didn’t feel quite right. In fact, the goal keeps changing. We are all on an ongoing quest to improve ourselves, our businesses, and our relationships. So “potential” is a moving target. In my case, it has been literally moving!
After my daughter was born, I began running. My modest goal was to run 5 km. Before long, I thought I could run further and suffered through my first 10 km race in Quebec City. This led to “maybe a ½ marathon” which some great friends got me through in under 2 hours (OK, I’m not going to the Olympics!). Then I started on marathons with the hope of running Boston but I had to improve my time by over 30 minutes! So I surrounded myself with amazing people who gave their time to help me achieve my goal. The journey was longer than expected. After failing twice, I qualified and completed the 2016 marathon!
The lesson for me is that “achievement” isn’t usually a solo endeavor. It depends on the contribution of many people with more experience. If you have an audacious goal like running a marathon, find people who believe in you then trust in their ability to help. “Potential” really is a moving goal capable of becoming real only with the help of people who know how to get you there.
This was brought home to me again at the Newbridge Networks 30-years reunion party this summer. At Newbridge, I had a wonderful manager who taught me that “You will never fail for trying but you will never succeed for not attempting the impossible”. He was such an inspiration, as was Terry Matthews who gave us all the gift of trust, motivation and purpose at Newbridge. Jim Roche follows in Terry’s footsteps by allowing us to achieve out potential at Stratford Managers.
At this stage in my career, I too have the opportunity to help the next generation achieve their potential by challenging them with projects they may think are beyond their ability. But with my confidence and support they deliver! The cycle continues. Let’s all help each other achieve our potential – a never ending quest for improvement in all aspects of life!