Yesterday I wandered downstairs here at good ol’ Mom’s house, like I do several times per day for a coffee break or a lunch break or a potty break (for the dogs), and suddenly the question of living up to one’s potential entered my mind.
I am vaguely aware of the fact that some people in my life, particularly in my past, pre-married life, probably think to themselves things like, “Jenni is so intelligent… had so much potential… and now look at her. A photographer and blogger? What happened??”
’Tis true. I was the brainy one in college - straight A’s across the board, graduated Magna Cum Laude, the whole bit. I was destined for great things, and blah, blah, blah. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t think I’ve done anything worthwhile since college. Quite the contrary, in fact. But I am saying that people’s perceptions of whether or not you’re living up to your potential don’t always match up with reality.
As I was pouring my little cup of french press coffee yesterday, pondering this question of potential and living up to it, I decided quite indefinitely that I am, indeed, living up to my potential, even though some people might not perceive what I’m doing as thus.
I think a lot of people in creative careers face this issue, but the truth of the matter is that owning your own business, whether it’s a successful law practice or a greeting card company or a professional blog, takes brains and skills that not everyone possesses. The same skills that earned me straight A’s in college are building me a successful photography business currently - one that will stand out from the crowd and succeed when so many others fail. For some people, it's just difficult to understand the concept of working for one's self. If you can't say "I work at Such and Such doing Such and Such With My Degree," they're like, "huh? So, you don't have a job, then?"
The point of this post isn’t to toot my own horn, but rather it is to encourage YOU. I know so many of my readers are at a similar place in life as I am, and it’s a place and time when you really start to question this idea of living up to potential. And I guess I just wanted to encourage you to remember that the only standard you must meet is your own - the only path you should follow is the one your heart leads you on. Whether that’s a career in medicine or law or art or PR or writing or photography or being a mom or… or… or… you tell ME.
Just some food for thought. Do you think you’re living up to your potential, and if not, what’s stopping you?