What would it look like if you were to reach your full potential?
This, my friends, has been the question that has been eating at me for the past couple of years. Finally, I gave in and decided to dedicate some real time and energy to the subject and write a book about my findings.
It all started with an innocent re-telling of a story/joke about “what happens when you get to heaven” that I heard on a random business podcast. The idea was that instead of arriving to meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, you’d be greeted by the version of yourself that had reached your full potential.
Can you imagine? Standing there, face to face with everything you weren’t able to accomplish.
Talk about kicking you when you’re down.
Immediately I started to think of what that would mean for me. The version of me who had gotten around to losing those extra pounds. Who had learned about finance and investing and got to have a full and vibrant retirement AND was able to leave substantial financial gifts to organizations that mattered to her.
This “Potential Kate” standing in front of me was fit, healthy, strong. She had been to every country in the world, had published the books she wanted to write (ahem…) and had a beautiful home, bountiful gardens, and close relationships with friends and family. Potential Kate remembered people’s birthdays, hosted the dinner parties, spoke 5 languages, sat on boards, made a difference. And, this is the kicker….she was NOT in urgent need of a pedicure!
Next, I started to wonder what it would take to DO all of those things. At first, it seemed like an awful lot of hard work–after all, if I haven’t achieved them yet, maybe it’s because it’s just too hard, takes too much time and effort, and leaves time for nothing else.
Don’t worry. I’m taking one for the team, and attempting to find out for all of us. I’ll keep you posted along the way, and then, obviously, I’m going to (somehow) strong-arm you into buying the book. You have plenty of time to save up for the hard copy––it’s nowhere near finished!
The most important thing of all is to make sure you are working towards YOUR most amazing version of yourself, AND that you have checked the expiration date on that version as well.
Because it would really be a shame to spend all this time working towards someone ELSE’S opinion of what your potential is (I’m looking at YOU, teachers who convinced your students that life was only worth living if you were a soloist or a principal player of a major orchestra, or on the roster of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center) I’m also looking at all of the parents out there who had very vocal opinions of what it means to have “made it.”
It would also be a shame to just run on autopilot and chase after the dreams you had decades ago. Dreams that you actually outgrew somewhere down the line and didn’t even notice. I think a lot of us set ourselves in the direction of our childhood dreams, and walking down that path becomes more a habit than anything else.
But what I know for sure is this.
It’s different for everyone. Maybe you want to be President or an Astronaut, or maybe you don’t want to work at all! Maybe you want to be the top-dog teacher at Curtis, and maybe you want to run a thriving Suzuki Viola studio out of your home. Maybe you want to travel the globe, and maybe you want to run a housing co-op and live off the land.
It’s worth thinking about though. Before you spend another day working for what might NOT be your actual goals. And before you waste another single day NOT working towards what you really want out of life.
Because if we are working for things that matter, that are truly in alignment with who we are, then by definition, we’re doing something enjoyable, right?
Like I said….I’ll keep you posted.
P.S. Looking for an awesome community of musicians and creatives who are thinking about these same issues and topics? Join my Private Tales From The Lane Facebook Group for weekly discussions, support, and good times, as well as to be one of the first to hear of new programs and projects I’ve dreamed up for you!