What is your authentic potential?

Uncategorized Jun 24, 2021

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want?! was blasted out by the Spice Girls in the late 90's Wannabe, but is it a question you really ask yourself, especially at midlife?  

And even then, often we 'want' what we think we should want, rather than what we intrinsically want inside.

We're conditioned by our culture from an early age to see our potential or develop a vision in terms of prescribed successes in career, family, wealth and acquirements such as houses and cars.  And so we strive to tick as many boxes as we can, often without really factoring in our personal passions, our unique personalities, and our core values.  

It's a 'virtual vision' in many ways, smudging the clarity around our authentic potential by using a prescribed definition of what success looks like, taking no account of our nature, our foibles, our eccentricities (those things that make you wholly you, yet the things we hide, reduce or smother to conform and fit in). 

So we strive for this 'potential'... and then at midlife, wonder why maybe we don't feel as satisfied as we thought we would - or worse, are so exhausted from trying so hard, we realise we're just a human doing, rather than a human being!

As The Midlife Coach, I see time and time again - and have experienced it myself - how this virtual vision can differ from our authentic potential, which is what we really want our life to look and feel like if we didn't have to compare ourselves to others.  

Your Virtual Vision is based on other's versions of success, often male, and usually will comes armed with a certain feeling of 'should'.

Your Authentic Potential is based on what you really want, and takes into account your personality, your core values, your passions, and crucially, your peace of mind. 

We can often be afraid to live our authentic potential in case people think we're being "too" small, "too" loud, "too" ambitious, not ambitious enough, "too" weird. 

What I've learned from my own experience, is that trying to be all things, to all people leads to being nothing to myself. Midlife is a time when often we begin to shift from the prescribed one-size-fits-all way of living, and start to feel out how our own skin feels like. 

I have a fabulous client who kept striving for what she thought she should strive for in business and hated most of it, only to realise her uniqueness - in her case introversion and ability to read trends early, can mean something very different (and better for her!) if she trusts it enough to let go of the virtual vision that she clung to. She is learning to trust her intrinsic voice, which for many of us can be drowned out by the louder voices of others. 

Defining your own version of success, based on how you want your life to feel, is one of the most powerful things you can do.   That's not to say there is anything wrong at all with many of the prescribed versions of 'success' or what is the 'normal' way to live, and many of us strive for these and thrive within some of them.

But, I for one, don't think it's an acceptable way to live if I am constantly busy and overwhelmed. That version of success does me no good.  So I've had to find a different definition of success and it's a daily practise to try and define, and live, by my authentic potential rather than a virtual vision that doesn't suit who I am. 

Midlife is a time of enormous change and challenge, opportunity and choice. Making sure you are living it in a way that fits with who you truly are, will make all the difference.  And to bring it back to the Spice Girls, we are never one tag line. We are a crazy mix of often conflicting tag lines - sporty, spicey, baby, posh and scary maybe, but also shy, brash, organised, creative, curious, disciplined, scatty, ambitious, lazy, adventurous, tranquil and many, many more and it's in our own unique complexity that we find our authentic potential. 

Virtual version

Authentic potential

  • Based on prescribed or other’s definitions of success
  • Based on what you intrinsically want
  • May have ‘should’ at it’s core
  • Likely to have ‘want / wish’ at it’s core
  • Can feel competitive and comparative with and to others
  • Is all about your passions, purpose, peace of mind and has nothing to do with others
  • Is broad and usually conforms to a social norm
  • Takes into account your personality, your values, your preferred way of living, your peace of mind

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