August 23, 2021

Mélanie Boucarut

Not living up to your potential

Around the time I moved to Japan in 2009, I had a series of successful career boosters in a short time. More responsibilities, a better title, more money; my advice was solicited in a prestigious company forum…

Then came a few years of hard toil in a very complex environment and what felt like few results to show for it.

For a (oh-so-long) while there, it felt like I only put out mediocre work. Not doing the kind of strategic, thorough, well executed, significant change work I expected of myself.

I knew I was capable of more. I had the impression of standing in the way of using my own capabilities.

I remember thinking I was not living up to my potential.

I compared myself to others. Judged myself constantly.  Got annoyed at myself a lot. Felt ashamed for not delivering more substantial results…

I wish I had then the method I have now.

I would have understood a key thing:

Going out of your comfort zone is by definition, well, uncomfortable. Duh!

But not uncomfortable in a way that you can make do with, like working late when you’re used to pushing yourself, or speaking in public when you know you’ll manage in spite of the unpleasant stress it creates.

REALLY uncomfortable.

As in: feeling like shit. Like you won’t make it. Like a failure.

We confuse “expressing our potential” with feeling great. Being excited. Feeling competent. With effort being the smooth and hard-in-an-easy-way kind we are used to.

Think again.

Discomfort is VERY uncomfortable. You’ll want to shift your weight and move around and avoid the thing that creates the discomfort.

But what if your current situation was precisely the exposure you needed to practice levelling up?

What if the shitty way you feel right now was just the sign that the difficulty has increased BECAUSE you’re able to take it on.

I said able.

Who said anything about feeling ready?

No bad horses, only untrained riders 🐴

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You know that I normally disapprove of eating instead of embracing discomfort, but in this specific case we’ll actually go for cookies...

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