The following is an edited excerpt from my new book, Beyond Barriers.
Professionals with ambition are constantly thinking of ways to achieve more — from the next job up the ladder to the raise to the next big sales deal.
But, despite their efforts, many of these ambitious titans of industry-to-be lack a sense of fulfillment both personally and professionally. Some may end up regretting a certain career choice or career path altogether.
If that sounds familiar to you, this article is intended to help you answer this crucial question: How do I reach my full potential?
Discovering the Secret
Sometimes when we’re in a dark place, we experience moments of real clarity that can illuminate the path to a better, more hopeful life. Years ago, as these questions echoed in my mind, I found myself one day playing a video game.
I suddenly noticed something about the game.
Everyone starts the game at level one. In order to get to level two, you first have to overcome the barriers of level one. To do that, you must understand the intricacies of that level, master the skills, and gain the competency, as well as develop the courage and conviction to keep going.
When you finally get to level two, you face even bigger challenges in order to get to level three. The competency you need now is even more demanding, the barriers bigger and more difficult.
As you progress from level to level, you get stronger and better—even as the obstacles continue to get more difficult and the levels more complex. In that process, in the structure of the video game, I suddenly saw the pattern for a successful life.
Life presents many obstacles to overcome and infinite levels to conquer. Every level you conquer opens the path to bigger opportunity. The farther you go, the more you gain. But you have only a set amount of time to make progress. Once the timer runs out, you’re done.
The key to unlocking your limitless potential is to get as far as you can before your time runs out. The faster you scale those levels, the more impact you’re able to create. To uncover all that is within your reach, you simply have to face life with the same optimism and determination as in that game as you move from level to level.
The secret to life’s greatest treasures is to boldly face bigger and bigger obstacles. The more you embrace the struggle, develop the necessary skills and mindset, and build the courage and conviction to keep going, the more you succeed and thrive.
Every Obstacle Creates Opportunity
Seeing that—really seeing it—gave me a brand-new perspective on my entire life. Suddenly, I could look back on my previous years like I was rewinding a movie and see everything I’d gone through, every painful circumstance, every heartbreak, every hardship.
I realized that every difficult circumstance was an obstacle I’d overcome in order to progress. With every challenge, I’d catapulted forward, seized new opportunities that emerged, and developed greater confidence.
On the other hand, every time I found myself dealing with the same problems, I saw how I’d stunted my own growth and limited my own progress. Clearly, the times in my life where I’d been held back were times I had simply been stuck on the same level, waiting to learn the skills or acquire the courage to resume moving forward.
In the parts of my life where I felt stuck, where I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere, I just needed to develop the right attitude, get the right perspective, and put in place the right systematic approach to get past that level.
Your Perspective Gives You Power
This realization set me on a journey, growing and adapting to become the person I am today and guiding me toward who I want to be tomorrow.
This epiphany changed the course of my life. I marvel at how far I’ve come since my dark days when I was depressed, miserable, and broke. Until then, I’d experienced only moderate success in my career. I wasn’t creating impact in any meaningful way.
Less than a decade later, I’ve built a multi-million-dollar business and earned recognition as a leading woman entrepreneur. I’ve launched an education platform that helps people develop their skillset and mindset for innovation. I’m an author and sought-after public speaker on bold leadership, diversity, and innovation, and I’m actively engaged in influencing public policy through nonprofit organizations.
I was able to turn everything around, to open up and truly get on the path of unlocking my potential, because I changed the way I look at life.
We often overestimate what’s possible in a year but underestimate what we can achieve in a decade. I’ve risen from the ashes, achieving success beyond what I thought was possible. More importantly, I’ve built a life focused on my purpose, living my true passion and being my authentic self.
The game epitomizes the essence of how I perceive and approach everything. It has enabled me to achieve levels I never thought possible because I know now there is no end point. As long as the timer is running, I must keep forging ahead.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to unleash your full potential, check out my new book, Beyond Barriers.