Thoughts on accessing our unrealized potential

“Everyone is capable of far more than we ever knew was possible,” maintains Mike Rayburn, an award-winning speaker and entertainer. “Our key limitation in life is ourselves. We aim at mediocrity and we hit it.”

Billed as the World’s Funniest Guitar Virtuoso, Rayburn is an expert on personal development and human potential. He believes that we all have a “gold mine of unrealized potential and are surrounded every day by opportunities to access that potential. However, not everyone takes a step beyond their limitations and challenges the status quo and looks at things differently.”

Furthermore, in his keynote presentation to Zonar Systems’ first fleet management conference that was held last year, he provided some “simple, powerful, tools that can be used immediately and forever to access your gold mine of unrealized potential.”

Zonar provides electronic inspection, tracking and operations solutions for public and private fleets.


Thought Process Alteration

Because questioning is the foundation of our thinking, we need to change how we think, explained Rayburn. “Ask, in a positive way, empowering questions like what if and why not and you get great answers. ‘What if’ opens up the possibilities. ‘Why not’ gets at the obstacles holding us back.”

He suggested the next time an opportunity comes along which seems “awesome” if it could happen, but nearly impossible to achieve, ask yourself and/or your team: ‘What if we could do that? What would we need to do to make it happen?’”

Brainstorming about something doesn’t mean you’re going to do it, he said. It just means you’re entertaining the possibility, and that “causes a fundamental change in thinking. You’re are programming your brain to look for reasons you can do something rather than looking for reasons you can’t. That makes all the difference in the world.”

Rayburn also recommended “standing outside of a challenge or opportunity and looking at it differently. Poke fun at them. Step beyond your perceived limitations and you open up creativity. All of us are creative, but in different ways.”

If the status quo isn’t working, get fed up and ask what if and act on your answers to come up with creative solutions that are uniquely yours, said Rayburn. “You define the curve rather than follow it.”


Bold Goals

Another tool to help realize unrealized potential is to set goals that don’t exist, Rayburn advised. “Set a goal that is not possible, but cool. Pick a goal by saying: ‘This is nuts but I am going to …’ Dream about scenarios for achieving them.”

No goal can be achieved without doing three things, he warned: Write the goal down, commit to it and take some kind of action within 24 hours.

Rayburn referenced President Kennedy, who in 1961, set the ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. The technology at the time didn’t exist, yet the goal was achieved.

“If you are old enough, you may recall that this ‘what if’ goal seemed so ridiculous and such an immense waste of money that it brought about the term moondoggle (a combination of moon and boondoggle).

“Open the door to an idea and it will grow and momentum will move toward achieving it,” maintained Rayburn.


How to Spend Time

“We all have time poverty,” Rayburn observed. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done.

“The challenge is to decide for ourselves what to do and what not to do so we don’t major in minor things. We need to more carefully choose what we do. Asking ‘what if’ and ‘why not’ can help us focus on getting the important things done. Master those things that matter most in life.”


Sense of Purpose

Rayburn said that the most powerful motivator to access unrealized potential is a person’s sense of purpose - why we do what we do.

“We have a purpose in every relationship and it usually centers on serving,” he noted. “Get the most out of each and every one.”

Drawing his remarks to a close, he advocated: “Become a virtuoso. Resolve to be the best.

“Ask yourself: ‘What would it take for me to be the best?’ We already know what we need to do but we don’t do it. If it’s worth doing, why not be the best?

“Exponential change is possible and it can happen.”