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How to Tell if You Are Living Up to Your Full Potential


It feels like a quarter (or third) life crisis. There’s nothing blatantly wrong with your life or your job, but you still have this vague feeling of dissatisfaction. You no longer jump out of bed in the morning inspired and ready to seize the work day. Maybe you have started wondering if you are even on the right path.

Well, there’s no reason to settle for mediocrity. We all have the potential to do something spectacular, and when we are not living up to that potential, we leave success on the table.

So, how do you know if you are making the most of your career?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you regularly feeling challenged and pushing your limits?
  • Do you get engrossed in your work and often lose track of time?
  • Does the impact of your work feel meaningful?
  • Are you constantly looking for ways to improve?
  • Do you feel truly accomplished each night when you go to sleep?
  • Do you feel connected with the mission of your organization? (Do your coworkers?)

If the answer to all (or most) of these is a resounding yes, then you can be pretty certain that you are currently maximizing your potential. You found a role and an organization that aligns with your values and work style, allowing you to be your best. Focus on fueling that momentum to stay on your game.

If not, you may be feeling bored or frustrated with your job. You are likely investing in a path that is not fulfilling, and not making the most of what you have to offer.

It’s time to change that. Here are three steps you can take to really live up to your potential.

1. Listen to your gut.

When we feel like something is missing that we can’t quite pinpoint, it’s easy to ignore that feeling. Nonetheless, you need to start listening to that inner voice, the one that says, “I need more. I need something different.”

Dig a bit deeper. What does your inner voice say in the moments when you feel invigorated and fully satisfied by what you’re doing? Whatever that mantra is, that should be your driving force and factor into your daily decisions. Use it as a guide to point you in the direction of your potential.

2. Develop more confidence.

Confidence is the key ingredient that will get you from knowing you need to make a change, to actually making one. It takes confidence to step up, re-think your career strategy, or shift jobs. Having confidence allows you (and everyone else) to really see your abilities, and use them properly.

And sure, “be more confident” is easier said than done, but you can do his by making an effort to implement more positive self-talk in your life. It’s not about feeding your ego, it’s about reinforcing your achievements and skills.

3. Redefine what success means to you.

Often we make decisions (especially throughout our career) based on what we think will make us happy. We check off the boxes (good salary, fancy office, impressive title) and then wonder why we still don’t feel fulfilled. People tell us we’re lucky, but we tell ourselves we are not where we should be. That’s a hard disconnect to reconcile.

Figure out what matters to you, not what looks “good on paper” or what others think you should want. Once you redefine success (on your terms), you will be able to have a clearer picture of the goal and a better chance at reaching it.

What are you doing to live up to your full potential? Share your story in the comments.

Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital media recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.