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It’s one thing to have high potential, and quite another to use it!

There are zillions of people with the smarts, the skills and the talent to “turn their potential into performance”™; to create a positive impact that is personally meaningful, doing what matters most to them in their work and in their lives.

BUT…. (and it’s a huge one) they don’t advance. HUH?

They may lack a Growth Mindset, the temperament, the confidence and the courage (quite frankly) to transform the things that aren’t producing the success they deserve.

Advancement in every area of our lives begins with personal development;

Success, and its partner failure, is largely dependent on who we are impacting what we do (and what we don’t do).

If your goal is to lead a purpose-driven, passionate and high performance life, then you must follow the leaders– people who have already done it, are doing it now, and will continue to do it till their expiration date comes due.

Long ago my research revealed that success, in every area of life, is often more dependent on the things you DON’T DO, than on the things you DO.

Your career success is often more dependent on the things you DON’T DO, than on the things you DO. Click To Tweet

As you read through this list, give yourself the gift of a Reality Check: Take time to ask yourself some serious, life-transforming questions…. and pay attention to the answers.

Do YOU do these things? And, if you do, what’s the impact?

  1. High Potential people never play the Victim Card: On occasion we all have a pity party; we feel sorry for ourselves, lament how tough life is, and blame others for our misery. HIPO (high potential) people know that life isn’t all about them; they don’t make excuses for circumstances (good or bad), they ‘own’ their choices, and they focus forward the minute the Pity Party is over. HIPO people fully embody the notion that being powerful and successful is a lifestyle choice.

Want to give up the Victim Card once and for all?

  1. Make a gratitude list every night right before bed. Do this for two weeks, and watch the Victim Card vaporize.
  2. Make a list of every success or accomplishment you’ve had in the past week/ month/ year. Then try to pull the Victim Card and see what happens. And what doesn’t.
  3. High Potential people never follow their fears: The people who say they don’t experience fear is lying to the both of you. Every person has moments of panic, doubt, anxiety and dread. This especially holds true for high potential people! Why? They take more risks than the rest of the crowd and, therefore, there are more opportunities for them to be scared. The difference is, these people don’t turn their fear into permanent procrastination; they move into action, knowing the fear will dissipate once they get moving.

Are you willing to prove yourself wrong about the role fear plays in your life?

  1. Make a list of everything you were once afraid to do, but you did it anyway. How did it turn out?
  2. Make a list of everything you want to do, but you still let fear stand in your way. What is the worst possible outcome? What is the best possible outcome? Which feels better? Boom!
  3. High Potential people never avoid conflict: Conflict at work is both inevitable and unavoidable.  Most women (especially) avoid conflict, because it’s associated with being aggressive and confrontational, two distinctly ‘male’ traits. Socially and emotionally, people are expected to be ‘nice’ so, when conflict occurs, the go-to strategy is to avoid it or become the peacemaker. HIPO people are not immune to this, however they use conflict as an opportunity to gain insight into how their colleagues think. Furthermore, HIPO people seek the clarity and innovation that often comes with healthy conflict.

Would you be willing to never avoid conflict, if you knew that your ideas would be listened to, and you would become respected for the solutions you bring to the table?

  1. Make a list of the most respected people in your organization. In what conflicts have you seen them engaged? How did they handle these situations? What did you learn?
  2. Identify how you feel about conflict itself, and how you feel about yourself when you’re in conflict. What do you need to transform, personally, to make conflict okay?
  3. High Potential people never expect perfection: Let’s face it, we want to look good to the world, so we often delay a launch because we’re waiting to get it to the point where we appear to be an expert, and our project appears to be perfect. HIPO people know that this is faulty thinking; that it’s often riskier to delay a release than it is to ship something that’s less than impeccable.They know that if they excessively labor over something, or repeatedly delay, things will remain stagnant and lack innovation. That is every HIPO’s nightmare.

To what extent would you step up your agenda on your projects, if you knew the world was waiting desperately for your intellectual property?

  1. Make a list of 10 apps that you own and absolutely love, that later came out with updates. Imagine what would have happened had the developer waited to release it until version 5 was perfected. Enough said.
  2. High Potential people never live in their past: The past is where our mistakes live; it is also home to our learning. To stay in our past, no matter how memorable, is the equivalent of passion suicide. Our purpose and potential is always looking for a new way and a new place in which to express itself. Living in our past precludes that from ever happening. HIPO people are present and future-focused, always looking ahead to take action on their next idea. They take the learning from their past and apply it to who and what they aspire to become. Ah… so that’s what courage looks like!

What would it take for you to take the lessons you’ve learned from your past, and the gifts that these gave you, and use them to “turn your potential into performance?”

  1. Identify 5 things you’ve wanted to do at work, but haven’t. Ask yourself why you didn’t do these things.
  2. Take your list of why you didn’t do these things, and relate them to something in your history. Point made.

I challenge you as your friend, mentor, coach and colleague, to step into who YOU are and what impact YOU intend to make.


Okay, my HIPO friends and readers: What’s ONE THING you’ve done that’s successfully moved you forward on your HIGH POTENTIAL journey? You know where to write your comments. You know who needs you to share this. Please do both because we want to learn from you!


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WomenThink™ partners with leaders of public, private, and non-profit global organizations to transform their female workforce into a high-performing LeaderForce™; attracting, developing, and retaining the best female talent as a result of creating an uncommon culture of equitable empowerment.

 For more than 29 years, WomenThink’s CEO, Nancy D. Solomon, has been a force for change and the go-to women’s leadership expert in traditionally male-dominated industries such as technology, banking, and finance, worldwide.

 She is a bold, courageous, and unapologetic advocate for women and has helped thousands remove the barriers to their fulfillment and success.

 As a result of their work with us, our clients build and sustain a vibrant, robust force of female leaders, equipped to manage the helm, and the highest offices of corporations across the globe. Our clients include Microsoft, Target, Acura, Amazon, Nordstrom, Wellpoint, and Westin and, as well as many passionate individuals.

 Schedule a meeting with us to begin the conversation of how we can accelerate your current transformation initiatives, as well as identify the future of leadership for your organization.

Known as The Impact Expert, she is the main stage speaker, expert trainer, and veteran coach who helps leaders solve key issues related to leadership development, employee engagement, and advancing women. She is the author of the acclaimed book: Impact! What Every Woman Needs to Know to Go from Invisible to Invincible and is currently working on her next book.

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