In the midst of all the chaos that surrounds every one of us at times, it is often difficult to stop and analyze how we are doing. Taking a quick minute to assess our involvement in the situation, and how well we are interacting, can make a huge difference in how the whole situation will pan out. Whatever our involvement, performing at 100% and performing at 70% are not the same thing. Take a car, for instance. When a race car is almost out of gas, needs an oil change, or is in need of an alignment, its performance is no longer the same as when it’s just out if the shop.

The same principal applies to human beings. When you are running on less than 100% energy, your performance is less than perfect and you can actually end up really screwing things up. But running on less than 100% energy is something people seem to be getting more and more used to. Why is it that people are okay with doing the minimum with the least amount of energy? Why do they accept mediocrity?

One of the reasons people fall short of what they really want to do is because they are scared. There are many things that people tend to compare themselves to: computers, calculators, cash registers, other humans, and if your self-esteem isn’t built up correctly, comparing can be very detrimental. When you compare yourself to anything other than yourself, you are setting yourself up for failure because you are measuring yourself with the wrong ruler. Each one of us measures up differently, so the comparison is pointless.

How do we calibrate our performance?

The only true form of measuring your performance correctly is by finding your potential. How can you know how something works if you have never seen what it can do to begin with? Once you know how something is supposed to perform, it’s a lot easier to determine if it is running smoothly or not.

You may be wondering, “How do I rate my potential? There is no potentiality test!” You would be right about that. But just because there’s no test on the Internet doesn’t mean it cannot be measured. Your potential does not determine what you will do with your life, as many people wrongly assume. Your potential has the ability to tell how you are performing. It can tell you whether you are performing at 100%, 70% or 25%, and it can even tell you why.

Let’s go back to the race car analogy for a second. How do you know your car is or isn’t performing at the level it should? The dashboard in your car keeps you informed, and there is a speedometer that tells you up to what speed your car can go, how much gas and oil the engine can take, etc. When you’re on the road, though, following the traffic regulations means you cannot push your race car to its full potential.

You have to take your car to a racetrack, and then you can let loose and watch that baby go! The same goes for you and your potential: when you are on the same track as everyone else, on the main road, you will have to go at about the same speed as everyone else and follow the same rules everyone does. You must put yourself in the right situation before you can reach and use your full potential.

How to Determine Your Potential

Challenge Yourself Every Day

If you constantly feel like you are not living up to the potential you think you can reach, then you aren’t. If in your head there is an image of who you want to be, that is who you are supposed to be. Whenever you fall short of those goals, you are falling short of yourself. Challenge yourself to live up to those goals. Some may take longer to reach than others, so start with the smallest and work your way up to the largest.

Expand Your Comfort Zone

Your potential will only go as far as you expand it. Give yourself some room to grow by doing things that are outside of your comfort zone. Draw a small circle on a blank piece of paper: that’s your comfort zone. Around that circle, draw the biggest circle you can fit on that page: that’s your potential. In that space between both circles, write all of the things you want to achieve but feel uncomfortable doing. Do you want to stay stuck in that small space or do you want to live in the big space of possibilities?

Accept Your Destiny

Once you realize you are not destined to stay in that small, confined place, you have to make a choice: you can stay there, or you can accept your potential and start working on your goals. How you do that is by getting started on that list of things you are uncomfortable doing. Ask yourself, why am I scared to do this? When feeling fear, stop to ask yourself the real reason your body is signaling you to be cautious. Most of the time, you’ll realize it is just the fear of not being ready. Ignore that fear, it’s just self-doubt disguised as your comfort zone.

As humans, we do not have a dashboard that tells us where we stand, but you do have a physical mind that knows exactly where you need to be. Your goals and expectations of yourself are the scale with which you will measure your potential. Where exactly do you see yourself on your potential scale?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Stephen Dela Cruz
Stephen Dela Cruz is an author, speaker and serial entrepreneur who specializes in helping budding entrepreneurs double their income in their first year. He’s built several 7 figure businesses and in his national best selling book, Entrepreneursh*t he shares strategies around time and money management to help beginning entrepreneurs soar.