In school we learn a variety of math formulas. We learn how to convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius; we learn how to calculate the area of a triangle and much more. The beauty of these formulas is the certainty they provide. We know that if we know the formula and have the correct inputs, we can compute the correct answer. Presumably, as adults we are using these formulas to solve a problem and move us towards something we desire.
People ask me about unleashing their potential – how to do it, what steps to take and more. Because of this recurring and important question I have worked to distill part of the answer into a formula. This formula will help us because if we can identify the inputs and use the formula correctly, we can improve our performance, and provide greater service to others, as we reach towards our potential.
The inputs to this formula are:
Expectations – Those things we expect of ourselves.
Beliefs – What we believe to be true about ourselves, our skills, abilities and potential; and our world.
Actions – the behaviors we exhibit and the things we do.
Reality – the results or endpoint of the efforts.
The formula goes like this: Expectations create beliefs. Beliefs create actions. Actions create realities.
Perhaps you will want to remember this formula as: EBA=R
As written, it looks like it is a formula that uses multiplication. In a way it does – if you have a zero in any of the first three inputs, there will be no change to your reality (or results). However as we all learned in math class, in multiplication you can complete the formula by multiplying the factors in any order. In our formula it all starts with expectations, in other words, the multiplication must be done in order to make sense.
Before I go any further, let me say that this formula assumes a desire to reach for new results – without desire to tap into or discover our potential the formula doesn’t even apply.
But I know, because you are reading this article, you have that desire, so we can move onward …
Let’s say that I see a friend and they tell me they just ran a 10K race. I tell myself, I could do that – I expect that I am capable of running a 10K race. The more I think about this race, telling myself that I could do that, the more I believe my assertions. My belief and expectations begin to create an excitement which leads me to start running. Even when I realize how out of shape I am, my expectation and belief pushes me to run a little more every day.
Along with my running, I do some other things – I ask other runners about their preparation plans. I pick up a book at the store or library to learn more about running technique. I ask the knowledgeable sales person in the store about the proper shoes to buy.
Expectations and belief fueled action, and now the action is reinforcing the belief as well. My running expectation has snowballed! I build a plan to compete in a specific 10K race and then complete it.
At the start of this process, when I put this expectation into my mind, my body wasn’t capable of making the 10K – maybe it wasn’t capable of making it to the mailbox! But the potential was there latent waiting to be unleashed. I unleashed the potential by having positive expectations which created belief which fueled action which led to me crossing the finish line of the 10K race. EBA=R.
Be Aware …
It is important to note that this formula works for any expectation - positive and uplifting, or negative and cynical, so be careful what you expect!
It is equally important to recognize that you can use the formula to help others unleash their potential as well. Your positive expectations and encouragement of them will help generate their own expectations, which allow the formula to work.
If we fervently expect something will happen, then we develop a belief, a true expectancy about that event or circumstance. When we believe, we will take action on those beliefs. And the right action, as we all know is required to create new results. EBA=R.
Use this formula for yourself. Set your expectations higher! Reinforce those expectations by thinking about them regularly. If you couple that with true belief, you are on your way.
Why not start today?
Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com ), a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/current.asp to read the current issue and subscribe.