Master teacher Stephen K. Hayes says “Unleash Your Potential” as the brand summary of his To-Shin Do martial arts system. This is a lot to cram into three short words, but it’s got me thinking lately, especially in this economy, in these times.

Actualizing your potential means roughly the same thing, but is a lot uglier, brand-wise.

What’s got me thinking is that we in the new media community have tremendous potential. We’ve got rolodexes that five years ago would have been the envy of any top tier salesperson, from CEOs and CMOs of Fortune 500s to the latest and greatest minds in nearly every field. We’ve got greater reach individually and collectively than any generation of humanity has ever had. I could fill 10% of Fenway Park with the number of folks who follow me on Twitter. I could fill Fenway twice or Yankee Stadium once and change with the number of people who have listened to the Financial Aid Podcast.

All of that, however, is potential.

Potential is stored energy, energy that can be released into the world, but unless that potential is tapped, actualized, unleashed, it’s not working for you. It’s rather like sitting on a large pile of cash. Unless you spend it, invest it, or put it to work, cash by itself isn’t very helpful. It’s not really edible, for example.

Where am I going with all this? As the economy and country prepares for massive changes beginning on Election Day, making the commitment to actualize more of your potential might be just the thing to usher in your own personal era of change.

– Get in touch with all those contacts on LinkedIn. Say hi.
– Put up a blog post for your Twitter friends and tell them hi, and ask how you can be helpful.
– Do something about the business card pile you’ve accumulated and make use of those meatspace bookmarks.
– Find new ways to bring together what I do for work with what I do for fun, life, and mission, so that when I do one thing in one area, all other areas benefit.

I’ll be doing exactly this and more as we vote for new leadership in the country, as a way of integrating personal change with national change.

What will you do to bring about your own personal change and tap into your potential a little more?

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