Recently, my friend Chris Brogan asked what three words would define 2009’s goals and achievements. Mine come directly from one of my teachers, Stephen K. Hayes, and his Quest organization – unleash your potential. In the context of his To-Shin Do martial art, it’s about awakening a lot of things in yourself that you don’t know are there.

For me, outside of the martial arts, unleashing your potential is about tapping into the powers you already have. In a social media presentation I give at speaking events, I ask audiences to name a superhero based on this list of powers:

– Nearly omniscient
– Can influence events and things from afar
– Can see all over the world

The answer, of course, is you, with the help of Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and the myriad other utilities available to us that give us as human being unprecedented capabilities.

The catch is, even though we have the capabilities, we may not be using them. We may be leaving potential on the table, and that means leaving money, friendship, love, and many other things on the table as well. Truthfully, we all leave potential on the table every day because life is just that good – there’s so much to explore, learn, and share that we’ll never get to even a fraction of it all in one human lifetime. That said, it’s at least worth trying.

So here’s an exercise to help you unleash a little more of your potential today, right now. If you’re involved in the social media scene and you have followers/fans/friends, pick someone in your contact list/address book/follower collection that you don’t know well and take 15 minutes to learn more about them. Find out what they do for work, find out what they do for fun. This is unleashing the potential a little bit more out of your personal network, exploring resources that you may not have known were there.

Once you’ve done that exercise, start looking around for more ideas and ways to get more juice out of the potential that surrounds you, that you have free access to. What can you learn to do a little bit better today? Who can you know a little bit better today?

Unleash your potential, and by the time 2009 draws to a close, you’ll have had an amazing year no matter what.

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