Potential Is A Dangerous Word


“We’ve got so much potential.”

I hear this sentence often when consulting with an organization or ministry. Potential is indeed a powerful word. Potential gives so much hope, does it not? Potential means that there’s a likelihood that we are going to get better. Potential means there’s a likelihood things are going to get better. Things may not the way we want them to be now, but hey...we have potential!

However, can I be honest with you? Potential is a dangerous word. Potential can give us false hope. Potential is often unrealized. Just because an athlete has potential does not mean they will become everything they are to become. So it is with you and me. Just because we have great talent, a great location, have great people, and have lots of opportunity, it actually doesn’t mean that much. I know tons of ministries and organizations that are in great locations with great people with great talent and are not winning. Why?

Potential tempts us to depend on outside forces.

Potential tempts us to draft on the momentum.

Potential leads us to believe we are better than we are.

Potential causes us to give less than our best.

Potential tends to give us hope, but hope is not a strategy. This is why potential is a dangerous word! Don’t get me wrong. Potential can be powerful. Location matters. The Team and the Talent we have matters. Potential matters...but just recognize that it can also be be dangerous! So what do we do?

How can we be sure we capitalize on our potential?

Out Work Everyone Else.  

One way to be sure we capitalize on our potential is to out hustle everyone else! If no one works harder than us, then we have the power of never second guessing our effort. I may not be smarter than everyone else. I can outwork everyone else! I may not have as much potential, but I have a greater work ethic!

Be Disciplined and Consistent.

Do the things you need to do even when you don’t feel like it. Be consistent in your habits. Calendar everything and stick to the plan. Lead yourself first.

Be A Constant Learner.

Soak up every bit of knowledge you can. It’s possible that the only thing holding you back from seizing your potential is a new skill or knowledge you do not currently possess. Read. Get perspective. Get coaching. Learning leaders are growing leaders. Growing leaders lead growing organizations. That’s the bottom line.  

Focus on the Important, not just the Urgent.

Exercise is more important than the Inbox. Relationships are more important than tasks. Leading is more important than managing. Any guesses where we spend more time each day? Twenty percent of activity produces eighty percent of results. What do you need to focus on to produce the most fruit? Stop wasting so much time on what can and will not help us grow!


Develop thick skin. Be too dumb to quit. Most leaders quit right before the harvest. Keep telling your story. Keep lasting the vision. Keep making calls. Keep recruiting.  Keep blocking and tackling. If you get better, sooner or later, you will get bigger. Buckle your chin strap, take the field, and seize the day.

“I think what separates a superstar from the average ballplayer is that he concentrates just a little bit longer.” - Hank Aaron