I love the idea of making the most of every opportunity I have. I was raised by parents who modeled and taught me that life is a gift from God and to be the best I could be. I learned to enjoy a challenge. To be self-confident. To see failure as an opportunity to get up and try again. To be optimistic. To be open to feedback. To learn from others, including mentors. To be flexible. To aspire to improve. And to focus on results.
The good news about all of these traits is that they can be learned and developed. My parents, coaches, and teachers reinforced that I didn’t have to feel like those who advanced rapidly were somehow better than me. I simply worked on being the best “me” I could be while improving in these traits and using them to my advantage. With a little practice and evaluated experience (i.e., feedback in real time), I got better.
We have to remember that there are enough people in the world who are going to write you off. You don’t need to do that to yourself. Susan Boyle participated in some singing events to which others mocked her rather than judged her ability to sing. Her mother encouraged her to audition for Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009. She was hesitant because she believed people were being chosen primarily for their looks.
Through the constant persuasion of her coach, she took the courage to try as a tribute to her mother. She was 47 years old back then. When she stepped on stage and was asked about her dream, she responded: “I’m trying to be a professional singer like Elaine Paige.”
Some parts of the audience started rolling their eyes in disbelief of the kind of ambition she has. Despite the crowd’s doubt, Boyle chose to ignore them and went on singing her winning piece “I Dreamed a Dream.” As soon as she hit the first note, all of their doubts turned into awe. She managed to finish the song receiving a standing ovation from the audience and three YES’s from the judges. In fact, her first album “I Dreamed a Dream” at one point became the United Kingdom’s best-selling debut album of all time.
John Maxwell has written that decades ago he memorized a quote that shaped his life. “My potential is God’s gift to me. What I do with my potential is my gift to Him.” John believed he was accountable to God, others, and himself for every talent, gift, resource, and opportunity he has in life. He believed that if he gave any less than his best, he would be shirking his responsibility.
John told a story about former President Dwight Eisenhower in his book, “25 Ways to Win with People.” The President told an audience once that he regretted not having a better political background so he could be a better speaker. He said his lack of skill reminded him of his boyhood days in Kansas where an old farmer had a cow for sale. The buyer asked the farmer about the cow’s pedigree, butterfat production, and monthly production of milk. The farmer responded by saying, “I don’t know what a pedigree is, or her butterfat production, but I know for sure that she’s a good cow and will give you all the milk you need.”
There you have it. That is all any of us can do. We can give all that we have.
Read Ephesians 2:10.
We are God’s workmanship, or His poem, or His masterpiece, created to do good. We were created to make the most of our gifts and opportunities. Serve globally. Strive to make the most of your potential today. That is always enough.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz