Why the World Can’t See Your Potential

4 Feb

You want to succeed with your talents? In this post, we’re discussing one of the greatest obstacles for turning your talent into a career, and we’ll follow it up with two actions you can take to overcome that obstacle. After all, it’s one thing to have a hobby (i.e. done for yourself, and maybe for your family, like painting, writing, cooking, advising), it’s an entirely different thing to have a talent that’s also your profession.

Baptism of ChristHere is the crux of your problem. You might be talented, but there’s a good chance the talent you want to foster does not stand out. (In fact, we often hide our talents/hobbies to avoid criticism.) But if you don’t dare to stand out, the world isn’t going to realize your magnificent potential.

So what’s the obstacle to standing out?

Here’s a quick story to drive this home: Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius. His talents were renowned and he was a ‘master’, however when Leondardo was a boy he was certainly no master. Instead, he was an apprentice working under Andrea del Verrocchio. Of course, young Leonardo had talent that overflowed but that talent, while strong within him, had not captured the imagination of others.

This remained the case until The Baptism of Christ was comissioned to Leonardo’s master. Verrocchio upon receiving the commission designed the scene and painted Christ while his apprentices were given the background and other characters to ‘fill in’. Leonardo was to paint the angel on the left.

Now, young Leonardo had been learning a great deal and wanted to experiment more. In receiving the job of painting the angel, he took a risk and decided to use a new medium: oil paint. While everyone else used tempera paint Leonardo used this new medium he much preferred. It was a risk because it wasn’t normal. Not only that, he was the only one using oil paint for the commissioned painting! If it went wrong, his mistake would standout like an eyesore.

But, if it went right, which it did, then by using the oil paint young Leonardo was able to create layers, textures and colours far more vibrant than the tempera allowed. In using this unique medium, he drew attention to his angel. People noticed the colouring, and they noticed the talent.

It’s said that when Verrocchio saw Leonardo’s work, he declared that he was ‘no longer the master’, as his abilities had been surpassed. How’s that for getting your potential noticed by the world?

So what’s the biggest obstacle between you and your potential? THE RISK. Sometimes, you need to create opportunities by daring to risk.

Leonardo took a risk as he did two things with this portrait:

1) He differentiated himself.

2)He demonstrated his talent and his knowledge of the art.

Differentiated and demonstration. And by taking a risk, you open the door for success. If failure should happen to step-in, then take that as a learning experience. “No risk, no gain,” right?

When it comes to unlocking our potential, sometimes that means speaking in front of a crowd, leaving the job that bores you, being the first to say hello, or submitting your writing to an agent. If you have confidence in your ability, then have confidence in the risks you take. Yes, they can be scary & uncomfortable. Actually, I think there’s some unspoken rule that all new things must be uncomfortable . . . but just you wait. Leonardo might have taken a ‘risk’ when he was young, but as the years passed he became a master. He mastered his reputation and his work.

So, why don’t you do the same: differentiate and demonstrate. Take a risk. Start here and let us know what you want the world to see of yourself.

Till next week!


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: