I have written a book on goal setting.  I am now in the editing process.  As I edit, I will post most of the book here, for free.  This is from the introduction.


Your Potential 

If you do not know me, I should warn you.  I am the teacher in the best-selling series Visual Latin. 

There will be a bit of Latin in this book.  I can’t help it.  Latin is the source of much of the English language.  I see it everywhere.  I am a Latin teacher.  I can’t help it. 

So, here we go.  Here comes a little Latin. 

Our English word potential comes from the Latin word for power.  

The Latin word is potens.  

From potens, English also gets the words potent (powerful), impotent (no power), and potency (the level of power).  

The definitions in parentheses are quick and easy definitions, by the way.  If you look these words up in a dictionary, you will find more.  Since is a book on goal-setting and since it is not a dictionary, I will play fast and loose with some definitions.  

Back to potens.  

We also get the word potential from the Latin word potens.  

At some point in your life, you may have heard someone say, “You are not living up to your full potential.”  

If you have heard this statement before, it probably stung a little.  You may have felt insulted.   

It wasn’t an insult.  

If someone tells you that you are not living up to your full potential, they are complimenting you.

The person is telling you they see something in you.  They see power.  They see potential.  They see potens.

I believe all of us have more potential than we use.  I believe most of us go through life in first gear when we could easily shift into second, third, fourth, or fifth gear. 

The trouble is, most of us don’t know how to shift into the higher gears.  

I know.  I spent most of my early career in first gear.  I never gave my potential much thought.  I thought I had maxed out.  I was wrong.

When I learned to set goals, I shifted into the higher gears.  I picked up speed.  Lots of speed.

You can too.  You have the potential.  You have the power. 

Setting goals will unleash your potential.  

You can change.  You simply must be willing to change.  

We can all do that.  

Here is how to tap into your power.

Forget about proving yourself.

Instead, Focus on improving yourself.  

Do you see the difference?  

If you focus on proving yourself to others, you will become discouraged easily.  You will depend on the approval of others.  You may say things like, “I failed.”  “I didn’t make it.”  “I can’t do this.”  “I’ll never succeed.”  “I’ll never figure this out.”  “I’ll never catch up with everyone else.”  

But, if you focus on improving yourself, you will say things like, “I can do this.”  “I can learn this.”  “I am getting better at this.”

I teach online.

I “teach” Latin, Spanish, French, and German.  Sometimes I “teach” Greek and Italian.  

I don’t have a college degree in the languages I teach.  

I never went to college to learn these languages.  

I am not an academically educated expert.  

Instead, I am improving.  Constantly improving.  Publicly.

I do not focus on proving myself.  I focus on improving.

I do not focus on getting people to notice how good I am at languages.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I am willing to be embarrassingly bad at languages.  Publicly.

Put another way, I do not focus on being good at languages.  I focus on getting good at languages.  There is a difference.

In the book Succeed: How to Hit our Goals by Heidi Halverson, we read this: 

“When we focus on getting better, we take difficulty in stride — using our experiences to fuel our improvement.  People who pursue growth often turn in the best performances because they are far more resilient in the face of challenges.

When your goal is to get better rather than to be good, you tend to enjoy what you’re doing more and find it more interesting.  You anticipate the journey as much as the destination.

When you set goals, make sure are focused on getting better.  

Eventually, you will be good at whatever it is you tackle.  

Until that day comes, focus on improvement.  

Forget being good.  Focus on getting good.