Deb Sofield


Walking through the rooms of our lives – not looking for flaws, but for potential

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“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman

I like the idea that this year we’ll look forward not at the work to be done or cracks to be patched. No, we’re done looking for flaws, let’s look for potential.

And isn’t that what a new year is all about – Potential? Webster’s defines Potential as – existing in possibility.

I spent a lot of time last year talking about getting up and going forward in your amazing life because I believe a spark of potential exists in each us. We just need to fan that spark first into a flame, and then into a fire. By the way, don’t worry, I’ll continue that theme about going forward in your amazing life. That is born out of meeting so many people in my work and travels who refuse, can’t, or are unwilling to see the potential that I see in them.

Over the holidays I met with a number of wonderful people who had reached out to me. They asked how to move forward in their lives or how to find their passion or how to forgive themselves enough to breath again. Good, honest, kind, loving, amazing people who focused so much on their flaws they couldn’t see their potential. Some went so far as to sadly tell me they had no potential. To that I laughed like Santa with his little round belly that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly and told them in the nicest way possible that they are ridiculous!

Of course you have potential – everyone does. Now what you do about it is your responsibility, Yes, this takes work on your part. For so many, it’s like helping you dig through the closets of your life to pull out that dream that you put on the shelf; whether by anger or frustration, time or talent, family or work responsibilities. That idea that makes your heart glad, that enlivens you to the thought of doing something about it – that concept you just keep pondering over in your mind wondering if it might work. Friends, you need to let your potential shine through and let’s see if we can make it work – or at least try.

The potential is there, you know it – others see it – but you have to trust the step will be there as you walk forward. And can I assure you that many times the step is there it’s just hidden under years of neglect

I grew up in an area of my town called Paris Mt. (actually it’s just a big hill) but it was a wooded area and our home had trees all around – so as kid when I was playing in the woods – I had to be careful because of the years of leaves that had fallen that would cover a hole or root base or limb that could trip you up in a skinny minute.

But what I learned from growing up in the woods – so to speak – is that no matter how deep the duff is (and that’s what we call the leaves, branches, bark, and stems, existing in various stages of decomposition above the soil surface but on the forest floor). I love that word Duff – There is always a forest ground floor on which to stand. Now you couldn’t always see it, but you knew it was there.

I had the good fortune to meet up with a friend this past week and walk his family farm looking for arrowheads. Once we dogged the cows and goats (and one very protective dog guarding the goats from coyotes) we found ourselves by the stream and soon discovered we were sinking in the soft sand – we had to steady ourselves on a few rocks and jump and climb and balance ourselves to the stream bank and then hang onto the roots of the trees as we scaled to the top to safety. The potential of getting soaked in the creek was not a good option for such a cold day.

When we think about potential – what usually comes to mind is what could happen, falling in the cold stream – or what might happen down the road – meaning the future but I wonder if you’re able to put the concept of potential in the present for today, this week, this month, this year. Meaning the decision you make today – right now – is the right decision for you. Stepping out on faith – so to speak but since you have seen it in your mind’s eye you know it could work.

A number of years ago some clients informed me that because of the work I do that the new hip term in the marketplace was that I was a talent strategist and what that means is… I have expertise helping develop men and women for success in business and politics by coaching my clients to the top of their particular mountain – whatever mountain they have to climb, and we’ll do it together – I just happen to use the skill of public speaking to help them find their voice – they speak so – others will listen.

So as your talent strategist let me suggest that this year, we walk through the rooms of your life… not looking for flaws, but for your amazing potential. Meaning – existing in possibility

Now I can hear a collective sigh of some of you saying out loud – Deb – it’s impossible… because I have too many mistakes or you just don’t understand my situation or I really don’t have the potential you’re talking about – I can barely get through each day… Believe it or not I have heard every excuse in the book… and I still think that the decision to focus on the potential of what could be is stronger than your limited expectation of who you think you are… remember the phrase – Act As IF

Act As IF potential is yours for the taking

Act As IF your success is right around the corner so keep working towards your goal

Act As IF everything is going to be all right

I really struggle not to yell at people when people tell me it’s impossible for them to move forward because of all they have in their background or mistakes of their past or the pressure of their current situation…

I saw a great quote many years ago and it is applicable for today…Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.

Because this year, we’re going to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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