What If Today…We Looked For Potential and Possibilities?

Have you ever considered how your ability or willingness to see and act on the potential and possibility in people and things is an attribute of good and effective leadership?

I found one of my favorite definitions of leadership in Brene Brown’s book“Daring Greatly”:

“I’ve come to believe that a leader is anyone who holds her/ himself accountable for finding potential in people or processes.”

I add the responsibility of a person to find “possibility” as well, and the willingness to act on what they think needs to be done.

Leaders might complain, but they also work hard to find solutions.

Children don’t usually know enough to think something isn’t possible. They plant seeds from watermelons and pumpkins and dream of the harvest even when everybody else knows the climate won’t support the growth.

“It might grow!” they say. So they do what they can and nurture the seed.

When I was little I had an interesting experience with a little girl named Joanna. To make a very long story short (read the longer version here) Joanna didn’t speak to anyone outside of her family and hadn’t for years until we played together one day at her house and her joy bubbled out in to laughter.  My expectation for her to play with me, even though she never played with anyone, made all the difference.

Joanna was more than her silence.

Effective leaders, whether they be parents, church leaders, friends, or employers look deeply and find hidden talents and skills in others, and inspire and stretch people to participate more fully in their own lives, and their community.

They are team builders who instinctively find a place for someone to serve and participate, no matter how he/she has been labeled by himself, his peers, or the culture he lives in.

I’ve compiled a very brief list of people who I’ve met in the Blogosphere that are natural leaders for their online and/or offline communities.

I’d like to know your story and what kinds of problems fuel your creative genius. Please share in the comments!!

I’ve known Nisha Varghese for about a year now. The main objective of her blog, she says “is to show people that anybody can make a difference.” She is a personal confidence builder as she writes her series “Kid of the Week” where she spotlights young people who make a difference in their own communities. Nisha started and completed her Clean Water Project , raising almost $8,000.! She is not defined by the wheelchair that her Cerebral Palsy has consigned her to.  She understands and lives her potential because she sees the difference that her participation in the world can make.

Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo saw a problem that bloggers were having sharing their blogs as they tweeted out their posts by themselves or with the help of a few friends and fellow bloggers. They created Triberr  in 2011 to give bloggers an opportunity to create communities/tribes that share each others’ blog content and increase their reach. I can’t imagine the work load and joy they have because of their creation. Triberr continues to grow, improve and bless people’s lives.

Stan Faryna , commenting on his Playdom forum for the  Marvel Avengers Alliance said: “as one of the architects for the most successful guilds in this game (estimated at 30,000 members),  …what counts is unlocking potential (yours, mine and others), building consensus and driving positive change in our world – even within the context of an online game. Failure may be inevitable, but the inexhaustible opportunities to make a good thing, better, are irresistible to the those who long to lead, love and uplift others.”

  • Is the ability to see and act on potential and possibility something someone’s born with, or can it be learned? 
  • Would you say you are someone who solves problems that others complain about or have given up on?



6 thoughts on “What If Today…We Looked For Potential and Possibilities?

  1. Nisha is a hero of mine. I’m glad to see her name here. Dino and Dan are two cool dudes, indeed. Me – I don’t know.

    Are leaders born?

    I think Jack King is on to something when he says that true leaders arise where they are needed and they fall back (gently) into the community as followers – when necessity calls upon others to rise up and bring something else to the table. That changing of the guard – dictated by necessity and not selfish ambition and envy – can come with overwhelming fear as much as hope and expectation. But the only tough question to be asked is if necessity and the right of ambition are aligned for the good of the people (hearts, stomachs spirit and world) and not one or more things at the expense of the others.

    My two cents on that.

    Solving problems, of course, is never easy. If it was easy, it wasn’t really a problem. Perhaps, a confusion or a misunderstanding. [smile]

    That’s why we love heroes and super heroes. They give themselves totally to service. And super heroes, being fictions, are potentially inexhaustible.

    I think it is human and honest to ask, when have you given enough? And the honest answer will always seem to suggest that enough is far, far beyond your imagination, desire and apparent ability.

    • So true:
      “…true leaders arise where they are needed and they fall back (gently) into the community as followers – when necessity calls upon others to rise up and bring something else to the table.”
      Not all leaders are up front all of the time. Sometimes the quiet ones sitting in the back come up with the most profound insights!
      I watched Apollo 13 with my kids again the other night. My favorite part is when the team of scientist have to come up with a solution to fix the CO2 emissions on Apollo 13 after being told something like,”failure is not an option!”
      Thanks for coming by, Stan

  2. Awesome to see you back Betsy! Thought provoking blog as always..I’ll be back..took me forever to get registered..my prob. here not yours..lol..and finally found the comment button 🙂


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