Why are we so enamored with potential? It's exciting to imagine the possibilities, yet rarely does potential live up to our expectations. With great potential usually comes great disappointment. The goal isn't to depress you, rather ask yourself, "What am I doing to fulfill my potential?"
Talk is cheap. Show me results.
Potential can mean you're talented in a particular area, but I'll take the hard worker over the more talented any day. Sports are a great example. The NBA champion wins because of their chemistry and execution, NOT because of their potential.
Look at the tortoise and the hare. We're drawn towards the flashy rabbit (potential), but the perseverance and commitment of the turtle (results) wins the race. Potential isn't a bad thing, but with great potential comes great responsibility (to fulfill it!)
Apply this to your career. Develop your areas of competence. Don't settle or become complacent. Near the end of 2008, I "rested" because I had a great contract with a good company, then BOOM, the recession hit and I didn't have a back up plan. That incident is a painful reminder that no matter how great I believe my business can be, I always need to look for ways to grow. The moment I stop working hard is the moment I fall behind.
Today is the time to start. Don't wait. How can you develop your potential? Challenge yourself to grow. If you're not Growing Forward, you're going backwards. There is no middle ground. Remember that.