November 21, 2019

The weight of potential


Usually I write a blog post when I’ve learned something that I want to pass on. I write at the end of a challenge that I’ve overcome, in the hope that if anyone reading is struggling with the same thing I can help them to overcome it too.

Today, however, instead of writing at the end, I’m writing in the middle.

I feel overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by projects. Overwhelmed by ideas. Overwhelmed by potential.

Potential can be a wonderful thing. It means that there is greatness up ahead; you just need to figure out how to get there. Being told that you have potential, or even just feeling it within yourself, is motivating and inspiring...

...until it isn’t anymore. Until it takes longer than you expect to reach that milestone for which you have no map. Until the potential you're trying to fulfil begins to feel like a cloud of disappointment hanging over you. Until you get tired of “not yet”.

Right now, I’m stressed about not reaching my potential in my work. I’m stressed about all the ideas I have that I know will help towards our companies success, but that I can’t bring to fruition because there’s simply too much going on. I feel heavy from the weight of those ideas and that unfulfilled potential.

I find myself wishing everything could just stop moving for a bit so I can catch up, catch my breath, and get ahead. But I know from experience that there is a fine line between the path to success and the path to burnout in trying to move faster to keep up.

This time I don’t want to take the wrong fork in the road.

So I’m trying to learn to be okay with this feeling of unfulfilled potential. I’m trying to get comfortable with that the fact that the further I get into my career and the more I learn about design and business, the more ideas I will have for how to improve things. But that I’ll still have the same number of hours in the day. I’m trying to accept that not every idea can, or should, be brought to life. And that as long as I’m prioritising the ones I feel are the most important right now, I’m doing my best.

Contrary to what the overall tone of this post may have you think; I’m an optimist. And as an optimist a lesson I have to learn over and over again is that I cannot do it all. That I have limitations; whether they’re physical, emotional or the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day. I’m forever committing to deadlines that are too short, getting attached to ideas that are too complex to bring to life with current resources, and being surprised by roadblocks I could have noticed if it weren’t for my rose-tinted outlook that assumes, for the most part, that everything will be fine.

I love being an optimist. I love having a healthy amount of self-belief and self-motivation. I love having a job I care about. But these things also have their downsides and bring their own challenges, and its important to be aware of them.

I’m in the middle of a challenge, and I know these same traits that got me into it will also be what gets me out.