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I Want to Live to My fullest Potential... Is that Really Possible?

The Rev. N. Graham Standish, PhD, MSW, MDiv, MA, Executive Director

Recently Samaritan added a life coach, Rachel Fagan. This is part of our long-range plan to become a more holistic center helping people heal and grow through a variety of ways. I’m excited about the potential Rachel can help us fulfill.

When Rachel and I spoke about her joining Samaritan, we had a lot of conversations about what coaching does. She said something that got me thinking. I asked her what was central to her practice. She said, “Helping people live to their fullest potential.” I’ve been reflecting on that: Can we live to our fullest potential? What does that even mean?

The answers are rooted in the elements of crafting a healthy and happy life, as revealed both through religion and social science research. We all share a great capacity for the elements that lead to a deeply content life: purpose, meaning, wonder, curiosity, joy, love, creativity, compassion, building, healing, encouraging, and So. Much. More.

When we’re living in the healthiest ways, we live lives full of these elements. We pursue a life of meaning and purpose rather than one of mere accumulation and self-indulgence. We look at nature, the world, and people with a sense of awe, wonder, and love rather than indifference. We become curious and pursue growth—especially growth that helps us embrace life and the good in it. We find ways to live more in joy and compassion. We find ways to live more creatively, building new avenues to experience life as we simultaneously become more encouraging and healing to those around us.

Unfortunately, we can easily make choices that cause us to stagnate and become cynical, skeptical, complaining, venting, angry, indifferent, and more. We look away from what’s possible and focus obsessively on what gets in the way of life. We focus more and more on what’s wrong with everything, which slowly diminishes our potential by obsessing over the obstacles in our paths rather than pursuing the opportunities they present. We squelch our lives rather than freeing them.

So can we live life to the fullest potential? The answer is yes, but it requires making choices to nurture new attitudes and perspectives. It requires looking at life differently from the ways that have trapped us in negativity, dysfunction, and depreciation. It requires making choices to focus on what’s possible, not impossible; what’s good, not what’s perpetually wrong; what opportunities lie before us rather than the obstacles that seem to be in the way.

Potential is just that… potential. The fullest potential are the possibilities we can choose. Whether it’s through counseling, coaching, or spiritual direction (Samaritan offers all three), our aim is to help people increasingly embrace choices that help them grow these elements in their lives.

We’re here to help you fulfill them.

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