For the past few weeks, I have been exploring the concept of potential, and how to maximize it. Each week, I have highlighted an idea that would help anyone do more and become more, tapping into what they are truly capable of. Things like demanding more of yourself, keeping an internal locus of control and taking full responsibility as well as minimizing inefficient actions and going straight towards your objectives

These ideas and many more I’ve written about when applied combine to make an individual who is relentlessly pursuing his goals and maximizing his potential. 

There is another concept that has been bubbling up at the back of my mind for months now. It first really hit me like a ton of bricks one night in Uyo as I watched this video. And the question Patrick Bet David asked that really stuck with me was, ‘What is your capacity with your network. Do you really take advantage of your network?’ The answer for me was definitely not. It got my mind racing about how many resources I have that I underutilize.  

Coupled with the idea of exponential growth and results that I have been pondering for weeks now, I have awoken to the fact that to reach your full potential, to maximize your capacity and experience exponential growth and returns in your life, you have to understand and embrace the concept of leverage. 

What is leverage?

The word evokes images of a lever. The simple tool you use to open hard-to-open things by applying force on one end which multiplies in output on the other end giving you more bang for your buck. That is the essence of leverage – being able to take action that gives disproportionately large results. 

It is how successful people accomplish more in a day than most people do in a week. It is why some people progress much faster than others. It is energy saving, it can shave off a lot of time from your process. Like compound interest, leverage is an incredibly powerful tool.

If you want unusual results, fast growth and progress, leverage is the way to go. And yet it is something we tend to ignore more often than not. But it is all around us if we care to look. Leverage is how some people get the jobs of their dreams through the relationships they have built. Leverage is how you are able to find information fast and write that paper you left for the last minute using the internet. Anytime you use a time saving device or tool, you are exercising leverage. 

When you choose to work in a field that aligns with your natural talents and inclinations, you are exercising leverage. Because it is easier and more powerful to do work that makes use of your talents than it is to do work you have to slog through.

Leverage simply asks, how can I use the relationships, tools and resources at my disposal in the best possible way? Not just in the best possible way, but how can I use things to give exponentially high results. 

And when you are able to use the tools and resources you have to their full capacity, you will outstrip your competition very quickly and achieve shocking results. 

To leverage is to accomplish more with less effort. To increase gains by using force multipliers.

So why don’t we apply leverage in our lives?

I think it boils down, like most things to limiting beliefs and mindsets. Usually, we have a perspective problem. We don’t even recognize what we have. We are so used to the things in our lives, it is easy to take them for granted and not see just how useful they can be. We live so passively; life-changing opportunities pass us by unnoticed. 

We also fall into the trap of trying to do everything by ourselves. This is one I am personally too familiar with. There is a place for self-reliance and being able to get things done. There is a lot one can accomplish by himself, and faster too. But no man is an island, we all have limitations. If you want to break past those ceilings into exponential territory, then you have to connect and tap into network. We have to share the load, give generously and allow other people to help or join our journey. 

A third reason is that we just don’t know enough. We don’t have a clear picture of the landscape and what is out there. We don’t actively search for opportunities, we are content with a little slice of the world and we don’t push further than that. We don’t take risk. We just do as we are told and walk the paths that were given to us. We are blind to the fact that life by its nature is incredibly creative, and we often don’t tap into and bring a fraction of that level of creativity to the act of living. 

How can we apply leverage?

The first step is to take stock. Look carefully around your life and ask yourself. What do I have going on? What am I good at? What have I built? What am I building? What do I want to accomplish? What are my wildest dreams and goals? What resources do I have? Who do I know? Who is in my network? Who are my friends? Who are my colleagues? Who are my customers? How can I solve their problems? How can they help me?

Over time you will get so good at this, to the point where you will be able to spot opportunities and resources that come disguised as something else. When you know what you have, you are able to judge if you are tapping into its full capacity or potential. Ask yourself, can any of these things I have at my disposal help me get to where I’m going and what I want?

If you have a computer, a smartphone or access to the internet, you already have more leverage and capacity than you know. The chance to learn, to grow, to connect, to create is literally at your fingertips. If there are books around that you haven’t read, that is untapped power and knowledge just lying there waiting. Within those unopened pages lie the ideas that could change your life forever.  

If all you have is free time, with no job, nothing to do, that is an incredible resource that could be leveraged in exploring something that is interesting to you. You could spend it developing your skills or reaching out to people.

Ah yes, people. One of the biggest points of leverage you could ask for.

Who do you know? Who has had an impact on your life? Who has what you need? Who can help you get to where you want to be? Who has a vested interest in you and your success? Who are you useful to? Who do you provide value to? The people around you and in your network hold the keys to the things that you want. We are designed to be social creatures and accomplish more through cooperation than we could alone. Lean into that. Embrace your social destiny, take the initiative, grow and leverage your networks. 

Leverage is an integral part of strategy – the art form of moving from point A to point B. Setting up goals and taking stock of the resources at hand to getting there. Practicing leverage is how we make the most of what we have, playing the hell out of the cards we were dealt.

We apply leverage when we take the right actions consistently, making our moves stack on each other. We parlay the results of one action into the next action deliberately. We apply leverage when we work on the most important things. Which is yet another key opportunity for exponential results – working on important things, things that can make a difference, and impact as many lives as possible.

In absorbing and obeying these principles, we tap into a massive power. The power to multiply ourselves and our efforts, to get more done faster than ever before. In doing so, we come that much closer to maximizing our potential and becoming all that we can be. 

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