Leadership Stories: Nothing But Potential

Look for Opportunities – Whether or Not You Feel Ready

Early in our marriage, my wife, Leigh Anne Taylor, was talking about her opportunities in life, and said that she was given an opportunity when she was not yet experienced. As she put it, “I was given a chance when I was ‘Nothing but potential.'”


This prompted me to think about my career and the many opportunities that came my way when I was “Nothing but potential.”

  • I directed a choir at age 18 and continued for 40 years: I started without any track record and, even though I had studied piano and understood music theory, I had never been a part of a choir.
  • I purchased and grew a camera store when I knew nothing about business: I had specialized knowledge of photography, but had never had business experience. I grew this store from annual sales of $12K to over $1.4M, over a period of 15 years. I made all the mistakes possible, but had commitment to success.
  • I delivered the keynote presentation on stage at CEO Space International in May 2007, when I had spent 40 years with my back to an audience as a musical conductor. I still speak on that stage 5 times per year, alongside some of the best-known speakers in the country.

Have you been given an opportunity?


Do you believe in your own success as much as others do?


Here are the steps to success in manifesting your vision:

  • Define your vision: To make it possible for others to understand and support, your vision must be clearly defined and articulated. Share it and refine it until you get feedback from others that indicate that your language is “compelling.”
  • Write it down: This is a commitment to success. It’s a dream, unless it’s written down. Commit to your vision by writing it down, sharing it, and then developing goals for achieving the vision.
  • Define the benefit of achieving the vision – for you and others: It’s not about you – it’s about the vision. The vision IS it! If you are not bringing value to the world, then question the reason for your vision. What will happen to you and to the world when you achieve the vision? That’s why you are doing this.
  • Connect to your passion in execution of the vision: I often ask leaders to define their passion. To my surprise, very few people can answer this question – mostly because they have never thought of defining it. What drives and inspires you to achieve this vision? Unless you have passion, it’s not likely that you will succeed.
  • Believe in your success: We attract energy – both negative and positive energy. If you think about debt, then you attract debt. If you think about success, then you attract success. A fundamental principle of success is belief in the goal. Challenge yourself, then mold your thoughts to visualize success. We have control over our thoughts – it’s not the other way around.
  • Read your goal and benefits every morning and evening: One reason for writing down your vision, along with the goals to achieve it, is the commitment I referenced earlier. Reading about the end result you visualize creates positive thoughts and positive energy that drives success. You know what the document says, but read it anyway. You will discover new things each time you engage in this activity.
  • Visualize your vision as reality: Van Gogh said, “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” See your dream completed in high-definition detail. This activity is a compelling and energizing activity that makes a huge difference. See it – believe it – realize it.


This strategy works only if you do.

Here are some ideas from other though leaders on this topic:
Michael Hyatt
Seth Godin
John Maxwell

What’s in your future? Are you doing the steps above?

Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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(c) 2012 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.

Hugh Ballou (Author)