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Living Up To Your Potential

On a commuter bus recently, a father and his teenage son sat in the seats immediately in front of me. Unavoidably able to hear their discussion about college applications and homework, it was easy to determine the father had a loving interest in his son’s scholastic achievements. The father began talking about his son’s grades on his most recent report card and then said, “You’re not living up to your potential. How do you expect to get into a good college?” Ouch! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to hear the father call out his son for his “academic underperformance,” and I could tell this embarrassed the son.


The question, “Are you living up to your potential?” is typically posed to provoke individuals to do better. Yet, as often as it is posed as a question, teachers, family and employers use the phrase as a declarative, “You are not living up to your potential!” like the father said to his son on that bus.


To be clear – Everyone’s potential is unlimited! In life, there is always room to do and/or be a little bit more. Yes, for many professionals there comes a point in their career where they feel they have achieved all they can, or all they set out to do. They may have achieved a lot, but they haven’t reached their potential. And that’s perfectly okay because potential isn’t just about what you strive to accomplish in your professional life!


There is no set boundary on when “full potential” has been achieved. There is always room for more. You can’t see the “finish line of potential” off in the distance. In fact, even amongst the best and most successful, it is highly unlikely that an individual’s ....  (read more:

Every few weeks we pose a question you might get asked during an interview and a suggestion on how you might formulate your answer. 

This week’s question:

Why do you feel you are better at this position than someone else?

This can be a slippery slope of a query. Let’s be real: You can’t possibly know the worthiness of another candidate for a position, even if you personally know someone else who is applying for the same job. As such, do not attempt to address another’s skills or experience in relation to the job you’re applying for. Focus your answer on YOU and the relevance of what you know and what you do as they can be applied to this job. Convey your industry insight and awareness, your professional intuitiveness, your creativity, open-mindedness, dedication, and the applicability of your past work to do what this employer needs done. Combine that with the addressing of your knowledge of the company's products and/or services, as well as your awareness of the company's needs and goals. Then, confidently express that you have the knowledge and the ability to successfully fulfill those needs. Knowing the employer’s needs will help you focus on why you are well suited to the position, rather than why you may be better than another candidate.


To see previous installments of

Tough Interview Questions and Answers,

click here

(Most recent are at the Bottom of the list.)

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