My biggest passion in life has been pursuing my potential, and also seeing potential in others and helping them to recognize it for themselves and do something about it!
Little did I know there is a whole movement dedicated to Human Potential, that sprung up the 1960s around the concept of cultivating extraordinary potential, which its advocates believe to lie largely untapped in all people.
I whole heartedly agree!
And hence why the idea for a podcast show called UNTAPPED leapt into my mind in late December and simply wouldn’t let me go until I did something about it.
I’m so curious about how to develop more potential, how do we live up to our potential and go beyond it.
What even IS potential? Are there different types of it? Who are the foremost experts in human potential, in personal development and what can you and I learn from them?
Then how can we apply this across all the areas of our lives that matter – relationships, health, wealth, career, personal growth, spirituality and contribution?
I figure I may not be able to become the best in the world, but I can become the best version of myself.
I feel like I’ve given this a great shot over the years, like in 2004 when I took myself on a 10 month journey to understand the weird world of body-sculpting and compete in my first, and only, competition.
Lots of weightlifting, learning, sacrifice and chicken and broccoli later, and there I was standing on stage, all bronzed in a tiny blue spangly bikini costume, holding a trophy for first place in the NZ Regional North Island Novice ‘Tall’ body-sculpting Championships.
Weeks later, less than 10% body fat and hungry as, I was on stage competing at nationals, doing a routine to ‘What a feeling’ from flashdance.
Or in 2007, when I trained with this fantastic group of women called the Sisterhood, and by 6am three time s a week, I was out to on the River Thames paddling with them…and for a few times Kate Middleton – well before she became royalty.
In July that year we smashed a World Record dragon boating across the English Channel to France.
Months later, I was in Brazil playing World Championship Beach Ultimate Frisbee with the Great Britain Women’s team…and somewhere in amongst all the training for that, hot sand under our feet, dancing, caipirinhas and too much sunshine, we won a gold medal!
To 2012 when I decided that cycling 6,500km down the continent of Africa, from Nairobi, Kenya to Capetown, South Africa, was just something that sounded like fun and a great challenge.
Incidents with hyenas in our camp, sightings of elephants running away from us, majestic giraffes on safari, 160km + days of cycling and a new nickname of Flatalie, for the most flat tyres in a given period…later – and that was the experience of a lifetime.
And several more adventures and proud achievements in between, and it’s time for the next evolution.
To untap my potential, to live up to my own high expectations…and go beyond.
And to frankly explore a new level of being and living that stretches me to moments of pure joy, lots of discomfort and a whole lot of fun.
Want to explore human potential with me?
I regularly take on tasks that cause me to grow and stretch. I like being in over my head because it keeps me sharp and pushes me to give my full effort.
But I fear, somewhere in the depths of 2018, I lost sight of that. I wasn’t learning enough, I wasn’t applying new things, I was instead, in some sort of unhelpful holding pattern, waiting for the airport control tower to give me the all clear to take off.
I might even be so bold as to say, I was doing what Seth Godin told me I should never do…waiting for permission to be chosen, instead of choosing myself.
So, I thought to myself, enough is enough. It’s a new year and I’ve got a fresh new perspective, while at the same time being back to my normal self – which is a self I typically quite like!
Here are a few key ways I’m going to live up to and even beyond my potential throughout the course of my life, this podcast, my vlog and as I live write a book on this very topic, that I hope you can apply to.
#1. Focus on today.
Not tomorrow, not yesterday. But right now. It doesn’t matter whether yesterday was good or bad. It’s over. So don’t get stuck there.
And don’t focus on the future too – sure you can think about your big goals and dreams, but more important is what one action can you take today that will make a difference in the future.
Because you can influence what happens right now so give the present day your full attention – for want of sounding cliche, it’s called the present because it’s a gift.
#2. Focus on my priorities.
If I want to continue to untap my potential, I need to focus on my priorities and I can do this by protecting my time and my calendar.
You and I both know that it’s all too easy to have your day dictated to you by someone else’s agenda, requests (some may say demands) or priorities.
No more putting yourself second to others. If we want to be our best selves, in order to impact and help more people, we need to prioritize ourselves first.
Be selective about what you do because you can’t do it all. We all have the same amount of time in the day, it’s not lack of time that’s the problem here, it’s lack of direction and focus.
Choose your priorities and use your precious time to accomplish them.
#3. Focus on my strengths.
I know what I’m really good at. I know what I’m mediocre at. And I know what stuff really doesn’t light me up and feels like a drag.
I could focus on improving the latter two, but I’d prefer to focus on improving the stuff I’m already good at, especially things I’m naturally good at, because those are the areas where I have the potential to become great, or even the ‘best’, if I put in the effort, time and training.
In other words it’s a good use of my time to focus on my strengths.
#4. Focus on my results.
This one has been really apparent to me since I committed to training for triathlons in October 2018.
I’m doing my best not to focus on the professional athlete’s times and results, and just focus on whether my personal results are improving.
And even though I felt like I trained 5-6 days a week for two months for no real gains, it suddenly started showing up in my physique, in my strength and my performance.
It’s easy to become tired or frustrated when you feel you’re working hard, putting in the effort and not seeing the payoff.
But by sticking with it, measuring your progress and continuing to turn up and make small, consistent improvements, you will see the results and payoff.
Of course you need to know what you’re working toward – what result or outcome do you want, what’s the purpose behind it, and what are the processes you’re going to take to achieve it…more on that in future episodes.
By doing this you will stay focused on the big picture – visualizing where you are wanting to get to, without losing focus on the present – and what action you need to take today.
I’ve been doing a lot of what he’s been doing his whole life too, creating and testing different processes to make me more effective, then showing up and doing them consistently, until they become habits – things I do unconsciously, that really work.
As James states:
“The effects of small habits compound over time. For example, if you can get just 1 percent better each day, you’ll end up with results that are nearly 37 times better after one year.”
And this nugget:
“Habits are not the only thing that influence your success, but they are probably the most important factor that is within your control.”
Which leads me to….
#6. Focus on what I can control.
I realized late last year, when many things were turning to custard – predominantly in my business and therefore finances, that I’d been focusing too much on things that were out of my control.
You can’t set goals or intentions that aren’t directly within your control – you just can’t, and not be disappointed if things don’t come off.
So focus on what you can control, and set daily actions or weekly goals or monthly intentions to achieve those things that don’t have any external influence.
I have Life Pilot – our life planning tool, to thank for helping me do that way more effectively – every day, week, month, quarter and beyond.
For example I set a priority for how much time I dedicate to studying, painting or triathlon training and I schedule it in my calendar.
I can’t, however, control for the weather, for my a friend being late, or for their being a power outage and therefore no wi-fi.
So with these in mind, I bring you UNTAPPED. The podcast that will tap into how I can live up to my potential, and even go beyond it.
I’ll be doing the research and experimenting on myself, to bring you what works, what doesn’t and what just feels good, fun, silly or outrageous.
This basically means, that if I commit to a goal or if I say I’m going to do something for myself or for you, you can damn well be assured that I’m going to do it.
Which is typically fantastic but sometimes can cause problems, because I don’t let up on my own self!
So here goes.
#1. I will not sign up to any more newsletters or optins in 2019
I am really excited about this. In the last two months of 2018 I ruthlessly unsubscribed from hundreds of e-mails that I was getting, these included:
those I never read or I no longer wanted to read
those who I never remembered signing up
those spamming me with crap, who’d likely bought my email from someone
The result? I now get between 10 ten to 15 emails over the space of a couple of days in my personal inbox..
And in my business inbox, which is separate with it’s on gmail account, I still love using Sanebox which automatically filters newsletters into SaneNews, and other emails into SaneLater.
This means I only get the important emails in my inbox, from people I actually want to hear from and emails I want to action.
This makes a massive difference to my sanity.
#2. I will not check email everyday.
I am going to attempt to stick to only checking emails three days per week and I’ve decided on Monday Wednesday and Friday.
This one I think is going to be particularly challenging because we all have a tendency to use our inboxes to distract us and make us feel like we’re being really productive – when we’re not.
We use it as a form of procrastination, because when we process all emails and achieve inbox zero, which I do almost all the time, we feel like legends.
It makes you feel like you’ve achieved something, when really you’ve just given your time and attention away to other people’s problems or demands.
So three days a week is when I’m going to check email. I am most likely going to check it at 10am after my deep work sessions.
I have also put an autoresponder message on to let people know this and my response time, so they know what to expect and get trained to know when to get in touch with me.
Also my lovely virtual assistant Angeline, who is still with me after six years, goes into my business inbox each day to clear out anything that’s not important, or answer any customer emails.
Unlike people like Pat Flynn, I do not get thousands of emails in my inbox. I have really really streamlined it.
I think people know not to contact me unless it’s really necessary – thank you folks!
I’m really curious to see how much more efficient this new habit makes me and, whether in the hour or so that I’m allowing myself to go through my emails, whether I am actually more focused and doing a much better job of responding and actioning what matters?
Use the ‘Getting Things Done’ Method by David Allen.
If you can’t answer the email you’ve opened in five minutes or less, you:
Delete it (if it’s really not important and most of the time, let’s be honest, their not)
Delegate it (forward it to a team member to take care of, a colleague or the right person)
Defer it – use Sanebox to ping it back into your inbox at a more appropriate date, for example say it’s a task that’s not needed until a week from now. Or use the new Gmail ‘Snooze’ settings to pick the exact time and date you want that email back.
#3. I will not sign up for any webinars
Back when I started attending and hosting webinars in 2011, people used to offer up tons of valuable content and webinars were really entertaining and educational.
After sharing all that value, they would naturally have a call to action to join sign up or buy from them, which was totally legit, after teaching for 45 to 50 minutes of solid content.
Then, over the years, as more and more people jumped on the webinar bandwagon, the Internet marketers basically spammed you for an entire hour, and then pitched you for 50% of that hour to sell you their thing.
Typically the first 50% was usually taken up by them telling their story and putting up photos of them sitting in fancy cars and making lots of money.
As a result, I think people are much more weary of webinars, yet the work to actually put on a really high quality one is, well a lot!
So for those people who to still do great webinars, like Amy Porterfield who’s a great educator, then you know you’re going to get a high quality webinar.
Those folks deserve to be heard and you deserve to show up to them, if you’ve registered for it and give them your time and attention.
For myself, I don’t want to sign up for any webinar ever again. I’ve already reduced that a ton over the years.
Ultimately, what you’re seeing here is this trend towards being very very ruthless about where I do spend my time and who gets my attention.
#4. I will not buy any more online courses.
As a course creator, I do have a caveat here. Or perhaps a clearer definition of this new rule.
I will not buy any more online courses UNLESS, they are extremely relevant to what I want to learn or experience.
In other words, I’m not buying any courses for the sake of trying them out, or testing out that person’s sales funnel or software setup, or because I want to support them.
#5. I will not fall victim to the comparison game.
I will not. This one’s gonna be tough, as 2018 I fell into a hole of comparison and it was not pretty.
We all do this. The comparison game is just a really tough thing to move past, but all I’ve realized is how futile this is to do to yourself.
All it does is make you feel less worthy less awesome less skilled less experienced.
Most of the time you’re doing it because you’re looking at social media feeds that are completely unreal and don’t show the true picture of that person’s journey.
As Oscar Wilde wisely said,
Comparison is the thief of joy
And in 2019 I want lots of joy.
No thieves so no thievery and therefore I want to disrupt this pattern.
How I’m going to do this, is by actually reducing the amount of time that I am on social media which leads me to…..
#6. I will not spend more than 1 hour a day on social media.
A little like email, I am gonna be massively reducing the time that I’m on social media.
To be fair I don’t think I’m on it that much, but the new iPhone ‘screentime’ feature, which lets me know how much time I spend on my phone each day, and on which app, will keep help keep me honest.
When I’m on social media, I want to be really strategic and engaging in the right way.
Given I’m bringing back my podcast and vlog and blogging more in 2019, that hour should technically include my time to post, share and promote my content.
However this is quite a tall ask, so that time on social media will fall under marketing as my focus is entirely different.
Overall, this new habit/ rule will also greatly help with the comparison-itis – mainly caused my Instagram!
#7. I will not buy any coffees.
This might sound extreme, but I live in New Zealand. The land of coffee.
We make the best coffee in the world. There is no denying it.
For those of you crying out ‘nooooo, that’s not true’, come to New Zealand and try out one of our coffees for yourself, then tell me whether I am lying.
Coffee is an art form in this country and a National pastime. Baristas are immensely proud of their creations, as can be seen in the beautiful images created in the milk froth topping.
I have never seen so many coffee shops in a country with a population of four and a half million, as we have in New Zealand.
What’s more they are often right beside each other and the best ones, in our cities, almost always have lines out the door each morning.
The milk here is amazing. The coffee is made with love and it is all too easy to get coffee wherever you go.
Along with this comes what I consider to be a hefty price tag of $4.50-5:50 for a coffee.
I worked out that, over the space of the year, if I had coffee five days a week that’s $1200 a year towards coffee that I could be putting towards other things.
It’s also really not so much about the money, it’s about the fact that I don’t need to go out to buy coffee when I can make perfectly great plunge and filter coffee here at home.
I also don’t contribute to the plastic cup consumption and I will inevitably drink less coffee, which, as Dr Libby and others have proven, is something we don’t actually need, and should take a break from, of at least 2-4 weeks, more often.
I want to experiment with having more herbal teas and turmeric lattes too.
My final reasoning, for everyone who thinks I’m insane, is because so many people are obsessed and drink coffee all the time and ‘can’t do anything until they’ve had their morning coffee’.
I kind of want to rebel against the coffee movement even though I enjoy it so, I’m only going to buy a coffee when I absolutely feel like one and I’m going to enjoy it immensely.
8. I will not hide behind any preconceived identity.
I will not hide behind any preconceived identity that I have for myself or that I think you have for me.
I actually saw speak about seven years ago and he was incredible, as is this book.
Deep Work is essentially the art of doing work that is incredibly focused and not distracted, which is getting increasingly hard to do in this very connected and distracted world.
In order for me to be able to write another book this year, I want to understand and research a lot more about and tapping into your human potential.
Therefore I need to be writing reading researching on a much more regular basis – and intensely .
What Cal suggests in the book is two to three hours at least, but preferably even days at a time, of deep work, where you take yourself off to a place where you can just be completely undistracted and focused.
So I have a couple of places I’m setting up in the house, with a desk that looks at a blank wall. and I’m going to fine-tune this rhythm to be the same days as I check my email, from 7am to around 10am.
#2. I will meditate daily.
No matter how short I will do this. My intention is for 30 consecutive days, and my bigger goal is for an entire year and beyond.
I first came across meditation on a retreat with friends in Costa Rica in 2009. William, a larger than life, energetic character, was sitting still, by the pond edge just meditating.
I joined him and couldn’t stop fidgeting or swatting away mosquitos. So I sat watching how calm he was, marvelling at his ability to just breathe and be aware.
He told me he’d been doing it for years and it took time to develop this conscious awareness, but that it was so worthit.
I did nothing further.
Then when I was living in Amsterdam back in 2012, I happened across a lecture happening in a gorgeous theatre, attended by thousands, on the benefits of meditation.
Enough is enough. As an upholder, I said to myself before New Year’s “Natalie, if you can’t even meditate for five freakin minutes a day you are not worthy of all the amazing benefits of meditation”.
I’m happy to say I’ve done 7 days of consecutive meditating (at the time of writing this on January 9th), and sometimes two in one day.
I am using the Insights Timer app on my phone – best free app I’ve ever had, although I’m going for the pro version to access them offline and also all the useful courses.
I’ve been much more clever about it this time and I’ve booked mark my favourite five to fifteen minute meditations, so that I can easily get to them.
I will continue to extend the time I meditate, and look to try different ones through the app – some of my faves are the well known loving kindness meditation, and of course the simple awareness and breath meditation.
#3. I will write down three things I’m grateful for each day.
In my journal by my bed, I write down three gratitudes each morning, at the very least I say them out loud.
Doing it first thing in the morning always brightens my day and sets me up with an attitude of gratitude.
Then I tend to then go into a bigger list, and throughout the day I simply stop to appreciate the amazing garden we have, the stunning beauty of flowers and nature in general.
It also makes you appreciate all that you have and leaves you feeling abundant, rather than in a place of lack.
I know it’s going to come in particularly helpful when I’m in a noisy, busy airport with a cancelled flight, as I’ll draw on all the things, in that moment, that I’m grateful for…that’s the aim.
To better handle my emotions and behaviour, so that I can act from a place of compassion and love, not impatience or selfishness.
#4. I will read everyday.
I don’t mind if that is reading a brilliant blog post, a chapter of a physical book, listening to an audio book – so long as I’m learning.
Preferably the goal is a chapter or more of a book.
Right now I tend to do more than that as I listen to audiobooks while out training for my triathlon, or while traveling.
It’s also a great habit/ rule as I have so much great content to consume which ties in with the deep work.
#5. I will paint once a week.
We have a little art studio on our property that I created for the sole purpose of creating.
It has a window that looks out onto the field and hills. An easel I bought second hand online. A collection of acrylic paints and brushes.
The easel has a canvas on it, with this beautiful background that has been there for about nine months, which I haven’t finished!
There is no excuse not to pull out my creative side, walk down to the studio in the barn and paint!
I also know how important making time for creativity is. It will impact every area of my life…plus our living room wall deserves a large piece of art on it.
#6. I will write every week on my personal blog no matter how brief.
I am excited and ready to get back into the habit of putting out regular, valuable content.
So I want to get into the habit of writing and I want to turn a lot of my content into a book by the end of the year. That is my big goal for this year.
I initially had write every weekday on my blog, which is a stretch goal, but for now it is just to get back into the habit of writing which I really miss.
#7. I will join at least one mastermind in 2019
I have run many masterminds in the past. I have been part of masterminds and last year I was part of none, which made me really appreciated how important they are.
If you haven’t heard of this term mastermind before, essentially it’s a meeting of minds, that together, can help you personally go further than you could on your own.
With more minds looks at your challenges or opportunities and sharing their advice and wisdom on what you can do, you naturally go further, achieve more and are held to higher standards.
It’s best with four to six awesome people. You don’t have to be in the same space, industry or even location, so long as you but you have similar goals and outlooks on what you’re wanting to do.
It helps if you get into a mastermind with people who are ahead of you and where you want to be, that will stretch you further!
You meet regularly every week, every two weeks, or every month at least and you basically champion and challenge each other.
You share information, knowledge, tactics and resources. You are there to be each other’s advisory board.
It is a beautiful thing when it works really well. Everybody has to commit you have to turn up and it can be absolutely amazing for you personally and professionally.
I’m pleased to say this one is underway already with a local women’s mastermind I’m pulling together.
However I’m keen for masterminds across different areas of my life.