How Tall Are You?

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Have you ever been promoted at work to a new senior position, and totally failed?

Unlikely.

In most cases, you’ve taken on the new challenge and grown into the role over time. Sometimes a few weeks, sometimes months, in some cases, you’ll keep growing for years. The more senior the position and the more responsibility you have, the higher the learning curve and you’ll be put in situations with more nuance that require a breadth of knowledge and wisdom.

But you did it.

You made the jump.

You might have internally believed you could – but were just waiting for an opportunity to do it.

Others might have thought you were a bad choice. As if there was no way you could take up that challenge and do it well and successfully navigate the role. Some may have simply been jealous, spiteful… but others seriously doubted you.

Rightly so too, since you were unproven.

Why would they believe in you if you hadn’t believed in yourself in the past?

But deep down inside you knew you had this dormant ability… just waiting to be given permission to activate and show your true potential.

If you have been through this experience, or something similar, there’s a really important lesson to learn.

YOU CAN DO SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW.

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”


– T. S. Elliot

T.S. Elliot really summed it up with that quote.

It’s not about your height, it’s about your capabilities.

People have probably told you ‘You have so much potential’.

I know my school reports all said the same thing, year after year:

STEPHEN HAS THE POTENTIAL TO… BUT IS LACKING THE APPLICATION.

Potential is present in all of us and yet we get into the water and only wade in a short distance.

Some will poke their feet in… and that’s enough. They don’t want to go any deeper. They’re comfortable right there.

We call them shallow people.

But that’s not you is it?

You’ll go in waist deep. Then you’ll adjust to the water temperature and go in a little deeper.

Then, in a split second you dive in heard first and let the ocean fully engulf you, only to emerge seconds later and find your footing and poke your blowhole above the waterline.

Standing on the tips of your toes so you can breathe between the break in the waves, you risk being underwater for too long while mentally maintaining the knowledge that you can paddle your arms to propel you back to that next breath of air.

Life is like that.

Work is like that. Relationships. Dreams. Desires. Ambitions. Beliefs.

  • You may have chosen a ‘safe’ career, but really wanted to do something much more difficult.
  • You might withold your real feelings from your partner, so you won’t get hurt again.
  • You keep little dreams, because they’re more ‘realistic’.
  • Your desires will never be met, because you won’t take action to attain them.
  • You’re only a little ambitious, because too much ambition can lead to frustration.
  • You’ll believe in small miracles… but never to move mountains.

The people we most admire are the ones that take that risk. They go out deep – and survive. In fact, once they’re out there, they THRIVE. They do what we often dream of and speak of, but fail to start.

We fail to put ourselves to the test.

Can we go deeper?

How will we know unless we get in over our heads?

It’s more frequent that people regret their innactions than their actions.

What innaction are you regretting right now?

When did you decide you didn’t want to go deeper?

Why did you stop, before stepping in to the ocean?

It’s high time to go deeper.