How to Unlock Our Potential by Being Honest About What We Want

(Episode 1 of 2 with Shannon Graham)

How to Unlock Our Potential by Being Honest About What We Want
Shannon Graham is a motivational speaker, coach, and author. For over 15 years, he has coached visionary leaders who want to change the world by doing the impossible. His first book, The Revolution of Self, is focused on helping individuals find and fulfill their potential and purpose. His latest book, Expand, focuses on a new era of leadership. 

In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss how we can unlock our peak potential by being beautifully honest with ourselves. We’ll also discuss red flags and the benefits of letting our results speak for themselves.

Human Potential

“Most people have much more potential than what they live up to on a daily basis,” Shannon said. He is passionate about helping people get from a lower level of potential to their peak capacity.


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We all want things, whether that’s to make the world a better place, more money, a better relationship, a better connection to God, etc. Shannon believes that to get what we want, we need an elevated version of ourselves. 

Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Therefore, to get what we want, we need to use a higher level of thinking and work towards using more of our potential.

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Being Honest About What We Want

Shannon said the greatest home run of his career has been creating the atmosphere and conditions for other home runs to exist in the first place. He compared it to Babe Ruth and the person who invented baseball. Babe Ruth’s legacy would never exist if baseball hadn’t been created in the first place.

How did Shannon create his career? He asked himself what he considers to be the hardest question in human existence to answer—what do you want—and gave himself an honest answer. 

When most people are asked what they want, they lead with what they don’t want. “We’re very conditioned to be very aware of what we do not want: I don’t want my boss to be a jerk, I don’t want my spouse to ignore me, I don’t want to be broke, “Shannon explained. “But it takes a very deep level of self-appreciation and self-acceptance to be super honest with what you [do] want.”

For example, when someone cheats in a relationship, it is usually because they want something, but they are afraid of how the other person will react to what they want; they are afraid the other person will react negatively and leave them. 

Rather than having the courage to tell that person what they want to tell them, they don’t say it, and it ends up creating resentment. Then they go fulfill that desire somewhere else outside of the relationship. However, that all could be remedied if they had been what Shannon calls beautifully honest.

To create his career, Shannon sat down one day and asked himself, “What do I want? How do I want to work with people? What do I want that work to look like? What type of people do I want to work with? What type of challenges do I want to work on? How much do I want to get paid?” 

By answering these questions, Shannon practiced beautiful honesty and discovered that, instead of getting paid to answer questions he knew the answer to, he wanted to get paid to answer questions that didn’t have answers yet. Einstein also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and Shannon wanted to discover the answers through imagination and creativity. 

We can also find out what we truly want by being beautifully honest with ourselves. Then we can design our lives and our careers to achieve what we want.

Painting Red Flags Green

Shannon made the biggest mistake of his career when he painted red flags green. There were people he worked with that had lots of red flags, but Shannon ignored them because he wanted to create value and he was anxious to make a difference. 

He learned that when he sees red flags he needs to treat them as such and act accordingly. Instead of ignoring red flags, as people often do, we should address them and if necessary remove the people with red flags from our business or our lives. 

Many entrepreneurs have made the mistake of doing business with bad people, especially early in their careers. I had a business partner who said, “You can’t do good business with bad people.” It doesn’t matter what the terms of the deal are, and it doesn’t matter what they’re offering, it isn’t worth it. It is often better to work with a good, honest person even if the deal might not seem as good because that person will treat us well.

Letting Results Speak for Themselves

Shannon has spent the majority of his time focused on getting the best results. He hasn’t focused on marketing or advertising; he’s focused on getting great results and letting them speak for themselves. This is a great strategy because people naturally want to refer great results to other people, so it grows organically. “Your greatest credibility is results. If you produce head and shoulder results in the marketplace, it becomes undeniable,” Shannon said.

Apple is a great example of this because they don’t have to spend much money on marketing and advertising anymore. In the past, they used marketing and advertising to get people to connect with their products. The idea was that if they could get people to try their products, the rest would take care of itself. 

It’s proven to be true. Apple is a $2 trillion company, and their products speak for themselves. They’ve been able to focus on making great products that their customers love and recommend to others. They’ve also gained credibility by intelligently positioning themselves in the marketplace as the computer company for big thinkers.

Apple created a space for them to be perceived a certain way, and once they did that, they shifted to asking, “How do we create a product that’s just really good? And then how do we create a suite of products where we can continue to monetize the same person?” 

Shannon said, “There’s only three ways to make money in a business: raise your fees, sell to more customers, or sell more to existing customers. Apple does all three.”

Key Takeaways

Thank you so much Shannon for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:

  1. To get what we want, we should use a higher level of thinking and work towards using more of our potential.
  2. We can find out what we truly want by being beautifully honest with ourselves. Then we can design our lives and our careers to achieve what we want.
  3. We can’t do good business with bad people. It is often better to work with a good, honest person even if the deal might not seem as good because that person will likely treat us well.
  4. People naturally want to refer great results to other people, so if we let our great results speak for themselves our business can grow organically.

Connect with Shannon

To learn more about or connect with Shannon:

Next Steps

  1. Get a free ebook about passion marketing, and learn how to become a top priority of your ideal customers at PassionMarketing.com
  2. Subscribe to Monetization Nation on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, our Facebook Group, and on your favorite podcast platform.
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    About the author

    Nathan Gwilliam

    Nathan Gwilliam

    I help organizations navigate tectonic shifts that are transforming the business landscape, so they can optimize marketing, accelerate profits, and make a greater difference for good.

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