In Others’ Words: Potential

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws, but for potential.” ~Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer prize winning columnist

I know, I know … this quote should have been posted a couple of weeks ago. Somehow I managed to lose track of it.

But take the “January 1” tag out of it and it’s applicable to the mindset we’re all in right now — the new year/new resolutions/new word mindset. (My friend Evangeline Denmark, who lives her life outside the box, chose a song for the year.) We’re only 13 days into 2012.

There are two ways to look at our hopes for the future: who we haven’t been or who we can be. We can cloud the next 11 1/2 months with our past mistakes or light the way with our strengths, our abilities, our faith in who we’re created to be.

In Your Words: Re-read Goodman’s quote with your 2012 goals in mind. How’s your balance? Are you all about changing your flaws, what you’ve been doing wrong? Or have you zeroed in on your potential, determined to lean into that?

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  1. January 9, 2012, 6:08 am   /  Reply

    This is one of my favorite jokes from grade school–do you know what a psycho-ceramic is? A cracked pot, and God can fix even those.
    Thanks, Beth.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 6:14 am   /  Reply

      Thanks for the smile … and the truth, Dee.

  2. January 9, 2012, 6:43 am   /  Reply

    This is a great quote. We are always so quick to focus on the negative things in life instead of the positives. I’m looking forward to achieving this year. I’ve got a few goals and things I want to accomplish, so I’m definitely focused on the potential of 2012.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 6:49 am   /  Reply

      I’m glad to hear you’re focusing on your potential, on the positive, Lindsay!

  3. Jeanne T
    January 9, 2012, 6:47 am   /  Reply

    Loved the quote and your thoughts. 🙂 Up until a couple of years ago, I just lived the new year day by day, without focusing on resolutions (never could keep those!), goals (never did much toward accomplishing them), or hopes. I’ve loved your idea of focusing on one word, though. The last year saw me living with more purpose.

    For this year, my hope is to grow as a writer, wife, mother, child of God, focusing on the potential I’ve been given. Of course, with my one word, I’m already seeing some need for change, as well. So, I’ll be working on balancing the two as I walk out each day of this year.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 6:50 am   /  Reply

      Sounds like you’re moving in the right direction, with the right focus, Jeanne!

  4. January 9, 2012, 6:51 am   /  Reply

    I’m one of those people who walk through life seeing the glass 3/4 full, totally expecting good things to happen. Been called a psycho-ceramic a few times :>) but so thankful that God can fix my cracks.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 7:02 am   /  Reply

      This is one of the reasons I like hanging around you, Pat! I was a glass-half-empty gal for too long. But my year focusing on the word “gratitude” changed that perspective.

  5. January 9, 2012, 7:16 am   /  Reply

    I’ve always had a gift for this–seeing the potential in people, heck even furniture. I guess it’s my thing.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 7:34 am   /  Reply

      Another reason to like you …

  6. Loree Huebner
    January 9, 2012, 10:19 am   /  Reply

    Love the quote.
    I always look for potential.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 12:57 pm   /  Reply

      Such a positive, potential-focused group of people commenting today! Yay!

  7. Cindy R. Wilson
    January 9, 2012, 11:19 am   /  Reply

    Oh, Beth! This is soooo perfect. I love this quote because I JUST commented on a blog right before I read yours, saying if I had to choose a word for this new year (instead of a specific resolution) it would be Balance. I would take the good from the past, and the potential for the future, and find a balance to get me and my life back on track. Thank you!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 12:58 pm   /  Reply

      Cindy: What great insight: taking the good from the past, potential from the future and find balance to get back on track.
      Love it!

  8. January 9, 2012, 11:49 am   /  Reply

    Love that quote. Right now I’m trying to keep my head above water after three days in bed sick. But when the fog clears, I want to come back to that quote and think on it. ‘Cause potential is so much more pleasant to think about than flaws!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 12:59 pm   /  Reply

      Here’s hoping you feel better soon.
      And I also think there is more truth in the potential than in the flaws.

  9. January 9, 2012, 12:07 pm   /  Reply

    I love this quote! I may copy/paste it so I can look at it. I have a nasty habit of letting my mind focus on my flaws instead of my potential–not always–but in those times, this quote would be perfect!

    Thanks, Beth!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 12:59 pm   /  Reply

      I’ve been told my walls are covered with words (quotes.)
      Copy and paste away, Jessica!

  10. January 9, 2012, 12:57 pm   /  Reply

    Oh wow, I love flipping it around like that. What power! Thanks for sharing this, Beth!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 5:18 pm   /  Reply

      You are welcome, Sarah! Always enjoy your feedback — and your blog post was fun today too.

  11. January 9, 2012, 3:23 pm   /  Reply

    I may be a mixture. My list includes several moving forward items. I want to stay on track for 2012. Lots to do.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 5:18 pm   /  Reply

      Step by step. One day at a time. Bird by bird. (How’s that for repeating myself?)

  12. Toni Wilbarger
    January 9, 2012, 7:11 pm   /  Reply

    Thanks, Beth. I’ve always been a “glass half empty” kind of girl. Thanks for helping me see things a little differently.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 7:40 pm   /  Reply

      We glass-half-empty gals have to help each other get a better perspective.

  13. Patti Mallett
    January 9, 2012, 9:05 pm   /  Reply

    Awesome post, Beth!! Short & Sweet- and making such a wonderful, and true, point!!
    We all have this CHOICE to make. Thanks for putting it into such beautiful, and hopeful, words for us to grab onto!!

    It was fun to meet up with Evangeline, especially after tonight’s Chat. (I love that video!)

    • Beth Vogt
      January 9, 2012, 9:41 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, Patti,
      Evangeline is so, so fun. And a gifted writer. I am truly blessed to be able to meet with her and talk writing.
      I always appreciate your encouragement.

      • Patti Mallett
        January 10, 2012, 8:46 pm   /  Reply

        Thanks, Beth!

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