In her article Do You Unlock Potential in Others? Carol Dougherty shares how fortunate she was to have a boss who believed in her potential and knew how to help her realize it.
The greatest gift I ever received at work was nothing flashy or even something I could display. I was given the gift of development. I had a boss who believed in me and felt I could move up in our organization with some fine tuning of my skills. Craig pushed and prodded me to grow and learn. He gave me “exposure” and “developmental opportunities”. This typically meant I was going to be uncomfortable and in things over my head. There was one year where my comfort zone was so far away I forgot what it looked like.
On the one hand, I think it's important to get a grip, first, on the nature and extent of our potential. On the other hand, getting a full grip may come only when we've pushed ourselves, or others have pushed us, to the edges of our limits. You make a very good point in your article, Carol: Growing or developing isn't necessarily a pleasant thing. It was also very good of you to acknowledge that you hated these situations. Moreover, I think it's almost an imperative to have someone like Craig to help us realize our potential. It's difficult otherwise to do so on our own, that is, without the benefit of someone's eyes.