The Leadership Blog

What's Inside You? Untapped Potential

accountability advice better communication career goals career help career navigation change coaching commitment courageous leadership decision making habits leadership advice leadership lessons next level leadership personal growth Jun 09, 2024

In researching for today’s blog, I discovered a new leadership expert whose YouTube videos spoke to my heart, and I hope what I share will reignite something in YOU.  

You’ve likely never heard of him.  Daniel Pena is Mexican American and was raised in East Los Angeles, California. His father was one of the first Mexican American detectives in L.A. who later was part of a secret CIA unit that investigated the death of Robert F. Kennedy.   

Daniel didn’t have much growing up, but he had a dream to do great things.  After college he began his career as a Wall Street analyst.  He went on to be president of Great Western Resources, Inc. a Houston based oil company.  Later he founded Quantum Leap Advantage, a system designed to increase wealth and success.  As far as I can tell his estimated net worth is between $450-500 million so I think you’ll agree the guy knows a few things about success.

He believes inside each of us is Untapped Potential.  I’ve always felt the greatest sin in life is to not live up to our potential.  The problem is life happens and we often lose sight of what we are capable of becoming.  Pena says most people don’t follow their dreams.  I find that heartbreaking but I understand why.  Many people want to live a comfortable life and they stop when they get there, even though they could live an extraordinary life.  Trust me I get it.  We get busy raising families and at some point work is just work and we lose our calling.  You and I were created for greatness but greatness is hard.

Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry.  He said, “the best thing that can happen to you is to be born into poverty.”  When you’re poor, you become hungry for success and that’s what Daniel Pena believes is the secret to success….HUNGER.  High performance people are hungry for a better life.

He said, “you’ll never exceed your highest expectation.”  That was a reminder to me.  My life isn’t over and neither is yours.  I don’t want to settle and I don’t think you do either.  I want to get to the next level.  Solve the next problem and help others conquer their dreams.  I need to continue to raise my expectations.

When I was younger I had so many high expectations.  I wanted to be on television and I was.  Then, I wanted to win an Emmy and I did…11 times.  I wanted to lead a public television station and I do.  I wanted to write a book.  I’ve written two but somewhere along the way I started to believe I was too blessed to want anything more and that’s dangerous my friend.  Think about all the good we could do in the world if we tapped into our full potential.  It doesn’t matter how young or old we are.

Ted Turner has shared he slept on his office couch for 10 years while building CNN.  He didn’t even have an apartment.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have shared the same thing about sleeping at their offices.

Pena believes growth only comes from pain and I’d have to agree.  We have to give up to go up and that means we’re leaving something behind which is always painful.  

According to the power of positivity, here are four habits of people who reach their full potential.


  • Live each day with purpose.   This one is huge for me.  What I do isn’t about me.  It’s about how I can help others.  I’d have given up years ago, if it was just about me.  I think life would be meaningless without purpose.  A clearly defined purpose awakens the dormant powers within you to achieve. 



  • Commitment to excellence.  Striving for excellence and fulfillment of potential are two peas in a pod.  They’re like peanut butter and jelly.  They just belong together. All this means is that we will put together the concentration and effort necessary to deliver the best work possible.


It’s time for a small sidebar.  Our ability to produce excellent work is a moving target.  Today’s excellence is tomorrow’s foundation for being better.  The bar of excellence keeps moving and we need to keep working to get over that bar.  I think this quote from Maya Angelou describes it best.  “Do the best you can, until you know better.  Then, do better.”  It’s that easy.  We need to get better every single day to remain excellent at whatever we do.


  • Do the right thing.  Whether it’s profitable or not.  Simply stated this just means acting for the benefit of everyone.  Not just yourself.  Life isn’t about us, it’s about what we can do for others.



  • Maintain Focus.  This one can be tricky, because shiny object disease is real.  Every time we turn around there’s a new report that contradicts the last one, we read.  We can’t jump from thing to thing.  We’ve got to develop the ability to focus through the hard things to get to a desired outcome.  We’ve got to maintain laser-like focus in spite of obstacles, if you want to increase your odds of fulfilling your potential.


That’s my heart’s desire for you and me my friend that we will fulfill our untapped potential.  And when we do, the world will be a better place.