You and I know what is probable, but we seldom understand what is possible.

Andrew Shapiro is an example of someone who blew past “probable” and set a new standard for “possible.” Inspired by his father’s triumphant battle with cancer, Shapiro committed himself to setting a Guinness World Record for pull-ups. He practiced incessantly, building his endurance by doing 10 pull-ups a minute for six hours while watching movies to pass the time. He pressed on despite sore muscles and blistered hands. Then, at a Relay for Life event in Virginia, he achieved his goal, performing 7,306 pull-ups in 24 hours. Andrew not only set a new record that day, but also raised $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.

In my new book, The Potential Principle, I offer four powerful tools for creating breakout improvement, personally and professionally. The fourth tool is this:

Increase Capacity

Increase your capacity in order to grow your confidence and move closer to realizing your true potential.

Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success. It’s a virtuous cycle that begins when you commit yourself to spending the time and effort it takes to raise your level of skill.

The Potential Principle includes many tips about how to start this process and keep it going. A great way to begin is to take inventory of the abilities you have right now. You get better by both exploiting what you already know and the skills you’ve developed, and by exploring new skills and knowledge.

As you consider adding new skills, make sure you know which ones, if developed, will enhance your existing skills toward the performance you desire. Study the most important skills in your priority areas. Ask yourself, “What one thing, if I started doing it and kept doing it, would give me the biggest return on my investment of time and energy?”

Improvement is hard work, but it pays off. To better your best, dedicate yourself to doing what it takes to increase your capacity. It will give you the confidence you need to achieve your goals and become the person you were meant to be.


Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is the president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an “idea studio” that seeks to motivate and develop leaders in and outside of business. He’s the bestselling author of books like Fred Factor and The Potential Principle and a noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and company change. He holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. Check out any of his excellent books, his video series, “Team Building: How to Motivate and Manage People,” or his website,, to learn more.