The Lid

Keep a Lid on itJohn Maxwell speaks and writes about the “Law of the Lid.” The basic idea is that we each come to points where we can’t go or grow any more the way things are, we have reached the lid. The lid might be there because a leader we serve is limiting us or is him/herself limited to that point. The lid might be there because of an organizations capacity. Or, it could be there because of one of many other situational variables.

I was meeting with the staff from a church that a friend of mine pastors and we were talking through priorities, potential, and purpose. One of them asked me a question. A good question.

How does one know the lid of their potential?

That wasn’t in my notes.

I answered them this way, “A person’s lid on their potential is determined by the decisions they make and the priorities they live.”

I’ve been pondering that ever since.

Basically, you determine your lid. Every decision you make, every plan, every moment affects your potential going forward to at least some degree.

One who is not willing to put forth effort and preparation is limiting how far, how effective, and how well they live up to their potential. It takes hard work, intentionality, and determination to fulfill one’s potential.

Talent and ability play into it, of course. Some people can only go so far in a particular area due to things out of their control. However, they can still grow through that, learn lessons, make changes, and move ahead better based on their response and decisions in the process.

It is a choice. A daily choice.

Everyone has great potential in some area. Everyone.

The lid of that potential is determined mostly by the individual and the decisions they make

We can make a difference and live a significant life by raising the lid on our potential.

To do this:

  • Know your purpose. To be effective, we must know why we are doing what we do.
  • Learn daily. Every day is a new opportunity to expand our knowledge and understanding.
  • Ask good questions. There may or may not be such a thing as a stupid question, but there are ineffective ones. We need to develop the skill of asking the right questions at the right times.
  • Work hard to get and be better. It takes effort to raise the lid on our potential. It is not easy. It is not natural. But, as I wrote once before we must work hard on the right things, not just work hard.
  • Recognize your weaknesses. We must also know the difference between the weaknesses that need to be strengthened and the ones that don’t. Some weaknesses are just areas we need to have others on our team to be strong in. Some weaknesses are fatal flaws. (A separate post on this area to come soon)
  • Major in your strengths. Just because we are strong in an area doesn’t mean there is not room for improvement. We need to build up and increase our abilities in the areas we are strong: more learning and study.
  • Make intentional decisions. Too often we just “do.” We need to make sure that our decisions are based in purpose and values and not reactions to emotion and the moment.
  • Have a destination. If you are going nowhere, that is where you will end up. We must have a goal, a focus, a destination in mind.

Your decisions today help determine your lid tomorrow.

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