Friday, March 15, 2013

Are you a “Hi-Po” or

... a“hippo”?
Last year, I attended the first ever Catalyst Canada Conference and it was a wonderful event – I sure thank God for the privilege of being there. I received many “nudges” and nuggets – I’ll share a few.
During one session, one of the moderators used the contraction “hi-po” (meaning “high potential”) – that was my first time of hearing that coinage. Well, the immediate opposite that came to mind was “hippo” so I decided to write on it – now I need to make it all stick…
It was interesting that in talking about being identified or, as one table put it, “picked” as high potential, their question was: “What happens if I am not picked?” There were a lot of nods around the room until one of the panellists burst the bubble and said: “A man would never think like that…because every man believes that he’s high potential – whether or not he is.” It just reiterated what I’ve always believed: “It all starts in the mind.” The Bible confirms it: "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." (Prov 23:7a - NKJV). It also corroborates what Madea said: "It's not what you are called, it's what you are answer to..." that matters.
I then asked myself: Am I “Hi-Po” or a “Hippo”? I’ll explain the difference – the way I see it.
A hippo is obvious, easy to see and takes space…whereas a hi-po may not necessarily be “seen” but adds value in every space.
A hippo is known for its aggressiveness; a hi-po needs to be assertive not aggressive.
A third “hi – light”: a hippo’s life span is 50 years; as a hi-po, at age 50 we should still be flourishing*.
Granted some people may not see or “pick” you as a hi-po; for me the real question is:
“How do you see yourself?” Personally, your answer to that question is what (& all) that really matters and what will take you from where you are to where you should be.
They also talked about 2 sets of words that help put this in perspective for me.
Performance vs. Potential: while it is great to see yourself has a “Hi-Po” you can only prove that by being a good performer at your current level. I believe that potential is built on performance – as they say, you cannot argue with results or better put, “performance is the best predictor of success.” (Unknown)
Development vs. Advancement: the other thing is that as women, just as we are quick to ask for directions before we’re even lost, we’re very good in seeking and developing ourselves. Research shows that women are highly developed but don’t advance at the same rate. We need to learn to do something with all we know – learning is of no use if not put to good use. We must put away that “saving the dress for the special occasion” mentality. If you can do something, do it now rather than hide it away until you are in the spotlight or till never. Doing your best now is what will take you to the spotlight tomorrow. The other thing is we need to be willing to take measured risks and stretch ourselves. I agree that stretching can be scary – it is also the path to promotion.
You are a “hi-po” – focus on what you can do, learn what you cannot and do all well.
All the best.

* Ps 92: 12-15 - Righteous people flourish like palm trees and grow tall like the cedars in Lebanon. They are planted in the Lord’s house. They blossom in our God’s courtyards. Even when they are old, they still bear fruit. They are always healthy and fresh. They make it known that the Lord is decent. He is my rock. He is never unfair.

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