Unlocking your True Professional Potential

27th April, 2016


Unlocking your True Professional Potential

Presentation to Students at M.I.C

Presenter: Ms. Cavelle Joseph

AFETT President

Human Resource Practitioner



On the Topic today--“Unlocking your true Professional Potential” we are stating that we all have within us the capacity to be important-to contribute meaningfully that is, in a way that is good for us, the society within which we occupy a space and by extension- the World ……. would you agree that this is a fair description of this theme?


You see …… Potential, as defined means having or demonstrating the capacity to develop into something in the future. That something being a quality or an ability that will lead you to success.


So, NOW that we know this, what are we going to do about it?


Each one of you who are sitting here and the hundreds, who may be hearing this today for the first time … what are we going to do about it when we leave here? We are going to do something, right? 



One of the key disciplines to learning is Repetition…. the more you repeat an action the quicker you learn and the longer the skill remains with you.

Let’s examine another behavior which is key to unlocking your true professional potential


Who amongst you believes him/herself to be a singer and would stand in front of an audience to perform? 


Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of this exercise is to prove that people are generally shy about showing their skills especially before an audience. If I had partitioned the room into bathroom stalls almost everyone would be singing away at the top of their lungs as the saying goes. Therefore, FEAR is a major obstacle that one needs to overcome to be able to unlock one’s true potential-professional or otherwise.


How then do you overcome fear? What I am about to share with you is simple but not easy. Why do I say that? ……simply because it may not be easy to apply. What does that mean?


Simple applies to the process as in something can be either simple or complex. It could be as simple as a two step process or requiring you to have a PHD and a number of blueprints to put together. Easy however is something altogether different. It refers to the degree of difficulty to actually implement the process and therefore can be either easy or hard. So while the principle that I am about to refer to are simple and not hard to follow just that fact alone poses a problem because anything that is easy to do is just as easy not to do. And if you really think about it (the excuse our other person makes) that it is much easier to NOT do something even when the real person in you know it’s in our best interest to do so. A perfect example is that of Physical Fitness. Need I say more……I included that to let you know that I understand what it means when asked to step into the realm of the unknown. Satisfying any goal or objective requires preparation and commitment.


Every year I make a resolution……exercise more, cut out certain habits etc. How successful do you believe I’ve been over the last 5 years…anybody? Poor track record……not good at all. Its because in our minds we all know what we need to do in order to live a long, happy and healthy life but are we prepared to make the uncomfortable adjustment to our daily routines. No…its much easier to not do it.


I used these examples to alert you that as simple as what I am about to say it will not be easy to accomplish unless you are prepared to overcome the fear we all experience and the excuses we use for not bringing about change in our lives for a better future. The formula is simple but of course is as easy as our commitment to these following behaviours.


  1. You prepare

  2. You appear

  3. You never despair

  4. You repair

  5. And last but by no means least--- MOST IMPORTANT…You share


Let me explain:


Let’s look at the first one Prepare…… put simply…we fear the un-known therefore I encourage --“KNOW”. How do you get to know?….you study everything about everything which will give you the confidence to stand before any person, animal…yes a lion or thing…whatever you may imagine that to be and “strut your stuff”. Opportunities favour those who are prepared.


Preparation would require you taking classes to develop competencies. If you have to stand before an audience such as what I’m doing here with you, you honing, sharpen or perfect your presentation, your language, your listening (very important…listening) and technology skills is required.


Use the internet to find courses which would compliment, improve and align your professional interest.


Seek and you would find…...a Biblical quote……take on Leadership roles within Community Groups, Sporting Organizations, Professional Associations and yes within your own Organization…volunteer to lead an initiative (Help me out here any one in the audience…give me an example…. yes…. correct)

Experience is what you are chalking up under your belt……our singer today may wish to join a choir, church group, the Lydian singers or even a Parang band. That will give you the stage experience as first, being in a group would make you feel less intimidated. So get involved, engage, participate in preparation for your day on the big stage. That’s when you are ready for the next step having prepared and overcame the fear which was eating away at you and thus not allowing you to;


  • Appear - turn up/ represent and even if it does not go your way do not

  • Despair- take the opportunity to revisit and where necessary

  • Repair- And on satisfactory completion of the experience you

  • Share- You have the responsibility to bring at least one person along on the journey


A friend once told me that his mother would say to him…


“Son- in deciding what you wish to do with your life and what /who you wish to become choose something that you would want to awake very early on mornings maybe at the risk of not getting enough sleep so that you can head to that place of work or to give it your “all” and then you have to tear yourself away from it to return home. The nice thing about it would be that if someone is willing to pay you for the work that you are doing wear a big smile on your face while on your way to the bank as you would have done it for free”.


The moral of that story is;


Listen to your heart. We tend to do well at things we love, so find something you love or learn to love what you’re doing.

There is a song with these words “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”. That love for what you do will be the key to your success. If you do it for any other reason, for example, if you make it your destination, you lose sight of the journey, it is no longer fun, it becomes a job for a reward.

Now there’s nothing wrong receiving a Reward…… I would however prefer to receive the Award. Reason being- one is short lived……only for a time while the other is with you for life, thus recognition for what you do brings greater satisfaction and reward in the long term.


Let me tell you a little of my experience.


In growing up I always saw my self as becoming a Lawyer…I loved to argue. I attended Cave Hill Campus at the University of the West Indies in Barbados and studied Law and Economics…strange bed fellows. On return to Trinidad after graduating I went into the family business temporarily to help out and got immersed in the HR and Organizational Structuring of the business…one being Construction and the other Pest Management and Control. One day when I awoke I realized that I was loving the HR aspect of the business, pursued a higher learning i.e. a Masters and currently a Doctoral in Leadership


So today here am I……and loving it.

Was that my destiny? I have to say yes as I am so in love with what I do and how it impacts on the lives of others…. I consider it to be a privilege to be in the space I’m in and helping others to find their true calling.


Was I prepared? Initially no. Was I afraid? intimidated is a more likely description however I always turned up to face what ever would confront me and confrontation -boy oh boy- I enjoyed my fair share, yet I continued to “appear” and even when it did not turn out as desired I did not “despair”, and always found a way to “repair”. Today I “share”.


In my current role as Head HR at NIPDEC I consider my role more as bringing along my subordinates to the point when they will be able to replace me and be better at what they do and do better than what I have done. Realizing their true Professional Potential.


It is my experience that ten out of ten times a person will always be willing to share what he or she has been able to overcome and repair for the benefit of those who are at the stage of FEAR


I am here today however in my capacity as the President of A.F.E.T.T., an acronym for Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago.

When I took over the role as President I had set myself certain Goals and Objectives towards moving the Association to another level…. Common in this approach was always the expansion of its reach through a series of initiatives which included but was not limited to increased membership, advocacy on matters that relate to and or affect women in achieving their full potential together with others all outlined in a Strategic Plan for which buy in by the members of the Executive was crucial to the execution.


This would mean a whole new mindset in the way women perceive themselves and by extension their acceptance in the Professional space…that requires leveling the playing field. But the single most important aspect of all of this is taking responsibility for the actions required to get us there and being responsible in our actions when there. (you may wish to expand on some of the initiatives …. confidence building through the digicel program with young women building them for the future, grants from the University, mentorship etc all targeted to the youth then the suit me up affording them the opportunity to purchase professional wear at next to nothing prices as this improves their image and boost self esteem, talk about mentorship with the under privileged etc. speak about child care solutions and how it impacts on the working woman/professionals

Generally, speak about the Mission of AFETT and how you have been steering the Association in accordance with its Mission.


Each and everyone of us has a God given talent which gives us the tools to survive. Not everyone can or will be a Carpenter or Mason…An Educator or Physician however we need each other in order to enjoy the quality life that was designed for us. (SHARE) and once we accept that we are all “differently equal” will create that port hole through which our fullest potential is released.

The Knowledge Principle states that there is a difference between education and schooling. It also states that you do not truly know something unless you have done it and can teach others.


So………I encourage you to be clear in your mind on what you want and who you wish to become. Love every moment of it and you will be the best at it. Believe totally in yourself and the product or service which you have to offer. Establish timelines/milestones and act vigorously to achieve them. Change is inevitable—embrace it positively through a series of continual self development and enjoy with your whole heart and soul every moment of the journey.


A bit of Trivia here;


He was born in Port of Spain Trinidad in 1911, the son of poor Catholic parents. His father was a government postal worker who was determined that his son, the oldest of 12 children should become a physician or attorney and strongly encouraged his son’s academic achievements. The son mastered Latin, French and Spanish as well as the British and European history which was necessary in order for him to win scholarships for secondary school where he was tutored by W.D Inniss and C.L.R James.


In 1931 he won the colony’s scholarship to Oxford but his decision to study History disappointed his father. Suffice it to say he graduated first in History in 1935 and was encouraged to stay on for further work. He obtained his doctorate in 1938 and went on to become one of if not the most influential scholars in Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean. Does anyone know of whom I am speaking?


Yes, affectionately known as The father of our Nation Dr. Eric Eustace Williams Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago. Now could you imagine if he had heeded his father and not his true Professional Potential. That inward Hunger which by the way is his autobiography describes his experience of racism in Great Britain and the impact his travels through Europe has had on shaping his life. Could you imagine if he had not prepared himself from early in life to overcome the fears first of him being a disappointment to his father and then the despair he would have suffered due to racial biases. Could you ever envisage Dr. Eric Eustace Williams a Physician or an Attorney at Law? What a loss that would have been to the citizens of this country


I’m sure that the same could be discovered in examining the lives of the Lord Kitchener or Sparrow, Peter Minshall, or the person who placed Doubles on the world map. I am pretty certain that its origin is not India where you would expect it to be……. but for now the school is out on that.

Who ever thought that one could become a billionaire by spreading gossip. Do you know that’s what some of our elders see facebook, twitter, etc., as?

Who ever thought that you would be speaking to someone via your watch…. Well the author of the Dick Tracy comic strip way back in the 50’s did and Apple obliged.

I make those references only to say that someone or others in this room can be the Steve Jobs or Anthony Sabga or present company acknowledged The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe of tomorrow……Give yourself permission now as this is your time.


Are you up to the challenge?


In closing I wish to leave you with a quote by Mr. Ian McDonald, Guyanese Author in his tribute to Dr. Eric Williams;


“There is a sharp distinction between the very good and the truly great, between the man of talent and the man of genius. The man of talent is the marksman who hits the mark that others can’t hit. The man of genius is the marksman who hits the mark they can not even see”.



Go fearlessly then and release your true Professional Potential Arrow to the World.



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