What Does Your Best Self Look Like?
When do you see your best self? When you look in the mirror? Can we actually see our best self, or is “being your best” just an aspirational thing? Would you know it if you saw it? I think we catch glimpses of our best self – like ghosts – leaving us wondering “Was that real? Did you see that too?”.
What I find most often when I look for my best self is a gap. The gap between who between who I sometimes am and who I want to be. And I’ve learned to get very curious – very mindful – about what keeps me from being my best. And while there are many things that we can’t control, I’ve discovered that being and bringing my best is one of the things that is completely within my realm of control, which is both liberating and overwhelming. The responsibility to be my best me, lies firmly on my own shoulders. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish I could outsource it. Maybe pick it up from the grocery store when I’m running low (“Let’s see…I need some patience, a little resilience, umm…flexibility, and… a whole lotta courage…where do they keep the courage?”). Or borrow it from a friend (“Thanks! I’ll get this back to you next week!”).
And working to be your best can be a long slog. I like quick results. Being your best isn’t quick. You find you take two steps forward and three steps back every day, like you’re chasing your elusive best self while doing the cha-cha. It would be nice to be able to see the progress more quickly. Like if you commit to going to the gym, and you go and go and go for months, never breaking your commitment, eventually you’ll start to see yourself firm up. You’ll see muscles forming. You’ll see evidence of all your hard work, so you’ll want to keep working. The evidence of all the work you’re doing to be and bring your best isn’t always visible to the untrained eye. It can take years – a lifetime – to cultivate. But it’s there – you just have to know where look.
So how do you catch a glimpse of your best self? You start by looking for where you’re not being your best.
You map your daily actions from the perspective of those around you. How are you showing up? You examine the congruency of your words and actions. Explore where you need to further commit. You seek out the moments when you may have reacted in a way that…wasn’t your best. You pay attention to when you could have prepared differently, when you could have responded more thoughtfully, listened more intently, when you could have been more present, when you’re bringing tension into a situation, when you may be masking yourself off so people people can’t connect. You ask yourself, “What conversations do I need to have? What do I need to learn? How do I need to grow? What do I need to forgive myself for? What can I do better? What is MY part in all of this?“
Or maybe the question to ask yourself is, “What support do I need?” – I find a lot of the time when I’m not at my best it’s because I’ve taken everything on myself and I’m either overwhelmed or resentful (definitely not what I’m going for).
And as you get real about your answers you make different choices. Keep taking action. Do the cha-cha. Two steps forward, three steps back…two steps forward, three steps back. And you learn to love the dance.
And then one day, like the reflective light of a disco ball, you’ll see glimmers of your best self from many directions. You may not be able to pinpoint where it came from, you can’t capture it, or touch it, but it’s there. Shining.
You see it reflected in the eyes of your friends, your family, your colleagues, the people on your team, in your clients’ satisfaction, in the cultures you inhabit and create, in your community. For your best self revealed, lives outside of you.
What does your best self look like? I don’t know. Look around you, what do you see?
©OnStage Leadership, 2014
If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share. It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too. My sincere thanks. Kimberly
Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.