How Do You Tap Into Your Best?
I am solar powered. When the sun shines I am the most joyful-happy person on the planet. I’m filled with energy. I notice things more on sunny days – the vibrant and fragrant flowers, the squirrels chasing each around the trees, the birds singing, the perfect shade of blue in the sky. Strawberries taste sweeter on sunny days and water more refreshing. Grass feels softer on my feet. My noticing unfurls an appreciation that overflows – my heart could burst through my skin, it feels so full. I am more generous. More patient. More positive. I am creative and limitless. I feel powerful. I am the very best version of myself on a sunny day.
That’s the person I want to be in life. Joyful-happy. Filled with energy. Someone who notices and appreciates. Someone who is generous, patient, positive. Creative. Limitless. Powerful. My best self.
We all have a best self. It’s not like some of us were born with it and some of us weren’t. It’s not determined by our faith, or how much money we make, or the color of our skin. It’s not reserved for citizens of one particular country, or people with certain titles, or degrees or job descriptions. We all have a best self.
When you are at your best, you bring out the best in the people around you. Everything you do, you do to the best of your ability. You don’t hold back. You don’t do it in order to get something back, you do it because the experience of being and bringing your best makes you feel alive. You see through the lens of possibility and hope rather than anger and despair. You like how you feel being you.
I would love to tell you that it’s always easy to tap into my best – but it’s not – I have to work at it. We all do. Here are some things that help me tap into my best:
I surround myself with others who are committed to being and bringing their best – Look, we have to set ourselves up for success. We’re not always going to be at our best so we need to find people who can remind us about who we can and want to be when it doesn’t feel as easy as we’d like. Unlike me, I have friends (you know who you are) who come alive on cloudy days. They find them rejuvenating and are more productive than ever. They remind me that it’s all a state-of-mind. I surround myself with the dreamers and doers who are up to things in the world that excite and inspire me – who make me want to be better. We buoy each other up on the days that weigh us down. We don’t buy each others’ excuses. We hold up the mirror for each other when we’ve forgotten what our best looks like – “This is who you are! Do not lose sight of her!” I have to confess, I am more protective of who I surround myself with than ever before. If someone is committed to unhappiness, and negativity, and blame and excuses – if it’s become a way of life for them instead of a bad day or a tough phase – I love them, encourage them, and let them go. I don’t believe that we can be and bring our best tethered to the weight of the world.
For me it’s all about ritual, ritual, ritual – One of the things I talk about during OnStage is that if you want to perform consistently at a high level, it’s critical to create rituals for yourself, as high performance is not going to happen by accident. Rituals focus your attention and concentration. They get you into the “zone” or the “flow” (depending on what kind of language resonates with you – it’s all the same). For me, I ritualize my morning routine, the way I write, my exercise, and how I prep for programs. I find the more I can ritualize my activities, the more creative I am, the more present I can be, the more fun I can have, and without a doubt the more effective I will be. Ritual for me is key to high performance – to being and bringing my best. Check out a book called Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields that does a terrific job of outlining the benefits that ritual can have on your life and work.
I connect to purpose – If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’m all about putting purpose in action – or what I like to call my “Super Objective”. There’s no faster way for me to get back in the game and ensure I’m being and bringing my best than to connect to and take action around what I stand for – what drives me – my Super Objective. Hotelier Chip Conley tells a wonderful story during his Ted Talk (below) about a woman named Vivian who is very purposeful in her work at one of his hotels. Her ability to tap into purpose makes her work vital to the guest experience, increases engagement for the other employees, and has helped him become successful in his business. She lives and breaths what she cares about – elevating her job to something so much more than a series of mundane tasks to be done, but rather an embodiment of who she is and what she’s up to in the world. Vivian doesn’t have a fancy title, she doesn’t come from a rich family, or have a string of impressive credentials behind her name – but she is making an impact. She is being and bringing her best to the world.
The thing is, not every day is a sunny day. Some days are cloudy. Some winters long. There are things that happen in life that are hard. Some very, very hard. The challenge then, lies in how can we be and bring our best in the face of circumstances that are not ideal?
Because we can – but it’s not going to happen by accident.
What’s your strategy to tap into your best you?
©OnStage Leadership, 2014
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Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop. Click here to read what people are saying!