I was listening to a podcast about leadership earlier today and the guest was talking about being yourself. She used this phrase that really struck me. I paused the podcast and wrote it down. I didn’t want to forget this simple, yet profound idea.
I spent the better part of my 20s trying to figure out who I wanted to be. Which interests would I embrace and which would I leave behind? I would speak of my “core self” as if that was a solid piece of rock that never moved. I tested the boundaries of my beliefs and I evolved into a more mature human. I have come to believe that we are never finished. We are constantly adjusting to our surroundings and the people that make up our circles.
However, this phrase is focusing on the present. Not the mistakes of our past, not the aspirations of our future, but the people we are right now. I sometimes forget about the present moment as I explore the future of ideas or remember the past with rose-colored glasses.
So, what does it mean? Think of how you view yourself. Others’ opinions don’t matter in this exercise. Think about the things you do (or don’t do). Think about how you carry yourself throughout the day. Explore how stress or relief affect your moods. Perhaps you are doing the bare minimum right now. Believe me, I’ve been there in the very recent past. You drag yourself out of bed, you eat, you take a shower, you do only what is required at work, and you count down the seconds until the end of the day. Was that a little too real?
Now compare that bare minimum to a better you. This version wakes up before the alarm naturally. You are happy so have extra time in the morning. Now you can make a solid breakfast. You listen to some music or a podcast and prepare for your day. Take a few extra minutes in the shower, you’ve got time. You arrive at work excited to contribute. You are surprised how quickly the end of the work day arrives and you feel like you really made an impact.
There is a middle ground between these two as well, but you get my point. Also, when you start edging towards this better self, the next day is easier. You don’t have less work to do, but you are more willing to do it. I like the idea of “better” vs “best” self. Every day isn’t going to be amazing. Even now, I know that this current high I am on won’t last forever. However, why not use it to build some habits for those bad days?
What helps you become better?