Shift Gears: Be Your Best
Baby - evoking the BEST.
One of my favorite and most unexpected parts about being a new dad is seeing how my daughter (and all babies) seems to bring out the best
in people. I can’t count the number of times complete strangers have smiled at us walking by, gone out of their way to open a door, given up a seat on a train, or randomly engaged in friendly conversation. There is something about a child’s face (puppies too) that evokes the best humans have to offer each other – kindness, friendliness, care, and generosity.
Traffic - evoking the WORST!
In contrast, I find that driving, especially in the city, tends to evoke the worst
in us. Honking horns, tailgating, running lights, failing to signal or allowing someone to turn, and obscene gestures are all actions that arise from the worst parts of ourselves – the parts that are impatient, rude, self-centered, rushed, and inconsiderate. Can you relate?
If we withhold judgment, we can acknowledge that, as human beings, we all have these contrasting parts of ourselves that show up in our cars, at work, at home, and in our relationships with others. Sure, we all wish that we could be our best all (or at least most) of the time, but then we would be angels, not humans.
One of my jobs as a coach is to identify and cultivate the BEST in you. To elaborate, in a coaching relationship, the client is understood to be naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. You have the ability to achieve whatever you want – the coach provides the listening, curiosity, support, accountability, and asks provoking questions to bring forth greatness – your very best. A coach also acknowledges the worst parts, explores their purpose, and works with you to catch, integrate, and modify these behaviors.
As you think about your current endeavors and relationships at home and at work, where is the best in you showing up? The worst? Where is more of your best self needed to have the impact you want? Here are a few tips and questions that will help you to be more of your best:
Get to know the best and worst in you by completing the following sentences
When I am at my best, I am _____. (e.g. focused, forgiving, kind.)
When I am at my worst, I am _____. (e.g. distracted, judgmental, irritable.)
Of the best parts of you, which would you like to be more often? And which of the worst less often? Write them down.
Find a physical object (photo, printed quote, or figure) that represents the best/worst parts that you want to express more/less often – keep it someplace you will see it (desk, refrigerator, pocket) as a reminder.
Acknowledge (rather than ignore) the worst in you and understand that this is only a part of who you are. Ask: “How does this part serve me?” Example: Being unforgiving may be effective for a police officer in the context of his/her work, but likely not so effective at home.
Set an intention to be your best before a meeting or a conversation with someone.
When the worst in you has taken over and created a mess – follow up with the best in you. This could mean apologizing, listening more carefully, or changing a course of action.
Look for the best in others and support them to be their best.
I challenge you to be your best self for the next 24 hours. What if we and everyone around us did too?