Your Best Self
It seems like so much of we read and hear has to do with showing up as our best self—that self that is productive, engaging and powerful. While we know it’s true, too many times we sag into a self that is less stellar and more mediocre. And when we show up less than our best, no one benefits. But how do you bring your best more consistently?
A Different Approach
I recently came across a concept that gives a different slant on the subject. It’s called the Theory of Modes and it basically says that we develop different versions of our self that we bring to specific situations. See if it makes sense to you.
For instance, when you go into the office (remember that?), you show up as a certain persona. Your demeanor and style are professional and your focus is (or should be) getting stuff done. However, when you are with a few of your closest friends just goofing off, you show up as a different version of yourself—fun-loving and friendly. Obviously, they aren’t completely different because they are versions of the same you.
You become one version of yourself when you are stressed and anxious, different from when you are calm and relaxed. The point is that you have it within your control to reshape your persona with intention. That is, you can upgrade what your best self looks like.
I recently saw a quote attributed to Brad Montague: “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.” I said to myself, “yeah, that’s who I want it be.”
But just wishing it won’t alter my persona if I don’t go the next step and define the adjustments I would have to make in my words and actions. Once I have that picture in my mind, I have a better persona to bring to my interactions. Now that I’m aware, I can consciously show up and interact in ways that reinforce who I aspire to be. It’s not long before I’ve upgraded my best self by adding a dimension that was missing before.
This applies to all kinds of situations beyond interacting with others.
- When I’m under pressure
- When I feel unjustly criticized
- When things are going well
- When things aren’t going well
- When I face a huge challenge
In all of these situations, the way I show up now could be better. So I ask, who do I want to be when I show up? What would I say and do differently? And then look for opportunities to be that person.
This week, under the existing pressures, demands and challenges you face, what better self can you upgrade?
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