How to be your best

What’s the difference between being THE best and being YOUR best?

career change, start-up coaching, career coaching, remarkable lifestyle

Be your best

Read on to find out the  answer – it could make a huge difference to your quality of life and happiness.

Being the Best

Being the best is about beating everyone in sight, reigning supreme, consistently held out as the champion, number one, numero uno.

It’s about winning and losing.  It’s about coming out on top every time.  Taking the gong, the award, the plaudits.  Making the teary thank-you speech (don’t forget your mum and your agent).

It is a noble aspiration to aim for being the best in your field.  It provides motivation, others to compare against, ways to measure how you are doing.

We can revieve acclaim for our endeavours and feed our need to be recognized along the way.  With dedication, hard work, a clear plan and a little luck we might even make it to the pinnacle.

Yet if this is the sole focus of everything we do, it can be destructive and exhausting too.  Time passes, things change, life moves on.

Great champions lose their magic touch and fall from the top.  In sport, think of Tiger Woods’ travails, Lance Armstrong cycling Le Tour with no chance of winning, Roger Federer the world number 3.

In cinema, do you remember F. Murray Abraham, Geralidine Page or Lousie Fletcher? They are all Oscar winners, the best in their field.  They couldn’t stay at the top forever.

Being the best is a temporary status.  It can take a lifetime to achieve and can be snatched away in seconds.

Being the best also requires you to play by someone else’s rules.  Who really defines the best accountant, entrepreneur, geologist, academic, dancer, painter or lawyer.  The best is chosen by popular acclaim, by an arbirary set of rules, some awards, a poll of polls, the whim of a boss or manager.

Striving to be the best is exhausting, disempowering and worst of all the rules can change at any time!

Be your Best

What happens when you try to be your best?

This subtle switch in thinking can untold happiness, peace and achievement.

When you strive to be your best, you set your own rules.  The pressure of constant comparison and striving for success goes away.

You’re in a one horse race and you decide what determines the winner.   Only you can be your best you.

Being your best means being able to look yourself in the mirror every day and say that you’re doing the best you can.  That is all we can ask from ourself after all.  It means learning to enjoy the successes and the failures and to learn from both.  To be better next time.

It means that you can have an off day, give yourself a break and push on.

It also means that you can be flexible in how you approach life.  The end game is all about being happy, living with yourself and finding peace.

You can still set big, hairy audacious goals for your life and career.  However as long as you do your best and can look yourself in the eye, these are open to change at any time.

Learning how to be your best can transform life from an endless struggle to please others and get to the top into a self-directed journey lived without regret.

How to be your best every day

At the beginning of the day, look yourself in the mirror and say your daily intention out loud- “I will be the best that I can be today”.

Each morning, select the most important thing you’d like to get done today and write down that intention in a journal – “I will write an outstanding blog post today”

If you find yourself drifting and procrastinating during the day, close your eyes and repeat 10 times “I am the best that I can be”. Now refocus and put 100% into doing whatever feels most important (that could be work, taking a proper break or whatever feels right)

At the end of each day, look yourself in the mirror and be honest about your day.  If you did your best, congratualte yourself and rebouble your efforts.  If you faced challenges, forgive yourself and work out how to be even better tomorrow.

Over to you

If you’d like a little inspiration to be your best, get free updates from Less Ordinary Living by clicking here.

Please leave a comment and share with others:

  • Do you strive to do your best or be your best?
  • What techniques do you use to make the most of each day?
  • Have you ever been the best and how did it feel?

Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley (Flickr Creative Commons) – one of the best out there

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  1. Phil
    July 27, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Do you want to be the best, or are you happy to be your best? What difference does it make?

  2. July 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Hey Phil, this is a great post to remind us all to re-define the meaning of best. The pressure starts at a very young age, really. Parents and teachers tell little kids they can do better. The kids learn to compare and compete (and bear the ensuing disappointment when they fall short). Then some of us figure out that we can unlearn or disengage from the mechanics of comparison and competition. And when we get a clue about identifying what’s good and right for us, then we begin to be true to ourselves, live our lives by our standards and not someone else’s. (Often easier to put in print than to follow, no?)

  3. July 28, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Hey Phil,

    I like what you’re saying about being your best! It’s a win-win instead of a win-lose. That way we can all be our best, since our bests presumably are different.

    For me, I enjoy being my own best. Otherwise it becomes yet another spiral down into the den of conformity. This way I can paint the way I want, sing the way I want, write the way I want, live the way I want!

    Enjoyed the read … Giulietta

  4. July 30, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phil – Nice post. I think being your best is a lot of about the “being” part. Allowing yourself to be who you are, to let that out, to embrace it. When we do that, the “best” part kind of naturally takes care of itself. And oh, btw, I love Geraldine Page!

  5. July 31, 2010 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I love the idea that we’re in a one horse race with ourselves! Suddenly, it’s no longer about anyone else. Just me. Wow, that feels so much more comfortable. Now that I’m no longer concerned with anyone else, I have the space to get on with being my best!

  6. August 1, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of reasons for being your best. Long ago I learned that when you compete with others, they hold you back, but when you compete with yourself, they life you up … underdog style.

    Interestingly, I had almost named my blog be your best, when I was sifting through names. The surprise for me was that when I told a friend of the name, it didn’t resonate. However, when I wrote it down and emphasized the be YOUR best … then suddenly it mattered. I was surprised how the subtle distinction made all the difference.

  7. August 2, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Well said Phil. There are many different ways to measure success. We need to be rigorously honest with ourselves to determine just what that means to us. So many people get caught up in playing a game that they didn’t choose. Determining the game that is right for us is most of the struggle… this will have us participating in a game of life that inspires the best of our naturally free, spontaneous and soaring nature to shine through.

  8. August 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    No question but Phil hit the dusty peg on its head with this one. His advice about doing your best can’t be beaten either. Like he said, being best in today’s world is about “winning”….but being YOUR best is a whole different kettle of cows. Even so, to benefit from Phil’s advice, you’d better get Mr. fly out of his ointment bath first. Here’s what I mean. To do YOUR best, you have to know who YOU are. If you have no clue, you can do the best you can at something you’re not…..and even be best in the world. But eventually you’ll discover a sad fact. Like? You missed the life you were put here to have. Okay, how about a concrete example. Say you’re a singer-at-heart, but your day job is a banker. Needless to say, Mrs. banking boss won’t let you sing a dime’s worth in her bank. Even so, at the end of each day you ask yourself….”did I do my best?”….and can honestly say you did. You used all your banking smarts and worked as hard as you could. And? You weren’t “doing your best”. How come? To do “YOUR” best you have to BE YOURSELF. Trouble is, you were just pretending to be something you’re not. When all is said and done then, there’s slightly less than ZERO chance you can “do your best” if you don’t know who you are. How do you figure that out? It’s too long a story for here. But it’s easy to tell if you DON’T know who you are. Just ask yourself this. Do you get up every day absolutely DRIVEN to do something your heart and soul just can’t live without? No? Do your best at everything you do then, but it won’t be YOURS. Ciao Phil and readers. John Duffield

  9. Phil
    August 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    @Belinda – yes always easier to write about than to do this kind of thing. I am very taken by your description of learning to disengage from the competition element of life. When we tune in to our set of values and live by our own strengths we can strive for our best.

    @Patty – learning to be is almost always overlooked. As my good friend and coach mentor says – we’re human beings not human doings. It is easy to get caught up in actions and goals and forget that just accepting ourself can be the most fulfilling skill of all.

    @Topi – yes – don’t let anyone try to outTopi you! It is so much easier to get by when we have the freedom to be ourself and just focus on our own game. Focus on the dream, not the competition!

    @J.D. – be YOUR best definitely gets the attention it deserves. In the UK be the best is an army recruiting slogan any way. Thanks for sharing that distinction.

    @Rob – the game of life is a nice metaphor. It is always more fun when we make up our own rules I think. Avoids lots of bad feelings and casting others as the villain.

    @John – Welcome to Less Ordinary and thanks for quite the contribution! You are hitting the peg on the head too here. FInding out what makes us tick and doing that is the key to being our absolute best. It takes time, experience, reflection and hell, even the odd mistake to get there. It is a lifelong journey with lots of great stops along the way. But boy is it worth it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – really appreciate it.

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