How to find and be your best self
Have you ever had a moment where you feel truly happy, empowered and excited by life? These feelings can come in times of overcoming challenges, during landmark moments in life or just on a normal day when you’re feeling particularly productive and motivated. Unfortunately, they can be fleeting and it can be hard to hang onto that sense of drive, purpose and contentment.
A key aim of coaching is to help you to fulfil your potential in life and work, whatever your goals or dreams may be. Working towards being the best version of yourself can help to maintain those feelings. Some call it your ‘best self’, other names could be your ‘inner leader’ or ‘leader within’. Whatever term you use, here’s how you can reach it:
Finding your best self
Understanding who you are at your core
We live in a world where we can continuously compare ourselves to others. It’s hard to escape the noise of what landmarks we should be reaching, what we should be aiming for in life and when.
If you’re living according to what you should be doing, then you aren’t basing your decisions and choices and what you need or want, but rather on what external voices are influencing you to do.
Working with a coach will help you to be confident in who you are at your core: your needs and your wants. This comes with loving and accepting yourself as a whole: both the good bits and the (perceived!) bad bits.
To reach your best self, you need to focus on you. Johanna Konta discusses this brilliantly in the High Performance Podcast, when defining what high performance is for her:
“It’s finding your own 1%, it's finding… the best you can be within yourself. It’s your own PB, regardless of who you are competing against”
To perform at your best, you need to make choices and decisions that are best for you and not base decisions on pleasing others or avoiding conflict for example. When you have full self acceptance, you have full self authority for your own life.
Understanding your values & purpose
To get to your best self it’s important to understand what drives it. The process I use is helping you to understand your values and looking into your purpose before addressing who your best self is.
You have to have your values and purpose in mind when thinking about what decisions and choices you want to make so you know what you are working towards. These need to come from a place where you fully accept yourself. If you don’t accept yourself, how can you expect other people to accept you?
Once you know your values and purpose, a coach can work with you using visualisation exercises or reflective questioning to then explore exactly who you are at your best. This is to embody the feelings associated with self-acceptance, self-authority and true contentment.
This helps to create a visual representation to channel when trying to be your best self (or inner leader/leader within) as well as the physical feelings you may notice when you’re feeling your best. These can come in many forms and examples of what people visualise when they do these exercises include:
A version of yourself. For example dressed smartly and standing tall and confident.
A place. For example a forest or by the sea, where imagining that space brings about the feelings of being your best self.
An animal/plant. For example a bird in flight that helps represent the feelings you have as your best self.
Working with your coach, you can spend more time imagining a detailed version of your best self: what they look like, how they behave, how they talk and interact and note any significant features. Finally, we'll work together to find a structure or reminder to refer to, draw upon and connect to easily, as and when you need it!
Managing your inner critics
This can be a challenge but managing the negative thoughts and limiting beliefs that we sometimes sell ourselves is paramount in not holding yourself back. It’s likely we’ve all experienced varying degrees of imposter syndrome at some point, but as long as it doesn’t prevent us from achieving our goals in life then that’s OK.
If you find yourself focussing on your weaknesses, your ‘failures’, what you can’t do and what you don’t know then this will only limit your ability, and even your motivation, to be your best self.
Your inner critics will play a part in highlighting ‘bad bits’ and can make you believe there are more bad bits than good. Knowing, understanding and managing them is therefore important.
We’ve previously looked at how to manage inner critics and working with a coach can give you the tools to control them, as well as highlight times you may not have noticed they’ve crept in!
The impact being your best self can have
All of the knowledge acquired through noting who you are at your core, your values and purpose and who your inner leader is at the foundation of addressing life’s challenges.
Knowing how we would want to act and feel as our best selves, driven by a strong sense of values and purpose, can help with decision making, overcoming stress and managing relationships whilst staying true to your authentic self.
Without these, it can be harder to make decisions, choices or steps forward without being influenced by external pressures, those around you, the media, societal norms or even your own inner critics.
Feeling fully content, confident and empowered in your own decisions leads to being able to live your best life - a life of fulfilment, purpose and happiness. Get in touch to find out more and let’s find your 1%!