It’s an eye-opening moment when you realize who you truly are and what you can accomplish by being your authentic best self. Discover how to be your best self by finding your voice and sharing it, seeking opportunities that will grow you, overcoming your inner critic and staying true to who you are.
Find your voice and share it
To be the best you, find your voice and share it. You need to discover what you stand for and what you believe in. Then seek ways to communicate your message to help others.
Over the past few years, I’ve discovered my true passion is to lead people. I realized that my leadership experiences and the things I’ve learned can be of value to others. This passion and these experiences helped me discover my voice. This also sparked my interest in sharing my voice in purposeful ways. This new mindset opened exciting doors for me, allowing me to write articles on leadership and coach new managers.
Seek opportunities that grow you
Another way to be your best self is by seeking opportunities that both excite and challenge you. Look for ways to push yourself so that you always keep growing. When you try new things that push you out of your comfort zone, you grow from that experience. Imagine how much more thrilled and satisfied you will be once you’ve accomplished that challenging thing that you set out to do!
I have recently taken this mantra to heart. I told my husband that I wanted to try leading a group coaching session, which is something new for me compared to my normal one-on-one sessions. My husband knows that I struggle with the fear of speaking in front of others, so he gently asked me if I was sure I wanted to pursue something that would likely cause me some anxiety. I thanked him for his thoughtful concern but told him that I was sure I wanted to do it. He was surprised by my growth and said as a compliment, “Wow, that’s awesome. You have really changed from when I first met you.”
Overcome your inner critic
To fully become your best self, you must conquer your harshest critic: Yourself. Sometimes our inner critic can point out valid flaws and faults in us that rightfully need to be addressed. However, too often we allow our self-doubt to talk us out of doing rewarding things. As I mentioned, I experience rather irrational fears when it comes to public speaking. I could allow this fear to hold me back professionally because the truth is that I will probably never become great at it. But I refuse to let it stop me from being my best self. I’m going to keep taking management positions where I have to lead big meetings, so that I can be the leader I want to be and take care of my employees. Don’t allow your inner critic to keep you from being who you want to be.
Don’t change who you are for anyone
Once you figure out how to be the best you, don’t change who you are for anyone. Always be true to yourself.
A friend of mine shared with me some professional advice she had been given. The advice was that she should assume a different persona when briefing senior leaders. Specifically, she was told to be direct, command the room and not to show any emotions if she wanted to be taken seriously. Of course, you need to know your stuff, communicate effectively and have a well-prepared message when formally presenting information. But the idea of changing your authentic self to meet someone else’s limited standards of success is completely deplorable. Don’t ever compromise your genuine self or your uniqueness because someone else thinks you should act, talk or look in a way that meets their stereotypical preferences.
Find your voice by learning what you stand for and share your message to help others. Pursue opportunities that challenge and excite you so that you keep growing. Don’t allow your inner critic to talk you out of pursuing what you love. And once you are your best self, don’t change for anyone.
Tessie Davenport has served as a leader in the Department of Defense for the past ten years. Her breadth of experience includes creating successful teams, coaching, mentoring and leading development programs. She has a B.A.S. in Information and Computer Security, a M.S. in Intelligence Management and is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management. She hopes to inspire new leaders and experienced ones by offering practical ideas to help them build positive cultures and grow their people. Tessie is happily married with three dogs and a cat. She loves to travel, hike, kayak, and explore.