As we say goodbye to 2016 we have an opportunity to start again with a fresh start. I love new beginnings. I feel like I have an opportunity for a “do over.” As we start a new year we get to redefine what success means in our lives and choose how we will approach 2017. Can I just say that striving for our personal best is the way to go?
I grew up in a family of athletes. All 5 of my brothers competed in high school sports and so did my sisters. Some went on to compete at the collegiate level. I grew up in a time when we knew that if we wanted to succeed at sports or win games we needed practice and dedication and the only way to score points was to keep shooting even if we missed.
Our favorite game was basketball. When we played together it didn’t really matter who won or lost. We loved to compete and the need to compete wasn’t so much with everyone else, it was all about pushing ourselves and performing from our personal best. We knew that we would miss shots, but it was the love of the game that motivated us to keep trying.
I think practicing life skills is the same. It requires a love for the game of life, and practicing and developing skills. We do better as we learn from our experiences. It takes time to develop muscle memory with sports and it takes time to learn how to repeat that miraculous moment when against all odds you still handled your stress in a mature way, or that time when you totally scored because you were clear in your communication without having to lose your cool. The more we practice those winning moments in life the greater we become at our personal best with our own emotional health.
I think celebrating our personal best comes with an awareness of our humanness. Even the greatest athletes often fail and all they can do is to strive for that marker that is their personal best. In the game, yes there is disappointment when you miss a shot, but then you just get right back in the game and keep shooting. And the funny thing is. . . it might not seem all that important to be shooting the ball through a
hoop . . . but, I tell you there is nothing like putting the ball up and having it touch the bottom of the net with a swoosh! It is beautiful.
Our emotional personal best is recognizing that perfection is not what we are striving for . . . that our best is what counts. It means that we can be strong and yet vulnerable . . . celebrate our gifts and talents and yet embrace our shadow side, be firm and yet loving. Our personal best means being professional and yet transparent at the same time. We can experience indecision and yet trust that we are capable of making good decisions. This is achieving our personal best and still loving self.
Winning means that we hold self to a high standard and yet be compassionate and loving at the same time when things don’t go exactly the way we had planned. It is knowing that sometimes we have to do things all by our self and then rise to the occasion and surprise our self at how well we did. It is knowing that someone else cannot take anything away from us and that the way we see our self is the only perception that matters.
Achieving our personal best allows us to recognize that if we want change, or if we want things to be different, we have power to make it happen. When we own our personal power, we know that we are not bound by old patterns, genetics, and physical limitations, out dated belief systems or even our own “stinkin’ thinkin'” . . . we understand that we have power to override old programming and make new choices.
Know what your personal best is with emotional health. It doesn’t always mean working to keep the peace. Sometimes getting angry is the solution in the moment, so you can work through problems and clear the air. Sometimes it means standing up for yourself or validating yourself when someone is being judgmental or attacking. Sometimes it means not getting angry and finding a softer way to communicate. We need all these approaches to find success in life.
My challenge to you and to myself is to start off 2017 with an attitude that my best is good enough. As I set my goals for the year 2017 I will definitely challenge myself because I love reaching and growing and going for the win . . . I love the challenge of stretching myself and I know writing my goals down in a place where I can see them daily is a powerful skill that I have learned over the years. It helps me focus on what I am shooting for . . . the target. How else can we measure success if we don’t define the goal?
In 2017 get clear about your goals and write them down, stay in the game because you love it, and strive to reach for your personal best.
Join us in our “Live Classes with Pam.” On January 9 we are offering a FREE webinar. Our topic is “Seek to be Inspired.” Find out how you can choose New Year’s Resolutions that you might be more likely to keep in 2017.