Achieving your Personal Best
If you have been following our Positive Living Skills journey then you have probably been introduced somehow to our children's Wellbeing Program mascot character, Possa Bill. He knows something about achieving your personal best and it's a great lesson for all of us.
If you haven’t met Possa Bill yet, you will learn that he stands for some pretty cool things - health and vitality as well as how to build and maintain a growth mindset.
He understands that repetition and practice builds skills, he has a healthy sense of self-belief, and he is vital and active, and loves to use his physiology to boost his emotional state.
You might also notice that on his hat are his initials PB, and for many of us, the letters PB also represent Personal Best.
Which is another concept supported by our Possa Bill.
He is all about helping young children to learn how to take action toward their goals, practicing and persisting while positively challenging themselves at the same time.
Now as adults there are some real situations when our personal best will not get us the goal we want. If you participate in competitive sport or you are competing in business for a particular contract or tender, then your personal best will not necessarily get you the gold medal or the ‘win.’ And there are lots of times in everyday life when we are less than satisfied with our own PB when we compare ourselves to others, or through lack of self-belief we downplay our own efforts and feel less than worthwhile.
So what can us adults learn from Possa Bill about the importance of our own PB’s? What are the lessons we can remind ourselves about?
Let go of comparing yourself to others. And let’s face it, you probably don’t know enough about the people you are comparing yourself to anyway. Lots of people perceive others to be ‘successful’ (depending on what you have decided success means) in relationships or business or other areas of life based on what they see on the surface (especially on social media) or how that person can present themselves or their life. When you stop judging others you can give yourself permission to be kinder to yourself too, AND you can give yourself permission to focus on pursuing your own personal goals. You are unique and you are walking your own path, no one else’s. Embrace that and celebrate it.
Get to know your inner dialogue. Next time that pesky inner voice of yours starts to generalise and catastrophise and downplay with comments like ‘What are you thinking? You’re not talented enough to ……….’ Or ‘People will think I’m ……… if I try ………..’ or ‘It’s no point – I’ll never achieve ………’ - Begin to question your inner you. Ask yourself quality questions or give yourself challenging responses, or better still, speak to yourself like you would to a friend. According to whom? What evidence is there? Am I living my life to meet someone else’s expectations?
And remember, people aren’t as interested in what you are doing or how you are doing it anywhere near as much as you might think they are. They’re too busy focusing on themselves!!
Persist. When we were kids and we began learning to ride a bike, about how many times did we falter and fall as we shakily learned to balance and steer? It wouldn’t have crossed our minds to try once or twice and then give up, deciding that we were never going to ride. We didn’t know the meaning of that concept. We tried and practiced and persisted until we got it.
What is the metaphorical bike in your life right now? How quickly have you decided that you won’t achieve it or aren’t good enough/smart enough/talented enough? If you want to do it, get back on the bike.
Take small steps. A very successful way that we can sabotage the things we most want, and self sabotage is a really common pattern for most of us, is to have an ‘all or nothing’ approach to what we want. This immediate success mindset can see people go from sitting on the couch to lifting the most massive weights at the first gym visit which usually leaves them in traction! Which is a great reason to give up.
If you walk 50 metres on the first day, 60 on the second and so on, pretty soon you will be walking kilometres. Each of us goes at our own pace in all areas of life.
Acknowledge yourself and others more often. Instead of focusing on the 3 words you didn’t get ‘correct’ in the crossword, celebrate that you completed 85% of it, acknowledge yourself for having a go at that new yoga class or for speaking up in that meeting. Start practicing compassion and kindness for you and for others.
You can still have extremely high standards that you want to achieve in any area of life you seek, that is up to you. And you can challenge yourself and discipline your practice to achieve a level of excellence in any arena of life you would like to, so that you can and do achieve gold medal status in the pursuits you love. You can do this with a sense of balance too.
These reminders are here for all of us to remember that as long as we are taking action toward the things we seek to achieve in life, then that is worth acknowledging, and if we are giving something our personal best on that day then that is something worth celebrating, and it is a lot more valuable than for the person who is still sitting still afraid to act for fear of losing or getting it ‘wrong’.
Next time you want to do something new or achieve something, think back to how you approached things when you were a young child, or maybe consider how Possa Bill might see it.
Then work toward achieving your personal best and be proud of that.
‘And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’