Being your best


As a friend and I were nearing the end of a long run, I asked her the following question: “What do you do to be at your best? In other words, what is it that is necessary for you to feel happy, content, and at peace?” Her response, included below, indicated that balance was essential for her.


As a result of her thoughtful answer, I decided to ask others the same. I will plead 100% guilty to being pretty intense about approaching growth. This, of course, includes an intentionality about how to be my best every day. I am curious about others, especially others who seem to be purposeful in pursuing their goals.

We all have an internal compass which points to our own personal true north. Perhaps we don’t always check the compass before we set out for the day.

What I like about the answers I received is both the variety and the commonality. I have the sense that folks know that being your best isn’t always about gritting your teeth and re-doubling efforts. This is reminiscent of Thomas Merton’s statement that “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” For me, the reminders below underscore this thought.

Here, then, are the responses:

I am at my best when I prioritize nurturing my spiritual self. When I am spiritually balanced and whole, the rest (physical, emotional, mental) falls into place. Tamara T.

I’m at my best when I’m present and engaged in the moment. Not dwelling in the past or daydreaming about the future–just being and doing. Every time is now.Steve K.

I’m at my best when I am surrounded by friends and family who encourage me to be a better version of myself. Susan C.

I’ve learned that time spent in nature is needed for me to reach the best version of myself. I’m at my best when I have balance between the personal and social, creative and intellectual, emotional and rational, and my spiritual life is at the foundation of it all. Jamie S.

Being at my best is like a recipe, a daily routine. It’s grounded in physical exercise, balanced nutrition and getting 7.5 hours of sleep. It continues with learning something new and investing energy in self and others. And it always contains daily reflection and gratitude. As Jimmy Valvano said “if you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” When I reflect on my best days they’ve always been “full days.” Brian G.

I am at my best when I feel calm, confident, and have new goals to achieve. I most easily get to this point after spending time exercising and enjoying the outdoors.Jill P.

I’m at my best when I feel clarity in my goals and purpose, both immediate and longterm. Risa G.

Biggest thing is to have my actions align with who I am. So many distractions out there that I find if I’m not consistently thinking about it, I begin to shift in a million directions. You can’t be happy if you’re suppressing who you are. Eddie P.

I’m at my best when I have self-confidence and self-love.” When I’m unsure of myself or doubt that I’m worthy, I struggle. But when I recognize positive aspects in myself and trust in myself, everything seems easier. Jill M.

I’m at my best when I remember to appreciate the little things in life. Allison M.

I’m at my best when all things that make me content are at equilibrium — physical and mental activity, having a positive impact on the world and within my community, helping or watching close friends flourish, and achieving personal goals which bring me closer to the best version of myself. Carolyn H.

I’m at my best when I ask questions, listen attentively and minimize judgments. Many times there is no right or wrong, just different. Maggie U.