Be the best version of yourself

How can you be the best version of yourself?

How often have you found yourself asking the following questions? “I can do better, why am I still doing this job?” “I deserve better.” “God, when will this end?” The better questions to ask might be: “Do I know what I want to achieve?” Have I done anything to attain this?” “What am I capable of doing on my own?” “How can I be the best version of myself?” “Who can help me accelerate?

I’d like to share some thoughts which I believe will help you unlock your full potential.

Change is inevitable

If we want to obtain different results then we need to change something e.g. our approach, job, car, dress, meal, and so on. To achieve a different result, the first step to take is to prepare for change. We can’t keep doing the same and expect a different result. The fundamental question to ask is: “What exactly needs to be changed?

Find out what you’re good at

To find out what needs changing, it is necessary to find out what we are born to do. It is easier to optimize from good to great as opposed to moving from poor to great. “Everybody is a genius.”, said Albert Einstein, one of the brightest brains history has known. I truly believe we have all been born with potential. Unfortunately, we are not always aware of what we are capable of reaching. There are many models via which we can find out what talents we have. One of them is the Wheel of Life. It is important to find out what we like to do as opposed to what we have to do. When we love what we do, we do it with passion. Remember, willingness and passion bring perseverance, and perseverance brings success.

Set your target

We can’t hit the target we don’t see. Do you agree? I believe we need to have a clear understanding of what we want to achieve. We can’t say, for example, we want to grow. It is not specific enough. What does grow mean? What percentage of market share, and within what period of time? There are many models we can use to set our targets. GROW is a simple, yet very powerful, model many coaches use to help their clients with target setting. Read the short article What’ve you put on the menu for 2016 for a simple set of guidelines about how to set and realize your targets.

Find a role model

Saadi (the wise Persian Poet 1210-1291) said: “To do everything excellently we need to have two lives, one for trial and experience, and the other for accelerating our performance. Having two lives is impossible, the best alternative is copying best experiences of the best performers.” So, what would you like to become? A footballer? Then copy what Messi, Maradona, Cruijff, Pelé and Bekenbauer have done. Would you like to become the best investor? Then copy what Warren Buffet has done. Would you like to become a successful entrepreneur? Then copy what people like Steve Jobs, Marc Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have done. It is possible to become the same as your role model under one condition: doing whatever they have done. Use the Wheel of Life and GROW models to discover your potential and locate possible bottlenecks. A good coach can help you with this step.

Associate with successful people in your chosen field

Steve Siebold says: “We become like the people we associate with, and that’s why winners are attracted to winners.” If you believe you are an eagle, then do not behave like a turkey.  When you believe you have found your favorite field then create a list of who the most admired and successful people are from whom you can learn to move faster and smarter. Find out how you can get invited to their gatherings. Follow their strategies. Listen to their stories: how they made a billion; how they became professors; how they set up their business empire. When you have made your way to the group of the best people from whom you can learn, listen twice more than you talk. Remember, we have two ears and one mouth. Life is giving and taking so find out how you can help these successful people. When you do so, it will be easier to ask for something in return.

Overcome your limiting beliefs

They come to our mind uninvited: “…but you can’t do this in this situation.” “How can you change your job while your wife is pregnant?” “I can’t ask my boss. I need his support. What if he disagrees?” And there are many more examples of limiting beliefs.

I believe the first, and the most important, battle we need to win is the one with our own beliefs.

When we give room to our limiting beliefs, it becomes harder to get back on track. The right coach can help you with overcoming your limiting beliefs. However, by asking yourself a few questions you may reach a certain level on your own. For example: “Why can’t I change my job because my wife is pregnant?” “What would stop me taking care of my pregnant wife?” “What would change exactly?” “Am I going to have more or less free time by changing my job?

Make supporting positive friends

There is a Persian saying: “If you can’t be of any help, don’t create any trouble either.” When you have a grand ambition, some people may laugh at you. Don’t worry, that says more about them than you. “So many people I talked to at that time about Alipay, they said, ‘This is the stupidest idea you’ve ever had.’”, said Jack Ma to Bloomberg. When you decide to chase an ambitious target, you need two types of friends: 1. Positive supporting people who say, for example, “Wow, sounds fantastic.”, or “What an amazing idea.”; and 2. People who can offer you constructive criticism. This second group may be of even more support than the first one. They have the ability to make you think about your challenges, which helps you prepare for and avoid potential disappointments. They might also see deeper layers of your ambition which you might not have discovered on your own.

Many successes have been achieved after many more failures

It’s been said that Thomas Edison tried 1000 ways to invent the first lamp. If he had given up after the first few attempts, he would not have invented his first lamp. Next to the fact he was a genius, he is also a shining example of what you can achieve with perseverance. Failures are a part of the deal. Two top teams meet in the final, one will fail to take home the trophy.

There are no better lessons than the ones we learn from our own failures. The bitterness of failure teaches us how not do it.

Take the amazing story of Jack Ma (Founder of Alibaba), who in November 2014 was the richest man in China (Hong Kong not included), and the 18th richest person in the world. In his interview with Bloomberg he says: “There’s an examination for young people to go to university. I failed it three times. I failed a lot. So I applied to 30 different jobs and got rejected. I went for a job with the police: they said, ‘You’re no good.’ I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy.…”   So, success often comes after failure. Be persistent, consistent and believe in your success.

What would you be prepared to sacrifice?

We’ve all been there. Sometimes we need to make painful choices in our lives to move on. We love our partners, but we have come to the conclusion love alone is not enough.

To achieve something greater we may have to sacrifice some great things.

To hire a brilliant CEO, we need to fire a good one. The lighter our baggage the higher we can climb. Do you agree? Here is the deal. What are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve your dream? Imagine, you’re 19, you’re at the train station, you’re hungry and it’s midnight. You only have €3.75 cash, and the cheapest sandwich costs €3.00. You love ice-cream and you are about to hit the button on the only food machine around to buy yourself your favorite ice-cream costing €2.50. Suddenly a thought whispers in your head: “Hang on buddy, if you buy an ice-cream you will not have enough money left for a sandwich. Are you sure you still want the ice-cream?” Sometimes even the easiest choices may be difficult to make, but we need to make them to achieve our targets.

Find a mentor or coach

Many successful leaders – presidents, top performers and entrepreneurs – have had mentors and coaches. Bill Clinton, Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Richard Branson and Hilary Clinton, are all examples of successful people who have made it far with the help of their coaches. Richard Branson says: “It’s always good to have a helping hand at the start. I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker.” No matter how bright you are, how successful you already are, how mindful you are, hire the right coach from time-to-time and see the difference in your performance. If it helps, do it often.

Please share your thoughts

I am pleased that I have many connections from whom I learn every day. Please let me learn from your comments too.

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About the author

Hamid Safaei is the founder of ImOcean Academy. He is a qualified executive coach helping executives and budding entrepreneurs unleash their potential. Hamid has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies.

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