Getting the Best Out of Yourself

During a recent coach­ing ses­sion, I was asked, “How do we get the most out of ourselves?”

Sev­eral ideas came to mind, and I quickly rat­tled off a short list. Upon fur­ther reflec­tion, I thought it was a list worth shar­ing, because we all have the poten­tial to do more than we are doing today.

Here are eight ways that you can unleash the best from within yourself.

Plan in Detail

Spon­tane­ity can be fun and excit­ing. Why spoil all the fun by planning?

Much of what we want to accom­plish is not sim­ple. It takes work. It requires a game plan. The more specif­i­cally we can think out the crit­i­cal steps needed, the more likely we are to get what we want.

If we cre­ate a step-by-step detailed plan that clearly maps out what we want to accom­plish, our exe­cu­tion will improve. We will be less likely to miss impor­tant steps, and avoid wast­ing pre­cious time. Plan­ning helps us visu­al­ize how we can go about get­ting the results we expect — and noth­ing is more fun that achiev­ing our desired results!

Set High Expectations

We can do far more than we real­ize. We need to keep push­ing our per­sonal per­for­mance bar higher.

The power within us is enor­mous. I saw a YouTube video recently about a Korean boy who lived on the streets since he was five. He sold gum in night­clubs, where he was cap­ti­vated by the vocal­ists. He sang to him­self, and dreamed of singing as an enter­tainer. He then com­peted on Korea’s Got Tal­ent. He was amaz­ing. There was not a dry eye as he sang in a mag­nif­i­cent tenor voice that no one could believe.

Yes, there is more locked within each of us than we real­ize. We need to push our­selves to unleash it and share it with the world.

Exe­cute Flawlessly

The clearer our game plan, the more likely we are to strive for excel­lence. The old say­ing “it’s close enough for gov­ern­ment work” is not close enough. We need to expect bet­ter and hold our­selves to a high stan­dard. It’s true that if we aim high, we may fall short. But if we strive to improve every day, we have a much bet­ter chance of excelling.

Change When Necessary

The best plans can be way­laid by chang­ing cir­cum­stances. When a mis­take is real­ized or an out­side force acts against us, it is time to make changes. Some­times we believe that alter­ing our plan is an admis­sion of fail­ure, when in real­ity, the unwill­ing­ness to make change is the great­est fail­ure of all. When we begin to real­ize that our course is no longer the best one, we must make the needed change and move on.

Mea­sure Progress

Mea­sure­ment keeps us focused and encour­aged. If we begin with a clear pic­ture and under­stand­ing of the major mile­stones along the way to accom­plish­ing our goals, we can eas­ily mea­sure our progress. Projects, espe­cially big ones, need to be mea­sured in small steps. Make the mile­stones and respon­si­bil­i­ties clear, and more progress will be made.

Be Account­able

We need to hold our­selves account­able for accom­plish­ing each step needed to stretch toward our goal or tar­get. Clear and known account­abil­ity is a pow­er­ful self-motivator. Ask oth­ers around you to hold you account­able as well. The sim­ple knowl­edge that some­one else is going to ask you about your progress may be just the push you need to keep mov­ing toward your goals.

Keep Learn­ing

No mat­ter how much we think we know today, there is still so much more to learn. Greater knowl­edge enables us to be the best we can be at what we are doing. Be inquis­i­tive, read often, write down what you learn, and strive to know more. Learn­ing should be a part of every day.


Take time to rec­og­nize and cel­e­brate your progress. Accom­plish­ing mean­ing­ful goals is not easy. We all need a lit­tle encour­age­ment to stay moti­vated. Take time to step back and cel­e­brate the major mile­stones accom­plished along the way to reach­ing your goals.

We all have great things yet within us, wait­ing to be unleashed. I am con­fi­dent that if we fol­low these points, it will make a difference.

(Thank you Jerry Baker of Building Champions for this great post.)

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