Recently we celebrated the first 25 years of Mayerson Academy at our Be Your Best. Move the World. event and invited participants to tell us what it means to “be at your best.” 150+ partners and friends who celebrated with us captured their thoughts on paper speech bubbles and the collective results evidence some interesting themes.
For our celebratory evening, we invited guests to “come curious and leave inspired.” The thoughts they shared certainly inspired us. The most oft-stated response categories can be summed up simply.
The largest pile of sorted responses included everything from “Strive for Excellence” to “Being my best means always giving 100%.” Reading these responses, you get a strong sense of bravery and zest from the authors; a sense that when they are at their best they are giving it their all, with tremendous energy and enthusiasm. They do not let anything/anyone temper their commitment!
Another frequently cited aspect of being at our best deals with being authentic in our actions. These responses attributed acting with honesty as helping one to be their best, as exemplified by comments like, “Be[ing] your best means being your full self,” “Living out all aspects of my identity,” and “STAY[ing] TRUE to your inner self.”
Together, the ideas of “working hard” and “being true” beautifully embody the virtue of courage.
Care for Others.
A final theme that gathered a large number of responses came from people who felt they were at their best when they were elevating other people. The humanity on these cards warms your heart with responses including, “Always see[ing] the BEST in everyone,” “Ensur[ing] I help someone get closer to a goal every day” and “Giving of myself to others,” and many other similar ideas.
Based on my experiences, there is tremendous wisdom in these simple ideas – that we have the opportunity to be at our best when we work hard, are true to ourselves and care for others – and there is no greater gift than helping someone be at their best. But how might we take up this challenge/opportunity in our roles as parents, executives, teachers, friends, etc?
A simple exercise I am going to adopt to see if I can get better at finding my best and helping others do the same is to ask the questions below related to the themes above.
1. Do I encourage setting goals that are sufficiently worthy and demanding to inspire an all-out effort?
2. Am I helpful in appreciating and reminding the people around me about their unique capacities and giving plenty of space for the productive expression of their uniqueness?
3. Can I create opportunities for individuals to interact in a way that they are more aware of each other’s goals and aspirations so that they may assist, support and encourage one another?
I am eager to see where these questions might take me in my quest to help others and myself be the best version of ourselves. If you are thinking about this, too, I would love to hear your ideas and stories.