Being a better you is a life long journey. In my book, Amplify Your Career and Life, I explore five universal themes that people experience on their way to creating a fulfilling and enriched life.
Being Creative. Creativity is one of the best ways to keep you fresh and engaged. It allows you to open your mind and experiment. According to a Time/MPAA/Microsoft survey 91% or respondents said that creativity is important to their life, 83% said it’s important in their personal life, and 65 percent said creativity is central to America’s role as a global leader.
I believe that we all have flames of creativity. Creativity is simply engaging in any activity that frees your imagination. It should be something that provides you pure joy. This can be with a piece of wood, a piece of paper and pencil, or a can of spray paint. It is about letting go and having fun. You should not underestimate the importance of feeding your inner creative being.
Being Valued. You and those around you want to feel respected and appreciated, whether it is on a small or large scale. You want recognition for your contribution. This is true for the help you provide your friends, the effort you put forth at work, and the sacrifices you make for your family. The flip side of the coin is valuing others.
While money, title, office, and perks are all extrinsic motivators, there is no substitute for intrinsic motivators such as being valued. According to survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), feeling valued is a key indicator of job performance. Employees who feel valued are more likely to be engaged in their work and feel satisfied and motivated. The same holds true for personal relationships.
Valuing someone and their effort should never be taken for granted. Whether it is a professional or personal relationship, take the time to let them know how much they are appreciated.
Being Unburdened. Finding lightness in your way of being does wonders, in your ability to thrive. It is hard to move forward when you have two tons of burden weighing you down.
It is not uncommon to pick up another’s baggage as you progress through life. And you pick up baggage from multiple sources. You take on burdens at work because you think it will make you invaluable and untouchable should there be a workforce reduction.
In relationships, if you want someone to love you, you will do anything to win his or her affection. Over time, however, this behavior can cause resentment and anger. And it is robbing you of precious time to do things (hopefully being creative) that bring you pleasure and happiness.
Taking on burdens may make you feel good and accepted in the beginning, but it can be debilitating later. These burdens take away your power—especially your power to see clearly. You allow burdens too much influence in your life, especially when that influence is linked to fear. Holding on because of fear is not a long-term strategy. The key is to determine what is most important and let go of the rest.
Those who face that which is actually before them, unburdened by the past, undistracted by the future, these are they who live, who make the best use of their lives; these are those who have found the secret of contentment.
Being Thoughtful. The more comfortable you are moving toward what you want, the more thoughtful you will be along the way. If you are settled and clear, you can better relate to others and give of yourself.
Nothing can be more welcoming than a gesture of thoughtfulness. How many times are you genuinely touched when someone does something that is very kind? Being thoughtful doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to cost anything. It can start with greeting everyone with a smile. A friendly smile is a very thoughtful gesture that puts people at ease and makes them feel good.
Being thoughtful has the greatest impact when you do it without hesitation, lending a helping hand to someone who is struggling with packages, offering to help with a party by bringing your favorite dessert, or taking a friend to coffee when you know he or she needs a compassionate ear.
Thoughtfulness is also acknowledging others. It is extremely powerful to acknowledge those around you, what makes them special and the times when they have been particularly helpful.
I always prefer to believe the best of everyone. It saves so much trouble.
Being Yourself. Reclaim who you are and what is most important. This means being able to articulate what’s best about you to yourself and others. Not everyone wants to run a company, start their own business, or be a millionaire. But people do want to feel fulfilled, energized, and engaged with their life. How to achieve this is probably not crystal clear. To bring clarity takes a plan, discipline, and a desire to thrive.
A big part of being you is mourning the death of achievements that never will be. In order to make room for new, more resonate goals, you have to let go of those that will never come to pass. It is not just about letting them go, however; it is also about replacing them. There is a little strategy I use to help put what I have to mourn in context with what I want to do. I take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side I write “I will not . . .” and then on the right side I write “But I will . . .” This will free you from holding on to an outcomes that restrains your way of being.
Being yourself means tapping into your creativity and allowing yourself to express what is inside you however you like. It means valuing others and seeking out situations where you will be valued. It means being unburdened of all the stuff that is really meaningless and holds no power in how we live our lives. It means taking the time to be thoughtful and acknowledging others. We all want to be seen, especially by people we care about.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.