09/03/2011 08:29 EDT | Updated 11/03/2011 05:12 EDT

Be Your BEST


Are you at your best at work? How about at home?

When you are at your best, you are rested, present and ready to create positive outcomes for yourself, your organization, and your family. Here are some quick things that you can do to be at your best every day:

Be Thoughtful:

Take time to regularly tune into your thoughts. What story are you telling yourself, and how well is that story serving you? When you notice a negative story and a negative feeling associated with it, stop and fill your brain with other thoughts that will serve you better.

For example, let's say you notice the following thoughts on the way into work; 'Arggh, it's going to be a long day! Jane is likely going to be sick again and I'll have to pick up the slack, as usual!' Even if Jane is not sick, your negative emotion can cloud your entire day and impact your performance significantly.

When you notice a story like this, you can stop and decide to edit the story to better serve you. You might change it to 'I am grateful to have so much challenging work. I am looking forward to seeing Jane so we can develop a plan for moving forward.' Even if Jane is sick that day, your positive state will help you to be more resilient and resourceful to deal with whatever comes your way that day.

Energize Yourself:

A fully energized human being needs proper nutrition, adequate fluids and a strong body. Are you doing your best to 'fill up' with energy each and every day? Just as your car engine requires the proper fuel in order to run well, so do you. And, by the way, that doesn't necessarily mean eating vegan for the rest of your life and avoiding all treats. It simply means, following a balanced approach to nutrition (a version of Pareto's Principle seems reasonable to me; eat well 80 per cent of the time, and 'go wild' 20 per cent of the time). It's amazing what a glass of water and a brisk walk will do for your energy reserves. Try it out and take note!

Sleep Well:

"I can't fall asleep at night and it's killing me!" my friend said with exasperation when we met on the weekend. Although she was being a bit dramatic, her statement might not be far from the truth. I think that a good night's sleep restores your energy and balances your hormones, regulates your appetite, and boost your immune system.

I also believe that a lack of sleep puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke, since blood pressure and cholesterol are both adversely impacted by poor sleep. I think that you can create a habit of getting a good nights' sleep by avoiding electronics and technology for 30 minutes before bed, recording your 'to do' list and putting it in your briefcase (so it's not rumbling around your head all night), not eating for three hours before your turn in, and writing in your gratitude journal just before you turn the lights out. So, how much sleep do you need? You might think you just need four or five hours, because that's been your habit. Some experts say seven to nine hours a night are required for optimal health and performance!

Take Time to 'Just Be':

Have you noticed that your best ideas come to you in the strangest places? Like, in the shower? Waiting in line in a store? When you allow your mind to be still, creative and innovative, ideas seem to just appear! Isn't it interesting that most of us work in environments in which activity starts the second we walk in the door, and continues right up until we leave? So much for the innovative idea that came to you in the shower; it is soon lost in the busyness of the day! Though you may not have a job in which showering throughout the day is convenient, you can create a work environment that allows you to take time to be quiet; to mimic 'showering' at work.

Plan to arrive at work a few minutes early. Once you are at your desk, take a few minutes to 'just be.' It can help to close your eyes and focus inward on your breathing. This mini-meditation can become a habit, and will surely produce an opportunity for you to begin to 'be your best'!