Be a first rate version of yourself.

It’s rough out there. I get it. Standing out in a crowded field—whether you are starting an online business, producing new media, or writing a college application essay—takes creativity and courage and authenticity.

These are the precise talents that disappear the instant you start looking around and comparing yourself to others. How do you measure up? If you come up short in your estimation, you will start to second-guess yourself. You may decide to stop what you’re doing—just give up to save yourself the embarrassment of failure. 

But who decides the criteria for success?

Try not to get caught up in the imitation game. You are not your competitors, but remember, they are not you. You don’t have the same resources, gifts, experiences, or challenges as they do. You may be in a different market, phase of business development, or stage of life. You may have a great team or no team at all. You may have more money and influence and position, or you may have more heart and a terrific creative vision. 

Your secret sauce is made up of your unique gifts, your unique purpose, and your unique contributions.

Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. Share what you genuinely think. Do what you honestly believe is right and important. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

However, being authentic does not guarantee that you’ll be successful. Or that you won’t make mistakes.

If you do fail, it’s not the end of the world. When I screw up, I often think of professional athletes who review tapes of their games to look at precisely what they did right and wrong, and to figure out how to improve. (At least most of us don’t also have critics and fans weighing in on our performance!) Be open to discovering what didn’t work, even if it was your favorite piece or your signature move. Try to figure out what to do differently next time, and put those lessons learned into practice. You might be on to your next big thing!

In business and in life, your best bet is to be your best self.

What does your best self look like? How do you bring that person to the table? Let us know in the comments below.

Kristen Golden is the owner of Fortune Cookie Wisdom, an apparel line of t-shirts featuring inspirational fortune cookie messages. After a career in anti-violence work, she created this company to amuse, inspire, and connect people.

www.fortune-cookie-wisdom.com

 

 


Kristen Golden
Kristen Golden

Author



5 Comments

Kathleen
Kathleen

February 27, 2015

I think being your best self requires courage and steadfastness… Not allowing yourself to cave in to other peoples lower values, holding on to your ethics. I’m a songwriter and just recorded a song entitied “Swimming Agsinst the Tide” written 20 years ago but now as a cancer survivor it has new meaning. It is inspiring others like me to remember you’re “stronger than you know!” In many ways!! Listen at www.reverbnation.com/kathleenkruze

Deb
Deb

February 26, 2015

thanks for this! I needed it! I tend to bring my authentic self but man, that comparing thing is powerful ? but I keep getting back out there! Thanks again – beautiful post

Janna
Janna

February 24, 2015

This is a great post. Although I am inspired by people’s success, I find that it paralyzes me and I start to live in the future… not my reality right now. But really, to grow, you just need to focus on your next step towards your goal.

Kerstin
Kerstin

February 24, 2015

I bring my best self to the table by trying again every day. And by cutting myself some slack :)
(Love the Herman Melville quote!)

Laurie
Laurie

February 23, 2015

My best self, well, I am always looking for her. At this moment, she is me now. Tomorrow, she may be someone else—someone better, kinder, more patient, more generous, less rushed, more in shape. But if she isn’t any of these things, that’s ok. She will be the best she can at THAT moment, until the next tomorrow comes to try all over again!

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