We all have days when life seems easier: when we have a restful sleep, our morning routines go smoothly, and we hit all the green lights. On these days, we show up at work as a version of our best selves; our good qualities are in full effect, and our less-than-great qualities don’t surface. These are our best days. This is the person we want to embody regularly.  

Who are you on your best days?

On my best day, I know I am creative, open-minded, energetic, curious, thoughtful, and accomplished. I operate in a flow state that allows me to get many things done, and I still have a ton of energy when I finish work. 

We know that life isn’t always easy, and we don’t always show up as a version of our best selves. We cannot embody our best-day characteristics for internal and external reasons.

On the flip side of my best days…on my ‘not so great’ days, I operate in a heads-down space, knocking things off my list with a feeling of stress and pressure. I’m also less than patient with people’s interruptions or considering new ideas. Usually, by the end of these days, I have little energy left, and I have little capacity to deal with the everyday hiccups that occur in life. 

Showing more often as our best selves

We must recognize what we embody on our best and not-so-great days. Knowing this information allows us to measure how many days we show up closer to a version of our best selves throughout the week or month.

Is it more than half of the days? Less than half the days? A few days? Almost all of the days? If we notice that we aren’t often showing up with our best characteristics, it’s time to dig into the reasons. 

  • First, look at your current capacity level at work and home. Is it a capacity issue? You might have a personal problem that leaves your mental capacity lower than usual. Or you may be approaching burnout. 
  • Then, look at your capabilities. Review how your capabilities are challenged and in what ways. You may be stretched too thin or not stretched enough, or in the wrong ways. 

Your not-so-great days

It’s also important to recognize when we aren’t our best selves: what we are like on our not-so-great days. We should discuss this version of ourselves with our team members. 

  • If you tend to be less available for your team during a stressful time or may not have a high tolerance for questions, your team needs to know. This will allow them to understand what’s going on without making up stories and enable them to call you out on it respectfully. 
  • Sometimes when stressed, we don’t realize our impact on others. When those individuals recognize your stress responses and reflect them to you, this interruption of your behaviors can allow you to get the help you need, shift out of the mindset, or at the very least recognize that you might be bringing the team down. 

I hope your work and life allow you to show up more often as a version of yourself on your best days. However, knowing that is not always feasible, recognizing when it is a less than a great day can help you mitigate the impact on yourself and others.