When you woke up this morning, did you look at yourself in the mirror, straighten your bed head and say ‘today I’m going to be totally average’? Or did you high five your mirror self and say ‘today I’m going to be absolutely brilliant’? I suspect that the answer is probably neither. Why do we rarely begin a day with either negative or grand intentions? The answer is mostly because we spend our time in a fairly apathetic state of ‘ploughing on’. Ploughing on until what? The evening? The weekend? The next holiday? Or until, perhaps we decide we don’t want to meander through a life of inertia? Because we realise the age-old cliché of ‘life’s too short’.
So, what is fulfilment with our one foray on this planet? Is it acceptable to just knuckle down, do what’s expected of you and live for a later day? For when you retire, for when the kids are older, for when you’ve paid off the mortgage? On reflection, will you have been pleased to have plodded on?
How to find your brilliant self
‘So’, I hear you say ‘If I’m going to be brilliant and yet rather frustratingly still be me, then what the hell does that look like?’ Well, in relation to yourself, it’s simply about living to your best attributes and harnessing the things about you that make you special. Not letting your self-esteem or others’ opinions get in the way of you making the most of yourself.
You need to dig deep, reflect and decide what it is about you that makes you fantastic. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, it just has to be yours and it might well be attitude based. Often it is the way you behave and the ways you make others feel that is your most fantastic gift. And, for goodness’ sake please don’t be British about it and mute out what you’re great at - live it and breathe it so it can shine through.
Try a basic exercise of thinking about what your future team would say about you in your retirement speech. What would you most like them to say? What would be the lines that would bring a tear to your eye? This is the key to what it is about your most authentic self that you value and should harness. Do away with any work ‘personas’ and remember; being professional does not have to equal being someone else. Your authenticity is what makes you brilliant and your perspective on life makes you stand out from a crowd and dictates whether or not you make the most of it.
Take control over life
Do you see life as something that you are driving or something that is just happening to you? As a fundamental outlook, this is a huge deal, because if you always live in a way where you feel bombarded with the things life throws at you, then your day can often go: ‘I left home this morning and tripped over a loose paving stone, got my feet soaked in a puddle, my train got cancelled and the next one was rammed and I began my day stressed and it has been down hill since’.
You can feel like the normal stresses and strains of life, which are in fact universal to everyone, are actually the world conspiring against you personally. If this is how you live, then you have relinquished control of your emotions and feelings, to the mercy of chance, to the day-to-day tough bits that are just life. Take control of your thoughts and practice a positive mindset that focuses on you at your best.
Consider this - when you lie in bed at night, and your mind plays you a private screening of the movies of your life, do you more often play the feel good flicks or the tragedies? The ones that make you squirm with embarrassment or swell with pride? If you think you’re not dwelling on the brilliant, then start now. Make a list of everything you are most grateful for and love most about yourself and your life, and make that be your food for thought going forward.
When you focus on your most positive thoughts, you will exude a positivity that is infectious and be more likely to approach problems with a positive and open-minded perspective…In short, you will be doing your most brilliant self proud, and that beats ploughing on every time.
Top tips to harnessing your brilliance
Decide what it is that makes you special and harness it - be your most authentic self.
Adopt a grateful mentality - Think of the ten things you are most grateful for, begin each day reminding yourself of them and the relative insignificance of everything else.
Watch the feel good flicks: why replay the painful films when you could be enjoying your own personal rom-com.
Overall, strive towards your goals in life and don’t sweat the small stuff.
So please wake up tomorrow and decide things might be different. Look in that mirror and see the brilliant superhero that you are. After all, surely we all deserve to be the stars of our own show.