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Best Version of You? Gotta Love the Process.

December 22, 2016

Best Version of You? Gotta Love the Process.

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“If you don’t love what you’re doing every day, you can’t be the best version of yourself.”
-Sara Hendershot, Olympic Rower

December is always an esoteric month for me, all about contemplation and getting ready for the New Year. I am a huge New Year fan, even if I’m not always great with resolution keeping. It’s a time to reflect, reset what isn’t working, and figure out what to try next. Arbitrary, yes. But it works.

Anyway… A couple weeks ago, we released an episode of The Consummate Athlete Podcast that I absolutely loved, talking about rowing with former Olympic rower Sara Hendershot. During our call with her, there’s a big moment of silence on my part (not Peter’s, because he covers for me so well) where I was scrambling to jot down a great quote from her.

Sara, I apologize for seeming like a space case. But my brain was going a million miles a minute. “If you don’t love what you’re doing every day, you can’t be the best version of yourself,” she calmly explained as I internally started freaking out. I love it.

In the past couple years—maybe because I’m out of college and life is no longer fairly straightforward or planned out for me, and maybe because I’m just getting older and developing into the adult I’m going to be for the rest of my life, and maybe just because I am in fact a millennial and we are apparently obsessed with the whole self-improvement thing—I’ve gotten really into self-development and the idea of being the best version of one’s self.

This makes sense as someone who has been writing New Years and Back to School resolutions since she was six, and developing a “wardrobe plan” for the year since she was nine… And who read, loved and lived the entire organizational section of the library. (What other third grader had a filing system, inbox and outbox?)

But anyway. I’ve always been a huge fan of reinventing, from wardrobes and dramatic haircuts (or, at the moment, dramatic hair growth?) to flipping from dirty punk to elite athlete.

“If you don’t love what you’re doing every day, you can’t be the best version of yourself.”

Oof.

That is, admittedly, a tall order. Who actually loves daily deadlines, full inboxes, and dealing with invoicing? (Note to everyone: freelance journalists spend a lot of time working to make a living, not just wearing yoga pants and sipping tea. We write while we sip tea in the aforementioned yoga pants!)

But it did serve to remind me that I need to check in and make sure what I’m doing is putting me on the trajectory to that best version of myself. I’m working right now on a novel. That’s scary to even write on here! And it’s taken me years to get as far into it as I have, because frankly, the idea of failing at writing a novel is somehow just as scary as not writing it, but takes more effort. But if I want to be the best version of myself, guess what I need to do? Write the novel. Because when I am writing it (not just cowering at the thought of it), I freaking love it. So, I’m writing it every day. Some days, 50 words, some days, 1500. Doesn’t matter how many, as long as it’s more than zero. And I’ve realized that doing that for the last few months has served to make me a lot happier in the overall. And it has made me shift closer to that best version.

I find that it’s not that I can’t do what I love every day: it’s that I’m resisting it because I’m almost afraid of what happens if it works. It’s part of why we took so long to buy, outfit and actually camp in our van. It’s why I didn’t start the novel. It’s why I worked at a business textbook company for two years out of college while writing on the side, instead of plunging in.

First step: decide what you love. Second step: work towards it. And I’m pretty sure that’s the secret to being the best version of yourself. It’s just simple math.

Right? Wrong? Somewhere in between? Let me know in the comments!

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One comment
  1. I'm not so sure about that quote.

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