Developing Your PB (Personal Best)

The idea of your PB is the idea of meeting and exceeding your own best performance and standards. Athletes tend to judge their own performances by how close to their PB it is. And it can be a huge source of disappointment to fall below this in a major championship. Your PB can be used as a tool to navigate your own performances and expectations. What is your PB? It’s an acknowledgment that in any given situation we gave our best possible response based on the knowledge and capabilities we had in that moment. In our normal day to day life some of the criteria we can use for assessing our own PB is to ask ourselves some of the following questions: Am I thinking clearly here? What can I learn from the feelings I have in this situation? Are these feelings an accurate representation of reality? What is the best short-term outcome? What is the best long-term outcome? How can I solve this problem in the short-term? What steps can I take to ensure it doesn’t happen again? What can I do/say that will honor my values and the other person’s values? Have I done my best? There’s a peace and honor that comes with doing your PB in any given situation which means that even if you know you could have achieved a better outcome overall, you know that in this given moment you were at your best. And it identifies a boundary that you need to expand.

Here are some tips/techniques on achieving your PB:

1. Separate facts from feelings. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and under pressure you will not be performing at your PB irrespective of the situation. I have seen people get stressed out by housework they have to do in their own time. Use a friend/buddy/coach to help you distinguish between your feelings and the facts of a situation.

2. Ask yourself what is your PB in any given situation. Sometimes the best we can do is a situation is to do nothing, say nothing.

3. Limitations and growth. In any difficult situations there are both limitations and opportunities for growth. If we have difficulty in a job it may not be possible to leave it immediately but it may be possible to learn a new skill or a better way of dealing with a situation. Make a realistic assessment of both and then act accordingly.

4. Acknowledge when you exceed your PB. Maybe you got a job that would have been inconceivable to you 3 years ago. Maybe you have saved enough money for your holiday instead of getting it on your credit card. Acknowledge and honor those PBs along the road.

5. Use your own standards, not someone else’s. Make them realistic. A huge amount of problems in today’s world is caused by people relinquishing their own judgments on what is important to some external ever moving target. People say their children are important but end up leaving them for long hours at a stretch while they go to work to earn the money they need to keep up with the Jones. They then wonder why they feel unhappy and dissatisfied. Ask yourself what you really want and when you have decided on that…be willing to go through the initial discomfort to achieve that.

6. Focus on the Now. Eckhardt Tolle describes how there is no stress or pressure if we stay focussed on the Now, on the task in front of us. And if you observe your own behavior, you will see that you do your best work when focusing on the task/person in front of you instead of getting lost in the ramifications of what-if. Of course these have to be factored in but you will find that by focusing on the NOW, these will be taken care of in due course. Great athletes describe how they run their own race, not someone else’s.

7. Recognize when your buttons are being pressed. We all have them: situations, people events that bring out the very worse in us. My own personal set of buttons is traffic. I hate being stuck in traffic and I know it brings out the worse in me. So often I have to try and calm myself down by telling myself that there is no conspiracy trying to stop me getting home!

8. Your PB is constantly changing. Accept that the terms of your PB will change according to your circumstances. If you have a young family it’s unrealistic to expect that you will be able to pursue the same level of social and work activities without your family life suffering. So choices have to be made.

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