I’ve became a fan of author Matthew
Kelly after reading The Dream Manager. Since then I’ve read several other books
and found that his style, tone and messages really speak to me. One such message
that resonates throughout many of his writings is “becoming the best version of
yourself”. He doesn’t just preach this message to the reader, he explains why
it is important, and how each and every person can make this message their own
as they work toward becoming the best version of themselves.
Mr. Kelly is a devout Catholic and many
of his works are derived from his faith. They tend to be written with a
Catholic tone, so to speak, and are based in having faith or a belief system.
But, regardless of whether you do or do not believe in religion, the ideology
of becoming the best version of yourself works, especially if you are a
career-focused sales person. I imagine most ‘A’ level sales people can relate,
but for those that are unfamiliar with this concept, here are my thoughts.
Striving to be the best version of
yourself will not, and quite frankly, should not come easy. If it were easy, we’d
all be the best sales people in our industries making millions of dollars per
year, all while being able to look ourselves in the mirror stating, “yep I’m
the best version of me”. Sounds kind of hokey, huh? It is not realistic. Sure,
there are a few pompous individuals out there who act this way, and we can all
spot them a mile away, but for most, we all want to do better in sales. In
fact, I suspect sales is an extension of who we are, and so we all want to do
better in life, to be a better person.
This, loosely, is the concept of being
the “best version of you”. It is the idea that your life and your career are
building blocks, and these building blocks will help you grow, so long as you
have a solid foundation and remain focused on your growth. Several years ago,
when I got into reading Mr. Kelly’s books, I committed to becoming the best
version of myself. One day it dawned on me that I was a business owner, sales
person and consultant; I was a husband and a father of three; I was a volunteer
and a board member for several organizations; but, was I the person everyone
not just wanted in those roles but needed me to be in those roles.
As I took time to self-evaluate where I
was in my life, I realized I could do more by being more. I realized that I
needed to be much more careful in making commitments to others so I didn’t come
out half-assing something. I needed to be a better husband and father by being
present in both body and mind at my family’s activities, including being a
sounding board for my wife at the end of a long day. I also realized that my
own faith and health need not be taken for granted. In other words, I
identified ways in which I felt I could become a stronger person for myself,
thus becoming a stronger person for everyone else.
Being the best version of you does not
require a long, drawn out playbook. It requires dedication. Simply put, you must dedicate
yourself to being aware of who you are and who you want to be. This is an everyday
dedication. One year ago I thought I was fairly healthy, could run a few miles
without much effort, but in fact was about as average as average could get. I
had put on a few pounds and shed a few pounds. I would fast from beer drinking
and then join in neighborhood fun pairing heavy beers with food we were
having during a cookout. I would attempt to workout in my basement and then
oversleep. It was a long time coming, but I finally woke up and thought I was
definitely not in very good shape, and in fact, was not working toward the best
version of me.
Not being one to dip my toe in the
water, rather jumping right in the deep end most of the time, I decided to join
a CrossFit gym. I began by going three to four days per week for the first two
months as I learned the ropes (no pun intended for you CrossFitters out there).
Then I made the commitment: if I am going to continue to work toward becoming
the best version of me, I need to take my health even more seriously, and push
aside distractions and dedicate myself to a new routine. I now workout five
to six times per week. I need it. I feel terrible when I don’t work out. But,
when I do, I feel great. And, because I’m feeling stronger, healthier, and much
more confident in my own appearance, I feel as though I’m becoming a better
version of myself (not the best yet).
Building upon this approach to CrossFit,
I have also re-committed myself to my sales education. I’ve been at this game
for a long time, and I do know a lot, but as technology and innovation speed
lightyears forward, I need to continue to educate myself on the current trends
in my industry, how to pitch business in the 2018 climate, and how to use my
existing skills to drive sales forward with a new (millennial) type of
clientele. In doing so, in my desire to learn more, I am working toward being
the best version of me. This will make me a more successful sales person which
will ultimately benefit my family and my organization.
I encourage you to take a step back at
the end of each day and evaluate your accomplishments for that day. Were you at
your best, for you, your family and your organization? Could you have done
things differently, better? Are there areas in your life that you feel could be
improved, strengthened, altered, or enhanced? Do you feel you need to attend
church more regularly, get back into the gym, drop a few pounds, coach your kid’s
softball team, etc.?
If you want to be a better version of
you, take the first step and make the commitment, and then dedicate yourself to
making one small change / improvement each day toward your goal.