Be all that you can be.
This old Army slogan speaks to those who will experience hardship serving in the military. Who might suffer loss or trauma, but will still show up the next day, beside their comrades, being all that they can be.
That kind of resilience takes work, and it’s what we need now in these hard COVID times — our own version of war.
We’re all tired of talking about it, hearing about it, and generally dealing with it. Society has, understandably, sunk into a bone-deep weariness. Some are still grieving the loss of beloved family members. Others are healthy but alone in their homes, separated from loved ones.
Others are just tired. And no matter how many 2020 memes we come up with, or how much Netflix we consume, this isolated holiday season is grating. It’s a shadow, difficult to ignore. And it’s really, really hard to stop it from affecting our moods. Really, really hard to be all that we can be with a pallor over the world. I live by the mantra, “Don’t let a feeling become a mood,” and for the most part, I stay true to it, but 2020 has been a test for all of us.
As is so often the case though, trying times call for our best. We might be done, but the fact is, the virus isn’t done with us. Our loved ones are still dying alone. People are still lining up for food banks. And every single suffering person needs their fellow citizens to do their best to be their best as often as they can.
With this in mind, remember; none of us are perfect. I’m not. You’re not. This is a hard year, and we all have to dig deeper into our reserves to show up for ourselves, our friends, family, partners, bosses, and employees. How? Sleep. Simple as it sounds, sleep is one of the greatest tonics we have, and a visualization exercise I’ve practiced over the years is the best way to take full advantage of that sleep. It’s a tool to instantaneously break out of the prison of your perspective to ensure that the next morning, you wake up both well rested and clear-headed in how you intend to approach the day.
It works like this: Visualize yourself being your best self. Picture how you would interact with your loved ones, how you would show up for work, what your attitude would be, what you would do. Be as detailed as you’d like. Focus on how it would feel to show up energized, passionate, creative, empathetic, leading, listening—whatever your best self looks like.
These days might seem short and dark and unchanging, but we’re moving forward. And no matter how strange or hard, we can create a merry holiday season for those around us by being our best. It’s shocking how such a simple act can change a life, but think about your neighborhood. If every single person in your zip code were to wake up as their best selves one day, imagine the small acts of thoughtfulness that would sustain even the most bereft of that community. Just practice it one night. If you feel like you let yourself down the next day, it’s okay. Try again. While all of us have had hard days, few of us are used to the world feeling as tough and unrecognizable as it does in 2020.
So, give yourself some latitude. One of the great advantages of being the main character in your movie called Life is you are the only one who determines how many second chances you get. So, every time you think you’ve failed, give yourself just one more chance. Because being all that you can be isn’t about perfection. It’s about setting an intention to show up. We can do that—both for ourselves, and for those less fortunate this holiday season.