This post is part 4 of 4 in the series Background.

I am at my best when I am

accepting all that I am today and confident that tomorrow will bring new discoveries. I enjoy the surprises that come as I try to understand and accept my actions and look within myself for direction.

I am moving from speaking to listening, creating moments for deep listening to others. I am increasing the awareness of my body, creating solitude each day by clearing my thoughts and listening to my breath. Through these moments of listening, I hear the music of Paul.

I am at my best when I am

helping build deep, authentic relationships — connecting to my inner-most self, to others and in service of others. Life is joyful when I’m on this journey with my life partner, a close friend, colleagues, or a client team.

I see possibilities for greatness in people. I enjoy creating a safe space for others to find their own music, their own purpose and value. I approach these relationships with care, patience and compassion that allow others to explore and take risks.

I love to work with others to create extraordinary experiences beyond what any one person could imagine. I like to do this in the context of working through challenges — days filled with unexpected twists and turns, variation and improvisation.

I am at my best when I am

willing to be afraid. The rewarding adventures in my life have come when I walked through doorways of fear. Most of my fears are about the unknown and I’ve learned that my assumptions are far worse than the actual event. I’ve also learned that close relationships can provide the catalyst for my seeing the other side of the doorway differently, so being vulnerable and sharing my fears with others is essential.

In the past, I have thought of myself as “fearless” — as in having no fear. Now I think of myself as “willing to be afraid.” The fear gives me energy and courage to take the leaps required.

I am at my best when I am

learning alongside colleagues. I am a seeker of knowledge, options and choices. I approach each situation with a spirit of curiosity, wonder and delight combined with a lack of certainty. I strive to understand my learning styles and patterns while appreciating others’ gifts and different perspectives. This co-learning / co-creating relationship allows for abundant possibility.

Pursuing this in a context of finding our “best selves together” fuels my resources to play and push the limits. I am better resourced to go with the flow, to be flexible and adaptable.

Asking questions, “letting go” of the past and planning for silence are in my backpack for this exploration. Searching for the unasked questions opens my individual world to make one with others. Loosening expectations and adding silence frees me to find my own space and explore.

Where I used to search for the “right answer,” I now expect the answer to come in multiples of choices. When this decision-making process is with others, I can create extraordinary opportunities at the same time I deepen my relationships.

At the end of the day, I’m grateful that most of my questions are still unanswered and the journey of discovery continues tomorrow.

About the exercise

This exercise provides feedback to people about who they are when they are at their best. Clients request positive feedback from significant people in their lives, which the clients then synthesize into a cumulative portrait of their best-self. Developed by the University of Michigan, Positive Organizational Scholarship program. · Go to University of Michigan Reflected Best Self exercise →