Be your best!

Burbank, California; March,2003;
Joan Marques, MBA, Doctoral Student

Funny how our look at life changes as we mature: When I grew up my mother, bless her heart, always taught me to keep some things in store for special days: a few dresses that were not supposed to be worn unless there was a really special reason for it; that delicate lingerie that was supposed to be kept for some incredible future occasion, those towels that were to be reserved for an extraordinary event, the silverware that was not to be taken out unless there were very important guests visiting, and most of all: your overall appearance. Because you wanted to look smashing at that particular social event. Unfortunately, some of those special events never came, and I found that the most precious dresses were never worn: I just grew out of them and had to bequeath them with a sore heart to someone else without having enjoyed them…ever! And all those other treasures were also growing sour in their safe locked-up places waiting for a special day that never arrived...

So I started to think about it. Although mother taught me a lot of valuable things, which I am infinitely grateful about, this was not one of the lessons I would continue bringing into practice. From now on, the special day would be "now"! And through several personal experiences and other encounters, my conviction only grew stronger. There was, for instance, this advertisement I heard on the radio the other day. I don't even recall what it regarded exactly, but it had one statement that stuck in my mind. It was that no one ever said on their last day: "I am so glad I kept those beautiful towels in the closet!" Then there was that email that I received a while ago about a lady who, while cleaning up her deceased sister's room, found a cabinet with beautiful lingerie, linen, and nightdresses never worn, but reserved "for special occasions." Occasions that obviously never came for her sister...

And then there is Stephen Covey's habit number 2 in his range of "Seven Habits for Highly Effective People," advising us to "Begin with the end in mind." Although Covey basically means with beginning with the end in mind that we should have a clear understanding of our destination, so that we can prepare and live up to it; this whole idea fits right into the mindset of being your best self today as well! This is a journey in which our only fixed assignment is to make the very best of it: Not of a day in a far away future, but of every day! After all, we don't save our good deeds for special days either, right? And we cannot change the course of events happening to us in order to have them take place at times when we are better prepared for them, right? And we don't postpone paying our bills to times when it's more convenient for us to do so (which would probably be never...), right?

So here's my conviction: We should stop saving the precious things we have for a special day. For every day from today on is a special day! And today may be just as good a day as any other to create a wonderful memory for later. So, from now on:

* We will dress up every day for the ones we love most: our spouse, our children, our colleagues, and our best friends. After all, they are the ones we want to look good for. They deserve to see our very best, and that's exactly what we'll present them from now on!

* We will use those special towels we bought for our own bodies and the bodies of our loved ones on the special day called "today."

* We will use that silverware in the special presence of the ones who care enough to be around us all the time, and thus have our own spirit feel festive everyday from now on.

* We will make sure that on our last day we will not regretfully look back and wonder what we have been reserving all the good things in life for. We will live with the end in mind, and prevent everything that will make us feel sorry and silly about our actions when it's time to depart.

Life is special and it happens to us now. Not tomorrow or next year, but now! And everyday should be an extraordinary day and therefore lived as such. No one says that you should live recklessly. But life is too short and too full of surprises to save anything. The journey could be over anytime. So enjoy it while you can!