Receiving affirmation is a powerful way for us to grow, particularly when it comes in the form of stories describing moments when we are at our best.

Research shows that people benefit significantly from positive feedback about their strengths and contributions, and it helps to strengthen the quality of our relationships.

There are simple ways that you can learn about and activate your best self every day. This continual approach helps people find new opportunities to develop parts of themselves that get lost in the daily demands of work and life.

Below are three practices for noticing and capitalizing on everyday opportunities for development based on your best self:

Notice Positive Feedback. When you get mixed feedback, tease apart the positive and negative aspects. Doing so will create mental space for you to focus on the positive feedback and to use it to build an understanding of what you should keep doing.

Ask Questions. Don’t just accept positive feedback; inquire into it so that you can better understand precisely how you made an impact. The key is doing this in a way that doesn’t seem egotistical, allowing others to see that you are not only receptive to but grateful for their feedback.

Study Your Successes. Conduct reviews of your work to set benchmarks and identify best practices for future work. Use the example of sports teams: review the “tape” to identify what went well, and to develop future “plays” based on what you find.

Finally, the best way to remember to focus on your best self is to share feedback with others about their strengths.

Dale Carnegie and John Maxwell likened the process of developing people to mining for gold: you must move tons of dirt in the process, but you go in looking for the gold, not the dirt.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - To Become Your Best Self, Study Your Successes, by Laura Morgan Roberts, Emily D. Heaphy, and Brianna Barker Caza