The best version of you: Lessons from “You are Badass”

ignite your inner super hero
You are badass everyday!

You are Badass by Jen Sincero is one of those unconventional books where the author is comfortable swearing almost twenty-five percent of the book and using words like “badass” in its title. Yet, it is one of those books that probes you to dissect and examine yourself; ask tough questions and dive deep into your soul. It makes you wonder if there is a version of you, you would love to meet, the extraordinary version that is. Because he/she exists!

You may be thriving and doing extremely well, and thinking you do not need a reminder of how awesome you are. Think about it- are you truly living the absolute best version of you? Aren’t there times where you’ve looked back at some seasons in your life and do not recognize the person you were then? Did you unconsciously grow or did you actively seek out ways to transform yourself?

Here is the first part of the best bits which resonate with me. I hope they do for you too. I tried not to be a spoiler, for my fellow readers. At the same time, I detailed some real-life scenarios (an enlightening summary) for those who can’t find time to read (the Attes, Anjohs and Nassangs of this world).

“See yourself through the eyes of someone who admires you...

Seeing yourself through the eyes of those who cheer you on is extremely empowering. In other words, be your own biggest fan. Many times, we hold back on living the best version of us because we are constantly second-guessing ourselves. The good news is people aren’t connected to your insecurities, negative beliefs, nor the conflicts within you. I have a tribe of “hype men” and if I did half the things they encourage me to do I’d be an absolute rock star (I am getting there I promise).

I guest-hosted a webinar a few months back with maybe a hundred viewers. Not a big deal to me at all. Next thing I know my greatest “hype man” is insisting I get in touch with the red table talk and be a guest on there. Fun time! He wasn’t even joking but I am like, who am I to aspire to be on such a platform? The real question is who am I not to aspire? But these are the typical questions that run inside most of our minds. Who am I to start a successful business? Would I find amazing love again after three, four or five children? Who am I to venture into such a huge undertaking?

If only I could see myself through his eyes? All your admirers see are your glory and potential, so look at yourself from the outside. This goes both ways, be someone else’s greatest cheerleader. Tell them of the amazing qualities and gifts you see in them which they could be exploring.

“It is not your fault you are f*****up. It is your fault if you stay f*****up”

I told you the book is unconventional, didn’t I? To put it in more readable words, It is not your fault if you are messed up, it is your fault if you stay messed up. The author explains how we come into this world screaming and not giving a care about anything around us. Just a human being. Then as we grow, we are filled with a lifetime worth of beliefs. Some of which have nothing to do with who we truly are and what is necessarily true.

These beliefs may lead to dysfunctional habits which resolve in us emerging into “not so awesome” adults. Dorothy Law Nolte’s poem children learn what they live is an epitome of why some of us emerge with toxic or strange traits. We continue to live in illusions based on how we were raised. Becoming an adult comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of them is identifying the subconscious beliefs that are holding you back from being the best version of you. You have to unlearn certain doctrines. Ask yourself if these beliefs are absolute truths. Improve on yourself and consequently the world around you. In working on yourself, you set out to live a more liberating and fulfilling life.

Giving is one of the greatest joys, the most fearless and powerful gesture there is. When we trust that we live in an abundant universe and allow ourselves to give freely, we raise our frequency and strengthen our faith

My mother is one of the greatest givers I know. She gives freely; her time, her energy, and her money. She is also one of the most joyful people I know. With such an unwavering faith, it can be contagious or annoying, depending on who you are. When we were growing up, she was that mother who made any and all guests feel at home to the maximum. It was never just my siblings and I at home. There were always more relatives than I can remember.

And while these people were at home, there were no restrictions as to how many times anyone could casually go serve themselves. Or laugh as loudly as they felt like it, or have a long conversation with her if you chose to. As if that was not enough, she went around paying school fees for some who couldn’t come and live in her house because it was at full capacity. It is not that this woman was very wealthy. She was a middle-class citizen. But she believed and still does, that she lives in a universe which is flowing with abundance, and it is her job to scatter sunshine everywhere. So even when times were rough, any and everyone was welcome to partake in her Njanga Jollof rice.

She may not be riding the biggest car or living in the poshest house, but she is living the best version of herself, and reminding me daily of the joys of giving. Jen Sincero holds that, when we live in fear, we hold on to what we have because we do not trust that there is more were it came from. We are often scared to share, pinching off the energy. Ironically, in a bid to avoid lack, we create more of it by focusing exactly on it. Give, and it would come back to you. The biggest givers I have ever met are such happy people and they never lack.

“Forgive yourself. Guilt, shame and self-criticism are some of the most destructive forces in your life”

Forgive yourself

You can’t live the best version of yourself if you are holding on to mistakes of the past. Forgiving others is one thing, you could do so and walk away from them. Forgiving oneself is an entirely different story. Guilt and shame are two destructive elements that when we leave to hover over us, fester, steal our joy and leave us almost paralysed. You have messed up in the past, you would again. Carrying this burden around you just makes you a sad person.

I know from personal experience that unforgiveness, directed at oneself or at others is such a dark force. It is draining, exhausting and would outright keep you a prisoner. Forgiving oneself and letting go of the shame is like getting out of bondage. Jen argues that our higher selves couldn’t care less about what happened or did not happen. Because it is madly in love with us. Easily forgiving becomes a grassroots process once you love yourself.

“Self-love is the simplest yet most powerful thing ever. When we are happy and all in love with ourselves, we can’t be bothered with the bull****. Our own and other people’s”

Here we go again with the author’s glossary of words. Jen insists that self-love is not conceit or narcissism. Rather it is a deep connection with our higher selves. The ability to embrace your flaws, know your ugly, own up to your mistakes, speak your truth and celebrate your awesomeness. The sad truth is, a good majority of people go around with such profound self-hatred, they project it on others in different forms. If you do not love yourself how can you love others? When you love yourself, you are a happier being not worrying about other people’s opinions, skin colour, customs or religion. You simply live in a bubble of your joy, spreading it as you go along. Appreciating your uniqueness would have you living your truest self.

Once you constantly breathe self-love, you would know what other people think of you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. When I first read this I was like, such arrant nonsense!! If you are loud and obnoxious and I think you are loud and obnoxious why am I the primary focus in the equation? Then I stopped and thought about it. Ever notice how someone might be the sweetest person ever and some people would still find faults in them?

Here is the kicker, to truly not care about what people think is to be your most powerful self. Are you being your best version coming from a place of strength and truth? Is that the best you could be, for you? If you are convinced you have dealt with all your ugly and are doing things from a wholesome place, then yes, what others think of you is their business. And this does not negate you seeing yourself through the eyes of your cheerleaders. Those are people who see the untapped potential and urge you to pursue it. Doing your best makes you proud thereby not giving a f*** what others think

Self love conquers all

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. Anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” lao Tzu

Before Corona showed its odious face, I had all of these valiant plans I was ready to start executing. Then all I did was stay home and yell at my boys for two whole months. I was miserable! I wasn’t even processing my thoughts to get to the bottom of why I was so on edge and grumpy twenty-four on seven. Then I was talking with my sister/coach ( I elaborate more on the subject of a personal coach some paragraphs below) and she made me realize something. She said she had read a post which said depressed (not clinical depression) people lived in the past and anxious people in the future.

From everything she was hearing me say, she felt like I, at the moment, was a mixture of both and more. That is when I stopped and searched my heart. I was thinking of all the things I had achieved before and how much I had anticipated embracing a new season. Because I felt stuck in the middle of two extremes, it felt like I was insulated in layers dejection, anxiety and self-pity all at once.

It wasn’t until I accepted that there was so much that I could do given my current circumstances, and until I regrouped and started living in the present, that I experienced an abundance of peace. Walking through your emotions would do wonders for you. Getting so wrapped up in your head ensures you miss out on the now while you are overcome by lassitude. To live your best life, enjoy every moment, live in the present.

“Do things that make you feel the most alive...our fantasies are our realities in an excuse free world”

If you never have to worry about money what would you do from nine to five? What do you get so lost doing, you don’t realize time passing? Would you dance all day? Cook? Travel the world? What makes you feel the most alive? In this crazy busy world, it’s the people who make enjoying their lives a priority who, um, enjoy their lives. A lot of us are stuck in jobs we don’t like, with colleagues we feel like strangling. Only to be home on the weekend, clean and do the laundry, and it’s back to the pain on Monday. You only get to live once, do not live like you are here on transit and are heading to another life.

For some people, it is the simplest things which make them happy. Like listening to loud music in the car and singing at the top of their voices. But they haven’t done that in ages maybe because they are now fathers and are all serious about life. Be proactive about creating the life you love. Give yourself the gift of a joyous life while you are still among the living. Deliberately go after the things which ignite your passion. If they keep you in a good mood, it would seep into other areas of your life.

Follow your dreams...

“Surround yourself with people who think the way you want to think. When you hang out with whiners, pessimists, tweakers, life is so unfair, its an uphill climb to keep yourself in a positive headspace”

Once you decide to be the best version of you and live your glorious life, you have to protect the energy around you. Avoid naysayers like they are the flu. Even though people project and smear their fears and worries on you out of love, you do not need that kind of vibe when you are preparing to jump into an unknown. Keep your mouth shut around people who do this. Seek out people who would encourage you. You may lose a few friends on your way to glory but it is okay to outgrow people.

Faith is infectious so surround yourself with people who have toughened their faith muscles and all they see are endless possibilities. Here is where a coach and a mentor come in. For the longest time, I had been hearing people say how having these two would ensure you are the best version of you. Professional athletes no matter how good they get, always have coaches and trainers. They keep raising the bar, ensuring their trainees are giving the maximum. I have learnt in a very short period of time how exhilarating it is to have someone to keep you accountable (coach), and someone you look up to for guidance (mentor).

As I earlier mentioned, my sister/coach and I have been exactly that to each other for the past couple of months and it has been an auspicious period for growth. It makes such a difference when you have someone who follows-up, and you update on your progress. Conversations between us usually look something like-

  • What are your goals for this month?
  • What is the hold-up on that project?
  • Do you need me to do more research on that?
  • Can’t you see that your lack of discipline in this area is holding you back?
  • Could it be the goals were too many and you are getting overwhelmed?
  • Let’s set achievable goals then. Don’t decide you’ll run ten miles a day. If you bite off more than you can chew at the start, chances are excellent you’ll get discouraged and give up altogether.

It could simply be someone who reminds you of the power that is within you and ignites your fire. I guess a paid coach does something along those lines. We would be looking to hire in a few years. On the mentor side of things, Who do you think is the coolest person ever? Get specific about the things in their lives that turn you on. Then pay attention to their patterns.

“Procrastination is one of the most popular forms of self-sabotage because it is really easy… Most answers reveal themselves through doing, not thinking”

When I was growing up, my father had this famous saying, “procrastination is the thief of time”. I wonder who he was talking to because the man is the prince of procrastination. Meanwhile, I married the king. But before meeting this said king, I used to be quite the procrastinator myself until I read Tim Lahaye’s Why you act the way you do. It is not a book for everyone as it has a very deep spiritual undertone but the psychology in it captures your essence.

Here the author was, describing me as a phlegmatic, whose greatest weakness was the art of procrastinating. I had been wanting to start a business for as long as I could remember. But kept pushing it forward with excuses. The book awakened something within me and by choosing to stop procrastinating, I grew into a version of me I hadn’t even imagined (I do have the wildest imaginations though).

Indeed, procrastinating is self-sabotage. Sometimes very subtle, masking itself as planning for a tomorrow which would never come in the mind of a true procrastinator. There are many fun things you can do in order to procrastinate, and there’s no lack of other people who are totally psyched to procrastinate with you. Praise God I had dealt with that dysfunction of mine before marrying the king. If not, we would probably still be at Che street planning our wedding.

“Deciding is freedom, indecision is torture. Indecision is a trick for staying stuck within the boundaries of what’s safe and familiar”

Indecision is another form of procrastinating. To be the best version of yourself, choose to be a person who makes quick and smart decisions. This doesn’t mean that you have all the answers but taking the first step. By doing so, more opportunities present themselves that you otherwise would not have seen, had you not taken that first step. One of Amazon’s leadership principles is ‘Bais for action‘. It simply states that many decisions are reversible and do not need elaborate studies to arrive at. In business, speed matters, as well as in your personal life. Think of all the moments you dithered trying to choose between fish or chicken. Then you finally settle for rice because it would cook faster. Only because your indecision led to you not taking out the chicken and fish sooner to thaw.

Successful people have quick decision-making traits in common. Grabbing the bull by the horn and working through the process of deciding. Erase the phrase “I don’t know” from your vocabulary, and replace with “I would know soon enough“. On an unrelated topic, also erase the phrase “I can’t afford it, with “how can I afford it?” When you up-level your idea of what is possible and decide to really go for it, you open yourself up to the means to accomplish it as well (More on this, review of Rich dad, poor dad).

“Keep being the beginner”

One of the best things about being a beginner is that there is so much fun and excitement in whatever it is you are doing. Once you have honed your craft, you become too critical and self-aware. I haven’t even been blogging for up to a year and I am almost missing out on all the fun. When I first started this blog, it was because I loved to write, I still do.

In this short period, I have learnt that blogging is a lot more than just writing inspiring stories. You have to rank on google, make your blog indexable, do on and off-page optimization, do keyword research before every blog post, just to name the many things I have to worry about when writing my articles. In the beginning, however, I didn’t know any of these. I just had fun pouring out my thoughts with the hope of inspiring at least one person. I know now, that the trick is to let the beginner live alongside the expert. The beginner in me may not be as polished as I am now, but she will never lose sight of why she started in the first place. To be the best version of yourself, remember your “why”.

You are badass is an eccentric work of art that nudges and awakens your inner self. It reminded me that we are all multi-faceted and were born to be more than just one thing and to excel at anything we do. It reiterated the idea of living at our maximum potential. Not just some people, but every single one of us. Do any of the points speak to you? I am excited to read about your experiences in the comments, meanwhile, Click here for part two.

You are powerful, you are loved. you are surrounded by miracles. Believe, really believe that what you desire is here and available to you.