If you were the BEST in the world at what you do, how would you behave?

 
 

A few years ago, I hopped on a plane + scuttled into a business conference in NYC.

While I was there, nervously crossing and uncrossing my legs in the audience, waiting for my mind to be blown + my game to be changed, the conference’s founder, Marie, asked a simple question, onstage:

 

“If you were the BEST in the world at what you do, how would you behave?”

 
 

I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but those sixteen words? I’ll never forget.

Whenever I feel off-kilter or unfocused, it’s those sixteen words that bring me back to my center, and bring out my best.

So today, I’m asking:

 

If you were the BEST in the world at what you do …

 
 

: Would you wake up at dawn, set your intentions for the day, and get cracking?

: Would you spend 15 minutes an hour on Twitter, or 15 minutes a day?

: Would you obsessively check your email, or would you keep your inbox CLOSED for the majority of the day?

: Would you agonize over other people’s careers — people who seem more successful and popular than you — or would you celebrate their successes and learn from their triumphs?

: Would you waste valuable energy fretting and frittering with minutia (document formatting, toilet cleaning, button mending), or would you hire professionals to help you create space in your life?

: Would you accept every new client, opportunity and request that comes your way — or would you choose your projects with gracious discernment?

: Would you raise your rates?

: Would you take a sabbatical?

: Would you sell your TV?

: Would you write a book?

: Would you hire an assistant?

: Would you do what you say you’re going to do?

: Would you make yourself more accessible, or more elusive?

: Would you take, teach or curate a course?

: Would you slice negative people out of your life?

: Would you learn how to meditate?

: Would you change your name?

: Would you change your entire daily routine?

: Would you change, simplify or straight-up kill your to-do list?

: Would you fill your days with objects, scents, music, textiles, fonts, colors, literature, systems, foods, festivities, experiences and HUMANS that make you feel strong / vibrant / galvanized / greater-than?
 

Would you scrabble along, or would you SOAR?

 

Think about those questions.

Then … go be MORE.

xo.

 
 

Got “email insecurity?” How to stop hovering over the SEND button and hit it, already.

 
 

“Alex: I was wondering if you have any tips to help with ‘email insecurity.’

I have an extremely annoying and time-wasting habit where I write an email and then AGONIZE over sending it. A simple two-sentence email can take me forty minutes to write because I re-read and re-write it so many times. Help!” –K.B.

 

Ah, yes. Email insecurity. A common plight.

Right up there with Internet Penis Anxiety.

I have 3 steps for you. Here we go:

 

1. Write an “easy” email, first.

Before tackling that “tricky” email, start by writing an “easy” one.

Say, a cheerful note to a friend. Or a fan letter to someone you admire. Something that feels low-pressure and effortless.

This will help to activate the part of your brain that’s associated with fluid communication and improvisational, creative problem-solving — instead of the part of your brain that’s associated with the paralyzing “fight or flight” self-preservation response.

 

2. Decide what you want your reader to feel, know and do.

Ask yourself the following three questions:

How do I want my reader to feel?

What do I want my reader to know?

What do I want my reader to do?

Once you answer those questions, getting straight to the point — without over-thinking or second-guessing — should be much simpler.

 

3. If all else fails: add your voice.

I’m a big fan of responding to delicate, sensitive emails using an audio note, rather than a written email.

You can record a quick message using Vocaroo (it’s free!) and then attach the mp3 file to your email.

In your email, say something like, “Hey! I’ve responded to your question with an audio note. See attached. Enjoy.”

It’s very unlikely that you’ll be misunderstood, once the person you’re responding to hears your tone of voice.

Plus, voice notes are rare these days, and kinda fun — they’ll be excited just to hear you, in the first place!

 

Most of all …

Remember that every time you place your fingers on the keyboard to blast off an email, you have an opportunity to add to the love in the world, or subtract from it. To elevate somebody’s spirits, or deflate ‘em. To make somebody’s day, or dampen it.

Choose to be a Daymaker.

They will feel the love, in every word.

And you’ll never have to stress about hitting “send.”

xo.

PS. Do you suffer from “email insecurity”? What kinds of emails throw a wrench in your day, or take up waaay too much time?

 
 

Hello, self. Guess what? I like you.

 
 

I have been called a “relentlessly positive person”, but there was a time in my life when I did not like myself very much.

I did not like my body, so I starved myself (almost to death).

I was distressed about my sexuality, which seemed “different” than my friends at school.

I had obsessive tendencies that I didn’t understand or know how to manage.

Oh, and toss in a little perfectionism + over-achiever-itis.

Hello, self-hatred! Why, how do you do?

 

Writing became my way of reconnecting with the parts of me that I did not … hate.

Writing a poem, a short play or an article for my student newspaper made me feel helpful, creative and proud.

Writing in my journal helped me to remember my good qualities … to celebrate happy feelings + bright spots in my day … and to dream + lean into the future that I wanted.

I remember scribbling in my journal, ten years ago, at age nineteen.

I made a picture of me as a grown-up woman. Strong, sexy, smiling and happy, with long, flowing, rainbow-multi-colored hair, super-cool aviator sunglasses (essential, for some reason!) and books and artwork all around me.

I wrote in the margins: Published author. Professional writer. Owner of a sanctuary + center for artists. True love.

 

A decade later, here I am.

Published author. Check. Twice.

Professional writer. Check.

Owner of a sanctuary + center for artists. Do amazingly fun workshops count? I vote … yes.

True love. Oooooh. Yes. (Babe, if you’re reading … and I know you are … hi. :)

 

There are so many ways to open your heart, heal old wounds + hurts, and carry your life in the direction that you want.

For me, it’s always been writing.

Maybe for you, it’s dancing, painting, deep conversations with friends, meditation, soaking in a hot tub, or simply making a plan and devoting yourself to it with your whole heart.

Marching, marching. Moving ever-closer to who you want to be + where you want to go.

 

Who were you, ten years ago?

What did you want?

Do you like yourself more today, than ever before?

Or do you still have a long ways to go?

 

Wherever you are, I hope that right now, you’ll write down one thing you really like about yourself.

 

“One thing I really like about ME is ________________.”

 

And if you’d be so kind, please add your “I like me!” note to the comments below.

 

In the beautiful words of my hero, Mister Rogers:

“I’m proud of you.”

And:

“It’s you I like.”

xo.

 
 

You already know everything.

 
 

You already know everything about …

Love.

Hint: Be patient. Be generous. Be kind.

 

You already know everything about …

Being in a relationship.

Hint: Be their biggest fan. Have their favorite snacks on hand. Don’t be a nag.

 

You already know everything about …

Being fit.

Hint: Move your limbs around in a way that feels good. Try to make little droplets of moisture appear on your skin.

 

You already know everything about …

Business.

Hint: Perform little miracles for people.

 

You already know everything about …

Marketing.

Hint: Keep performing little miracles for people. Soon, people will talk about you.

 

You already know everything about …

Success.

Hint: Follow through on your commitments, to yourself + others.

 

You already know everything about …

Happiness.

Hint: Say YES to things that feel right. Say NO to things that do not.

 

You already know everything about …

Writing a book.

Hint: Wake up a little earlier than usual. Start writing. Keep doing that for a while. When you’re done, stop.

 

You already know everything about …

Being a good person.

Hint: Leave everything — apartments, national parks, people’s hearts — in better condition than you found them.

 

You already know everything about …

How to figure out things you don’t know.

Hint: Google.

 

You already know everything.

How amazing!

You can stop searching, circling and over-complicating … everything.

You are not confused.

It’s nice to be you.

 

xo.

 
 

Let it hurt. Then get to work.

 
 

When I see Mikhail Baryshnikov dance, I cry.

When I hear Placido Domingo sing, I cry.

When I watch Michelle Kwan skate, I cry.

I cry, because watching a true master at work can be painful.

Painful, because it illuminates — with shocking, piercing accuracy — all of the ways in which I have chosen not to live up to my highest potential. All of the places where I am holding back. Marking time. Committing halfway. Giving my some — but not giving my all.

I enjoy this particular flavor of pain. I want the tears. I love the way that mastery startles me.

The way it forces me to assess my own life, make the necessary changes, re-commit to what matters.

I love feeling compelled to do better.

If you, as I often do, wonder why you are not yet the artist, the writer, the person that you could be …

Seek out the people who move you to tears. Watch them closely.

Let it hurt.

Then get to work.

xo.