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Personal development: Becoming the best version of yourself

Victoria MacLennan. 20 October 2022, 8:40 pm

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. Judy Garland

We have about 11 weeks until the end of 2022, it’s been a tough year after 2 even tougher years for all of us. So queue 31 December 2022 I suspect many of us will be making resolutions. Resolutions to exercise more and drink less are great but why not strive for one you really deserve? To be the best version of yourself. Let 2023 be the year you step up for you. I'm going to so maybe we can do this together. 

In my role I meet hundreds of people, they are all awesome but there are some who didn’t really know who they are, have clarity of aspirations or goals, can’t articulate what success means to them. 

I wrote a blog on this very topic in 2019, pre covid when life was lighter, easier. This is a rehashed updated version, it’s very personal for me but I hope it provides some ideas others can utilise. My plan is to write a series of posts on personal development so feel free to come on this journey with me. Hei āpōpō (until tomorrow) Vic.

Aren’t I awesome already?

For some people self reflection is really easy and for others it’s really hard. For me it depends on what’s going on as to whether I reflect on my own style and behaviour — and more importantly whether I am living up to my own potential.

Now, before you get on your high horse and dismiss this as a self help / enlightenment / whatever-the-latest-fad-is kind of blog — that's not my intention. Take it or leave it. 

Being the best version of yourself is hard to achieve in every aspect of your life, don’t you deserve to live up to our own potential and to contribute your best selves to everything you do? don’t your families deserve the best possible you everyday? your employers too? Afterall we only have one life to live.

Even if you think you are awesome I challenge you to take a 2nd look, I certainly have and realised there is real room for improvement.


It's worth exploring motivation first, there are two types of motivation

  • Intrinsic motivation - driven by your beliefs and values
  • Extrinsic motivation - driven by external factors, reward, recognition (or avoidance of reprimand)

If you do come on this journey with me I suggest you clarify your reasons for wanting to improve, this will help you stay on track with your goals. For me it’s intrinsic, I believe everyone deserves the right to reach their potential so need to start with myself. 

Where to start

Setting goals is one element of self improvement, there are a few other things we also need to focus on: 

  • Clarify your motivation (see above)
  • Set clear goals (you can see mine below)
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Stop criticising yourself and
  • Stop criticising other people too
  • Feel good about what you are doing

Now this isn't an easy list to achieve, it's designed to create a mindset of personal improvement. 

Vic’s Self Improvement Goals

Goal 1: Being Present

As a person with who wears many hats and has responsibilities my mind is busy all the time and I really lack good techniques to quiet it down. This means I am often distracted during conversations — with my family, with my team, with strangers — which is really a bit shite and isn’t doing justice to anyone. Being present to me means I will be:

  • in the moment I am in
  • listen with intent
  • focus on the person / people I am with — not my next problem to solve

Doing what I say I am going to do

I have long covid (boo) so I have been dropping the ball all over the place and am a little racked with guilt at who I’ve let down. In thinking about this today it reminds me I tend to say yes without considering my capacity — or whether I am the best person to take the specific thing on. How I plan to change this is:

  • have a plan so I know what capacity I have
  • pause, take a breath and think before I say yes
  • talk to my network more about their interests and capacity so I can share

To be clear this doesn’t mean I plan to change my ability to help others with their success and I will continue to feel guilty when I drop the ball or make a mistake — guilt helps me be the best version of myself in some perverse way.

Be a little bit more selfish

Being able to take care of others, to take on ambitious projects (like changing the face of our industry), to best support the ITP community to become as successful as they can possibly be, help my team realise their goals— weirdly means I need to be a little bit more selfish to keep me well and strong both physically and mentally. This one will be hard so intend to start with:

  • my exercise time is my exercise time <fullstop> no more taking meetings instead of joining Yoga for instance
  • allocate more thinking and personal development time
  • reaching compromises that have a positive outcome for me as well (instead of acquiescing)

Final thoughts

If my improvements don’t resonate with you there are hundreds of posts out there with tips on being the best person you can be. I read this one before realising, for me, this is about me not following someone else's formula rather making my own plan. So take everything I have said here and create your own. 

He aha te mea nui o te ao? what is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. the people, the people, the people.

Footnote - Gillette put out this advert a few years ago designed to inspire men to become roll models for their sons. It's a bit cheesey but is lovely at the same time. 

This is the first in a series on Personal Development. 

Other posts include


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