Best Self Vs. Favorite Self

There’s a difference between your best self and your favorite self. 

(Hold back the vomit – I want to puke even typing these words, but the points below were pretty profound to me, so if I can do it, so can you)

Your “best self” is a social construct. It’s your best life by society’s standard and status flexes, proving you’ve got the trophy because you’ve won some game. Your best self is based on an external opinion. 

Your “favorite self” is a psychological construct. It’s your favorite life as measured by whatever brings you joy internally, which may or may not include society and status, but definitely still includes some sort of celebratory trophy. Your favorite self is based on an internal validation. 

It’s all such a funny balance.

Because we still need both. 

You might want to be a happy hermit in your pre-apocalyptic bubble, but we, collectively – as in all humanity – we kind of need more from you. 

Which makes understanding the differences between your best self and your favorite self so important. We all have an external opinion. That’s life. But we also have an internal validation. That’s a choice. 

We’re at our best when we’re contributing to the external image. Not controlling it. But when we’ve found ourselves as part of a team, or a unit, or a family, or – whatever is part of our innate mission to uncover our favorite selves. 

It’s even a part of the hero’s journey. To leave, find the treasure, and bring it home. If you leave and find the treasure but never bring it back to your tribe, you haven’t finished the transformation. You left work early on payday. And not in a cool way.*

You can find it in any sports team’s victory. When a key player makes a clutch play, that’s the solo act. But the team is still on stage, and the pile-on celebration at the end, that’s the metaphorically captured treasure being brought home. 

That’s the balance. 

And, that’s the risk.

How do you not tip over into the best self by everyone’s standards but your own? Or,get so deep in your favorite self rabbit hole that you’ve got nobody to bring your treasures home to? The balance happens when we grow into both. 

We all are picked by teams. We also all get to pick our teams. Not even just to directly compete, but, think of the tribe you want to bring your treasure home to – that’s your team. 

We all have our passions. We get to figure out what we like, love, and vomit a little when we say/hate-avoid. Not to cut ourselves off from society, but to be a self-sustaining contributor to a community within society – a member of a team, if not teams. 

Your best self and your favorite self can co-exist.  

A healthy eco-system for our best self to hold space in. 

A healthy ego-system for our favorite self to explore space within. 

h/t to Jess Bost and Tom Morgan – we had a lively discussion about this the other day and decided to press record. I’m so glad we did, and you can watch it here/below if you’re curious. We were inspired by Adam Grant’s WorkLife episode, “Redefining Hustle Culture with Robyn Arzon.” If you don’t know her (I had never encountered her before), it’s a great listen too. 

*kids, in case you’re wondering ,sometime up and into the early 2000s you had to wait until the end of the day on payday to get a physical check for your labors.