Mike Bayer, life coach to the stars (and ordinary folks, too) and a regular on The Dr. Phil Show, charts out a path toward a more fulfilling life—by way of practical exercises—in his book Best Self: Be You, Only Better. His own struggles with addiction and depression sparked his passion for helping others overcome inner pain.
What has guided your own recovery journey?
I did not ever feel like the treatment programs looked at me from a perspective of, “Who are you? What are your values? And let’s operate your life from that point.” I feel like this is the stuff that ultimately will prevent a lot of trains from coming off the track.
Can you summarize what you mean by “Best Self”?
Your Best Self has no negative traits. Your Best Self has healthy fear, not negative fear. Your Best Self lives in faith. Your Best Self is aligned with your greatness. To me, somebody’s Best Self is their true self. Any internal suffering is not Best Self.
Knowing who you are at your best is the compass for your life. It’s not who you are at your worst. I don’t know where that’s going to lead someone.
Will someone who is highly self-critical or has self-worth issues be able to imagine their Best Self?
For some people, we can’t have a conversation about your Best Self until medication interventions or treatments are working. I say in the book, “Some of you are going to need to see a psychiatrist.”
What’s the key to get from desiring change to making it happen?
I’ve found people say they want to change, but they don’t know what their road map is. I used to be a smoker. For me to quit smoking I had to decide when I’m going to quit; how I’m going to quit; have friends around me to help me get through physical withdrawal.
If somebody gives me an address, there are directions to get to where I’m going. So [one key to change is] writing down a goal, making sure it’s measurable, connecting a time line to it, and making it a priority.
Isn’t it hard to do this work on your own?
That’s why [in the exercises in the book] we look at who’s on your team and who are your accountability partners and what are your healthy environments. I wrote it in such a way that it’s going to guide people to bring others into their life to help them on their journey.
The most neglected part of change is accountability. Whether it’s a friend, or you just say to someone, “Hey, will you hold me accountable for this?” Then you text each other throughout the week.
You mention some of your centering rituals in the book. Do you do daily affirmations?
I talk to myself in the mirror, just looking into my own eyes, probably once a day. For whatever reason, something comes out of my mouth that I need that day. I might say, “You’ve got this,” or, “Your life is good.” It keeps me believing in myself.
What other wellness rituals do you practice?
To me, it’s how I greet the day. I like listening to meditative music. I like doing gratitude lists with my coffee. And at the end of the day, I like to review and just see, do I owe any amends? Am I proud of myself?
I think it’s so important to promote when you’re proud of yourself. We should embrace that with each other. “You’re proud of yourself? That’s awesome.” It’s about how do you light up everyone else’s candles and not burn them out. . . . Life’s so much better when we’re wanting each other to win.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I think everyone has experienced, no matter who they are, a moment that they felt connected and loved life. I think sometimes it just starts by holding onto that moment as your light in the process.
Printed as “Back Chat: Coach Mike”, Spring 2019
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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