​​and I’m a  Community builder and social analyst based in Kitchener-Waterloo

Samantha Estoesta

Hi! My name is

The Best Version of Me: Simple Reminders and Personal Creeds
(Originally for Switch & Shift)

I hate motivation posters. You know the ones that have a stock photo of a golf course and a phrase like “You miss 100% of the drives you don’t take” or some other cliche. They are usually found in high school guidance counsellors’ office (sorry, Dad, I know you love them) or in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices. The sayings are generic, based on puns, and often have nothing to do with their end goal: reminding and pushing us to be the best version of ourselves as possible.

Now, I don’t know what the best version of you looks like. Heck, I don’t know what the best version of me looks like. Some days (like Mondays at 9:15 am), the best version of me is completing the task list from my boss with fewer than two mistakes and within 5 minutes of when their completion is due. Other days, I can see the best version of me as a published poet who writes fancy articles in newspapers, journals, and other publications for even fancier clients. Either way, I find myself writing down little things to push me to be the best version of myself no matter the place, time, or situation I find myself.

I have three favourites, two that I wrote myself, and one that a much more talented individual wrote. The amazing poet Nayyirah Waheed wrote a poem entitled, “Ugly.” In it lies this line:

“I found flaws
and they were beautiful.”

I have this written on the outside cover of my day planner. Each morning, as I write out my to-do lists and plan my day, I acknowledge that I am imperfect. I acknowledge that I will make mistakes in this day. I remind myself that my imperfections make me who I am. However, I also remind myself that I should learn from my mistakes and try my hardest not to make the same mistake twice. This small sentence (two verses) carries me as a person, remind me to accept myself and grow.

On top of this, I have two other phrases (creeds, if you may) that remind me of the goals that I have for myself.

As you can guess, I spend my days writing and building communities. I am a communications specialist, a community manager, a writer, a graduate student in communications; I live and breathe words.

To remind me of how important word choices are and how words can build tiny molehill communities into mountains, I created a tagline to represent my work and skills.

“Samantha Estoesta - building communities one word at a time.”

I have this on my logo, website, and business cards. This is my promise to the communities (corporate or not) that bring me in to do work for them. I will build your community one well thought out word at a time. I will carefully craft language that reaches out to the right people, at the right time, through the right channel. This is my work creed. This is the phrase that reminds me what I love about what I do and, moreover, to do the best work I can to fulfill this promise.

The second phrase I wrote is how I see myself in the world. It goes:
“A small person trying to make big change.”

First of all, I’m tiny. I barely am allowed to ride roller coasters. I have never been able to reach the top shelf, let alone the middle shelf. Second of all, I am one person and I am no more special than the next person on the street. However, I am striving to make big changes in the communities I am a part of, be it my neighbourhood or the world. In everything I do, I ask myself, “What positive change will this action bring?” This phrase grounds me as a person, giving words to the meaning I have given my life. 

Three phrases is a lot for one person. Somehow, it works for me. I challenge you to look for the words that ground you as a person, an employee, and as a community member. A motivational poster isn’t going to switch you into high gear. Knowing yourself, your skills, and your goals is the truest way to motivate yourself.

Acknowledge your strengths, make peace with your faults, and remind yourself of the uniqueness you bring. This could be as simple as “I am a master organizer”; it could be as long and elaborate as a paragraph. Either way, create a phrase(s) to ground yourself. Place it in key spots to motivate yourself using words that actually mean something to you.

Above all, strive to be the best version of you in however it manifests. And if it somehow manifests on a stock photo of a golf course with the phrase, “You miss 100% of the drives you don’t take,” I owe my dad $100 and a round of golf.