Blog: On Being Your Best

Part 1: Stopping the Noise

Editor’s note: Welcome to “On Being Your Best,” a new feature for Home News Now designed to help you step back from the noise that clutters your mind and truly focus on ways to — well — be your best. Not just your best at work and leadership, but in life.

Eric Easter, industry veteran and CEO of Indianapolis-based Kittle’s, has been on this track for several years. He has written on the subject of leadership many times before, but as you’ll see, this one is different. This may ask you for a little more “thinking time” than you may normally give to the news or opinion of the day. Initially, you may scratch your head and wonder what on earth WE were thinking with this unusual new feature. Has North Carolina just legalized cannabis for non-medical use? What does any of this have to do with the business of selling furniture?

But hold tight. We believe HNN’s purpose, is, in part, to help our readers grow, improve, become better in business. And Easter makes the point that “Being our best, being the best leader possible starts with being the best person possible.”

Eric Easter

For a Q&A that probes where Easter’s interest in this path comes from and where he intends to go with it, click here. But for now, we’ll let him explain his goals briefly here, too, and then launch into the first in an occasional series On Being Your Best. I’m looking forward to the journey and hope you will, too:

“This blog will be about all the self-imposed distractions, impediments we put in front of ourselves in our quest for success. The habits that need to be broken, insecurities to overcome, the need for things that cannot be (certainty, control), the desire to make ourselves and life something we are not, and so on.  Instead, by accepting and embracing what our present reality is — both in who we are and what life is,  void of all the noise that interferes with both — focused better choices are made.  A clear mind makes better choices which always yield better results not just now but also later. For better decisions today provide a stronger foundation from which to make tomorrow’s decisions.”

A focus on stopping the noise

Within each of us is Our Best. It is there, ready to be set free, always. We are designed and built to Be Our Best in this moment, no others. For this moment is the only place we are, and life is. It is where our mind is clear, our attention focused, free to totally engage, with whatever life brings. Being Our Best begins by accepting and embracing this moment as it is, as wonderful or painful as it may be.   When we try to make what really is something it is not, we are alongside Don Quixote fighting windmills.

These mental gymnastics distract, waste time, misdirect effort and clutter the mind with what really doesn’t matter at the expense of what really does. Our focus and efforts are splintered, rendering them less effective and efficient. So many of us spend much of our day trying to know what cannot be known, trying to control what cannot be controlled, trying to make ourselves and life something we are not, placing blame where it does not belong, making excuses for our actions and letting bad behavioral habits acquired over many years reign. This takes our eye off the ball.  It clouds judgment, creates fear, stress, anxiety and worry. Results suffer.  More importantly, we suffer.  

Anything that keeps us from being who we really are, and so at Our Best, is Noise.  It is not welcome. It is debilitating. It affects how we feel about ourselves. It affects how others feel about us — family, friends, co-workers, fellow participants in an organization, teammates, neighbors. Noise does not discriminate. It is not selective.  It is always there ready to pounce — if we let it. Life is enough of a challenge already; no reason to let the Noise exacerbate it.  

Just as each of us is unique and wondrous in our own way, we also have our own personal Noise.  It has developed over many years. It is a function of how we were raised, what we have been taught, what we have experienced, what we have learned, who or what influenced us most at critical times in our life and our own natural attributes. Too often it is based on a distrust of self, unfounded as this is.  This creates fear, fear of making mistakes, of being embarrassed, of being wrong, of losing, of not measuring up to others’ expectations of us, of not doing what someone thinks we should do, of having to be better than someone else to feel good about ourselves. Sadly, this fear demands that our self-esteem track only with the most recent result — success, failure or somewhere in between. Our self-worth becomes a function of what happens in a particular moment, not of what is always here — ourselves, who we really are.  

This distrust, this fear, this Noise can manifest itself in seemingly disparate ways. We can choose to defer to others for every decision or choose to make every decision ourselves. We can blame ourselves to the point of shame or blame others.  How it reveals itself is deeply personal. No matter what form it takes, it is a problem, for it keeps us from being who we really are. When we choose to listen to the Noise, we choose to not be Our Best, to not be who we really are. 

All Noise is so unnecessary and so debilitating. Recognizing the Noise and how different we feel, how different life is, without it is the first step forward.  

Life has a natural rhythm. Each of us has our own natural rhythm. Both just happen, free of Noise. Recognizing, accepting and embracing both bring out our best.  

Time to Stop the Noise. Time to recognize who we really are. Time to Be Our Best.

More to come.

Eric Easter can be reached at

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