Reb Zushe famously said that one day, when he would stand before the heavenly court, he would not be asked, “Zushe, why were you not like Moses?” Instead, he would be asked, “Zushe, why were you not like Zushe?” We are not expected to be as good as anyone else, since we’re not equipped with their talents and abilities. We are expected to be our best selves, utilizing our strengths and innate abilities to make the world around us better.

So how can we be more authentic?

Productivity isn’t just about a global initiative to be doing more; it’s about doing more of the things that bring us closer to our goals and reveal our true authentic self. Here are five tips to let your authentic self shine:

1. “If we realized what we were truly capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”—Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski

We each have talents we know we could nurture a little more to give us an inner feeling of satisfaction. For some people it could take the radical form of, let’s say, annual trips to orphanages in Third World countries. For others it can be something far simpler, such as taking the piano lessons you always promised yourself you would, or planting that rose garden you have been wanting for years.

2. Be careful when you give your word. The listener is expecting that you to keep it.

This one really hit home with me. Especially as a mom, often my instinct was to say “Sure” without fully hearing what the request was. It kept them quiet, kept the peace, and I hoped they would forget my response half the time. Unfortunately, my children and those in our work world do expect us to listen and consider the outcomes before we give our word. I now have a 75% decrease in the amount of times I give my word, and a much higher rate of return when I do give my word.

3. If you want to have more credibility, accept total responsibility for your actions.

There is such a huge temptation to blame circumstances rather than take responsibility. And while I don’t want to start apologizing for the rain, I most certainly can take responsibility for being late for a meeting for which I couldn’t find a parking spot, when I chose not to leave enough time for finding parking.

4. Never underestimate the value of your positive effect on others.

If you think something nice about someone else, go ahead and share it with them. I consider it “verbal charity”: Hand out a compliment that will brighten your friend’s day, and quite possibly that comment will get stored in a compliment treasury and be nurtured like gold.

5. It takes more energy to panic than it does to plan.

Leave the “freaking out” to the teens. Feeling fearful? Overwhelmed? Grab a power nap or an espresso, and write out a plan. Executing that plan is far more productive than fueling your mind with all that panic.

Have you ever heard, “Change is easy . . . you go first”? Don’t expect this to all come easily, but small steps taken consistently will lead you to your most authentic self.