THERE’S NO ARGUMENT THAT ALWAYS DOING YOUR BEST IS A GOOD WAY TO OPERATE.
(Thank you Miguel Ruiz. If you haven’t read “The Four Agreements,” I would highly recommend it.)
But sometimes, we humans have a way of using valuable pieces of wisdom against ourselves in times of overwhelm and challenge.
So, I’d like to elaborate a bit more on how to look at “always do your best” in a way that may serve you in a more powerful way, especially in unusual times…
DON’T ESTABLISH AN IMMOVABLE STANDARD OF DOING YOUR BEST.
First, please don’t establish an immovable standard of doing your best based on how you operate when you’ve had the perfect amount of sleep, a great workout, eaten an ideal diet, you’re in love, extra energetic, in ideal health, fully living your life purpose and feeling motivated about an exciting new project.
You certainly want to maximize the opportunity to ace your day when you’ve made great choices, external circumstances aren’t creating grief and the stars are aligned for you.
The tricky part of doing your best (and where we may sometimes use it “against ourselves”) is when we hold ourselves to such a standard on days when it feels like the world is in upheaval, there’s massive grief in the collective or small things like a global pandemic are occurring all around us.
Or in your own household, if…
- you’ve been up all night arguing with your significant other
- your child has a bug
- or you’re trying to figure out how to work from home with no office door and no designated place to get things done.
Your best may simply be making an important phone call before you hit the pause button and reach for a cup of immunity-boosting tea.
THE POINT IS… “YOUR BEST” IS A SUBJECTIVE AND FLUCTUATING STANDARD.
And understanding this is an indispensable self management tool that may even boost your productivity tomorrow.
When we decide that we are only doing our best if we accomplish the volume and quality of work we would accomplish on our most ideal day, we sell ourselves short on days when we have fewer resources to draw from.
If you are feeling physically, mentally, and/or emotionally depleted, it’s more important to recharge than it is to force yourself to achieve some unreasonable standard you’ve previously set.
So yes, always do your best.
Just don’t fall into the trap of assuming there is only one high standard for what that is.
Do the best you can with the energy, stamina and tools you have in the moment… And don’t forget to celebrate and take a moment to feel proud of yourself for doing your best in each given circumstance!
If you’ve found yourself in uncertain territory as our world continues to unfold, I can help. We are all feeling it and you’re not alone. I’ve helped many clients find the path that is right for them in the face of challenging circumstances. Please reach out for support, whether career related, or otherwise.
And if you know a friend or neighbor who could use hearing the advice in this article, please forward this to them too.