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Is That Really the Best You Can Do?

Be aware of the stories you are telling yourself that undermine your success.

I am privileged to work with some very good athletes, people who’ve won world championships, or gold medals at the Olympic games, these are the very best at the sport they play and in order to win they had to be at their very best. They could not have succeeded had they not gone out and done their very best in training and in competition.

So when I hear people say, “that was the best I can do” I have to wonder if they really understand what BEST really means?

I think most people give up far too easily. It’s too hard, I don’t like doing that, I don’t feel good when I do that, I’m tired! How often do you hear people utter those words, “I’m tired”. Really, you are really tired?

A woman who has a newborn is really tired. Someone who just completed climbing Mount Everest is tired. Someone who just finished cramming for SAT’s, a bar or CA exam is likely tired. Someone who just worked a day and night shift straight through is most likely tired.

But most of us saying we are tired are saying it because we want to let ourselves off the hook for not accomplishing something. Tired, alas, is a good outlet for procrastination.

Just like when someone says, “I’m tired” is likely not telling the truth, in most cases someone who says, “that’s the best I can do” is full of malarkey as well!

Most of the time when we say it we are really just saying, I don’t feel like trying any harder. We are giving in to our natural tendency to save energy, protect what we have, take the easy way out.

The truth is there really are three ways to approach anything, don’t do it, try it, or do it, and the first two don’t count! When you do it, you really have to do it with a full 100% effort. There just really is no excuse for not giving 100% to anything you decide to do.

Now, when you give 100% there are never any guarantees that it WILL be enough. The best you can do might not be better than the best your competition can do, or good enough for what someone you were working with expected, but you will know you did your best, truly. Not some half-baked version of your best, but all you can bring to the table.

When you truly give everything you have, no matter what the result, you will feel a sense of fulfillment you’ll never feel when you just punch the clock.

Being tired 98% of the time is all about state of mind. You tell yourself you are too tired, you can’t do it, you aren’t good enough, or you aren’t worthy. You tell yourself all those stories, none of which are based on any facts, and you let those stories define what you can accomplish. You let those stories tire you out. You let those stories excuse you from being your best.

Delete those stories, and write now stories. Stories that express who you are and how much you have to give. Stories that have no boundaries, only opportunities. Tell yourself stories that make you smile, make you laugh, and make you excited. Stories that make you FEEL something good!

Good stories make you feel good inside. They aren’t tiring, they’re inspiring! They bring out the “best” in you.

So the next time you hear yourself saying, “that’s the best I can do”. Ask yourself if it felt good to say that, did you FEEL it, did you want it, did you go for it? Did you really give your best and things just didn’t workout, or did you give in to your subconscious telling you to stay home, bring it another day, conserve energy, or hold a little back? If it didn’t feel right, chances are you left something on the table. The only way to change this response is to change the stories you tell yourself.

To change those stories the first thing you have to realize is that the stories exist, and the second thing you need to do is make yourself aware on a daily basis when those stories are driving your behaviour.

Start listening to the language and the conversations you are having with yourself, and become more aware of how that language is running your life, hedging your bets, limiting your possibilities. Awareness is not the end, it is just the beginning. I’ll be back with what to do when you become truly aware that your stories are undermining your best.

Originally published at

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