Why then do we settle for less?
Why do we offer up less than we're capable of and then lament receiving less than we desired in return?
Doing our best does not mean that we need to be or do perfect. It simply means that we are doing the best we can, with what we've got, in the current situation. Giving our best will vary from day-to-day because we are not the same each day, nor are our circumstances. However, when we offer our best we have no reason to judge ourselves harshly or to feel guilt or shame for having offered less than we were able.
It is those people that are giving everything they do everything that they've got that can expect the biggest rewards and best opportunities. As Oprah Winfrey once said...
Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next momentDoing your best is more likely to position you favourably for new opportunities than doing less ever will. Wanting the best of everything that life has to offer you requires you to give life the best that you have to offer. It's an even trade. In order to prepare yourself for the best future possible then, you must be doing everything you can today to prepare for it. Giving whatever task you are engaged in the very best you can creates a mindset of excellence that helps your best to grow and improve. Use some of the following suggestions to help you to recognise and grow your best.
Let go of the thought of perfection.
Striving for perfection can be one of the biggest barriers to doing our best that there is. Perfect is elusive and unobtainable. Therefore, we are never happy with what we are producing, continually wanting to tweak it, improve it, make it better. However, doing our best allows us to let go of projects, recognizing that it is as close to perfect as we can make it given our current skills and abilities, the deadline we face and the circumstances we are producing it under. Letting go of the thought of 'perfect' allows us to complete things, learn from them and move on. This allows us to get better, our 'best' to improve and therefore our value to grow.
Be open to learning.
Opening ourselves to new thoughts, ideas and ways of doing things allows us to continue to contribute at our highest level. It is when we close our minds to learning anything new that 'doing our best' becomes an excuse rather than a goal. We must be committed to excellence, committed to the view that our 'best' is based on the potential within us which must be nurtured and challenged and developed.
Gauge your feelings.
How we feel about the work that we have done is a great indication of whether we are truly operating at our best or not. When we feel excitement and pride we are more likely to be operating at our better and higher levels of performance. However, when we experience disappointment in the outcome of a task it often relates back to the fact that we did not do everything in our control to contribute to it. We don't get the results we long for but we likely got the results we deserved. Use your feelings as a gauge to determine whether you are giving something your all or are holding back.
'Doing your Best' is not intended to be a limitation. The offhandedly delivered 'oh well, I did my best' phrase, after not achieving what you had hoped, often describes a situation in which we truly didn't. It is a pacifying phrase meant to excuse the result you achieved. If you are operating at your best, each and every day, then there is notable improvement that is taking place. There will be a passion and excitement, a positive energy that you are applying to your actions and the work that you are doing. In this mindset of excellence you will not be brushing off lack-lustre performance or results but will be already planning on how to improve it. Doing your best is therefore not limiting, but empowering.
Our personal goal should be to live each day such that we can end each day saying with confidence and pride - "I did my very best, there was nothing more I could have given". Imagine how we would feel about our lives, about our selves, if each day we were ending it this way. This is a goal worth striving for and a life worth living.