Do Your Best!

dreamstime_xs_9406625The phrase, “do your best” is one that we hear repeatedly but rarely define.  Is best all about effort and perseverance?  Or does it include consideration and planning as well?  And how do we determine whether we have cut ourselves too much slack or have truly done our best?

Why it Matters
If we extend only minimal effort or give up too readily, we risk guilt or regret.  Doing a sloppy job at the dishes might not matter much, but when it comes to the meaningful parts of life like parenting or relationships, knowing we have done our best brings an enormous sense of peace.

Components of Doing Your Best

  1. Choose where to direct your energy and commitment.  Devote yourself to things that hold meaning or will improve your life or the life of others.
  2. Ask for help when needed.  In order to persevere, ask for help and use existing resources instead of quitting.  Seeking assistance is wise, not weak.
  3. Share your strengths.  Don’t hide your assets.  Part of doing your best is letting others know your capabilities and using them.
  4. Pause and plan.  Jumping in has its place, but may not be efficient.  To do your best, take a moment to pause and plan out a good strategy.
  5. Know your limitations.  Some people have a natural sense of direction and can navigate easily, while others should always rely on GPS.  Knowing which qualities to harness and which to accept can save a lot of aggravation.
  6. Learn when to push and when to rest.  If you’re tired, overwhelmed or upset it’s hard to do your best.  Address these issues if they continuously get in your way.  Alternatively, if you tend to give up too easily you may need to learn how to push yourself and enlist others to help in this endeavor.
  7. Learn how to persevere.  It’s understandable that frustration would make you want to surrender.  But to move towards your goals, you need to figure out how to persevere using small, manageable steps.
  8. Learn when to walk away.  Some pursuits are simply not right for you.  Learn to identify these poor fits early on and quit while you’re ahead.
  9. Take a long-range view.  It’s impossible to do or be your best at all times.  Think about doing your best over the long haul, knowing that getting back up is what’s most important.

Our Best is Ever-Changing
Our best changes as we do.  We inevitably go through periods of crises but we also gain new skills and overcome challenges.  All you can do is apply sincere effort towards your objectives and work to improve the things that stand in your way. Finally, keep Oprah Winfrey’s comment in mind – “Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”