“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” – Og Mandino
The ‘doing your best’ perspective suggests that we should go all out to squeeze more out of ourselves. Perhaps, this means continually attempting to give 100%, which risks burn out if we do not equally give 100% to recharging our energy!
Is it practical to ‘do our best’ at everything, or even necessary? If we try to ‘do our best’ in every detail of what we do, we fall prey to perfectionism, which makes it really hard to bring something to completion. For example, when chopping vegetables to cook, some unevenness will not affect the flavor. In many cases, more is lost by going for perfection than settling for good enough.
Striving to ‘do your best’ also increases comparison with others and brings judgment of our own presentation. However, if this statement is rephrased to ‘being your best’, our focus shifts from the outcome to the level of engagement and good enough becomes perfect. Check out these three ways to shift from ‘doing your best’ to ‘being your best’.
1) Select a smaller number of more purposeful activities
The ‘doing your best’ viewpoint encourages you to do more and more with our time. In counterpoint to this, ‘being your best’ allows you to commit to fewer activities, but with full involvement.
As a first step to doing less, list only your topmost, critical priorities. Next, examine how you are spending your time and compare it to this list. Minimize time spent on items that do not meet the critical priorities you have identified. Make the decision to own your life. Plan your day so that you have the space to concentrate on one thing at a time, without rushing. Whenever possible, give yourself permission to lose track of time and be in the flow. This will enable you to give full attention to your interactions with people and your surroundings. By adapting your schedule in this way, you will be able to savor the moment, taste and relish the texture of your food, really listen to others, and engage in a way that allows you to play and have more fun.
2) Increase awareness of your thinking and feeling responses
‘Doing your best’ focuses on the behavioral side of any activity, rather than what you think and feel about it. Whereas ‘being your best’ incorporates your behavior as well as what you think and feel. Aim to be an objective observer of your responses. Allow yourself to bear witness, without judgment. Enjoy the good and be patient with the not so good. You are ultimately responsible for your reactions so choose to let go of what is not relevant or does not serve you.
3) Allow exchanges with your inner wisdom
‘Doing your best’ keeps you busy so that often your resonance with your inner wisdom is lost. On the other hand, ‘being your best’ brings that harmony back so you can live according to your personal truths. Schedule time to do absolutely nothing or to meditate and get familiar with silence and being still. This space brings the opportunity to tune into your senses and breathe. Be patient with yourself and keep a beginners mind. Trust that your intuition will provide answers to challenges you face.
By doing these three things to ‘be your best’ you will gain greater clarity due to increased focus which will naturally improve your connection and performance. You will also be more centered and relaxed, spending less time projecting into a possible future or reflecting on past experiences. And you will experience more joy as you spend more time fully involved interested and inspired and more time serene.