Always Do Your Best
A little overwhelmed, the bride said “All I know is I’m doing my best.” And indeed she was as she faced the final preparations for her wedding. To some around her, it may not have seemed that her best was in play….the rehearsal was running an hour behind schedule; the church needed to be decorated; the organist confirmed; and so on. It seemed that much of the confusion could/should have been avoided. Maybe so. I, the wedding-coordinator-by-default, was tasked with putting some order and structure to the situation to complement her “best” and help her wedding be all she had dreamed.
Granted, the bride’s best left a few things to the last minute, may have caused additional stress for some, and inconvenienced others, but in that moment, for that situation, it was her best, and what more could we ask for?
The bride’s words stayed with me, through the festivities of those two days and beyond, leading me to revisit Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements, and the pivotal fourth agreement: always do your best. Not sometimes, always, recognizing that your best changes from one moment to the next, as everything around and within changes: circumstances, thoughts, emotions, health, knowledge, wisdom, and so on. When doing your best is the premise and intention of all that you undertake and do, then what more can you ask of yourself, and can others ask of you? Doing your best ensures the positive quality of energy driving your actions, and therein is its infinite value.
When we live with this agreement as one of our guiding truths, it is easier to silence our inner critic, our own judge who is so quick to criticize and blame. We find our normal have to’s slipping away, replaced by want to’s; our focus placed on the quality of our actions rather than the sought out reward; and our learning enhanced so that our best continues to get better. Ultimately, living with the intention of always doing our best allows us to see God’s goodness all around, a little more often, and to be thankful.
Most of us can recall a memory or two from childhood surrounding the issue of doing your best. Perhaps it was when you brought home the D on your report card or test, or maybe the B and your parents knew you were capable of an A. Or perhaps it was when your absolute best still meant you came in last or your team lost the game and the consoling comment was, “as long as you did your best, that’s all that counts.”
If someone randomly asked us if we had done our best, my hunch is that most of us would respond, yes, for to say no implies lesser than and simply doesn’t seem like the best answer. Yet, after thinking about it, we might acknowledge that we have become a bit lazy or lax with doing our best, always; at least that was my “aha” realization as the bride’s words echoed in my ears.
Maybe it is a casualty of the busy, fast paced lives and the seemingly ever increasing focus on mastering the overrated skill of multi-tasking. Or because doing our best has been covered up by other stuff, guiding us at some level but not on the forefront of our minds, and thus, not with the intention to give life and breath to all that we do.
Hearing the bride say repeatedly she was doing her best made it easier for me to do the same, and to step into the mode of finding solutions, rather than assigning blame. The simple statement changed the whole dynamic. And yes, the wedding was beautiful, just as she had planned. A few small glitches because of the inexperienced, doing-her-best wedding coordinator who, if by chance, plays the role again, knows that her best will be better because of the experience.
Imagine, your life, your work place, our world if we all were living with the guiding agreement, always do your best on the forefront of our minds. Four simple words with infinite possibility. Embrace them.
What would be different in your life and the lives of those around you if you adopted the agreement always do your best?
Twice a day, make a point of checking in with yourself to reflect on your active commitment to always do your best.
Read/listen to The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz to learn more.
About Extra Ordinary Living
Janet began her coaching journey in January of 2004, leaving behind a satisfying career as a healthcare executive. Working first under the company name, Tiberius Enterprises, in January of 2007, Janet adopted the company name, Extra Ordinary Living, symbolizing her desire to work with people who defy the law of average and want to live extraordinary lives, consistently adding the extra to the ordinary. Her by-line embracing sustainable change is reflective of two intentions. First is to have the changes a client makes have long term positive implications. Second is to live a life that respects the importance of sustaining our planet’s lives for generations to follow.
As an Executive Coach, Janet’s intention is to assist service professionals and organizations to maximize their return on human capital….managing human behaviors for optimal outcomes. Janet has repeatedly found that an individual’s professional and personal satisfaction and happiness is often limited by their very own “human capital.” She loves working with people to identify and own their natural tendencies, abilities and talents; to recognize their limitations, and apply all in creating the life they have historically only dreamed about. As a professional coach, Janet is trained to listen, to observe and to customize her approach to match her client’s needs. She provides tools, support, structure and accountability to help her clients unleash their full potential and optimize results.
Having a coach herself for over four years, Janet has found the best thing about coaching is that it is all about you, the client, and what you want. A coach may share her opinion, and give you advice; however, it is all up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept. A coach suspends judgment, and supports you in your decisions.
With the coaching philosophy as her foundation, Janet is also an inspirational Professional Speaker. She has spoken at local, state and national conferences, providing the plenary session as well as more structured workshops. Her goal is to impart useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to assist her audiences in living extra ordinary lives. Janet always customizes her content to match her audience.
Interested in learning more? Please contact Janet by phone at 540-342-3040, email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website, www.4extraordinaryliving.com.
Janet Crawford MHA, MBA Professional Certified Coach
Extra Ordinary Living is written for aspiring individuals looking for new perspectives and ideas for living life differently by finding the Extra in the Ordinary.
"The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become."
- Harold Taylor
"Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by."
- John Sales
Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.
- John Wooden
Sustainable Living Tip: Back to School
‘Tis the time of year where the focus is on the beginning of the school year… some lamenting the end of the carefree summer days, and others ready for the structure the school day provides. Even though I no longer have school aged children, I still find I am full swing into the familiar routine of getting ready for the school year…
- Reviewing my schedule and making changes to prioritize activities and define my goals for the “last semester” of the year.
- Contemplating what I want to focus my learning on, intrigued by the myriad of possibilities available via the “open-education” movement. Check out MIT’s Open Course Ware…you too can be a student of MIT, free! Or tryout Academicearth.org for a variety of video lectures from ivy league professors.
- Cleaning out closets and drawers getting rid of those clothes that no longer fit or simply haven’t been worn for a year or more. Most of us and our family members have more seasonal clothes than there are days in the season simply hanging in the closet gathering dust or stuffing our drawers making them difficult to close. It’s a great time of year to put them to use through donation to a local charity remembering that for another, they are brand new. Perhaps providing one child his all important new outfit for the first day of school or providing a woman the professional suit she needs for her highly anticipated interview. Want some money back? Take them to one of the retail consignment shops. And always, make sure the clothes are clean, and barely worn.
What does all this have to do with sustainability… giving back; recycling; life-long learning; mindful living…back to school.
Extra Ordinary Living Updates:
I am entering the world of social networking. Would love to be your friend on Facebook and Twitter, JanetmCrawford; on Linkedin Janet Crawford, and will have a blog: www.4extraordinaryliving.