What Does it Mean to “Do Your Best?”

It’s an interesting question to ask yourself what your best effort is? Is it giving 100% of your effort? 100% of the effort is different for many people. Does 100% of action have to be the threshold for doing one’s best in everything we do?

I always asked myself, when did I know I was doing my best?   Could I do more? Or was it enough what I was doing? I can provoke the ‘perfectionist,’ who never does her best.   Yet, there are times I’m satisfied, and maybe I could have done more, though it was ok to let it go and feel complete.

What is the meaning of doing your best?

Do as well as you can.   Doing one’s best does not mean perfection; instead, digging in and bringing whatever you can to complete what you are focused on.

Importance of doing your best

When you know you are doing your best, you have internal confirmation and don’t necessarily need to rely on external validation.   You focus on what is vital in achieving your goal and put your energies into doing it.

Today is all you have. Don’t worry about tomorrow.
Just do the best you can right now. One day, one moment at a time
― Akiroq Brost

Questions to ask yourself “have I’ve done my best?”

As we journey through our lives, we face “doing our best” either by internal or external evaluation, and I think it’s important to know what doing one’s best is and how to do it.

If you are unsure what doing your best looks like, start by answering some of the following questions. It’s essential to know our strengths and areas we are not so strong because doing your best will be different?

  • What is the most important thing or focus in your life? During our lives, our intentions can be different. Various roles we are involved in — Work, family, friendships, creativity, health, or order can be our primary focus. We can’t be 100% in all areas of our lives, so we need to know the core attention in our lives.
  • What are your strengths? For example, organizing, brainstorming, writing, art, or coaching. The list is long, so think about what you do naturally, enjoy working on, and others may comment on your strength.
  • What areas are you not so strong in? For example, maybe written communication, and your best is so-so.
  • What areas of your life could you learn more about to gain more knowledge and strength?
  • What drains you to do? Gather this information to know about yourself, as you have a choice to outsource to someone else, learn more to reduce the stress, or accept that, if you must do it, then realize your best is limited.
  • What areas are just not important to you? Here your interest is low, so you will not put forth a great deal of effort. For example, you are organizing your living environment. Maybe you can live with a bit of clutter, and when it gets too much, you bring it back to your comfort level. In the same situation, for someone else, reducing clutter is essential. Know yourself.

The attitude of “don’t give up”

Not giving up on a project that is important to you is a gift you give yourself. Doing our best is not about performing; it’s about honoring who we are, what is essential, and that we are worthy of giving our efforts towards it.

Can one fail when doing their best?

If you had the intention to succeed in what you were doing, and you showed up and dug deep and did your best, and were not happy about the results, you could use it as a learning experience and go forward in creating a better solution for yourself.

Reaching out to others

When you focus on doing your best, you can reach out to others to gather their input to incorporate it into your efforts.

When is doing ok, enough at that time?

Doing ok can be worthwhile in some situations. Maybe you have a health challenge, and you show as best as you can at the moment.   Also, we don’t love everything we have to do, so doing ok is good enough if it’s not critical to our well-being.

When does “try” replace doing your best?

I have a ‘thing” about the word ‘try.” I’ve used it and see others freely using it when we didn’t really “try” that hard. Try is a confusing word to use. What do I mean by that?

  • How often do we say, “I tried,” when our efforts were casual, and we know deep down we didn’t give it our best?
  • Then we try to do something and realize that it isn’t something we want to do, and we say, “I tried..”
  • Then there are times we tried and gave it our best, and it either worked out or didn’t go in the direction we expected.

It’s meaningful to be aware when we use “try.” It would help you be honest with yourself. Did you put in the effort, or dally a little, and give up?

A healthy dose of self-compassion

I’m a believer that self-compassion is our best buddy in life.

It’s our true internal friend. Reach out to this friend whenever you judge your performance. Self-compassion will help you discern what is essential and what you can release and embrace your worthiness.

Your Thoughts

What does doing your best look like for you?   Are you clear about what matters to you and where you need to put your energies?   Share with others how you evaluate doing your best.

Women’s Group Topic

I think women tend to gravitate towards perfection and judge themselves harshly when they don’t meet their expectations.   Discussing what is genuinely doing one’s best, with loving awareness, can be supportive to all women in the group.

Be well,

“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(Pat Brill)


Other Topics You May Be Interested In
The Stress Quartet
How to Live with “Not Knowing”
Do You Take the Time to Listen to Yourself?



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