“Do your best.” I’ve received that advice so many times and for so long that I can’t remember when I first heard it or who I heard it from.
It’s not bad advice as far as it goes, it just doesn’t go far enough. If I were to advise you to “do your best” I would also advise you to have someone in your life to tell you if you’ve really done your best.
That’s because most people, myself included, often tell themselves they have put forth their best effort when they haven’t. They make compromises, they make excuses, they even flat-out lie to themselves.
If anyone is going to consistently do their best then they need someone in their life to hold them accountable. They need someone in their life to warn them away from compromises, excuses and telling themselves they did their best when they really could have done more.
That person is most likely a mentor. It could be a close friend, a family member, a co-worker or maybe even someone you pay, like a certified coach perhaps. Whoever it is you must trust that this person has your best interests in mind. They must be confident enough to be truthful with you and you must be confident enough to listen to them.
Sometimes your best effort won’t be good enough to accomplish what you want. Do your best anyway and do it again next time and the time after that too.
You deserve your best effort and you must be honest with yourself to get it. It also helps if you have someone close by to verify your honesty. When you do your best you may not always win but you will always be a winner.
You may find this hard to believe but in my experience the ultimate outcome matters less over time. The sting of defeat lessens over time but the disappointment in yourself for giving less than your best effort can actually grow with time. Don’t do that to yourself, always do your best and if that’s not good enough for someone else then that’s their problem, not yours.