You’re doing the best you can
You’re doing the best you can. We need to hear it and we need to mean it and we need to say it to ourselves and people around us. Let’s add some grace to cushion the hard edges of life. Stick around. We’ll talk more about why this matters.
Hey, I’m glad you’re here. This is episode 7. And I want to say this as much as possible.
You, yes you, are doing the best you can.
I love this thought.
Here’s where it popped up for me in particular this week.
One of my sisters has 2 pugs. Oh my gosh, they’re so cute!
One is 5 years old, maybe 5 and a half, and the other is a 6 month old puppy.
She’s so cute!
My sister’s walking them down the street the other day, not in the street, they were on the sidewalk. Kind of a challenge because little miss puppy has lots of energy.
Her little body isn’t quite big enough to contain all of her personality and she hasn’t quite mastered walking sedately at the end of a leash.
But here they are walking along.
And these two ladies stop and they want to chat with my sister and admire the dogs because, oh my gosh ya’ll, PUGS.
They’re so cute with their little smooshy faces.
Now the older dog sat down like the proper little lady pug she is and she just soaked in their admiration. They’re petting her and loving her and she’s just being nice and calm.
But the puppy? Lord have mercy, she’s bouncing up and down like a miniature Tigger going boing, boing, boing, boing, boing.
And one of the ladies asked, “So how old is she?”
My sister said, “She’s 6 months old.”
And the lady said, “Oh, she’s just doing the best she can.”
How often do we need to hear that?
You’re doing the best you can.
Now here in the south, y’all know sometimes we’re gonna put a “bless her heart’ right on the end of that. Maybe we don’t say it but we usually think it.
And how we mean that “bless your heart” really just depends on the situation and whether we are actually hoping your heart will be blessed or we may be thinking somebody just needs to jerk a knot in you. But anyway, bless my heart, I digress.
It’s true. Many of us at any given time are just doing the best we can.
And we don’t give ourselves credit for it.
Is what we’re doing perfect? Probably not.
Will it move us closer to what we want? Maybe. I don’t know exactly what you’re doing so we’ll say maybe.
Is it the best we can do? Let’s go with that.
You know you get to decide what matters to you and how to do the best you can.
Your best is NOT some fixed standard.
It varies with your skills and your abilities and your energy and the circumstance and if you’ve gotten enough rest and did you get food and did you have a fight with your spouse and what’s your mood like and your hormones.. you get it?
Your BEST depends on all kinds of things.
So to do the best you can with what you have- that’s a worthy goal.
There are a couple of popular sayings that disagree with this here.
So let’s talk about them.
Here’s the first one- ‘anything worth doing is worth doing well.’
And the second one is ‘How you do anything is how you do everything.’
Well, I think this type of thinking does more harm than good.
It’s perfectionistic and I know a thing or two about perfectionistic thinking.
It’s black and white and It’s not real life.
This kind of thinking doesn’t leave room for learning,
And there’s certainly no room for failing and failing is a great way to learn and failing forward is
pretty much a requirement for success.
How else are you going to learn things?
That kind of thinking also doesn’t take into account the ebb and flow of energy, and the degree that something MATTERS to you.
It doesn’t take into account circumstances that are out of our control.
Now I don’t make a grocery list with the same attention to detail that I do when I write a blog.
They’re both words on a page.
I do it differently.
Is it worth doing? I need my grocery list. As long as I can read it or kinda even remember what I want, the list doesn’t matter nearly as much.
The all or nothing, the black and white thinking STOPS US IN OUR TRACKS.
It’s a recipe for ulcers and anxiety and never measuring up and not going after those impossible-type goals, the BIG goals. You know the Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
We’re not willing to show up as a learner instead of an expert when we have that all or nothing thinking.
Perfectionist thinking convinces us that doing a little bit- it won’t even matter.
That doing our best AT THE TIME even though it may not be our VERY BEST isn’t good enough.
Here’s what I think.
The biggest difference in life- it’s not the difference between doing a little and doing a lot.
The biggest difference in life is between doing SOMETHING and doing NOTHING.
And doing something that may or may not be THE best, but it’s our best at the time-
Oh, that’s everything.
The hardest part is getting into motion.
Where even a small change, a small step can propel you into bigger change, into bigger action.
You know Newton’s Law of Motion-
A body at rest tends to remain at rest.
A body in motion tends to remain in motion
unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
The gist of it here, in rest you’re gonna be in rest. In motion? Ooh, gets you all kinds of motion.
It’s the same in life. It works in life as it does in physics.
Exert the initial effort to stop or start something.
The initial exertion- it takes a lot of effort.
Then it gets easier.
We tend to think all steps are equal measures and need equal energy and equal effort.
That’s not how it works.
The first steps are the hardest.
Now one of my friends, Karen, she’s a coach.
She was asking me the other day how my podcast creating was going.
She knows this is a big project for me.
And truthfully, it’s a little surprising to me that I’m actually enjoying the whole process.
Some things I’m doing are okay and some aren’t where I want them to be and some are pretty good.
And part of why Karen knows to ask this of me – it’s not just because she’s a good friend and cares- she knows that I am a recovering, sometimes relapsing, perfectionist.
She understands that in the depths of my being, I want it all to be perfect.
And that will never, ever happen except in my dreams.
But if I honestly 100% believed that “anything worth doing is worth doing well”, I would still be back debating what I should name my podcast.
Let’s look at this in a little more detail.
When we look at our thoughts, feelings and actions. They’re all related.
If I’d started my podcast thinking that how I do anything is how I do everything, you know how I’d feel? I’d feel a lot of things, oh, a LOT of things, not many of them good.
The first thing that comes to mind- I’d feel PRESSURED.
Pressured to be perfect, to get it all exactly right especially because I’m doing this in front of people in the public eye. I don’t want to make any mistakes.
And you know what I do when I feel pressured?
I don’t take action.
Maybe you’re like that too. A lot of us are. We shut down.
We look for OTHER things to do that we feel comfortable doing – you may hear that called buffering- we buffer. We want to make ourselves feel better.
I start thinking thoughts like “That’s too hard. I don’t know how to do that right yet so it’s better not to do it at all.”
And it’s simply too hard to move forward.
It’s hard to get my brain focused on what matters when I’m concerned about trying to maintain this unattainable level of perfection that’s just not in my grasp.
When you’re beginning a project or learning a skill or if you’re somebody who is under stress, I think the all or nothing, the how I do anything is how I do everything is harmful.
It’s a thought that closes you off and shuts you down instead of a thought that opens you and sets you up for action and gives you the beginnings of the cycle of positive energy and positive thinking and a good feedback loop there.
I purposefully chose when I first began working on my podcast , I chose to think thoughts like this.
I am going to ENJOY the process of creating a podcast.
It’s a process.
I’ll do the best I can but DONE BEATS PERFECT.
And y’all I have chanted that over and over so many different times- done beats perfect!
And another thought, I’ll make small adjustments each week.
Every time I do it, I’ll make another adjustment.
I chose to think “I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got and what I know.”
And now I’m seven episodes in instead of still going “well, maybe I should name it this. Let me check.”
Now I’m going to add a caveat here too.
I’m doing the best I can is a good thought to have as long as you’re not using it as an excuse.
Ah well, you know, I’ll just do whatever because I’m just doing the best I can.
Don’t use it as an excuse.
When you use it as a gracious embrace of your life, of who you are and what you’re doing.
DO WHAT YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE WHERE YOU ARE.
It’s Maya Angelou who says what is it? Do the best you can and when you know better, do better. I might have messed it up a little bit but I know the end of it is when you know better, do better.
There ya go.
The other thing I’ve found is that sometimes it’s more about trusting the PROCESS,
Putting one foot in front of the other,
Being consistently persistent as you work towards a goal
knowing that you’re doing the best you can in your current situation with the knowledge, and the resources and the energy that you currently have available.
Being in integrity with yourself.
Ah, this is a big one.
Knowing that you can trust yourself to do your best whatever that looks like at the time.
You can be in integrity and have grace for yourself.
That’s a good thought to end on.
Be in integrity with yourself and have grace.
Try that on this week.
Now, go live, love, make some money and change the world.