Do You Really Need to Do Your Best?

6-be careful about how you define

“1st Olympics–4th Olympic medal (3 gold and 1 bronze) Y’all aight out there? bc Im more than happy!”  – Simone Biles tweet

Leave it to a young person to remind us all what “doing your best” is all about. The girl who America hoped would come home with five medals–did–but not all gold. Yet, a golden attitude.  She would probably say she “did her best” and I–for one–am proud of her.

“All I expect is for your to do your best.”

Did you ever hear that growing up? Do you hear it now from bosses and clients?

How do you know if you’ve really done your best on that project? How do you measure effort? By sales figures? Time spent? Money made? A grade received? Top awards in your industry?

One of the challenges I’ve faced in my small business is determining what “doing my best” means. In more concrete terms, since one of the primary goals of being in a business is to make a living, what level of financial success I should be shooting for?

In this season of life and for the foreseeable future, we have chosen for me to pursue my own business exclusively, without supplemental employment elsewhere (unless a clear opportunity presents itself.) In part, this is a lifestyle decision, not just a financial one. The fact is–pursuing other forms of employment could actually mean a better “bottom line” for us, but it would come at the cost of reduced flexibility, less time to pursue non-business goals, and a possible level of stress that doesn’t align with our current season as early empty-nesters.

But being an achiever type, it’s hard for me to just flow with my business and not have some type of goal. Are there ways achievers and goal setters can keep from driving themselves crazy or getting disheartened by less-than-hoped-for results? I think so.  It means thinking less about “doing my best” and more about establishing reasonable goals as baseline minimums to meet the needs of the lifestyle we’ve chosen.

Now (especially clients) don’t panic–this doesn’t mean I intend to “slide” in my work. It does mean that instead of the conventional wisdom of having stretch goals, I am choosing to plan time to serve clients well and to reach a sensible income goal each month, while also hoping that over time, my steady investment into my business income streams will naturally bring additional increase.

Working toward a balanced perspective is really a form of doing your best. “Best” is subjective. It’s important to understand what “best” truly means to you, your clients, and your boss (even if your boss is yourself.) You may be surprised what you uncover by taking some time to think this through and discuss it with those close to you who may be affected (i.e. business partner or team, spouse, kids.)

For some, “best” might be a certain amount of revenue. For others, a certain amount of time each week spent on the job while also having time for other interests. Some customers may think your best is to be available to them 24/7, while others may respect that your best has boundaries. Be careful about how you define what “doing your best” means. Make sure it aligns with your values, capabilities, and personal/family needs. And above all, remember that doing your best is not just about money.

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