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Stop Doing Your Best

When was the last time you were asked, "Did you do your best?" Or maybe you consoled yourself with, "At least I did my best."? I think it's a pretty common sentiment whether at work or play. Doing one's best seems like the benchmark of good and faithful work.

Yet is it really the question we ought to ask? Who defines what "best" is? I believe trying to do our best is a fool’s errand – a fruitless undertaking. In my blog post, “What Do You Expect?” I wrote:

If the expectation is to do one’s best then there is nothing to celebrate when we achieve our goal! We did our best - that’s what was expected. If we admit to not doing our best then we experience shame in addition to disappointment.

Additionally, when we feel we have done our best and fail to achieve our goal we console ourselves saying we did our best. But who likes to admit that their best wasn’t good enough? Does saying we've done our best serve as a tonic for our ego and shut down reflection on our experience?

I think we can find a more effective evaluation tool.

Don’t Follow Your Passion Either

In my quest for a better question I considered passion's role in motivating us to perform at our peak. I love hearing a person share their passion, whether I find the topic interesting or not! Their passion is energizing. So is a better question, "Did I work with passion?"