“Always do your best!” We hear this phrase all the time! We know that it’s true; it’s what people expect. Our culture is built on the concept of excellence, so why would you ever do anything less?
I’ll tell you why. Because sometimes your worst is all you have to give. The right time to do your absolute worst is when you’re starting out; when you’re a beginner; when you’re learning and when you’re risking it all for something more.
Let’s look at each of these situations and I’ll explain why less than your best is not only okay, it’s necessary:
Thousands of people every day will not even begin what they want to do in life because they’ve compared where they’re at now with people who have already “made it.” They can’t really see the space between what they can do as potential. They only see it as less than those who are already in the game. Consequently, they allow “less than best” results to stop them in their tracks. But when we’re just starting out, it’s completely okay to perform at a less than best level. Starting at zero gets our wheels in motion. We can pick up speed later, but only if we’re willing to be awful first.
Being a beginner:
Beginners need the freedom to make mistakes. Without that freedom, they get too stymied by their fears and don’t feel comfortable trying. If you don’t begin with your worst, you’ll never know what your best can actually be. Your willingness to hang out with the big kids who are far better and not get caught up in comparing yourself out of the game is what separates those who succeed from those who just wish they could.
Along with being a beginner, we learn by trial and error. Some things we do are going to hit a homerun and other things will likely go afoul. We won’t know what works and what doesn’t without navigating the learning curve. No one becomes an expert or champion at anything without throwing a few foul balls. Oftentimes we only see the end product of what someone has been developing for years. We need realistic expectations for what it takes to “get good.” Otherwise we’ll assume that success comes from luck. When in reality, most successful people have spent years honing their product, skill, or craft. Everyone has talent, but only a few people will actually believe in their highest potential enough to master the talent they’ve been blessed with.
Risking it all:
We’re inclined to wait to put our message out there until it’s perfect. No one wants to look dumb when we’re trying to create something that matters. But waiting until later is the same as never going for it at all. We have to take risks with our early work and put it out into the world, then prepare ourselves for the feedback, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We will get better, improve and get to the top of our game faster if we’re willing to risk it all – show people our worst (which by the way, tends to be better than a lot of people’s nothing).
Looking back at the posts I wrote early in my blogging career, I’m amazed that anyone ever read them at all! They were too long, wordy, and full of errors – my worst work. But those blogs got me going. While writing them I built confidence and skill over time. By putting them out into the world, I learned what readers like and what they don’t. And, I’m still learning… about SEO, titles, keywords and optimization. I’ll probably look back on this blog one day thinking it could have been so much better!
Real excellence comes from giving our heart and soul to what we’re doing. That’s the best we’ve got, even when it might be the worst we’ll ever be at what we’re doing.