I ended up with a delayed flight at the airport with Laine Joelson Cohen and Charlene Li. We and had an amazing conversation, reliving and processing the whole weekend. I’m not sure how we got on the topic, did you do your best? But somehow, it might have been my mommy braggy moment sharing about my kids for how well they did on the ACT exam. I said that I that I struggled a little bit, even though they did well, they didn’t try that hard the first time they each took it.
And that had they gotten that score with a lot of effort, I would have been jumping through the moon. I asked them if they felt they put in the right amount of effort, did what you could do and do your best?
Charlene shared that is something she asks her daughter frequently, “Did you do your best?” At first I kind of bristled at the word best. Because as a high strung human (myself) raising another high strung human, there’s always more you could do. It’s never enough. But as we evolved, and as we kind of dug into what that meant, I actually really liked it, because best could be had I done my best and the best being defined by what was the right amount for me. What was a balanced amount that I felt I put in effort without stressing myself out. Or, I put in the relative amount of effort related to the relative importance that it held for me, my company, my colleagues.
It’s not just about the words, but the framing of the words to create the meaning. I think having a question that makes you understand how to say when enough is enough and how to feel good about your level of effort is a great thing to ask yourself so that you can find that feel good satisfied feeling that for us high strung humans, it’s hard to access.
How do you define doing your best?