Show up, do the work, give your best

I am no longer part of the young crowd. Haven’t been there for quite some time. I’m not exactly part of the old crowd yet but I am closing in on them. Let’s just say I am getting nearer to the old generation and more removed from the younger. Which means I have had time to learn a lesson or two and I am going to share one lesson learned now. It also means I am young enough to know this will probably fall flat and not be received. But I’m going to share anyway. After all this time on this planet, here is my one piece of advice: show up, do the work, give your best.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? It also sounds like I haven’t put much thought into it. All these times around the sun and that’s the best I have to offer? Not very helpful. But when I say give your best, I realize two important criteria.

Your best is not static

Your best is not some fixed standard. It actually changes day to day. Some days your best may have you rivaling Michelangelo’s best day working on the Sistine Chapel. Other days you’re going to be lucky not to end up on the People of Walmart website. Don’t be too hard on yourself when judging your best. Be realistic. Do your best each day. I would venture to guess you’re going to know what your best is that day by mid-morning. In other words, use a new measuring stick each day. Don’t measure today by yesterday’s standards. But show up, do the work, give your best.

Your best may not be good enough

Unfortunately, just because you do your best doesn’t mean you are going to always succeed. The cold hard fact is sometimes your best just isn’t good enough when competing by the world’s standards. That’s okay. If you are doing your best it doesn’t mean you fail it means you are learning. Not everything is going to be a good fit. Not everything needs to be. All you can do is to give your all and let the cards fall where they may.

It’s not easy to do your best and fall short. I wish I had some secret formula to help with that but I don’t. All I can say is sometimes it is going to hurt. But the hurt reminds you you’re alive. You get to practice. Either your best will get better or it won’t. But you need to put in the effort. Show up, do the work, give your best.

The point is, if you want to live without regrets at the end of your life or more specifically at the end of the day do your best. Give your best. Try your best. Whatever that looks like for the day. Just do it. Participate. The next day go at it again. That’s the blessing of being alive. We get all these practice days. So show up, do the work, give your best.

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