The Key to Always Doing Your Best

How do you find that place between your best and good enough? Experiment! This process is both an art and a science. Try different things in different ways and feel your way to it. That place is like a moving target, changing all the time. Know that your best varies.

Think of dinner. You’re having guests over. You find the perfect Iron Chef recipe, carefully select the ingredients, and meticulously prepare it. You know it’s the best you’ve ever done. Does that mean that since you raised the bar, every meal you make has to be that good? Or can your best be any meal that nourishes the body and was made with love? Can it even be a bag of take out as you run to a class/meeting/movie? Who gets to say?

That’s what I love about yoga. It’s not trial and error; it’s exploration and discovery. Allowing your best to vary according to the present circumstances keeps life fluid and dynamic and full of possibilities. Remembering how you opened to triangle pose last week doesn’t take into consideration last night’s rest, today’s digestion, or your current mood. Even if you’ve done triangle pose a thousand times before, the you that may do it today has not.

If we found our “best” and locked it in so we always met that minimum standard, we couldn’t do worse but we also couldn’t do better. Or different. When in doubt, ask this question: What does this moment require of me? Your own inner wisdom will recognize the answer and your body will feel at ease.

Regarding the guilt of less than perfect, yikes! Of course there are times when we just drop the ball. But sometimes it’s our need to control the Universe that triggers a thought like “I didn’t do it perfectly,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I failed.” There’s a faith practice that says “My best is always just right,” whatever that is in the moment. It doesn’t mean that everything has a successful outcome; it can mean disaster! Guilt comes from the belief that you did something wrong, not mediocre.

Back to possibilities… It’s these disasters that disrupt our rhythm to draw our attention to something that needs to change. And it’s all in service to our Soul while we’re at it. If you’re continually late to appointments, you can feel guilty; you can create a more timely solution; or you can quit beating yourself up for it because the way it is right now just happens to be late.

Instead of thinking of it as “trial and error,” think of it as “trial and trial.” This way, you honor the process of life and allow it to unfold spontaneously. Instead of “the best is yet to come,” try on “this is the best of now.” It fits better.