Monday, April 18, 2011

Relationship Tip - Doing Your Best

In most instances in my life, I give all that I've got. I was raised with a mid-western work ethic, and I've chosen to fill my life with people and responsibilities that inspire me.

Nonetheless, there's a voice within me that says it's never enough. I should be doing more, doing better, seeing greater results, accomplishing more... I could go on. As soon as I get really clear that one of these is a lie, another version pops up to say, "But what about...?"

These are the moments when I cheat myself of the success I've achieved, of who I am for people and the difference that I make in their lives. And in those moments, it helps me to remember that no matter the outward appearance, I'm doing my best.

For example, perhaps I need to have a difficult conversation with someone. I've known this for a week or more. I've scheduled and postponed it repeatedly, and now my inner critic has lots of 'proof' that I'm weak, lazy and a coward. And yet, I'm doing my best.

How is that possibly my best, you might ask? I only need to pick up the phone, dial, and talk. Well, here's the key -
my best is judged not only by the actions I take, but by the conditions in which I face them.

It takes courage and strength to deal with our internal critics. Resistance shows up, and at times it feels damn near overwhelming. Past experiences, criticisms, perceived failures and false beliefs rear their heads and try to convince us that taking action will be the death of us! It's much safer to remain immobile.

Getting anything accomplished in this internal environment often takes either a great act of will, the clarity of purpose to act
despite apparent risks, or a facility with transformation. Some people can make this shift in mere minutes, others in hours. For some, it may take weeks, months, or years. Nonetheless, I choose to believe, no matter the outward signs of success or lack there of, that we always do our best.

Sure, this gives me some mental freedom, but it makes the greatest difference in my life when I apply it to others.

Perhaps my co-worker is constantly late for work, complains about almost everything, and often leaves tasks undone. I've seen her slam dunk this job and I know that she could perform much better! In this moment, I must remember that she
is doing her best.

I have no idea what's truly going on in the rest of her life, what she may be facing with her family or friends, with her community, and most of all - within her own mind and heart. At this time in her life, it may be the best that she can do to be present each day, even if she arrives late; to speak at all, even if she complains; to undertake the tasks she's been assigned, even if she lacks completion.

Is this true? Who knows. Does it excuse her from a level of execution that's below her job requirements? No, and she'll face the consequences with our boss. Business is business. Does it allow me to have a measure of compassion for her?
Yes, and that is what makes a difference for us both.

Compassion does not mean excuse - I still need to make that phone call. And yet, if I can be compassionate with myself, and with the person on the other end of the phone, there is a greater likelihood that my resistance will shift, and so will my results.

So be compassionate with those in your lives, and especially with yourselves. You're all doing your best.

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved -

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