Why “Doing Your Best” Means Nothing (Seriously)
By Tim Moore
I did my best. I did the best that I could. I’m doing the best I can. Have you heard these phrases before? Have you used these phrases before? How did they make you feel? I have never heard a champion, winner or over-achiever ever use that phrase to describe their effort. What I have heard is losers, under-achievers and underperformers use it as a crutch for why they could not perform at a sufficient level…and that’s not ok. It could almost be synonymous with “I’m trying” (fast fact: hate that phrase too)
“Doing Your Best” (and all of its variants) is a way of justifying a lack of performance. As true as it may be, uttering that one phrase illustrates one thing; a lack of accountability. Take accountability for being under=trained and/or under-prepared.
How can it be better stated?
Instead of saying “I did my best” let’s shift our mindset to, “I need to work harder”. Sounds rough right? It’s hard to admit that your “best” isn’t good enough. I get it. But that’s the reality – and honestly, most people don’t know what their “best” is… and they may never know. Maybe they know their “best so far”, but not their “best” in the superlative context. Best is best seen at the end of the journey.
Tim Moore is a 4x startup founder, partner and sales & marketing consultant. He writes about leadership, startups, sales and marketing. Follow him on twitter here