Is That Really Your Best?
Many of us grew up with parents who told us “just do your best” or coaches who would say the same thing. No one ever really took the time to dig deep and explain what the hell that even meant and how to apply that in our lives. Because of that many of us grew up experiencing failure far more often then necessary and also processing that failure as fatal loss. For many of us, doing our best all the time sounded like an impossible task, and still does. It’s something that’s completely unachievable. After all, who is on top of their freaking game 24/7?
The truth is we all want to achieve some type of approach that creates cycles of success in our lives, businesses and relationships, right? Right! Cycles of success create momentum. Cycles of success create a sense that we’re getting bigger, better and stronger in an effort to reach higher and higher. At the root of each of us is a desire to grow and contribute toward something meaningful. Those are our best moments!
Let’s Define Best
Most people get a bit tripped up by the word best. So, let’s make sure we’re using the right best. There are a gazillion different angles to evaluate and define what best is but for me, as I have learned it, there are four basic bests to consider. Only 1 of these 4 bests work for us, the other 3 work against us. Most people are using the 3 that work against us and use them like experts.
The Four Bests
- Comparative Best
- Legendary Best
- Fantasized Best
- Authentic Best
Let’s explore each of these so called bests a bit for greater clarity.
What is Comparative Best? Comparative Best is our personal best compared to someone else. Who is the best? Who is number one? This is not a best we want to use in our day-to-day, moment-to-moment approach. We have to make the best possible decisions for ourselves in the moment. If we’re always looking around, comparing ourselves to everyone else, we’re not focused on the here-and-now, we aren’t present. We’re not able to truly maximize our performance. Comparative Best can be a goal or an objective, but it’s not the best we want to use moment-to-moment. The failure rate when using Comparative Best can be extremely high. For example, if I have a customer service team of a 100 people, how many people can be the best? One. So, that means the success rate in my team using a Comparative Best formula is .1%, leaving a 99.9% failure rate.
To make things more difficult, to be Comparative Best may not even be achievable!
Another best for us to look at is the Legendary Best. This is each individual’s own personal best. This seems like a great best to rely on, right? It even sounds like one of Jordan Peterson’s twelve rules for life, but in reality, it’s not. It works like this, each day we want to do the best that we’ve ever done. The problem is, when we really look at it, how often will we really do the best we’ve ever done?
If we leave the house each day with a goal to do the best we’ve ever done, in a good year we’re going to succeed maybe once or twice a year. So, if you leave your house every day looking to do the Legendary Best you’ve ever done, once again, there’s a failure rate up around 99%. The point is, Legendary Best, is not an optimal best to use moment-to-moment, day-to-day. If you literally leave the house with a 1% chance of success, it’s hard to create cycles of success and momentum when you’re failing to do your best that often.
Now, let’s look at Fantasized Best. This one’s a huge trap as well. Fantasized Best is our vision of everything going right all the time. Unfortunately, that almost never happens. Maybe once in a blue moon everything comes together just right, and the planets all align perfectly.
But, life just doesn’t work that way a majority of the time. If we set ourselves up to want a Fantasized Best to happen, we will fail 99.99% of the time.
In order to reach true consistent peak performance, you need an approach that works all the time, in all circumstances. You need to create a true cycle of success. You need to have a best you can actually achieve. The best you want to use is called Authentic Best. Authentic Best is the best an individual can actually do in a particular circumstance, in a particular moment, with existing skills, ability, and environment. Authentic Best is achievable all the time. The rub is, most people use the other 3 bests and fail to focus on the one best that really works for everyone, every time. Authentic Best is constantly changing. It’s constantly evolving and is the best you want to focus on. When you focus on your Authentic Best, you will discover that you get consistently better in cycles – the cycle of success. In the beginning, you may only achieve your best 60%-70% of the time, but as you get better, you will achieve your best 90-95% of the time.
Using your Authentic Best, you define and achieve your best, but you do so based on reality, and not some unattainable pipe-dream. Not some legendary best—also known as Al Bundy syndrome. Why isn’t this team great? Because, it’s a different team, at a different time. You’re forgetting when that great team was developing and coming up. You’re comparing it to the Legendary Best, the team at its peak.
The key here is to focus on your Authentic Best. You want to achieve and do your Authentic Best each day, each moment.
At Sims Coaching & Consulting, we call the Authentic Best the Upekkhā tool. It’s a concept that grounds you securely in the here-and now and it’s the Buddhist concept of equanimity. Authentic Best forces you to focus on your best, right here, right now. With Best Actual, you can win the day, you can win the hour, and you can win the meeting by truly defining what the Authentic Best is for right here, right now. Authentic Best is a very powerful tool that helps you track toward and achieve your best possible future.
Applying your Authentic Best
Let’s unpack how to apply Authentic Best.
- Focus on using Authentic Best in taking on the key challenges you’ve identified.
- Define Authentic Best in the next hour, in the next day, in the next week, in the next month.
- Have you been using a version of your Comparative Best, Fantasized Best or Legendary Best?
- Really break down your key challenges in the next hour, in the next week, no matter the size of the challenge.
- Ask yourself, ―What does my Authentic Best look like in the real world?
One thing we have to remember: Authentic Best will also include your authentic worst. It includes your best days and your worst days. You can do your Authentic Best on your worst days. Actually, doing your Authentic Best on your worst days is how you can truly raise performance. Your authentic worst best will actually get better, and your best authentic best will get better, too. Always raise that bar! You need to focus on doing your best in all circumstances, easy or difficult.