Since we only have one crack at this life, it seems strange that so many people are willing to settle for a mediocre existence.
Are you one of those people?
With an overabundance of commitments and no real clarity about what matters most, it’s easy to slip into a habit of just doing what needs to get done next on the to-do list. Time flies by and you become content with okay, average, or so-so. It’s true that you get the life you settle for. Why not settle for something more?
Not perfection, but excellence.
Your personal best is about reaching for your own level of excellence. It requires knowing the difference between those tasks that are important and those which can get less of your attention. It’s about giving the best effort you have on any given day, knowing that some days you have more time and energy than on others. Your personal best reflects a clear set of values and priorities. It’s a commitment that honors quality instead of quantity.
Here are some ways to do your personal best:
Align your actions and values.
When you are clear about what truly matters to you, you are better able to consciously choose actions that reflect those values. Think about the past week. Did you spend most of your time on the things that matter most? If not, make a list of the most important things in your life. Then write down the actions that reflect those values. Schedule those activities first before other less important things.
Choose fewer things to excel at.
You can’t do everything all the time. When you try to spread yourself too thin, you are more tempted to say, “That will do.” especially on things that really matter. Pay attention to those things that tend to use up your time and decide whether they reflect what’s most important. Decide where you want to be average and where you want to be excellent. Excellent or average… parent? housekeeper? health?
Raise the bar for yourself.
Cartoonist Charles Schultz once said that life is like a ten speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use. On things that are really important, do you settle for less than your best effort? Do you find yourself complaining that it’s too hard? If something is a core value for you, its time to suck it up and require more of yourself. Choose one thing and stop letting yourself off the hook with it.
Focus your attention on the task at hand.
Multitasking is a fast track to mediocrity. Do one thing at a time and do it well. When you focus your energy and attention, you will likely do things more efficiently and effectively.
If you want to be able to focus your attention and effort on the things that are most important to you, you have to begin to create some boundaries. Learn to say no more often. Say no to requests that will take you away from your primary focus. Ask yourself whether what you are doing is the most effective use of your time? If no, raise the bar for yourself!