Doing your best: what does it mean?

Want to get a new perspective on “always do your best”? It’s not just about meeting expectations.
This is Near Partner’s vision of achieving long-term success.

On the first week with Near Partner, everybody has a meeting with me. People usually don’t recall much from that meeting, except that it existed. But most will remember the 4 agreements I base our common relationship in:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take things personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

Although the other 3 are talked about from time to time, the last one, is the least considered: “Always do your best”. One of the reasons is because everyone has a very clear sense of what it means. And so, it seems very easy to follow. However, more often than not it is misinterpreted. It’s very often considered as an greenlight to under the par performance. It’s accepted as a guide to mediocrity. And it isn’t.

There’s a side of it that is about the limitations we might have. And many times, it’s used as an excuse for bad results: “The meeting went awfully. But, hey, I did my best!” However, the limitations are not the ones you find when you show up for whatever will measure the result. The limitations are the ones you have along the way, up to that day. “The time I had does not permit more.” But it’s not the time you had because you spent a long time at the beach or playing videogames. It’s the limitation although you put all the effort rationally acceptable.

Doing your best is all about making sure that when you show up, you do it with your best self. When we are saying “always do your best” we are expecting you do everything within the reasonable realm to be your best self. Shane Parrish put it very nicely the other day in Farnam Street: “Doing your best is about the position you find yourself in when you show up. Over the long term, the average person who constantly puts themselves in a good position beats the genius who finds themselves in a poor position. What looks like talent is often good positioning. And the best way to put yourself in a good position is with good preparation.”

If you want to learn more about how to achieve success by doing your best, check out the full post by Shane Parrish on Farnam Street. It takes only 5 minutes of your time and it’s packed with interesting insights.

And always do your best.

Pedro Veloso

I'm a serial entrepreneur and a (quasi-serial) father. I'm particularly fond of technology, solving problems and team culture, and my life lies at the intersection of those interests.