Every time I fail at something. Every time – I know I’ve not done my best. And I recognize that the principal reason for that failure is that I didn’t deliver my very best. Often we do alright but doing less than our best – and we live in a world so tolerate of mediocrity that everyone is stunned by excellence and accepting of second-rate. We accept it others. Why? Because we accept it in ourselves …
Who wants to be a second-best friend? A second-rate performer? Second-best boss? Second-best spouse? Second-best parent? Nobody.
I like this term – BEST EFFORTS. I often work it into agreements I draft for clients. Why? Because I want my client to be committed – and more importantly, I want the person or company on the other side of the agreement to be committed. And I want them to perform as they’ve committed ...
I find, almost always, people readily agree – or want the other party committed to that standard. But, lawyers want to soften that language or remove that term. Why? Because best efforts, contractually, are powerful words.
Most people know that most people don’t live up to those words most of the time. A sad truth. A regrettable one.
Best. We can all be. Best, at anything we want, but don’t we have to decide what we want to be best at? Do we need a plan – strategy, to focus our efforts?
Can we best at everything, seriously?
Of course not – but at everything we do, spend time on. Invest time on. Should we be less than our best? Close counts. Best efforts really show up. But do we?
When we do whatever we do for whoever we do it, what do we want – and why do we want it? Good questions. Answers don’t come when we stand centre-stage or in the heat of the moment – because those are our moments when we are doing our best, at our best and the value of everything we do is on parade, on display, doing good …
But what about other times?
I think it comes down to who we are thinking about. If we are thinking about ourselves, or the prize, our best efforts will likely be second-best. Or worse.
When we think about others, care about others, give ourselves to something other than and greater than ourselves, then our best is possible.
When we see ‘best efforts’ in others we see champions on fire in victory and winning medals. When we see best efforts we see great products, exemplary services and unforgettable experiences.
Say to someone, ‘you are the best’. Now, look in the mirror, say it again. Yes, best efforts require commitment. Caring. Work. Real efforts. Best.
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: -3C/27F, fantastically foggy and calm – amazingly refreshing; a quick walk because I have a breakfast meeting across the city, so Gusta had to settle for my promise of a ‘long walk this evening’
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