Quest for Your Best Effort
“Three pushes to find your best effort.”
“I need your best effort.”
“Give your best effort for 20 seconds.”
These are phrases you hear a lot if you come to my (or anyone else’s) classes—it’s a pretty common phrase in the fitness world. But do you know what it really means? Do you even know what your best effort is? If not—that’s okay, because you don’t have ONE best effort. In fact, your best effort changes every day—maybe even every hour. Sleep, stress, and a variety of external factors play a major role in how good your best can be.
Every day we are presented with obstacles and situations that demand us to evaluate information and make choices. That information can be factually based, or viewed from the lens of personal experience, but every one of us has a wellspring of knowledge to draw from in any given situation. Do we always make the right choice? Maybe not. But does that mean it wasn’t the best choice? Also no—at least not in that moment using what information was available. You can second guess yourself to death, but In the words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better—do better!”
The same holds true for effort. We all use the tools we have to do the best we can. Some days we are on fire, nailing a presentation at work, getting a well-balanced meal on the table, and setting a PR at the gym. Other days, our best effort looks like simply getting out of bed. On the surface, one of those days looks like a HUGE success while the other—not so much. But the reality is that they BOTH count in the “win” column if 100% effort was made. So to rephrase that famous Ms. Angelou quote, “Do you the best you can until you FEEL better. When you feel better—do better!”
The quickest way to derail ANY effort is to fall into the trap of comparison. That is why it is important NOT to measure today’s best effort against anyone else’s---or against the effort you were able to give yesterday. Measure it against where you are right now. Are you getting over an illness? Did you skip breakfast this morning? Are you in the middle of a personal crises that is draining you emotionally? Meet yourself where you are and give 100% of whatever you have to offer that day. Celebrate your successes and understand that even if your best effort feels "less than" in your mind, it is always better than giving nothing.
So the next time you hear me or someone else ask you the question, “Are you giving your best effort?” check in with your body, check in with your mind, check in with your soul—and then adjust accordingly. If you can give a little more—do it! And if you're there---own it! Don't worry about what other people are doing--they don't have the same owner's manual that you do. Keep your focus on you and hold your head high, knowing that if in that moment, you are giving everything you are capable of giving, then THAT is your best effort and it--and you--are enough.