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When your best is just not good enough.

Woman sitting with her head in her hands on a podium for 2nd place in a race.

A few years ago, a very good friend of mine shared an ‘un-motivational’ meme of a runner sitting on a wall by the side of the track with his head in his heads. The caption read ‘when your best is just not good enough’. I think this is still my favourite meme and I quote it when things are not going well – a bit of black humour often entertains me.

I want to acknowledge that when on the journey of figuring out what to do next in life, it can feel like your best is just not good enough.

Whether you are on the periphery tentatively thinking about what it could be like to do something different, you’re in the middle of exploring, or you have decided what to do and are pursuing it, this is for you. 

Pick the stage that best describes where you are for some empathy, encouragement and prompts to help you keep moving forward. It’s a bit like those pick your own adventure novels…sort of. 

You haven’t started your journey, yet.

Congratulations for making it here. You are not alone, even if you feel that you are. It took me about 10 years from thinking I would like to do something different to taking action and making a concerted effort to understand myself better and what I really wanted to do.

I had some false starts, some great internal inspirational monologues and eventually realised I didn’t know how to really get going and not waste time. I felt frustrated, disappointed and reached for the chocolate, and reached for the chocolate again.

There was just so much I didn’t know, and I didn’t know how to find out what I didn’t know. When your best is just not good enough.

Yet here you are, soaking up information, observing, mulling things over and reading about some of my best approaches to help you start imagining how exploring what you want to do next in life might be like. This takes courage. It also takes time to make a decision to pursue something different, so my encouragement to you is to let it take as long as it needs to. You’ll know when you’re ready, even though you probably won’t feel ready. It is never too late. 

“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Your challenge:

  • What can you do this week to celebrate your courage?
  • What would it mean if you took the next step in your journey and began to do some of the approaches I share?
  • How do you need to support yourself as you step out?

You have begun to explore.

This makes me feel happy and excited. I want to pour all my enthusiasm into you and shout from the sidelines, giving you my most helpful hints, telling you where to go and what to do.

Then I remember I am getting carried away and this is your journey. As much as I want to celebrate with you, I also recognise that this is scary and challenging and growth (usually the unexpected kind) is to be found in this often difficult place.

You are riding on hope; but what if nothing comes of it and you’re left stuck with nowhere to go other than back? What if you can’t find what you really want to do? What if you find it but you can’t do it? What if you make the dreaded wrong decision? What if being here in this place of exploration is a complete waste of time? When your best is just not good enough.

Yet, here you are, bravely choosing to walk a new path – you’ve started and that is something to be proud of. You don’t necessarily know where your exploration will lead you but you know you want to find out how this ends. You have determination and guts even if it doesn’t feel like it. You may be fighting a lack of understanding from those around you. You may feel like you don’t fit expectations and you probably have questions about how this will all translate into reality. I encourage you to loosen your grip on finding answers and focus on enjoying the ride. The rest will come. 

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.’ Goethe 

Your challenge:

  • How can you enjoy the ride a little more?
  • What one thing can you do to be a cheerleader for yourself this week?
  • How can you stay in curiosity and exploration?

You are pursuing or testing out what you want to do next in life.

Woo hoo! You are on the front line, pioneering the way into the next chapter of your life – this is exciting, if not a little scary! I love hearing what’s happening in this stage; all the insights, self-discoveries, healing, increased confidence and positivity that is propelling you forward.

But I also acknowledge it’s tough. There’s a lot of work ahead, probably quite a bit you didn’t anticipate. You have pivoted, tweaked, tested, researched, reached out, settled for less – realised and re-grouped, wanted to give up, felt you’ve wasted your time, taken a less than satisfactory job to cover your financial needs, questioned your sanity and sometimes put your journey on hold. When your best is just not good enough.

Yet here you are, holding on, not giving up, knowing it takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. I think that’s worth celebrating. Consistency, chipping away, step by step – that’s how you will get to where you want to go. Don’t give up, instead just pause, stand back and allow yourself to reconnect with the big picture. Recognise where you can cut yourself some slack, or where you need to reapply some focus. I encourage you to play the long game – if you look back in 10 years’ time, what might you achieve if you can keep going?  You’re like a tanker ship turning 90 degrees.  It seems to take an age but keep going and you will make more headway than you realise. 

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.’ Mark Twain

Your challenge:

  • What is holding you back from taking that action you’ve been putting off?
  • What do you need that you’re not asking for or investing in, to support you?
  • Where do you need to let go so new ideas, ways to move forward, a new reframe of your situation can come in?

So now, put the kettle on or pour a glass of wine (depending on what time it is for you) and take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come and what can help you keep going as you pursue what you REALLY want to do next in life

Photo by unknown on Canva.