“Do your Best” – what does this really mean?


“Do your best”. Now that’s a nice encouragement. When someone says that to you, how does it make you feel?

Do you feel encouraged to try that bit harder? OR is it just ho-humsville to you?

“Do your best” has been a common phrasing for many a year now.

However for me,  this also beckons the question, a bigger question … “What is your best?”

Your best ‘ can be a motivational tool, really urging you along to put extra effort in and improve your “P.B” … At least that’s the philosophy behind my usage of this phrase.

Your best ‘ can also be a cop out … “well at least I tried my best” is a phrase I’ve heard countless times, usually given with a shrug of the shoulders.

We now have a dilemma of sorts. How can ‘your best’ be a standard bearer of great effort … and at other times, just a token achievement?

I believe that this largely comes down to attitude.Turn Up Tune In

In the second example [with shrug of shoulders], doing your best may be construed as just that [well done by the way, if it was] or  a resignation that trying harder just wasn’t going to happen.

It was simply an excuse for lack of best effort. The effort may have been there however it wasn’t best effort. “Can’t you see that I’m only trying my best?” is the inference. [Please see it].

Doing your best is the attitude of making your effort the best possible effort. It’s the attitude of working toward that extra 1% performance that will make a difference.

Doing your best is not going to have you “win” every situation. Life is not like that.

Others will also be doing their best and it may just be better than you at any given time.

However, doing your best  is not about winning per se. It’s about positioning yourself to do better again … and again.

Keep on trying. Self improvement. Confidence. Self Belief. Self Leadership. Motivation. Inspiration. Congratulations.

My formula for Doing your best is simply this:

turning up

tuning in

taking Aim

and shooting True

Turn up

You have to be in the frame or in the game in the first place. Be ready to play.

Tune in

Be present in the environment in which you are operating. Be ready attitude wise. Be ready to play.

Take Aim

Always be prepared to shoot when it’s necessary [time is right]. Preparation. Concentration. Be ready to play.

Shoot true

Avoid distractions. Focus on your “goal”. Let the self belief, self confidence, Motivation and Inspiration flow. Simply do your best possible in the circumstances.

What say You? Is doing your best satisfaction enough for you? Do you have to win? Do you offer excuses for not doing your best?

I’d love to hear.

#This post was refreshed February 17 2015

Be good to yourself


Motivator. Life Coach. Listener. 

Search #DavidLifeCoach to find my Social Media postings

If you are looking for some solutions in your Life or know someone who is, get in touch with me right away… I will be delighted to help … because that’s what I do



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  • Victor June 13, 2013, 3:50 am


    You make a good point. Does just saying “do your best” really do anything to motivate someone? Sometimes in the workplace we like to say that, but with no goals or measurables, are we doing our best work? You’re right — it’s all about attitude.

    I really liked the “tune in” recommendation. If we’re not present and tuned in to what is going on, we miss out on an opportunity to perform to the best of our ability.

    Great message, and good points all around. Thanks David!

    • David Stevens June 13, 2013, 4:24 am

      Hi Victor,
      Thankyou for taking your time to contribute. Keep tuning in with the right attitude … that certainly helps you to do your best. Appreciate your comment.
      Be good to yourself

  • Elle June 13, 2013, 7:42 pm

    Great tips David. Like the turn up and tune in perspective, it resonates with me. Nicely done.


    • David Stevens June 13, 2013, 10:12 pm

      Thank You Elle … much appreciated.
      Be good to yourself

  • AJen June 13, 2013, 10:46 pm

    What a timely message for me to receive. Doing one’s best has a lot to do with holding the attitude that the best is only given for that moment in time. 20 minutes from then… an hour… a day… or even a month later perhaps, we may have an opportunity to do even better than before. For me it takes a great level of detachment from “the outcome” to truly understand this. Thank you for sharing.

    • David Stevens June 14, 2013, 12:12 am

      Hi AJen,
      Thank You for being here. I’m glad that the timing is right for you with this one! Just that little bit extra effort can make such a Huge difference … and I agree … hold that attitude of doing your best.
      Be good to yourself

  • Stuart Young June 14, 2013, 8:59 am

    Nice one David. Reminds me of “Ready, Fire, Aim’ by Michael Masterson. 🙂

  • Carolyn Hughes June 14, 2013, 11:44 am

    ‘Doing the best you can’ is a phrase that has been cropping up over the past couple of weeks as my daughter has sat her exams. I use it an encouragement and as a reassurance that the results are not as important as long as she ‘does her best.’ In her case, she does set herself high standards (like mother, like daughter) and I know when she does her best, nothing can stop her.
    I know that I grew up feeling that my best, no matter how hard I tried was never going to be good enough for my dad. Consequently I grew up with a crippling lack of self-esteem. Now I set my own rules and expectations. I try hard. I give my best. And it is good enough.
    Thank you David!

    • David Stevens June 14, 2013, 11:39 pm

      Excellent comment Carolyn! Thank You so much.
      Setting your own expectations (not those of others) will see you through … and it obviously is. Congratulations to You and your daughter.
      Be good to yourself

  • Hiten June 15, 2013, 9:34 pm

    Hi David,

    This was an excellent post, my friend and I really liked the way you explained how we need to careful of our ‘well, I tried my best’.

    As you quite rightly pointed out, the wrong type can actually be an excuse. Also, as you stated, there is distinct body language that goes with this type of resignation, which is shrugging of the shoulders.

    Your formula for Doing Your Best was excellent. I’ll be using this one myself and thank you for sharing it.

    • David Stevens June 16, 2013, 11:18 pm

      Thankyou for your generous comment Hiten … and for contributing this this posting
      be good to yourself

  • Anne-Sophie June 17, 2013, 11:05 pm

    Great perspective on doing your best, David. Although I don’t really like this saying, I think that you explained it perfectly. Now, let’s all do our best, shall we?!

    • David Stevens June 17, 2013, 11:42 pm

      Thank You for your kind words Anne-Sophie … let us all really ‘do our best’ … it will make for a better world.
      Be good to yourself

  • John June 25, 2013, 11:14 pm

    This is a tough one David. I believe we have to have someone to confide in if we are not good at dealing with life’s challenges. However, trusting someone else with your deepest most intimate issues is not an easy thing to do. That is why I believe most people go at it alone; Probably not realizing that they can, or is, making the problem worse.

    • David Stevens June 26, 2013, 12:34 am

      Thanks for calling in John,
      Trust is not an easy thing to give … it does have to be earned. Going it alone/toughing it out does have it’s pitfalls, many in fact. Sometimes … you just need someone who will listen to you without judgement.
      Be good to yourself