My teenage daughter said something to me the other day, that caught me a little off guard. She said “my best isn’t good enough.” It’s a little out of character for her and caught me by surprise. This is a happy, confident kid whose had straight A’s since kindergarten, had plenty of friends, and for the most part has been a thoughtful and caring sister and daughter. There have been exceptions, and there have been some growing pains, but that’s to be expected. I’d be more worried, if there weren’t a few problems. I wasn’t exactly a perfect teenager, and know now that those problem incidents are an important part of growing up. Time for a little teenage advice.
To give you a little more context, let me explain. She didn’t make the comment, in defense to statements made by anyone else. She was going into one of her rather long winded explanations (as only a teenager can do) for why she couldn’t walk to swimming practice, even though the pool is only a few blocks away. I’ll try to paraphrase. It went something like this. “Its’ too cold . . . the cold gets deep into my muscles . . . they’ll never warm up . . . I don’t need anything else working against me . . . already my best isn’t good enough.”
I didn’t really say anything. Not because I lost focus during the rather long explanation (which I sometimes do), but because I didn’t know what to say. How could her best not be good enough? She’s my kid after all. Even if she wasn’t it shouldn’t matter. When is anyone’s best ever not good enough? It’s all you’ve got. I mean, maybe it wasn’t good enough to win the Olympic gold, but it’s still your best, and that should never be diminished or degraded. I thought afterwords, that I should have said something more. Later while thinking about it, I came up with a pretty good rebuttal. Something like, “Your best is ALWAYS good enough. You’ll never go wrong in life doing your best”. You know, some good life lesson parental advice derived from years of experience that a teenager can really use. Even if they’d never admit to it being helpful.
I’m a great one for platitudes. Especially for others. But sometimes, I think I need to use more of them on myself. And actually believe them. I’ve been struggling lately with my business, and a little self encouragement would be helpful. I don’t believe lately, that I’ve been doing my best. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I struggle to move myself to take those first few steps. I procrastinate, and find plenty of non productive stuff to make myself busy. Maybe I’m just afraid, that my best isn’t good enough. Scary huh? In a familiar sort of way. I have aplan to work from. One that’s been built from the battlefield of many failures. I just need to execute it. The problem is, that even though the plan is battle tested, and ready for the real world, I’m not sure the General is.
I’ve decided, that writing about my struggles and my perception of those struggles would help me to work this out. Since writing is part of my plan anyway, it achieves several goals. I’m coming to believe, that running a business is not just about making money and achieving fame. It’s a lot about self discovery as well. Learning what your capable of, and how resilient you can be in the face of adversity. Writing this helps. In the meantime though, I think I need to talk with my daughter. She needs to believe, that her best is always good enough. Not just know it, but BELIEVE it.