Do Your Best.

Hamster wheel

Image by sualk61 via Flickr

I Am a Recovering Human-Hamster Wheel Builder and Runner.

My personal carrot on a stick that I chased for over 20 years was “success.” I found that I spent most of my waking and quite a few of my sleeping hours building a bigger and faster, virtual human-hamster wheel on which to run. I was in constant professional motion, trying to win a unwinable race. I based my futile logic on a philosophy of “working hard is smarter” and that running faster is the goal, even if you are not getting anywhere. When in doubt, build a bigger wheel, but never stop running if you want to “win.”

Life’s Goal is Meaningful Satisfaction 

I obviously was not paying attention when whomever gives out major life instructions explained the purpose of life. I thought someone said success, when really satisfaction is life’s goal. My mistake.

Fortunately, I met some patient people who were generous enough to share their experience and more than a few great books. Apparently, I am not the only wheel runner in the business world.

My Best Does Not Have to be the Best!

Maybe you can learn from my biggest mistake. For a long time, I confused doing “MY BEST” work with “THE BEST” work. A competitive belief in scarcity drove my pursuit of a unrealistic, nearly perfect ideal of performance. I must win before someone else takes the prize!  Nothing less than “the best” at what I was trying to do was ever satisfactory to me. Needless to say, I wasn’t satisfied, because I was not the best at anything. Even thought I had tried my best to be the best. Back on my wheel for some more sprints… 

Replacing my belief in scarcity with a more valid belief in abundance allowed me to stop running on my wheel. I developed a more realist definition of doing “MY BEST.”  My best work, is now defined  as performing a task effectively and efficiently using my available capacity appropriately to do the work in a way that meets the expectations of the person paying for the work. Some days I have more capacity to do more, other days I have less capacity to work with. My capacity on any given day limits my full potential. My best work reflects how well I realize my full potential on any particular day.

Use What You’ve Got to Work With

It’s as if we each have a rechargeable 9 volt battery powering us. If only 50% of the charge remains then the capacity is only 50% of its full potential. It’s “best” is to use 100% of the available 50% charge. It is unreasonable to expect a battery to provide more energy than it has stored. Humans are very similar. Each of us only has so much mental and physical capacity to use for whatever we are trying to accomplish. Once we use all of our available energy, then we must recharge. If we don’t we rundown and finally try to run on empty. One cannot get very far without any energy.

Stop Running and Start Getting Somewhere That Matters

The step off the human-hamster wheel is built with a more durable substance that lasts. It’s called satisfaction. Doing meaningful work in service to others creates feelings of satisfaction. Working in pursuit of satisfaction is more of a sojourn through adventures than running on a human-hamster wheel. The nice thing about pursuing satisfaction is that all you have to do to achieve it is to stop and enjoy it where ever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself. It turns the purpose of living from racing toward a mirage called success to savoring each moment as its own reward.

What Are You Running For? 

Have you been building human-hamster wheels and running after the success carrot? Is your best work good enough to recharge your sense of satisfaction daily? Can you live with the knowledge that someone else besides you might be the best? Do you seek to understand your capacity and potential well so that you can judge if you have done your best work? 

Chase what matters most to you. Chase it with all that you’ve got! Enjoy every moment of the chase. Rest well every night in the slumber of satisfaction for having done your best.


About Andrew W Dix, MS, BCC
Author, Board Certified Executive Business Coach, Trainer, Reiss Motivation Profile Master and Private Pilot. Expertise in motivational intelligence, leadership development, strengths, management, coaching, and change management. Available for keynote addresses.

2 Responses to Do Your Best.

  1. thai seo says:

    helo Life Matches: Fire Up Your Life! Blog , i comment your blog , that a nice blog and greatly. Good for me. useful Fired Up! and Inspirational content. i going to visit to read and review your blog.

    • Andrew W Dix says:

      Thank you for your kind words.

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