"When you do your best, people notice" -Oprah Winfrey
Growing up, I never saw failure as an option. My parents set exceptionally high expectations (and rightfully so) for my success in everything I did. They saw my potential in every area of my life. Whether it was little league soccer or my AP Chemistry final, the bar was set to achieve and perform at a maximum capacity. Additionally, my public high school was extremely competitive in academia, athletics, and fine arts as well. My very existence was defined by competition and success. So much so, that I began to subconsciously fear failure.
Don't get me wrong, I am endlessly grateful for my upbringing, as it inspired the drive and work ethic I posses today. However, in recent months, I have learned the true value of one's "best" or "100%," is not dependent upon the perception of success to others, but the growth found from within.
Here's what I know.
Your 100% looks different on any given day. Think about it, unpredictable life circumstances impact us on a regular basis. Maybe you didn't sleep well the night before the big exam? Perhaps you had car trouble on the way to the office? Whatever it may be, life will always be moving at an unexpected rate, throwing a million curveballs your way. The only thing that YOU can control is your reaction to these obstacles.
Believe me, this is much easier said than done. As a self diagnosed 3W4 on the enneagram test (click here to take the Enneagram Test) and as a competitive human being, my very existence has always been defined by how I believed others view me. The motivation behind my day-to-day routine is largely success oriented, as opposed to solution centered. This means, I overthink everything, criticizing myself at every turn. Maybe it was the way I was raised? Maybe this characteristic is hard wired somewhere in my DNA? Regardless, I rarely stop to give myself a figurative "high five" when I have done something well or have grown in some capacity. This is especially true if I don't receive verbal recognition from others.
It wasn't until I I began my journey as a college student that I recognized that "fear of failure" I mentioned earlier. I found myself getting disappointed in the mistakes I was making, completely ignoring the lessons I was supposed to be finding within them. It was in that moment of sudden self awareness, that I reminded myself of the expectations that had been set for me throughout the course of my life. The underlying factor was giving 100%, always. It was never about achieving "perceived" perfection. In this newfound mindset, I embraced failure as part of my journey. I recognized that fearing mistakes was no excuse to give up on my goals. What does this mean? Do your best TODAY. That's it. Give every commitment, chore, hobby your 100%. Don't worry if it doesn't look like it did yesterday. It might not, and that is OK. Focus on the intangible, internal, growth YOU find, whether you are being recognized for your achievements or not. Ultimately, YOU are in the driver's seat on the path to the best version of you. OWN IT. During this global pandemic, do YOUR best to stay focused and hungry for self improvement. It is important to recognize that your best on a normal day, might look vastly different than your "social distancing best." Don't Worry! Use this time to commit to yourself. Instead of dwelling on the "uncontrollables"of life, center your energy around giving daily life your all. That in itself, is something to applaud. It's like my girl Oprah said, "When you do your best, people notice!"