I had a little cry on the way to work on Tuesday. It wasn’t because I felt guilty that I’d left Ben crying at nursery. And it wasn’t because I felt guilty for not feeling *that* guilty. In fact, I was listening to the Pressing Pause podcast, and Gabrielle said something along the lines of 'You're already doing your best, that's just the kind of person you are'. And it turns out, that's exactly what I needed to hear at that very moment.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
It got me to thinking, none of us can do any better than our best. That's the very definition of our best. I think sometimes we feel that we're not doing our best because we're not doing our best at each individual task. When you're spread thin, it can be hard to be the *best* employee, friend, parent, daughter, sister that you could possible be if you were giving each of those areas of your life 100% of your attention. But the very fact of life is that you're never just doing one thing, so for the most part it's impossible to give 100% to your work, your family, your friends or your hobbies, whilst also keeping yourself alive.
But if you look at the bigger picture, I'm sure you'll find that, like me, you're giving 100% spread across your whole life. I don't know about you, but I don't feel I have a lot of energy or resources to plow into one individual area of my life because I'm giving as much as possible in lots of different areas - which is adding up to 100%. So I am doing my best *at my life* even if I sometimes feel that I'm falling down and not doing my best in each area. Taking that little step back has been a real shift in perspective for me.
Having It All But Not All At Once
I firmly believe that you can have it all, but not all at once. You can do anything, but you can't do everything. It's a central theme of my podcast, and also of my life. When you're already giving 100% across all areas of your life, it can be hard to prioritise any one area and make improvements. But you can shift your energy and time around so you can give more of your 'best' to one part of your life. Right now, I know I'm neglecting my friends (sorry, pals!) and family (again, very sorry!) in favour of parenting and getting back into work after maternity leave, and that’s okay. You can’t try harder than your best, after all.
Relaxing Not Settling
Of course, saying that you’re already doing your best doesn’t mean never improving or getting better. Chances are that your best right now looks different from your best a year ago - we’re always growing and changing, and accepting that we’re already doing our best just means giving ourselves a little bit of a break rather than accepting that you’ll never get better. It doesn’t mean settling for what your best currently looks like, but it does mean relaxing a little and knowing that if you’re trying your hardest, there’s really nothing more you can do.