Skip to content

Busting a Performance-Killing Myth: “I’ll Do My Best”

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.” -Yoda

In the world of performance, the world of action, the world of results, something either gets done or it doesn’t. When it all boils down, whether you “did your best” or not, no matter how hard you “tried”, even if you did everything you knew to do, you either did it or not.

The key here is the mindset- the approach you take in the first place, and the way you relate to your end results.


What do you really want? Commit to that, and do what it takes- take the necessary and required actions- to have it. Doing your best and doing what’s required are not necessarily the same thing. Doing what you know to do and doing what’s required are not necessarily the same thing. And to produce a result, to have what you really want, doing what’s required is the only thing that matters.

Saying that you’ll “do your best” or “try” or “give it a shot”, or whichever phrasing you prefer, is not the same as committing to a result (which is why you do it) and doesn’t leave anyone involved with a powerful way of relating to the actual situation. You can’t (or shouldn’t) create reliable projections for next quarter based on your commitment to “try” to increase sales by 10% over that quarter last year.  “Trying” can’t be measured- only specific results can. You either commit to the result or not, and then either produce it or not.

To use another popular example, saying that you’ll “try to eat better” or “be healthier” is setting yourself up for failure. What does that even mean? When you keep your intentions that vague, you don’t even have a way to acknowledge when you’ve succeeded in creating what you wanted.  It’s an unwinnable game.

See, obviously, we sometimes fail to produce a result we want. It happens. Unless we’re not committing ourselves to anything at all, we run the risk of failing- and the bigger our commitments, the riskier it gets. You will fail, no doubt. But so what? When you refuse to even commit to what you want, you’re failing anyway. It’s just a kind of failure that’s easier to rationalize and therefore more comfortable.

Try out this simple process:

  • Write down a result you’d like to produce.
  • Get yourself as clear as possible on what it will actually take to produce that result (resources, actions, time), and write that down, being as specific as you can. For the purposes of this exercise, it’s best to significantly overestimate what you think it will take.
  • Ask yourself, “Am I willing to do whatever it takes to produce this result?”
  • If the answer is yes, get to it: commit to it (to yourself and others), set yourself up and take the necessary and required action(s). If the answer is no, then do yourself the favor of being honest about it, stop telling yourself (and others) that it’s important to you, and move on.

It’s your mindset that matters. If you’re not- for any reason- truly willing to do whatever’s required to produce a result then you’re not likely going to produce it, so don’t bother committing to it. Also, don’t bother talking about “trying” and “doing your best”- it’ll save you tremendously on energy and baggage. If you are willing to do what it takes, if your intention to produce the result outweighs your pull to be comfortable and keep things familiar, then clearly commit to it and get to work. Taking this on this way will earn you a lot in results for sure, and also- less obviously- in peace of mind and satisfaction.

P.S., If you have a result that you’re committed to that’s beyond what you’ve produced before and would like some insight, tools and support in taking effective action to fulfill on it, I invite you to attend our free webinar, UNSTUCK: The Pathway to Power and Performance. Click here to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *