Sometimes, your best isn’t good enough.
You try everything you think of to save the friendship.
You give 110 percent to make the work project fly.
You pray and pray and pray for your kid to make the right decisions.
You revise the book again and again, sending it out to editors and agents, hoping for a nibble.
You strategize, make checklists and work through them, ask for advice, draw up spreadsheets, do research, practice, pray, journal, get counseling, and pray some more. You push and push and push and you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
At this point, a few things can happen:
1. You keep pushing as hard as you can, as long as you can, until you collapse in a wrung-out heap at the base of that door that wouldn’t open. You’ve spent so much of yourself — your time, your energy, your love, your prayers — on this one thing that you don’t have anything left for anyone or anything else in your life. It’ll take you months, or maybe years, to recover enough to give yourself unreservedly to another friendship, another book manuscript, or another work project (and, in fact, you may be so damaged that you are NEVER able to give yourself in the same way again).
2. You push until one day you realize it’s just not working, that your best isn’t what’s required. Another tool or strategy or even person is needed to bring this project or relationship to fruition, and right now, you don’t have it. It’s just not in your repertoire, like expecting a first-year med student to perform a complicated neurosurgery. No amount of praying, planning, or postulating could make you equal to the task, no matter how much you desire it. In other words, your best just isn’t good enough.
It’s not your fault. It just is.
And if you can accept this fact and realize that maybe some day things will change and the tides might turn and the other person might be more receptive and the agent might like your book and your kid might actually LISTEN to you…
…Then you can reserve your strength. You can marshal the resources you have left, take some time to regroup, and focus on yourself instead of the missed opportunity, lost friendship, or blown work project. You can figure out where you still need to develop, where you can work on your own skills, and make yourself equal to future tasks. You can start evaluating and discerning when you are the right person for the job, and when it’s just a question of being the wrong person in the right place.
And you can keep praying.
And maybe at some point the spiral comes around again and you’ll be in the right place at the right time, and it will all work out.
Or maybe not.
But you’ll be stronger and more capable and full of the sense of what you CAN do and who you CAN affect.
Because many times, your best IS good enough.
Image courtesy of Cliff1066(tm)/Flickr