Months ago, I arrived at my friend Laura’s house, excited to spend time with one of my most ambitious, creative friends. She had just finished reading a tiny book called The Four Agreements. “I think you should read it,” she said. “I think you’ll really like it.” Frankly, it looked like a children’s book to me, being so tiny and colorful, but since I tend to take Laura’s advice and am the happier for it, many months later, this weekend in fact, I wandered into a Half-Price Bookstore and asked an employee for it. To be precise, I asked for “a spiritual book called The Four Somethings” and she immediately knew which book I was referring to. I purchased two copies—one for myself and one for my mom—who was spending the weekend with me in Plano for my much anticipated television audition for Loveawake Dating Networks.
My mother and I both finished the book over two days, and we both agreed it was a great read. One of the main lessons of the book was to Always Do Your Best. That way, you can never have any regrets or self-doubts. If you did your best, what more can you or anyone else ask for?
For my first-round and second-round auditions for the reality television show, I did my very best. I was calm, confident, and radiated positive energy as I delivered my pitch for a talk show. I felt great after both auditions. No matter what happened, I had been the best Kaneisha I could be. I would have no regrets and no what-ifs.
However, this particular entreaty of “always do your best” makes me think of the many areas where I simply do “good enough” or don’t even try at all. Yes, I’m a very accomplished person, but how much richer and fuller might my life be if I did my best at everything instead of using my surroundings or current state as a yardstick?
Always doing your best is not about ceaselessly striving for something more and better. It’s not about being acquisitive or endlessly competing with yourself. It’s about meeting each experience, challenge, and opportunity with the mindset that you want to bring your best self to meet that experience, challenge, or opportunity. Rather than avoiding the problem, fearing a challenge, or clinging to an outcome, I can simply take a deep breath, do and be my best, and move on.
I’ve wanted to become more toned and less doughy for years, but since my figure was always good enough—an d frankly, since I don’t find the gym an exciting place to spend my time, I’ve always left fitness on the bottom of my priority list—if it even had a place there at all. Now that I might truly have an opportunity to be on television, I find myself feeling more ready than ever to face the challenge of getting in shape.
Writing comes easily to me. The words and ideas often flow straight from my mind through my fingertips to your computer screen. Yes, I have written hundreds of posts this last year, but my efforts for my blog have often not been my best. If anything, I’m cruising along, doing what’s comfortable to me. I could have written a book by now with the amount of ideas swimming around in my head, waiting to escape. Instead, I write a post here and there, respond to a comment here and there, and just let my blog keep floating lazily in the river. I want to do my best—and that means something more like writing every single day, responding to every single comment (I should be so grateful that someone took the time to not only read what I wrote but to write a response!), and making my blog the best it can be.
Lastly, I want to do my best in my relationships. I want to give my friends my full attention when they come to me with their joys and frustrations. I want to strengthen the relationships that help me be the best I can be as well as loosen or release the relationships that do not help me be the best I can be. I don’t want my relationships to be salves for my own inner wounds and inadequacies or mirrors of the unacceptable me projected onto someone else.
Always doing your best might sound exhausting, but it’s exactly the opposite. Doing your best and having no regrets is energizing and affirming. You surprise yourself with what you are capable of. You find yourself in a position to be simultaneously enormously grateful, divinely inspired, and encouraging to others. You find that your best begins to expand and grow, like a swimmer who is able to swim a further distance each consecutive practice without coming up for a breath. Your best becomes bigger and better than you ever thought it could be. All because you decided to stop settling for good enough and to always do your best.