The Fourth Agreement – Do you best. Never less, and never more.
1. Do I feel well-rested?
If you are tired, you will find that your best is likely a step below what you wish it would be. Be more realistic in your goals. Set fewer tasks or simpler tasks until you feel well-rested.
2. Am I hungry/thirsty?
Most of us are aware of the new term “hangry,” which tells us that when we are hungry or thirsty, we are often more short-tempered, and are less likely to produce good quality work or interact well with others.
3. Am I distracted, thinking of something else? Am I upset about something? Am I feeling confident, or powerless?
It’s very hard to do good quality work if you are distracted by other thoughts. If you have a worry, set aside a “worry time” each day. Say, 6:00 pm. Then, when the worry pops up during the day you can remind yourself that you have scheduled a time to address that worry. You will find it easier to let go of it if you have promised yourself you will worry about it at a scheduled time.
4. Am I happy?
Research shows we tend to do better when we are in a positive frame of mind. Plan your most challenging tasks when you feel happy.
5. Do I feel well informed about this task?
We usually do better when we believe we are familiar with the task and how to do a good job.
6. What am I saying to myself about this task?
We generally perform better when we are telling ourselves that we are good at this job and that we are doing a good job.
So, how do you figure out what is your best? How do you monitor yourself, so you do your best, but not more than your best? Why is it important not to overreach and try to do more than your best?
Doing your best varies depending on several factors.
How well rested you are, how nourished or hydrated you are, how physically well or ill you are, how emotionally well you are. Many of us are not sufficiently self-aware to monitor our situation and abilities and push ourselves beyond the limits of what we can reasonably do. When we do that, we are doing more than our best, and we will most likely tire out before we can finish the task, resulting in a job not finished, shame, and negative self-talk. Let’s learn how to become more self-aware, how to monitor our condition so that we stay within our BEST and not push below or above that mark.