I love Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements so much I created a 4 part series on the podcast to discuss each of the agreements (make sure to listen to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). I must say I was a bit sad for the series to come to an end with this episode!
The last agreement, “always do your best” is not what you might think. In fact, if you are a perfectionist who tends the be hard on yourself through self-criticism and self-judgement, you might be surprised how Don Miguel Ruiz actually defines “your best!”
So many great pieces of wisdom in his book and I hope you resonate with my take on his wonderful words.
What you will discover
- The sweet spot between perfectionism and feeling stuck.
- Why good enough is simply good enough.
- How the awareness of NOT doing our best is the key to actually doing our best
Enjoy the Show
Okay, so welcome. I’ve had a lot of fun doing a four-part series, a podcast, these episodes on the four agreements. If you’re just hopping onto this podcast episode. Now, if you want, you can stop and go back to part one of the four agreements, which was several weeks back and you can listen to part two and part three, and then come on over here to part four. So there might be a little noise in the background today because I have a little doggie stain with me. My cousin’s little dog who also happens to be named birdie, like I just mentioned. So there’s maybe a little noise in the background. I can’t banish her, you know, alone to another room because she would be very sad and would cry. So she’s going to be in my little copilot today. So always do your best fast. You know what I read this book years ago and I’m in a book club, there’s just three of us in this book club.
And after reading this book with them, it just brought to light on how, like how simple these four agreements are and yet how at times difficult they are to implement in our everyday life. You know, um, I titled this week’s episode. You are the guru of you because it’s true. You know, what, what your yes is, is not my best and vice versa. So the whole point of this part four, which is the fourth agreement, always do your best is identifying intuitively what is your best? Because we know at least I know when I lay my head down on the pillow at night, I’m like, okay, that was a good day. I did my best. Like we definitely know. So always doing your best is not about perfection, not being perfect, not like, you know, crushing it and killing it. And, you know, just running yourself ragged.
It’s not about that. It’s about always doing your best with what you’re able to bring and not depleting yourself either. So I have a funny, not really funny, but I have kind of an embarrassing story to share with you, um, around this. And so my niece is, um, she’s looking for a dog and long story short, there was some back and forth with the rescue. Um, I was, she was going back and forth with the person on the rescue and I, you know, chimed in with my thoughts and, you know, I said to her afterwards, it was kind of like this back and forth. I don’t know if you guys know what I’m talking about, but when someone is so like in your view, outrageous with how they treat you or, um, you know, just the things they say to you. Um, I think that this is tough to uphold because you want to be right.
You want to engage in kind of the battle to be right. And in this situation, I joked with my niece that I did not do my best, you know, I ended up actually conversing with this person, uh, and, and, and, you know, telling our side of the story and et cetera, et cetera. And, and it was kind of like, there was this little TIFF going on, on email and who was right and the way things were handled and I won’t go into the specifics. Um, but yeah, so anyway, my point was, I was telling my niece afterwards. I said, you know, I don’t feel really good about how I kept going back and forth with this woman. I wasn’t mean I wasn’t negative. I was just stating my facts and my perception, which, you know, perception is always our reality. And yet I never really felt good and the conversation kept going.
And all of a sudden I was like, you know what? I’m not feeling good about this. It feels momentarily good when I hit the send button, but listen here, lady, here’s my response to your points. Um, but then like five minutes later, it just kind of this icky feeling sets in where, you know, what, I didn’t show up with my best, because my best in this moment would have been just ignoring the email response and letting it go. And so I decided to not beat myself up for it, but to step into doing my best, which was, I sent her an email and I apologized and I said, you know, I, I regret keeping the conversation going. I wish you the best of luck, take care, have a great night, yada, yada, yada, all that stuff. And I felt better. And so it was my niece and I had a conversation around this where it’s like, I dipped down to I wasn’t doing my best.
And then I thought, okay, I wasn’t doing my best. Now I am going to do my best. And so I think that’s a lot of what Don Miguel Ruiz talks about in this part of the book is, you know, do your best. And if you let yourself down, like I did with this email exchange with this woman, if you let yourself down, like don’t beat yourself up, just go, huh? With curiosity, look at how you reacted. Or you behaved, look at it with curiosity and then do what you can to resolve the matter, um, apologize of necessary, or just learn from it and move on. And I think that is really, um, the key I’d like to read a few. I highlighted some of the, some of the book here. Um, if you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed.
And in the end, your best will not be enough when you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustration, self-judgment guilt and regret. So I think what I’m reading here is that there’s this happy medium, where you do your best and sometimes good enough is good enough. And then other times it’s like, Oh, you know what? You can do a little more. So you got to find that sweet spot. And I guess that’s what that is. It’s the sweet spot of doing your best and your best. You only know your best. I can’t tell you what your best is. You can’t tell me what my best is. We all know that some days my best is going to be like amazing.
And the other days, because I’m not feeling too hot, physically, maybe my best is going to be the bare minimum. So again, it’s easy enough on yourself. It’s, you know, just doing your best. And I think when we implement this agreement, we’re easier on other people. We’re easier understanding that, Hey, other people, sometimes their best is not nearly what your best would have been that day. So again, releasing expectations of other people, you know, just realizing everyone is doing the best that they can with what they have available to them in that moment, in terms of energy, wisdom, experience, all of that. So in other words, cut yourself some Slack and in essence, cut your, cut, your friends, your family, Slack as well. So, um, I wanted to read a few other quotes. Um, when you do your best, you don’t give the judge the opportunity to find you guilty or to blame you.
If you have done your best. And the judge tries to judge you according to your book of law, you’ve got the answer. I did my best. There are no regrets. That’s why we always do our best. So this is not as he says an easy agreement to keep, but it’s a great, it’s an agreement that will set you free. So, you know, I mean, when you think about it, how do you do your best? You take action, right? He says, here, action is about living fully inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years, because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing who you are.
So in order to express who you are, you have to take action. And if you’re finding that you’re not able to take action, perhaps you’re almost afraid of like how awesome it could be. And I know that sounds crazy, but sometimes I know for myself, it’s much more fun being in the planning fo uh, plant planning mode, uh, you know, planning out the vision board, getting excited about what could be, you know, um, imagining daydreaming, but taking action. Whoa, that’s kind of scary because that means number one, you could fail. And number two, it’s not as fun as the imagination part. You know, it’s kind of like you have this vision and it’s this beautiful, um, this beautiful vision. But when we start to take action, all the cracks and that vision, right, the cracks and the China show up, and we realized that, Oh, you know, with the good comes, the bad, you know, with, with the highs comes the low.
And so in order to really fulfill what we want to achieve in our lives, we have to take action first and then do our best. So, you know, I think it’s so important to, you know, understand that each and every one of us has the ability to, to create the feelings that we want to feel every day in our lives. And it requires us to step up and take action and do our best. So how do we do that? I’d like to give you three steps that just intuitively came to mind for me. Now, the first one is set yourself up for success. What are you doing in terms of your physical environment to get yourself organized? So your mornings go smoothly. So your days go smoothly, your evenings go smoothly. And I don’t mean smoothly, like perfectly. I just mean like where you can find your car keys, where you have clean clothes to wear, because he did the laundry where, you know, there’s fresh towels for when you get out of the shower where, you know, you run out of your toothpaste and you got the tooth, you’ve got an extra toothpaste tube.
So setting yourself up for success and the way you organize, like, how are you organizing your desk? How are you organizing your calendar? How are you organizing your schedule? So set yourself up for success. So you can do your best by not stacking. Things like shoving so much into one day where there’s no time to breathe and there’s no, there’s no space for the magic and the miracles to happen in between, you know, our responsibilities each day. So organize plan your day. And this final one may not resonate with some of you, some of you, it may, but get up early. I have abdom float throughout my life, like going to bed late, you know, waking up a little later or going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. And for me, going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, I just have more energy at the beginning of the day.
You, again, you’re the guru of you. So you have to understand, well, when do I do my best work? When do I feel the most alive? And I know a lot of people are night owls. So for me, it’s getting up early for you. It may be, you know, going to bed later and sleeping in and really hitting your stride in the afternoon. Um, number two, number two, how can we do our best look at your habits? How are you, how are you really setting up your day? And again, this goes into setting yourself up for success, but let’s look at the actual habits. Like, what did they say? You know, don’t eat, eat in front of the TV. So if you’re wanting to lose weight, try not eating in front of the TV or your computer or a magazine, just be mindful with your food.
Um, you know, again, habits for me, it works better for me to go to bed early and wake up early and a bad habit for me that can sometimes creep in is I go to bed late because I’m watching Netflix. That’s a habit and I’m not able to do my best when I’m tired the next day. I’m just not, I know myself enough. I know myself enough to know that anxiety creeps in when I don’t get enough sleep. When I don’t, you know, eat the foods that I know are good for me, all of that. Um, so look at your hat, look at the habits. Now, if you, um, are like, I was a year ago where you’re like, Whoa, I am like not an alcoholic. And you know, I’m not like getting bombed every night. I’m not getting drunk, but you know, it’s like the steady drip where I’m drinking a glass or two of wine every night and it’s just not working well for me.
Now. Some people it does, it’s fine. It doesn’t affect them for me. It was. And if you’re like me where you tend to be more on the anxiety level on the spectrum or where you get overwhelmed easily, it, you know, that one or two glasses of wine every night really affected me. So if you want to think about taking a break, I offer a free three day challenge. Um, it’s on my website. I run it twice a month and you can, it’s on the homepage. You can just click to sign up. It’s at Meg K daily.com. And so, you know, you can, you can do the free challenge. You can join my 30 day reset program. You know, if you find that the habit of drinking is just, you know, you’re not able to do your best. And that’s exactly why I took a break, was like, I am not able to do what I want to do.
And it’s amazing whether you take a break from alcohol, whether you take a break from maybe sugar, whether you take a break from gossip, social media, eating in front of the TV, it’s amazing how one little shift of a habit really can support you and showing up and doing your best every day. Now the third and final tip that I have for doing your best is the most important. Please, please, please do not beat yourself up when you don’t do your best, because if you don’t do your best, you beat yourself up. It’s almost like you’re just pummeling yourself into the ground. And it’s so much harder to come back up to do your best. Instead, I want you to love the part of yourself that isn’t doing your best. Say what you’re probably like, what did she do? Say, I mean that I want you to love the part of yourself right now that is not doing their best. So what do I mean by this? Think of something that you want to achieve right now, I’m going to give you a few moments to think about that.
Got it. It could be anything personally, professionally relationally, and think about, and actually grab onto something that you’ve been wanting for a long time. And you’ve tried, but you just, you just can’t quite achieve it. And so my guess is that you might be beating yourself up sometimes because you haven’t achieved that goal yet. What I’d love for you to do right now. And it may sound crazy and I don’t care. This is just an experiment. You’ve got nothing to lose. I’d love for you over the next few days. Every time a thought creeps in around you not fulfilling a goal, right? You’re not doing your quote unquote best. I’d love for you to say, I love that part of me that is not doing their best. This was a tip that I got from a friend who she has said has literally really changed the way she speaks to herself.
And as a result, the way she operates in life. And as a result of that, the way she’s able to show up on a more consistent basis and do her best. So if you have like thoughts run through your head that are like critical of yourself or critical of someone else, and then all of a sudden you’re like, Oh, I shouldn’t have had that thought. I’m such a bad person. Hey, I love that part of me that just said XYZ. It’s kind of crazy in a way, because it works. And I have been experimenting with it because I’m someone that can get caught on that rumination wheel that self-criticism wheel of, you know, not being perfect. I am a perfectionist, I’m a perfectionist. I lean towards the perfectionism perfectionism of if I can’t do it perfect. I’m just not going to do it at all.
And then, you know, you get stuck. And so what I’ve been playing with is like, Oh, wait, I love that part of myself. And then it just kind of like floats away. It’s like a cloud that moves through you. So if you’re a ruminator, this is really, really helpful. If you’re a ruminator, it’s probably hard to do your best because you get caught up in those thoughts. And I know a lot of you that listened to this episode and people who I work with in my different programs, a lot of you are highly sensitive. You’re empathic. And so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to beat yourself up. And then it’s really hard to drag yourself out of that rut and show up doing your best. So it’s like, forget it. I don’t even want to try if I can’t be like, perfect. I give up.
And so this tool of sharing some self love with yourself, you know, not beating yourself up and using this tool of, I love the part of me right now. That is disappointed in myself. I love the part of me that is being of myself or critical of others. So it sounds counterintuitive. And you’re probably thinking, well, if I love that part of myself, isn’t that part of me going to grow even more? No, I think that the parts of ourselves that we want to push away, you know, they just get louder and louder. If we don’t listen to them, everyone wants to be heard, understood, and loved. And those parts of you that you’re wanting to shove away because you’re not happy with them. You’re ashamed of them. You’re embarrassed of them. Well, they want to be heard, understood, and loved. And so when you listen to them and understand them and say, I love this part of me, they quiet down.
You don’t have to believe me display with it. Um, you know, so, so always doing your best, you know, it’s really in the way you read it. It’s not, it’s not an excuse for perfectionist to say, see, everything does need to be perfect. Know your best is what bodes best for you physically, mentally, emotionally. Okay. So I want to read you a couple of things from the last part of this section in Don Miguel’s book, the four agreements. If you do your best in the search for personal freedom in the search for self-love, you will discover that it’s just a matter of time before you find what you are looking for. It’s not about daydreaming or sitting for hours, dreaming and meditation. You have to stand up and be a human. You have to honor the man or woman that you are respect your body, enjoy your body, love your body feed, clean and heal your body exercise and do what makes your body feel good.
This is a Pooja, which is, uh, another term to your body. It’s like an honoring system. And that is communion between you and God. If you’re doing your best, you will feel good about yourself. Even if you still make assumptions, even if you still take things personally. And even if you still are not impeccable with your word, because if you just do your best, for example, if you take something personally, or if you make an assumption about someone, or if you’re not impeccable with your word, you could be like, Oh, I didn’t do my best. But in that moment, that was your best. And the coolest part is that when you have that, Oh, I didn’t do my best. That’s the awareness of, Oh, wait, I can take it up a notch. I can do better next time. And it goes back to the story of my email exchange with the lady, from the dog rescue about how I was, you know, arguing with her in a very kind of, um, you know, mature way.
But I was wanting to be right. And I wasn’t being impeccable with my word. I was making assumptions about her. Um, I was totally taking what she was saying to me personally. Like that was the one I was violating the most. But in that moment, in that moment, because my perception was my reality in that moment of sending those emails back to her, I was doing my best. And it wasn’t, it was like a delayed reaction about five, 10 minutes later when I realized, Oh wait, I can do better. And so guess what I did instead of like throwing down the ladder, I walked up the ladder one more notch. And I sent an email to her apologizing and I felt so much better. And I walked away and like that icky feeling inside of me, my tummy, you know how you feel that it was gone because I had done my best.
I actually chose to not berate that part of myself. I chose to love that part of myself and extend love to this other human being. So there you go. My friends, I loved this book. I highly recommend it again. The four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz says there’s a whole nother section in there in the book about breaking old agreements that you’ve made with yourself. So these are the four new agreements we want to make. Number one, being impeccable with our word, number two, not taking anything personally. Number three, not making assumptions and number four, always doing our best. And he goes on to talk about when we embrace these four agreements, we have to let go other agreements that we’ve made within our minds, within our hearts, within our spirits, about the way we operate in the world. So, um, I highly recommend this book.
I think you’ll enjoy it. And I’m just, again, I’m so honored that you choose to be with me each week. I love creating these episodes for you. Uh, don’t forget. I’ve got a new three day. Take a break challenge starting Monday. So if alcohol or your relationship with alcohol again, I don’t think alcohol is bad. I don’t think drinking is wrong. I’m just saying, if you want to just experiment with how taking a break from alcohol can shift your ability to do your best each day and your relationships and your work with your health. Why don’t you join me? It’s a free, three-day take a break challenge. It starts this Monday and it’s just three live interactive calls, or you don’t have to join the call. I can just send you the recording afterward. You can go to my website, Meg K daily.com. Yes. I had to put in my middle initial because there’s another redheaded Meg Daley. Who’s a writer who has a website, so didn’t want to confuse people. It’s Meg K daily.com. I’ve got a whole new website. We’d love for you to check it out. And, um, I guess that’s it have a wonderful, wonderful day and I will see you soon. Bye-bye.