It Doesn’t Have to Be Your Best Work

This morning I remember the best advice someone gave me in graduate school at the University of Michigan. As I struggled to finish my dissertation, a wise man said, “Just finish it. It doesn’t have to be your best work. It won’t be your best work.”

Oh, I rejoiced! I sighed with relief! I realized that what kept me from finishing was this nonsense that it had to be the best, that it had to be perfect, that it had to be everything. His advice to me set me free from endless revisions. His advice allowed me to treat the manuscript as something along the path of my development. I earned the PhD quickly and without shame as I realized it didn’t have to be the best work of my life.

And it wasn’t. I’ve evolved. Each new book shows growth and development.

I use this advice with blogging, podcasting, new manuscripts, and talks I give. While I apply my best efforts and invest the best of my abilities, I’m not frozen by the fear that it must be the best. I’m wondering if so many of us feel held back by needing to be the best.

We don’t need to be the best.

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