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Just do your very best

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By Bob Mueller

There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think of something my Dad said.  My Dad instilled in my brother and sister and me the adage: “Just do your very best.”  Other ways of saying this for Dad were: “Focus on your maximum effort,” or “Give beyond what is required,” or “Everyone loves a person who does his very best.”  Because of Dad’s insistence I think all of us embrace doing our very best in everything we do.

Most moments in life become special only if we treat them that way.  The average day is average only because we don’t make it something more.  The most excellent way to elevate an experience is to give it our very best.  That makes it special.  An average conversation becomes something better when you listen with great interest.  A common relationship transforms when you give it uncommon effort.  An unremarkable event becomes something special when you spice it up with creativity.  You can make anything more important by giving your best to it.

Who are the most important people in your life?  Are they the ones who never give you the time of day, who never seem to be there when you need them?  Of course not.  Usually the people who are important to you are the ones who treat you as important.  We naturally value the people who value us.  So if you want to be important to others, treat them as important.  The most effective way to do that is to give them your very best.

One of my favorite quotes is: “My potential is God’s gift to me.  What I do with my potential is my gift to God.”  I believe I am accountable to God, others and myself for every gift, talent, resource and opportunity I have in life.  If I give less than my best, then I am shirking my responsibility.  UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said it best, “Make every day your masterpiece.”  If we give our best all the time, we can make our lives into something special.  And that will overflow into the lives of others.

How many dreams have we let die?  How many projects did we start, only to leave them unfinished?  How many times have we promised ourselves, “This time will be different,” but then didn’t work to make it so?  Negativity breeds more negativity.  Fortunately, its opposite does likewise.  Our attitude will carry us a long way.  And a positive attitude will make all things possible.

We are meant for good living.  But we must seek it out and be open to its invitation and be willing to put forth the necessary effort.  Our dreams are our invitation to move forward, to strive for a further goal.  And having faith in our ability to achieve our dreams will make easier the necessary steps.

Dad’s simple phrase of “Just do your very best” told us as kids that we can trust our dreams and aspirations.  He gave us a precious gift to stretch our capabilities.  Achievement is truly possible.  Faith and a positive attitude will always ease our efforts.

Thanks, Dad.  You just did your very best!

Bob Mueller is senior director of mission & stewardship at Hosparus. The views in this column are those of the writer.