Our Best

This week, I will have been working out of my home running my own business for what has been six weeks now. The first thing I needed to accomplish when I started was setting aside a dedicated office space. I am pretty OCD about most things. This is no exception. My motto (one of MANY) is that everything has a place and everything should be in its place. (Raising children has made this concept most interesting!) I just can’t seem to function if I don’t have a clean desktop, a designed, purposeful order to things and sharpened pencils. Stop laughing. I have always had inspirational quotes and things that mean something to me for one reason or another surrounding whatever space I work in. At the dental office I had pictures of my smiling kids in their sports, dances and other activities hanging where I could see them. They pulled and pushed me through many stressful and difficult moments over the last 12 years. I have had some signs on my desk that were humorous and yet expressed a small piece of who I am. One sign I had on the desk of my office in the advertising department of the newspaper read, “A lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” I try to remember that in my life as well and plan accordingly so as not to inconvenience someone else. One of the things I brought home from the wall of my dental office space is a piece of paper I typed up that came from a handwritten note from a former hygienist, Heather, whom I got to work with for a while. She knew I liked inspiring others and trying to encourage them in all things and help them to be the best version of themselves they could be. The note she left me had four things written on it:

Be impeccable with your word. 

Don’t take anything personally.

Don’t make assumptions.

Always do your best. 

I used this advice the very next staff meeting. And I had looked at those four things every day when I got to the office and they reminded me of the importance in maintaining my character and integrity as best I could. I have been thinking about them even more after rehoming them on my desk in my new home office space. Today, I want to share a little about what they mean to me. 

Be impeccable with your word. I think this means more than just one thing. The very first thing I thought of when I read it those years ago was making sure that I was not being deceitful or dishonest in anything I was saying to others. My dad used to tell us that you should always tell the truth because it was easier in the long run as you didn’t need to remember anything. I didn’t fully understand what that meant the first times I heard him say it. But the older I get I appreciate it all the more. He simply meant that when we are not being honest, we have to remember exactly what we told to which people and I can imagine that could become quite difficult. The truth, whether we want it to be or not, is forever etched in our minds and can be recalled with little effort. And it never changes. The other part of this is exactly what my mom used to convey when she said, “Do what you say and say what you do.” In other words, keep your promises. If you tell someone, ANYone, you are going to do something, there better be a darn good reason you don’t follow through with it. Unfortunately, we live in a world with other flawed and imperfect humans and we often hear people tell us they are going to do something and then not follow through. And it hurts. But our job is to make sure when we say we are going to do something we do it. Or just the opposite . . . don’t do something we say we won’t do. Life is hard and decisions aren’t always easy and apparent. But we can make it a lot easier on ourselves if we just treat our word as our bond. Because it really is anyway. 

Don’t take anything personally. This one is so much easier said than done. When I was working at the dental office I had to remind myself often that patients very RARELY meant any ill will towards us when they were speaking to us unkindly. More often than not it was that they were in pain and pain has a way of changing our delivery system for a minute. It wasn’t personal. In my current business, I remind myself that a “no” from a potential customer or partner isn’t a personal rejection of me. It simply means, for a VARIETY of reasons, they aren’t interested in the business or products. And that is OK! People have bad days and are not always going to operate in kindness. That doesn’t mean it’s our fault or that they are upset with us for any reason. This one is particularly hard for me. I am a person who always tries to treat others with kindness and respect. And I also want very much to make everyone happy. I want people to get along and be kind and respectful as I try to be. Now, I don’t always accomplish kindness and respect. But again, even coming from me, if I am not kind or respectful it usually isn’t anything personal or related to the person I am dealing with. I try and remember that all the “things” aren’t always about me. Very rarely, in fact. 

Don’t make assumptions. This one ties into the previous one about not taking things personally. It has been said that, “To assume is to make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’ . . . ” I happen to agree with that. There is no way we can know everything about everything and everyone. Life is much easier and happier when we stick to what we DO know about things and people and leave the assumptions out of it. Only God has the ability to judge the intentions and hearts of others. A job best left to Him, I think. One thing that goes hand in hand with this one is not jumping to conclusions. We have a tendency to make judgments about things without first having all facts in evidence. It is just not good practice and can truly make for some really hard feelings. When dealing with others, it is super helpful if you take what you THINK you know about them or what you may have heard about them and put it next to their character . . . the things you DO know to be true about that individual. If it doesn’t line up with the past experiences you’ve had with them and who you believe them to be, it’s best to leave all assumptions and conclusions about the new information you may have received until you can talk with them about it. This point can have other meanings also. One of the biggest ones for me isn’t even when dealing with others. It is when I am thinking about what others think about me. The best piece of advice I have ever been offered was that we wouldn’t worry about WHAT people think about us if we knew how LITTLE they did. That doesn’t always stop my mind from assuming that people won’t want to be friends with me once they get to know me, or that they will judge me based on my looks, appearance, or other physical feature. Don’t assume. 

Always do your best. I would suppose that this one really needs no further explanation. I have always told my kids that if it is worth doing, it is worth doing to the best of their ability. The things we set our hands to are worth our best efforts. This is true for a large range of things. I fold my laundry with the idea that at any point in time, Jesus Himself may ask to use a towel, or walk into my room and catch a quick glance of my underwear and sock drawer. I mean, I guess He sees that anyway, but you hopefully get my point. I painted our back deck and stained our fence recently. And I did it with the thought that the smallest thing could get noticed and if it wasn’t right, what would that say about my effort? And what would THAT effort say about my effort in ALL of the other things I do in my life? So, as I said, it applies to a range of things . . . from laundry and painting to our most valuable relationships. There is an old hymn that I absolutely love to sing. It is called, “Our Best.” It could also be considered another motto of mine. The first verse and chorus are something I have typed and put in my journal. I use my journal daily, writing out events as they happened and then, on a separate pad of paper I keep with my journal, I write down a couple things I want to work on myself personally the next day. Maybe it’s patience; maybe it’s attitude. But this song is tucked into that pad of paper and then transferred to the next pad when the one it’s in runs out of paper. It is one of the last things I see at night and one of the first things I see in the morning when I glance at the things I am going to be working on. The whole idea is that Jesus doesn’t ask for perfection from us. He asks for perfect effort from us. I am so grateful for that truth! 

I wanted to share these things with you because I believe our efforts to do them help to build and guard our character. Not our reputation . . . our character. Our reputation is who others think we are. Our character is who we are when no one’s looking . . . who God KNOWS us to be. Who are we when no one sees us? I hope that it’s someone we would be proud to show to the rest of the world. I hope it’s someone we would want our children to become. I hope it’s someone we work on every single day.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

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