Learnings from the Management Consultant: Do Your Best Everyday

The second agreement in The Four Agreements, the book by Don Miguel Ruiz that spells out four agreements you make with yourself that, if followed, have a profound effect upon how you live your life and the influence other people have on you is “Do Your Best Everyday”.

Making and following this agreement is the best method I know to rid yourself of the guilt that comes with any type of failure. We can all recall circumstances in our professional lives when we didn’t do our best. Either we were tired, or overwhelmed, or just didn’t have the energy to make the effort to show up and do our best.

Like anything else doing your best requires practice. You can practice:

  1. Managing your time: Mindlessly surfing the web, gossiping with a co-worker, complaining about ‘them”, whoever they may be, checking social media or texting your friends, takes time away from the time available to make a difference in your business. Go in with a plan for what you’re going to accomplish each day and do those things first.
  2. Doing one thing at a time: Multi-tasking assures that every single thing you do takes longer. Even with large, multi-day or week efforts, decide where a logical cut-off point is between finishing one activity and working on another for the day, then work to that point before moving on to something else.
  3. Producing quality work products: That doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean producing a product that meets the requirements for which it was intended.
  4. Getting your products or services to market: Define the specifications for your product or service prior to starting the design. Once it meets those requirements, release the product to market. I’ve known too many entrepreneurs who have blown through all their savings and the start-up funds of their fledging businesses by continuing to up the ante on the requirements the product has to meet.  While this may fly in the face of what we would commonly define as “doing your best”, it’s necessary to stay in business. While you’re working on a product you’ll think of a dozen improvements, but if you don’t release the product to market you’ll run out of funding. How much better to release it and garner customer’s input so the next version of your product will not only benefit from your learning, but from your customer’s feedback.

Doing your best everyday means just that – with what I know and the capital I have to invest, this is the best I can do.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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