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10 Problems with Doing the Best You Know How To Do

Years ago in a company we owned, there was a young man who worked for me who had tremendous potential. I believed in him so much I personally invested in him and paid special attention to him. I thought his future with our company was worth the extra time. Sadly, he never measured up to my expectations and we ended up having to part ways.

Every time I would meet with him to “encourage” him, he would say the same thing.

I’m doing the best I know how to do.

At the time, I really thought it was a fair answer. I have come to realize, however, that this response was actually his primary problem. He was doing the best he KNEW HOW to do.

But, here’s the reality I know:

The best you know how to do is never the best you can do!

It’s not. I wish it was, because it would make things much easier. But, there’s so much more. In fact, the line is really just an excuse. And excuses never get you where you say you want to go.

Here are 10 problems when you do the best you know how to do:

You leave out a critical thinking.

You quit learning new things.

You fail to be stretched.

You never develop personally.

You stop asking questions.

You resist change.

You dismiss new ideas.

You stop growing in your field of expertise.

You can’t as easily help others grow when you aren’t growing.

You stop walking by faith.

There is a huge difference in doing the best you know how to do and doing the best YOU CAN DO. The best you can do is to continue to get better. The times you are being stretched beyond what you know how to do may prove to be the best times of your personal development.

Never settle for the best you know how to do. It seldom will take you to the places you really want to go!

Here’s a challenge question: What are you currently doing to produce future personal growth? 

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Prisk says:

    this is a really great post!
    Greetings from Norway.

  • Laurinda says:

    Awesome post! I totally agree and had never thought about it in this light. I knew there was a reason when people said "I'm doing the best I know how to do" it made me cringe.

    Personal development is something I consider every Nov/Dec to set 'New Year's Resolutions' which is just a plan. I look at my goals every quarter to see where I'm at in regards to progress and adjust if necessary. I'm an avid reader. Also EVERY area of my life I'm accountable. Accountability just makes me a better person.

    Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

  • sbordewyk says:

    Great post! Thanks for the challenge to discover new ways to grow myself and be stretched. A good indication for me to renew my development plans is when I get comfortable in my current situation and even start to feel a bit bored. Although it feels safe for a while to stay comfy, it's never a good idea both personally and professionally. I'm looking forward to tomorrows post on writing a plan! I think it would be a great exercise for me to do and probably would lesson the fear that comes with change 🙂

  • julieabel says:

    Great post once again Ron~ Next week myself and one of our managers are going to the WIllow Creek Leadership Summit. I want to hear from other leaders how they do things, share ideas and get inspired. I believe our time there will help me to thwart some of the problems you outlined. Blessings to you brother!

    • ronedmondson says:

      I keep wanting to go to that conference. I've got a son in Chicago for school now, but he's still at home for the summer, so not this year again. Have fun!

  • Ben Reed says:

    Good stuff, Ron!
    I use two different methods to grow myself and do the best I can do: reading and networking. I read books from my field and related fields…and network with folks who are doing similar work. It has really helped me develop, because honestly, when you get in a new field, you really don't even know what needs developing. Reading and networking has opened up my eyes to all sorts of areas where I need continued improvement.