A small, but life changing book for me was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I’ve read it several times and pasted the agreements on my bathroom mirror. These four simple rules make life a lot easier – yet they are not always easy to follow. As a recovering perfectionist the one that comes to mind today is “Always do your best.” Doing my best has always meant doing everything perfect. Doing any task better than everyone and preferably looking good while doing so. In school, anything less than an A was the equivalent of failing to me. If my mood were ever to deviate from happy, easy to be around, cool, fun girl then I was a lunatic. When I was too tired to prep and keep a super clean diet – or heaven forbid I needed to miss a workout – then I deserved to feel fat and unhappy. If a friend gotten busy and hadn’t called me back, it was because I’d somehow horribly offended them or otherwise did something terrible and I thus deserved to be shunned. So it was quite a shock to me when I found out that my friends sometimes just get busy and call when they have a chance. That I can have a bad day, be cranky and my boyfriend still loves me. That I can fail and the world doesn’t end. What might be shocking to you all is that I was a grown woman in my 30s when I realized this. Turns out I can be happy weighing a few pounds over my goal weight. It appears that the people that love me don’t leave if I miss a beat. And apparently, I can be honest about all my imperfections and I’m actually more revered and liked than before. Huh…who knew? I was at my breaking point a few months ago – stressed and completely exhausted, my relationship hanging by a thread and feeling like I didn’t belong on the stage I’d risen to – and something had to change. I had to redefine my best. Don Miguel Ruiz describes always doing our best as: “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” Well I’ll be damned…turns out my best doesn’t always have to be 110%. If I am feeling 75% because I didn’t get enough sleep or have a cold, then all I am responsible is just that 75%. Note: he also says nothing about our best being equal to being perfect. Guess my best is whatever I decide it to be – whatever I can feel good about. I’ve never felt good unless I was doing it better than everyone. I needed to be the best, anything less just wouldn’t do. I’d beat myself up for not preparing more or doing more. I’d berate myself for falling short and end up not sleeping, crying and driving the people that love me up the wall. They didn’t understand the ridiculous amount of unnecessary pressure I put on myself – it’s not healthy and it’s hardly my best. Some days you simply don’t have 110% to give and I’m learning that as long as I do my best, not my perfect, then I have no reason to feel bad. I do not have to be super human, do it all on no sleep, go above and for every single venture. If I honor where I’m at in that moment, rise to that moment – to that moment alone, then I can feel very good about myself. And there’s no reason to feel I came up short. That seems like a good agreement to make with myself – and a good one to keep.