I was at the gym yesterday morning and finally made my way upstairs to the weight machines after a multi-year hiatus. It's not that I had stopped exercising, just that weights had taken a back seat for a while.
So I tentatively sat down at the leg press and loaded it up with 70 lbs. Too easy. So I upped it to 100 lbs and felt pretty impressed with myself. Still too easy. So I added 15 lbs. And finally started breaking a sweat. (Don't worry I'm very quickly getting to my point!)
But then I thought to myself If I do three fewer reps, could I add another 15 lbs? (total load now 130 lbs)... and the answer was yes. Yes I could. For the first time in my life, I leg pressed 130 lbs. (Go me!)
And the reason I'm sharing this with you - here's the point, you see - is that too often we give something our best and assume that's all we can do, that we've maxed out our capacity. But that's not true.
Sure, it might be the best we can do in that moment, but if we rest, say, or come back later or work on our form (or do fewer reps), we can often do more. And then a little more. And then a little more.
And suddenly what we once thought of as our best - what we once had plateaued at - is exposed for what it was: our baseline, but not our total capacity or our total potential.
The amazing thing us humans is that we can get better. Our best can be better. Our last year's pinnacle can be this year's starting point.
So the next time you give something your all, celebrate that sure, but don't get too comfortable. Know that you can be more, do more, have more, or achieve more if you want to. Your best today, doesn't have to be your best tomorrow.
Your best is not your full potential. So why not acknowledge that from time to time... and then try to find out what your full potential really is?
I'd love to cheer you along as you explore, but more importantly, I'd love to hear how much higher and further you've led yourself once you've recognized that your best is not nearly all you can do.