Keep your bare minimum to yourself.
That’s exactly what the phrase, “well, at least I…” is a declaration of: bare minimum.
Well, at least I come see my kid. what?
Well, at least I brushed my teeth today. excuse me?
Well, at least I showed up at all. …thanks for your kindness.
When somebody starts a sentence with “well, at least I…” just know they are about to give themselves credit they probably do not deserve. You are suppose to want to see your kids every chance you get. Why wouldn’t you have brushed your teeth today? And, sis, if your presence isn’t a priority don’t bother going.
And don’t get me wrong, I used to be that person. I used to give myself extra gold stars for doing things that actually took the lowest level of effort and deserved no acknowledgement at all. I was infamously, habitually, and chronically late for work at my old job. And you know what my favorite go to line was when I arrived,? “Well, at least I showed up at all.” Girl, what? I really had to have a moment with myself because no one else would call me on my bullshit. I had to ask myself…do you have a better job? Hell, any other job at all? Being on time was a minimum requirement of the job, no just being there. But I would coach myself into thinking it was ok for me to give myself credit for something that deserved no credit at all.
Once I snapped out of it, my life and outlook changed drastically. I never even realized how negative that phrase was until someone said it to me. It infuriated me. How dare someone believe that it’s okay to give any less than their best. Then I woke up from my hypocrisy and realized I am constantly presenting the world with my bare minimum and expecting praise. I stopped giving myself props for doing and being less than what I was capable of being. Why even mention the least amount of effort you put into something? Why not exceed the mediocre limit you have given yourself and be great at whatever you are doing. That is what gets jobs done. That is when you will receive real recognition. And when I started to expect more from myself, I started to actually get shit done. Beyonce’ doesn’t give bare minimum. At least not in my eyes. Take a look at your mentors or people who inspire you. In most cases, I doubt they are making excuses or applauding themselves for putting forth the tiniest bit of effort.
So here’s my call to action: give your all. Do not even consider putting in the “least” amount of effort. You are awesome, spread that awesomeness everywhere. Because “least” means there is more to give, so give it. If you are getting something done by doing the least amount of effort just imagine what it could be if you gave it your all. And if it doesn’t require your best effort move on to something that does. That is my challenge, and so far so good.