The 3G’s of Doing Your Best

Xperience Growthblogposts

By: Carter Williams, Director of Xperience Growth Coaching & Consulting

In the book that he co-wrote with Steve Jamison, The Essential Wooden, famed basketball coach John Wooden says something that many people might find surprising or even disbelieve it’s true.

He slept well the night before games.

He does not qualify that statement or even offer a caveat for the big games. He made a point to say that he slept well before the national championships his teams competed in (his UCLA teams competed in 10 national championships in 12 years – winning 7 in a row).

He slept well because, as he says, “knowing I had done all that I could as a teacher, coach and leader provided me great fulfillment – peace of mind – than outscoring an opponent.”

In essence, that peace of mind, stems from knowing that he had done his best. What is our best? Let’s look at it through the 3 G’s: goals, grace & growth. The combination of these will help provide similar fulfillment and peace of mind to that of Coach Wooden.. And, if it leads to similar achievement, I think we’d all line up for that!


Let’s make a simple goal: do your best. To do your best you might ask: what is my best? I think a better question might be: how do you know that you’ve done your best?

We can agree that “best” is quite subjective. In fact, it’s hard to really put our finger on it. Yet, when you can articulate how you know you’ve done your best, you’re putting thoughts, feelings and actions to make “best” more tangible for you. And then, you can execute doing your best b/c you know what your outcome of best looks and feels like.

A great way to achieve this is to check in with yourself daily. In the book “Triggers” author Marshall Goldsmith talks about a test he conducted to look at workplace engagement. His test concluded that when a group of people that took a 2-hour course on workplace engagement & happiness and then followed up daily answering questions like: “Did you do your best to be happy? Did you do your best to be fully engaged?” Those participants doubled their results over a control group.

When we know what our best is and we make an effort for that daily, we actually take control of our situations, which leads to greater fulfillment and success.


What if your best isn’t “good enough”? You do you best, yet you don’t quite get what you wanted in the time you wanted it. Coach Wooden didn’t win every game. And, he looked not to judge based on the outcome of the game, yet on his and the team’s effort towards the best. And he lived with the result.

There’s a belief in the teaching of neuro linguistic program (NLP) that says people are “doing the best they can with the resources they have available.” We all have positive intent with our actions. Even if those actions are not “positive” it comes from a place within us that is wanting to deliver what we want. Whatever actions we take are limited to what our conscious mind is able to tap into, or that which we know, in that moment.

So, if we’re doing the best we can, given what mental, emotional & physical resources are available to us and we don’t get what we want, we owe ourselves a little grace. Just like you would show a child grace for what she doesn’t know, we should afford ourself similar grace.


Gary Keller has posed the question often: Are you doing your best or the best that it can be done? Seeking the answer is where growth comes in. You know what your best is. Then when you give it your best and the outcome is quite what you wanted you give yourself grace. That is good. After all, you cannot go back to the past and change it so why dwell negatively. Yet, you can search for the best that it can be done, model it, leverage it and now your “best” is better.

Ask yourself who is doing it the best that it can be done? If you’re looking at investments – you might say Warren Buffett. If you’re looking at business, you might say Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg. What about being a parent? What about simply being a good person? Who do you look to in all the areas of your life that are meaningful for you? Then, what is it about them can you learn from and implement? Look for behavioral patterns and thought patterns that you can apply.

The best part, there’s no such thing as best. If you take the best to highest possible point, you get perfect. We all know there’s no such thing for us mortals. So, the growth journey of seeking the best that it can be done is always in front of us. What an amazing opportunity!

To do our best, we can use our goals, grace and growth as our guide. As a coach, the best way to sum up a post where you talk about a legendary coach like Coach Wooden, is to quote from a player. Rafer Johnson played for Coach Wooden and went on to win the gold medal in the 1960 Olympics decathlon He says that Coach Wooden told him as an incoming freshman to not worry whether you’re doing better than the next guy. Johnson says Coach Wooden taught him to say: “Do you best. Just worry about that.”