Doing the best you can

yellow flowers and blue green sky

Doing the best you can

You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got.  Some things are definitely in short supply. 

I’ve been noticing some real shortages lately. I know we’re in the midst of a pandemic but I don’t mean toilet rolls or flour. I’m talking about much more important shortages – things like

  • Certainty
  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Energy
  • Sleep
  • Time
  • Belief
  • Hope


These shortages have been coming up in conversations for a while now.

But there’s a couple of other things I’ve noticed too.

The first thing I’ve noticed is that we don’t always recognise these for ourselves.

It’s easy to recognise shortages when they are more tangible.

If there’s a shortage of flour we can’t make bread.

If you lose your job you probably need to cut your spending.  You might need to speak to your bank or mortgage company.

Man with post it notes on his face

But if we’re short of certainty, patience, or resilience (or any of the other things on the list) we keep going until we drop. 

We try to fill the gap by trying harder, working faster, spending longer at whatever we are doing.

Perhaps you’re at home trying to work as well as home school kids.

Perhaps capacity is down in the team you manage and you can’t deliver as many services.

What adjustments do you make for yourself?  

What conversations do you have, and who with?

Or do you attempt to fill the gap and pick up the slack yourself?

Is it time for a reality check?

Let’s get real.

Something has to give.

I’ve spoken to quite a few people recently whose energy, patience and resilience are running low.  

We explored what was happening.

They were aware of a shortage but they hadn’t had the opportunity to step back to see what the consequence was or could be.  

They had jumped in to fill the gap.

woman with head on table on train

I suggested a reality check and asked them who they needed to have a conversation with.

I sensed reluctance.

But when we dug down a bit, do you know what they said?

They needed to have a conversation with themselves.

“My boss, partner, kid’s school, etc., will understand that I can’t do it all.  But I feel I’m letting the side down.”

So there it is.  It’s the expectation we put on ourselves that we find the most difficult to manage.

If circumstances change why do we assume that we can do the same as we did before, or fill the gap?

Circumstances change but we don’t.

How’s it going for you? 

Do you need a reality check?

Don’t wait until you’re in short supply.

The Review Pentagon drawing

Here’s an exercise that might help with your reality check

It’s a useful diagram/model for exploring what you need to let go of.


What do you want to start doing?


What do you need to do more of?


What do you need to do less of?


What do you want to keep?


What do you need to stop?


(The Review Pentagon from The Art of Coaching (Jenny Bird & Sarah Gornall))

Do you need help to have that conversation with yourself?

I’d love to help you with your reality check.  

Book a free call with me here

If you’re not good at asking for help you might find my blog helpful