Know Better, Do Better

Maya Angelou quotes are powerful and empowering. One of my favorites is, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”

In my book, Heart of a Champion, the “know better, then do better” philosophy shows up in a story I’d like to share.

For over four decades, I justified bullying myself with an extreme, inner critic of my own making. I believed this mindset would help me, as I ran down my Bold Goal to become a World Champion. I was hard on myself and expressed my emotions, when I didn’t get the results I wanted. I was a bear to live with, and my family and friends tolerated it. I rode the emotional roller coaster and the results roller coaster–weekly. Emotions clouded my thinking and decision-making skills. They kept me stuck, until I could finally release them. One thing I learned about getting stuck is that once you are stuck, you do not stay in the same place. You move backward, away from your Bold Goal.

The ball of emotions I felt inside gave me deep conflict. I asked myself how in the world could I love something so much, invest countless resources into accomplishing it, pray for it, and work so hard to achieve it–yet, have it yield such unproductive behavior, negativity and pain? I carried a ball of emotions inside of me, and it was proving to be detrimental to my well-being. This is where Maya Angelou’s quote helped me.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”

For my life to change, I had to turn things around. I realized the emotions that served me well in the arena were the positive ones. Being happy, being grateful, having peace, and having hope were all beneficial. So, I consciously decided to “shut the arena gate” on negative emotions.

While doubling down and developing a deeper conviction for my Bold Goal, I learned how to stop being emotionally driven by negative thoughts, negative self-talk, and negative actions. I went into scientist mode, resolving to be data and process driven. Results, numbers, and times would not define me; however, they would provide the information I call “feedback.” I used the feedback as fertilizer to “grow” me, plain and simple.

I drew a line in the sand and stepped across it, making the decision to do things differently, to get different results. Here are a few strategies I practiced relentlessly, as I vowed not to cross back over the line. 

#1 I was determined to master my emotions. I worked to regulate my emotions during the good, the bad and when “stuff” hit the fan.

#2 I looked for opportunities to develop my bounce-back ability. In fact, it became a game for me to see how quickly I could bounce-back from adversity.

#3 I dropped out of the popular clubs: the “Ain’t It Awful Club,” the “Poor Pitiful Me Club,” and “The World Is Against Me Club.” And, I joined some unpopular clubs: the “Bring It On Club,” the “Is That All You Got Club?,” the “I Like It When My Weaknesses Get Exposed Club,” and “The World Is Happening For Me Club.” This was a gradual process. It took commitment and discipline to stay the course and develop an elite mindset. I worked ambitiously, while being saintly patient. My Bold Goal had a deadline, but I was not attached to the deadline. I knew should I not achieve my Bold Goal by the deadline, it meant I needed more time on task, possibly different strategies, and maybe more effort.

If you are at a place in your life where you are ready to get different results, I would be honored to help you. Right now, you are doing the best you can with the information you have. I can help you can learn more so you will “know better.” Only then you can “do better!”

Contact me to begin my 90-day one-on-one coaching program, Master the Art of Winning. We will work together to achieve your Bold Goals.