In a hustle-and-grind world, the pressure to go harder, do more, and be great at it all creates a heavy weight. I’m trying to be dad-of-the-year, the husband every wife wishes they had, employee of the month, a leader worth following, my mom’s favorite son, someone my friends can count on, an impact maker in my community… and I’m expected to crush it all. 

How? The answer I keep hearing? “Just give it 110%.” 

110%? Before we go any further, let’s get real for a moment. 110% is impossible. On any given day, 100% is the max available to any of us – 100% is all we have to share. 

But what about the days when we only have 80% in our tank to give?

Is expecting 100% from ourselves 100% of the time realistic? 

How about on the day where I get into it with my teen kids or argue with my wife? (Yes, we’re a real family.) Or what about the times where I’m worried about my aging mom and caring for her from miles away is weighing on me? Or the weeks at work when our plates are overflowing, and we’re juggling to get it all done and do it a level we can be proud of? Or the moments when uncertainty or fear creep in, or I’m feeling less than enough?

Some days 80% is all I’ve got. Some days it feels more like 50-60%. 

The reality is this…

  • 110% is impossible.
  • 100% is the goal.
  • Some days, 80% (or even 60%) is enough.

Quit beating yourself up when 100% feels unattainable. Quit worrying so much about what everyone else thinks, and how well you’re keeping up with your neighbors. Quit being the voice that knocks yourself down when goals take longer to achieve or success seems to elude you. Let go of all that pressure to measure up, to be everything to everyone, and to be “on” all of the time. Release it. 

That’s a big part of the concept behind Depth Not Width. A life with depth is one where we give our best to the things we choose as our priorities and quit trying to do it all. We focus our energy on going deep in the areas of life that really matter to us, and stop letting our lives get hijacked by unrealistic expectations. Let those expectations go, and just do your best.

That’s something we’ve always told our kids, now teens. No matter what they were doing, we’ve always told them to just do their best. And with that, we’ve been very careful to caveat that with the truth that we don’t expect their “best” to be perfect. Best and perfect are two very different concepts, and so wherever our kids are on any given day, whatever their best looks like, that’s all we ask of them. 

The Takeaway

We need to treat ourselves the same. Do your best, whatever that looks like today. And if your best is 80% or 60%, because that’s where you’re at, let it go. Make 100% the goal, but show yourself a little grace and latitude from day to day. 

Sound familiar?

If this blog resonated, or sounded like I was talking about you, then you’re in the right place. Every week I’ll be posting one new post like this one to the Depth Not Width blog, sharing some of the wins and struggles we’re all wrestling with. The goal is simple… I want to help you reset, find your own version of depth in life, and be successful however you define that for yourself. Subscribe here and I’ll deliver great content like this right to your inbox. No junk, I promise. – John