The other day, I experienced a little disappointment in my business. A contest I expected to place in, and didn’t. It wasn’t a big deal, really, but for some reason, it got me down. In trying to figure out why I felt so bad, I had a realization. I told my husband, “When I was a kid, I always wanted to be the best in my class at something.”

I spent a lot of time as a child wondering what it must be like to be the athlete who was always the fastest kid on the playground, or the girl who always got the solos in choir, or the kid who always scored the highest on the math tests.

What did it feel like to be “blessed?” What would it feel like to know you had a gift? Not a small gift, but the biggest box under the tree.

When my little hopes were dashed the other day, I felt like a kid again. If I couldn’t be the best at writing, there wasn’t much chance I could be the best at anything else. Writing was the closest I came in school to being the star pupil.

It always seemed so unfair to me that some people were born with the voices of angels and others were born to croak like frogs. And then there were those of us in the vast wasteland of in-between. Then again, with special gifts come more responsibility, more pressure, more expectations. Those of us who are average (or above average) can relax and just enjoy our talents.

It’s kind of silly to sit around wishing we were the best, because who’s to say we aren’t? To our biggest fans, to our families and friends, maybe we are the best. Or maybe our talents are so outside the norm it’s unfair to judge them in standard ways. Or maybe we are so busy obsessing about being the best at one thing that we don’t realize we are the best at something else. Or maybe we’re the best some days but not others, and that’s okay. It’s all okay.

Because it’s not about being the best, it’s about feeling our best. It’s about leaning into those moments of awe we sometimes have at our own efforts when we put our hearts and souls into what we are doing and it all seems to come together. Maybe those around us can’t see it, maybe they can, but the point is we feel it. We know it’s good. We know it’s our best. And nothing beats that feeling.

Wanting to be the best is ego, wanting to do our best is soul. Ego just gets me down. Think I’ll stick with soul.

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