Friday, March 3, 2023

Do Your Goodest!

Rachel Anne Ridge

Stop trying to live your best life.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? Of course, you should try to live your best life!

Or should you?

We are always being urged to “Live Your BEST Life Now.” You need to have the best job, drive the best car, have the best things, maintain the best body. Live every moment in the best way possible.

It’s fabulous! It’s the BEST!

But honestly? It’s exhausting.

Listen, being the best is overrated.

So, what if you went for something else entirely?

You see, in your quest to be best, it’s easy to forget how to simply be good.

Once, as a discouraged mother of teenagers, I sat alone in my bedroom wiping away tears. Conflict over something important I’d forgotten to do made me retreat behind my door as I berated myself for failing yet again. Absentmindedly, I opened a dresser drawer and found an old diary, long abandoned. As I leafed through the pages, I stopped at one entry and tears began to fall once more, but this time for an entirely different reason. A few scrawled lines recounted a moment from years before when I pulled a red wagon with my then two-year-old son to the park. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the little blond boy sat in the wagon as we rattled down the sidewalk. Suddenly his tiny voice piped up. “Mommy, you’re da goodest mom I evah seen.

His words stopped me in my tracks.

Goodest mom.

Reading those words from so long ago I realized I’d been trying so hard to be the best mom ever, that I’d forgotten the importance of simply being a goodest one. I didn’t have to try to control every situation. I didn’t have to strive to be perfect. I could let go of all that and lean in to the goodness of my family, in all its flaws and failures. I was free to embrace my mistakes and learn from them, rather than beat myself up over making them in the first place.

We all spend an inordinate amount of time vying to compete on the racetrack of career and personal advancement. We pretend to be slick and shiny, built for speed and fame—all the while knowing deep inside that this is not who we really are. Pretending only gives us a false sense of belonging. When we finally embrace our true donkey-selves, we begin to belong on our own terms.

BrenĂ© Brown puts it this way: “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

The truest thing about you is that you are worthy of all the love, all the dancing, all the belonging, and all the goodness this world has to offer.

You are enough

You see, only one person can be the best at something. Their moment of glory is fleeting, and then someone else stands ready to take their place at the top.

But good? Oh, good never goes away. It never goes out of style. No one can ever take away that crown.

This world needs the good you have to offer.

Be a good friend.
Be a good neighbor.
Be a good parent.
Be a good son.

Be a good daughter.
Be a good worker.
Be a good leader.

Being good means that you look out for the needs of others. You find ways to inspire kindness and joy. You bring light and life everywhere you go.

This proved true for a man named Tom Shadyac, who was living “his best life” in Hollywood, successfully directing films such as Ace Ventura and The Nutty Professor. However, a bicycle accident in 2007 compounded a sense he’d had for some time that life as he lived it was empty. So, he decided to trade in his fame and fortune for a mobile home and a bike . . . and a commitment to share what he had with others. He is living his goodest (and happiest) life, enjoying a creative career while helping people along the way. Tom has discovered the secret of leaving space for generosity and kindness.

These days, good is underrated. Good is actually better than best.

Good leaves room for falling down, for the unexpected, for grace. It understands that some of life’s most priceless gifts are wrapped in ordinary packages. It gives permission for being kind to yourself and to others.

Don’t let your desire to be the best rob you of the goodness that’s all around you or take away your ability to do good in the moment.

Stop trying to live your best life.

Live your goodest life instead.

Dig Deeper

· Why not make a list of ways to let go of perfectionism and the need to “be the best,” and ask yourself, “Why not try it?”

· What would a “goodest” life look like for you?

· When will you do one simple “good thing” for someone? Write down the first ideas that come to mind.

Adapted from The Donkey Principle: The Secret to Long-Haul Living in a Racehorse World by Rachel Anne Ridge, releasing from Tyndale House Publishers in April 2023.

Rachel Anne Ridge is an author, professional artist, and motivational speaker. Her books Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances and Walking with Henry have delighted readers with their entertaining tales and poignant lessons. A certified life coach, Rachel works with individuals and organizations to discover their creative gold through hands-on workshops, retreats, and coaching. Rachel is a mom to three adult children, and Nana to five grandchildren. Learn more at

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