Your Best… Within Reason

You know how I just up and went to Vermont with Garrett for a spur of the moment trip last week? I mentioned in that post that a few things that had turned into a headache. One of those things was a contract. Thank goodness for great lawyers, but all the legal talk had my head spinning!!!
During one of the calls, my lawyer was explaining the difference between “reasonable” and “best.” There is apparently a HUGE difference in those two words. “Best” meaning that you did literally everything possible and “reasonable” being a little bit more forgiving.
Separate from the contract, it actually got me thinking. Outside of the law, I think you need both ends of the spectrum. You have to do your best, within reason.

On an everyday basis, I really do try to do my very best. I’ll agree to do something on a short notice… I’ll bend over backwards to get something done well… I’ll rearrange my schedule if need be. However, there are times when I just can’t make it happen. I used to take these moments as serious personal defeats. I would really beat myself up about it. Sometimes I’d even still make it happen at the detriment to my own self.

I do want and strive to do my very best with every opportunity, but there is a line when doing my best isn’t necessarily reasonable. Figuring out where that line is is definitely a challenge, but it’s worth examining and figuring out when it’s questionable! If you’re not sure if you can handle something, sit down and really figure out to what extent you can or can’t do it. Maybe you need to compromise or negotiate what is being asked… maybe you actually can say “yes”… or maybe you really do have to pass altogether.

Sometimes you do have to give yourself a break and realize that you will do the best you can given the circumstances. When you start being consistent about doing your best when possible, the end results will be even better because you’re doing it in the right situations.

Have you ever felt pressured to do your best even if it didn’t feel possible? How have you learned to say no?

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I've learned that rather than trying to make up excuses to myself and the others involved that being honest leaves both parties feeling satisfied. Honesty will make a "no" or a disappointment much easier and the other side will leave the situation feeling respected.

Alyssa J Freitas

I am still learning how to say no and it is so hard. Like you Carly, I tend to do everything in my power to please all (even when it's not reasonable). This will probably be a constant struggle in my life but I am getting better. I recently said no to taking on another commitment and am so happy I did!

Alyssa J Freitas


Carly, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I originally started reading about two years ago when I googled "J Crew chino short fit reviews" and somehow your website popped up! I've been reading it almost every day since then (but never commented) and I think your writing (which was always great) has only gotten better. Even though it is entitled the "college prep", I really love that you have broadened your focus beyond style and fashion and write meaningful posts such as this one. It really sets you apart from the other "preppy lifestyle" bloggers out there. In particular, I love reading about your fabulous life in NYC – I always think of you as a young Charlotte from SATC 😉 Keep up the good work!

Eryn Ivey

This is a good lesson and one that I particularly needed to hear today! I am in a situation where my team is trying their best to appease a client, but nothing we do seems to be good enough.

Many times they want something late at night or first thing in the AM that isnt exactly feasible. I feel this is good lesson to do your best, within reason!

Thanks, Carly!

Carly Gibson

Learning to say no is one of the toughest things – especially in college. Trying to figure out how to spread myself, and making sure it is not too thinly, is something I've been working on for years, but has most definitely been tested in the college setting.

I can see this post most definitely helping.

Thanks Carly, from another Carly!