How Do You Define Your Best?

Book Discussion

"Good job!" "You did your best, that's what counts." We've all heard these phrases a some point but in the first pages of Stella Duffy's Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore the idea of doing one's best took on a different meaning. Theodora wasn't trying to do her best, she was trying to do her teacher's best -- the best that he expected. How often have each of us fallen into that trap?

"I'll do my best, not his." Comito p. 13

I really do believe it is often a trap to measure ourselves by other's definitions of best or success. While it certainly can be good to be challenged to raise the bar, we may not always perform to another's standards. We may not follow their prescribed path. Sometimes we need to find our own.

Theodora was not scared to find her own path. She knew that she could have been more like Comito, respected and well kept by a wealthy man. She could have stayed with the theatre, stayed a whore and still be beloved by the public. It was what her friends wished her to do. She was success by their terms. Theodora wanted more from life.

"She understood that money and position, in that order, were what she needed in the next stage of her life and with this posting Hecebolus had the means to offer both." p. 70

Had Theodora took the uncharted path and has she not, she never would have become the Theodora we all know. She would have faded into history, at most a footnote someone's writings about the theatre. She had taken Comito's advice to heart and did her best.

running trophies

Image credit: Jenna Hatfield (used with permission)

I will probably never run a four minute mile or ever run a marathon. My best may be running 2 miles in any time at all. Or finishing a 5k race in less than 45 minutes. Maybe it's posting on my blogs once a week or paying off my student loans two years ahead of schedule. I can choose to define my personal best any way I choose, in part because of trailblazers like Theodora. I do my best... just for me.

How do you define your best?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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