Meme pas peur - the French phrase you've seen all over the media this week
Paris Climate Talks & how to "glaner" before Global Warming

Faire de son mieux - to do one's best


France's own 007 and his sleek getaway car. Oh, if getting away from our villains were that easy! Read on....

TODAY'S WORD: faire de son mieux

    : to do one's best

ECOUTEZ/LISTEN hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's phrase 
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Faire de son mieux. On peut toujours faire de son mieux.
To do one's best. One can always do his best.

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by Kristin Espinasse

Ma raison d'être?

In light of so much disheartening news, I keep asking myself the same question: what are we to do? What is, after all, something we can do? And, on a more personal level, what am I here to do?

To this last inquiry, I keep getting the same three-word response: do your best.

For the most part, this simple concept (one most have learned by the age of 7? 12?...) is helping. I have a clearer sense of direction and am more easily able to find peace. There are exceptions, as in right this moment--sitting here trying to find my words while being tortured to MADNESS by an unphilosophic fly!  

(Back now, after chasing la mouche around my bedroom - and failing to coax it out the window via a batting of expletives.)

Faire de son mieux. It is what I have done over and again this week, whether battling flies or resolving to go to tonight's 007 costume party. (All it took to motivate me was another simple question: what is the true purpose? To have an appropriate costume? Or to celebrate a friend's birthday--Yes-THAT IS IT!  I will now venture out of my comfort zone (a would-be cozy evening at home - loose pajamas, no makeup, no heels  and no small talk!) and focus on somebody else's happiness.

It could be argued that one's raîson d'être or "reason for being" involves much, much more than dressing up as James BLOND (that is the best I could come up with!) but I am taking each hurdle as it comes. And this little experiment seems to be working! Looking up, I see that two-bit fly is nowhere in sight - and I am now done with my short story offering for today!  Bon courage to you as you venture forth today and whatever it is you are facing...

Souvenez-vous de faire de votre mieux! Remember to just do your best.  


To respond to today's post, click here

Faire de son mieux. In addition to doing one's best, we need to accept help, when needed, from others! Smokey, your glasses are on straight now. But the question remains: At tonight's theme party...will they know it is you -- and not me -- behind those sunglasses? Just kidding. I'll go. I'LL GO!

Thank you for sharing this message of encouragement--and French--with a friend. Click on one of the share buttons just below. Merci encore!

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Nikki Tureen

Bonjour Kristi,
It's been a while but I read your posts faithfully with tons of appreciation.

Today was a great post! Faire de son mieux indeed! Asking ourselves to find the true purpose of the activity, request, etc provides a superb tool for engaging authentically with life. Thanks for that.

But I particularly liked the bit where you wondered if others hadn't learned this precept at 7 years. I'm several years older than you & just recently had one of those ahas...oh, this is the way to behave! Talk about late-onset maturity!

Très, très amicalement
Nikki from Vaison

Maria cochrane

One of my current guiding principles is : do what is best next. And 'move at the pace of God's grace. ' what I like about your application was how you discerned the purpose of the outing and when it was for the joy of someone else, the perceived pressure to come up with a creative costume fell away.


Like to see more French wortds.


bonjour, Kristin

great and perceptive piece as always. i think our purpose is as you say: lead a good life and celebrate the joys of others. have a fun evening!

and share those expletives with us one day! they could come in handy in dealing with french and swiss bureaucracy!



I have found something that works for me in this life in the new world: Show Up. Especially if you don't know what to do. And it sounds as if you will do just fine at the fete tonight. The most important thing is to be there, costume or no, show up. Your friend will be happy, and maybe you will want to stay late. Merry Thanksgiving. (Wish I could have written that in French)



Thanks so much for taking the time to write your blog. I was happy to hear that someone else feels the same way about going to parties and engaging in small talk! I pick PJs any day of the week!! I hope you were able to "faire de son mieux".

Petrina in Brittany

Hi there, your post today reminded me of yesterday's experience: sitting in the dentist chair, having a bit of a rough time,I became aware of the James Bond theme playing on the 'background music'. It is so iconic & special that it quite took my mind off of the prevailing situation!!Enjoy the party. Loving the sunglasses on Smokey!


As the author Kate Morton said to me at her book signing yesterday, all we can do is try. She was speaking about writing, but truly, it applies to many other situations in life. I considered how exhausting a book tour can be to an introvert writer, yet there she was, perfectly gracious and charming, beaming warmly at each person who approached her for a moment of attention. Like you, I would love to sit at home and avoid parties, but I find that when I make a point to show up and be the best version of myself, life continues to flow, gently pulling me along on its waves. We always have a choice to change directions and swim toward the shore at any point when we feel we've had enough, for now. I believe and trust that life will always continue to take care of us. All we have to do is show up and do our best. Have a fabulous time at the soiree!

Patty Cargill

Too funny and pictures, please, of Blond Bond! Smokey as usual dons costumes like a natural.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Happy to see new commenters, and to learn from each one of you. The reminder to just show up is especially helpful today! Wishing everyone a good weekend and I will continue to enjoy your stories here.

Karen Cafarella

All we can do is show up, do what we can, always be kind. This time of the year, the current happenings in the world and sometimes just life can make us forget to just be who we are and do the best we can.

Love the picture of Smokey! We are having a blast with our new puppy Pequa and taking lots and lots of pictures.


Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Great disguise, "James Blond", and a perceptive take on social obligations. Interesting to read how many of us do not really look forward to parties and small talk ("what do you think of my longer hair?), but when we get there it usually turns out that we meet someone fascinating or learn something worth knowing. If not, as Katia said, we can always swim for shore. And to Greg, the French administration deserves its very own colorful and long set of expletives! Trust me!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Smokey is a sweetie!

Your missive today sent me in two different directions. Just before reading it, I was contemplating an invitation to celebrating a life event and almost had myself talked out of it.
It is complicated but now I will continue to consider it!

You tapped my MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Inficator) buttons today and reminded me of a book that addresses some of the issues you raise. It is "The Introvert Advantage" by Marti Olsen Laney. I first bought it for my introverted family members and ended up recommending it to the students in my leadership seminars. It offers insights to both the introvert and the extrovert! Very well worth the read. Another worthwhile book is "Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types" by Kiersay and Bates.

We are all so very different but in many ways much the same. I so enjoy the reader responses to your always thought-provoking stories!


Hi Kristin,
Smokey is so cute! We just saw the new James Bond movie and it's pretty good! Have fun at the party! You need a cool spy name....

Audrey Wilson

A great principle . That is all one can do.
Smokey is ready & dying to go ,SO WHAT ARE YOU WEARING As one of the vilenesses, Miss Moneypenny, or one of Bond's girls ??
Whatever you decide have a great time!
(Maybe you'll get to ride in the Aston Martin !!!!)

Dad in California

Loved your blog today. Sometimes one shouldn't try his best. Once I tried to kill a fly who was pestering me and I ended up by throwing my back out after all my gyrations. It took three weeks to heal. Now I have a fly-swatter to help me track down the pests. I saw the new Bond movie and it did live up to expectations!

Richard Mahoney

My wife and I just confirmed our air reservations to travel to France, including a week in Paris, for three weeks next May and June. Vive La France!
We enjoy your blog very much. Keep at it. Do your best.

Janet Haagensen

Salut Kristin! I started receiving your emails after meeting an American lady whilst doing a Spanish course in Barcelona some years ago. She worked at Colombia University in New York at the time and live in London.

I am prompted to write because I just loved the concept on doing ones best including chasing out a fly. I usual invite my outside and open the door or window for them and they usually go. Bit strange but true.

Thank you again for your lovely emails. I learn words for things in French I didn't know I needed.


As an introvert--extreme introvert--I had some similar thoughts. Sometimes the "showing up" part is the biggest hurdle for the introvert. But I agree that it's good advice. Another very interesting book about introversion is called "Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" by Susan Cain. Very enlightening.

Enjoyed today's thought-provoking theme and also the comments. The 'purpose' question is one I struggle with on a regular basis. I guess my mom was right all along--"just do your best" :)

Kristin Espinasse

Aw,  Dad. 💛


Thanks for yet another of your inspirational posts...just when needed. And also for always being able to faire de ton mieux and make our lives a bit brighter and provide an honest and humble example. Merci mille fois!

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA


With those glasses and your beautiful blonde hair, you could go in jeans and a white top and look totally awesome.

Appreciated so many of these comments today (as always) that accompany your (as always :) thoughtful post. The thoughts resonate deeply. (My tag line on Google+ is "Just Show Up!")

When I was caring for my mom, I appreciated dear friends who didn't ask what I needed, but instead just showed up ... with soup in hand, or mowed the lawn, or brought coffee and 20 minutes of conversation ... you get the picture. This also taught me, as you mention, to accept.

Your friend let you know what he/she needs ... your presence. Show up as James Blonde (so creative!) and I'm sure you'll be a hit. Take care of you, and leave when, or if, you feel uncomfortable, and I'm sure your friend understand.

Best wishes.


Our dear Kristi,
Another wonderful,inspiring post today!
And exactly what we needed to hear:faire de son mieux.
It applies to so many challenges in life-- here is even more meaningful because it applies to helping someone else's happiness.(who no doubt feels as challeneged as we do and is asking us to help her pull out of it)(with an added surprise of pulling ourselves out of it ,too!)
Oh,yes.Faire de son mieux.
And ALL blessings always.


>>>on a more personal level, what am I here to do?

the most important answer is, whatever makes your heart and your soul sing.

have successfully avoided both thanksgiving and black friday here in the sonoran desert. had a small piece of pecan pie. still have not uncovered the half a turkey breast which was roasted today instead of yesterday.

we all live with and deal with fear. the best lives don't deny that. we just don't let the fear dictate the songs we sing.

Marianne Rankin

This is another post where the audio files aren't working.

Years ago, one of my French lit books had a note about Rene Descartes, who developed the system of graphing equations in two- and three-dimensional space. Descartes was watching a fly move around the room, and observed, "That fly is doing algebra."

Yes, going to the friend's party was a good thing to do. Quand on fait de son mieux, on devient une meilleure personne.

Kristin Espinasse

Marianne,  thanks for the sound file report. I will try to  fix,  perhaps by adding two versions next time and asking readers to test the links.  Enjoyed your note about Descartes fly! Next time a fly is driving me mad,  I will look at the situation differently.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks,  Thelma. For some reason this brought tears.  I am so touched by all the thoughtful comments.

Diane Young

I'm also not getting the JM recording. Being an extrovert, you'd think I wouldn't have the problems you talk about, but there are always times when it's hard to walk into a room full of people. I make myself greet people and introduce myself, find out their name, and ask questions about any number of subjects. It's not always easy but very necessary to avoid the alternative. Staying holed up on the couch reading a book or watching TV is so tempting when you live alone, but we are in this world for a reason and maybe if we show up at the party (or potluck dinner at church on Thanksgiving), we'll meet someone new and have widened our world a little bit. Or made someone else a little more welcome.

Diane Young

This was the first summer in years when I didn't have flies in the house and it was wonderful. I never figured out why but really rejoiced. My trip to Cozumel years ago was great except for les mouches, which were very numerous. It seems like there was a story involving a mouche in my first year French class in college, but I can't remember anything about it.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks,  Diane. So true. We are in this world to connect to each other,  and help each other - sometimes without even knowing it, just by showing up. Your showing up in my comments box,  over the years,  has certainly helped me!

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

T, Those last few sentences are powerful! Thanks for sharing that insight.

Patience in California

Why not go disguised as an American tourist on a secret mission carrying a message to save the world but in French code! Be sure to wear the dark glasses. They will look even sexier on you than on Smokey!,😎 It is a great posting

Chris Allin

Not all extroverts are gregarious, which can make them seem shy or quiet to others and make it a little more difficult to engage in groups. (I am one of them.). However, that extrovert can still be energizing while in the midst of others, totally absorbing all that is going on around them.
Sometimes it takes an effort to get there, but once there the energy starts to build. Have you ever noticed that it can take a while to relax after being out and around with others? It is an interesting phenomenon...

Kristin Espinasse

Chris, yes! I have noticed it takes time to relax--or downtime--after socializing. And the downtime often pulses with creativity,  or the inspiration we have taken in.

Kristin Espinasse

LOL! Do you know I arrived with those doctored-up glasses...only to realize all the French women--every last one of them--were dressed in elegant evening gowns (faux furs shawls over their shoulders!) My awkward glasses were quickly ditched. But I couldnt ditch my pants and blazer and meld in a little more.

Kristin Espinasse

Aw, thank you,  Trina! (And see my response to Patiences comment =-)


Beautifully said. I'm going to save and savor your words. With the passing of my husband, I've been on a bumpy ride (more like a roller coaster) and I'd like to take your words (and those of Bill's to show up), to heart. Kristi's blog was the genesis for some great comments. Thank you Katia, Bill, and Kristi.

Joanne Ablan

Hi, Kristin,
Your story made my monkey mind flip back in time to my adult son's childhood. I have a photo of him sitting on my lap while I am reading a children's book called, A Fly Went By, to him. Also the "do your best and show up" theme made me recall a time when my mother was still alive and I noticed a bracelet on her arm that did not look like the kind of jewelry she would normally wear so I inquired where she got it. This was at a time in my life when I was struggling with some difficult and very challenging issues. My mother, so intuitively, told me that she was on the seniors' bocce ball team or maybe it was the golf team, I forget which, and that they gave her the bracelet as a prize for just showing up! It immediately put everything into perspective for me. I have been so blessed by her quiet, sage, observations, especially her ability to see clearly the invisible struggles of others. You seem to have a similar keen insight which resonates with your readers. Am glad you found socializing energizing because you may have inspired someone else and hopefully that experience, in turn, may have a far-reaching positive, ripple effect on many others. Joanne, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA


Try a little lavender oil on your skin to keep those pesky flies away!

Kristin Espinasse

Joanne, Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about your Mom. We all need such a bracelet. I wonder what your Moms looked like exactly. What a dear memory of a very dear woman. P. S. I am glad to know this experience with the bracelet helped you.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Marian!


Merci encore, chere Kristi! Please us with a photo of the female 007, s'il vous plais.


My condolences, Judi.


Sometimes it is not enough to do one's best. Sometimes one has to do what is required.

Winston Churchill

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