Comparison isn’t just the killer of joy, it’s the killer of motivation. Yet, I’d wager that nearly every single one of us has fallen prey to the comparison monster at one time or another.
Never is this so detrimental as when we are comparing our entrepreneurial journey to someone else’s.
You know what I’m talking about; you’ve been grinding away at your business for months (or perhaps years) and then out of nowhere, you encounter someone with a similar business who seems to be exponentially more successful than you. Worse still, they make it look so easy to start and run a business!
Sometimes, it just makes you want to throw in the towel.
Maybe you’re contemplating it right now.
If so, you wouldn’t be the first. So many people give up on their entrepreneurial dreams because they think they’ll never be as good or successful as the next person.
But you shouldn’t quit just because you feel like you don’t measure up to someone else.
You can avoid defeat by comparison if you realize these four little truths about business and success:
1. Other people’s success is your perception and not necessarily the reality
Don’t forget that just about everyone wants to appear successful. If you don’t believe me, just scroll through your social media feed and sift through the pictures of beach vacations and glamorous-looking parties.
People only show you what they want you to see. So that person who is making six figures a year while you’re only making five? Revenue is only part of the picture. They could have huge overhead costs or even debts to pay off.
That’s not to say that everyone who appears successful isn’t. But just keep in mind that more often than not, there is more going on beneath the surface of what you see.
2. You’re not doing it “wrong”
Many times when we start comparing our success (or perceived lack thereof) to other people’s success, we wonder, “What are they doing right that I’m doing wrong?”
The truth is that you aren’t necessarily doing entrepreneurship wrong. Because entrepreneurial journeys are like snowflakes: no two are alike!
Some people find their groove early on while others toil a little longer to find the thing that elevates their business to where they want to be. In my opinion, as long as you keep going and don’t give up, you’re not doing it wrong.
Okay yes, there are things you can improve upon. You can always do better. And you will always need to keep learning.
But that’s true for everyone, at any stage in business. (Or life, for that matter!)
3. The only person you need to compare yourself to is yourself
There will always be other people who are further ahead than you are, whether you’re making a few hundred dollars a month or a few million a year.
So instead of always comparing yourself to those who are ahead of you, look back at how far you’ve come.
Choose a few different milestones in your journey and compare yourself to where you were back then. When you give yourself a chance to reflect on how much progress you’ve made, it makes how far you have to go seem more achievable.
4. You can be empowered by comparison
Although you can actively avoid comparisons, sometimes they all but clout you in the face. Sometimes, you just can’t help but compare yourself to someone who is more successful than you.
But the good news is that you get to choose what you do with the comparison.
You can let it demotivate you, or use it to propel you forward.
If you look at their success and wish you could do the same, then use that as fuel to do what it takes to get to the next level!
One way to empower yourself to use comparison as positive motivation is to reach out to that entrepreneur that seems so far ahead of you, and let them know how much they inspire you. They may even have some words of encouragement in return!
Comparison can be a useful tool with the right mindset, but the most important thing is to remember that every business is different.
At the end of the day, it’s always going to be “apples and oranges”.
So keep going and stay focused on your own goals and when all else fails, remember why you got started on your entrepreneurial journey in the first place. It’s your “why” that will keep you motoring through the valley until you reach the summit!