A few weeks back, Ant and I were out for a run along a beach in New Zealand (y’know, cos’ we could.) It was a beautiful sunny winter day and I was feeling pumped and ready to run. But unlike the standard etiquette for a ‘couple jog’, he ran in one direction and I ran in another.
I like running alone you see, and there’s a major reason why.
When I’m on my own I’ll speed off, build a steady pace, push myself to go faster, take in the surroundings, let my mind wander, think up new ideas, let my creative juices flow, and I’m usually far too busy thinking, that I forget I’m even running and my legs just keep going and going. I feel free and inspired and proud of myself for breathing steadily as I plod onwards and forwards at my own sweet pace.
If he ever catches up though, and especially when he overtakes, this weird thing happens – I start to slow down, my mind starts telling me I can’t go faster, my legs get heavier, my confidence dips, and my lovely thoughts start to shrink into thoughts that say ‘you might as well give up because you can’t go that fast.’
Which really, when you think about, is a pretty good reflection on life.
See, when we focus on where we’re at, our own pace, our own creativity, our own pains or passions, our own pump to go faster or our own pride in plodding along steadily, our own plans or dreams, our own goals and unique ways to reach them – that’s when we do the greatest things, when our confidence is highest and when we achieve the most.
But it’s when we start to make comparisons with others and turn our achievements into a competition that the self-doubt creeps in. Our constant assumption that we ‘should’ be doing something the same way and at the same speed as someone else is what shrinks our ability to keep moving forward.
Quite simply, when we measure our success based on someone else’s pace in their own journey, we trip up – which let’s face it, we’re bound to, because we’re on completely different paths.
Comparison cripples, well, everything, and whilst it’s something we habitually do as we scroll through our Facebook News Feed and indulge in what everyone else is up to in their lives, it’s not something we have to let affect us.
Whether it’s deciding not to go forward for an interview because we’ve been comparing ourselves with another candidate, not feeling as though we can run with a business idea because someone else is already doing it, slowing down because we believe we can’t go as fast as the person running past us – making comparisons is simply holding us back from being sh*t hot at us!
Let’s focus on our own achievements, our own successes and our own pace, because that’s when the magic happens, where the power kicks in and where we keep moving forward (maybe not at the fastest speed, but definitely the bestest, if we do it our own way.)
Ask yourself: who are you comparing yourself to and how might that actually be hindering your success? And then imagine what you could achieve if you focused that competitive energy into simply being better at ‘you’.
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