One of the interesting aspects of working on my own is that I have met and gathered with many other sole proprietors and entrepreneurs. I do this for support, for collaboration and for energy. Yet one of the difficulties that I have experienced in these groups is my tendency to compare how I am doing relative to everyone else. I think about how long have they been in business, how big their business is, how well-known their brand is, how much impact they are making in the world and generally speaking how successful they are. And then I measure myself against them. What a bunch of nasty demons that brings up! Welcome to being human.
Measuring yourself against others isn’t only common among entrepreneurs; it is quite common throughout our society. We compare our careers, our title, our relationships, our kids, our bodies, our finances, our happiness, our you-name it to others all the time. Sometimes we compare and feel like we are doing better that someone else. Much of the time we end up feeling less than, like we don’t measure up.
However, here is the truth: whatever someone else has created in his or her life has nothing to do with you. Don’t waste your time measuring yourself against others. You are uniquely in your own life experience, just as they are uniquely in their life experience. Viva la difference. Because only you can know what you want, only you can exist in your body, only you can experience your life and only you can create the life that you have. And you know what? You can’t always know how others actually feel about their lives. Although you can probably safely assume that they are insecure as well and also compare themselves to others.
Remember that even very successful and wonderful people are human and have human suffering and insecurities just like the rest of us. They may have created an awesome life, but it is their life and one-of-a-kind filled with joy and sorrow, just as your life is one-of-a-kind filled with joy and sorrow. You might feel like someone else is lucky, but in all likelihood they have worked hard to create a life that you admire. They have made twists and turns throughout their journey and they have had successes and flops. You typically only see the end result or at least only a slice of their life without the details of their struggles along the way. You notice all the glory. Life is more complex than just glory.
Whatever you create in your life is certainly in your own hands so yes, please do dig in and search for ways to live an open-hearted joyful life. However, use your own inner compass for measuring how you feel about your life experience. You can certainly explore what others are doing for ideas and learn from others about their life journey. Just don’t bother with direct comparisons to measure the success of your own life. Cultivate a deep understanding of yourself and what drives you and what supports you and what serves you and you will be much more satisfied with your unique and prized life, warts and all.