I’m getting ready to head out to check off another “life to-do” off my list – attending the World Domination Summit and visiting Portland. (If you’re going to be there – please let me know so we can meet up!). While I am excited about what’s ahead, I can’t help but be extremely nervous.
You see, the people who are going to be there are my peers and people I aspire to be. In other words, there is going to be a whole lot of awesome in the room. All I can think about is… how do I compare? I’m not as successful as this attendee, I don’t have as much traffic as that speaker, I haven’t “gone viral” like that person, and so on.
It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison bug when you work for yourself.
You start-out trying to overcome skepticism from all angles and then are bombarded by messages from “experts” who want to tell you exactly how they got as big as they did. You hear about overnight success stories and people living off of the income from their blog, and it gives you hope… but also makes you feel inadequate.
If they are making so much money…
If they can sign-up that many clients…
If they can write a post that goes viral…
If they have over a million hits a month…
WHY CAN’T I?
Ironically, my business is doing better than it ever has – I’m growing, I’m sustainable, I’m paying the bills, and I’m working with awesome people. But I can’t help myself from comparing my current state of business with the people I’m going to be meeting this week. And it freaks me the heck out.
In the corporate world, comparison felt different. Other people’s success was motivation for me to keep moving forward. It just felt like I had a path – and the comparisons helped push me onto the “right” one. My success was more linear. More visible. More within my own control.
I never felt inferior to my peers or my mentors. My success was based on what I was “told” to do. What the business needed. What was best for the company. What was asked of me.
For the first time, I’m stepping out among my peers (and people I aspire to be like someday), wearing the badge of what I, alone, am responsible for. Honestly, I’ve shied away from going to these types of events because I didn’t know if I belonged in the same space as the other attendees.
And now… while I’m still freaking out about comparisons and success measures, I have people there! I have friends that I can’t wait to see when I’m there. I received tweets from people I am “obsessed” with who *know who I am!?!?!* and want to meet up. And I am excited to meet other people at various stages of their own journey who I would have never have known otherwise.
In other words, I’m treating this like a corporate business trip. (Attendees would probably gasp if they read this). I’m putting on my employee hat, and not concentrating so much on being the owner this week. I am going with specific goals for myself, I am going to act in the best interest of the company (even though it happens to be my company), and I am going to be confident that I belong.
We can’t constantly compare our successes or failures with someone else’s measuring stick. It’s never calibrated equally.
The person who is making so much money? She has been at it for over 10 years on her own. She has worked incredibly hard for nine times longer than I have, to get to that income bracket.
The person who has a ton of clients and a constant referral machine, doesn’t convert as high of a percentage of people that they could, especially repeat customers.
The person who wrote a viral post, had some help with it “going viral”… and didn’t capture any more of an audience or client conversions, than before the post went everywhere.
And so on…