Why you need to stay in your own lane

Business owners, especially newer business owners, tend to mark their success (or lack of) by checking out what everyone else is doing. 

It’s only natural but it’s a bad move. 

You see, our businesses and the way we show up to them are as unique as our fingerprints. What works for me, may be a disaster for you. My experience may have lead me to a certain point that helps me excel while your experience may have lead you to another place of magic. 

Comparing yourself to someone else will never help you succeed. It will get you frustrated, make you over think and do things that aren’t good for you. Most likely it will set you back. The only way to win is to run your own race. 

Speaking of races, let me tell you a little story about when I finished last in a triathlon. 

Years ago I decided I was going going to do triathlon races. If you are a friend of mine, you are laughing because you know the only thing I like to run to is the ice cream truck. 

Anyhoo, I roped my dear friend Eileen into doing one with me. It was a tough course and for months we trained hard. The day of the race we were prepared but nervous. There were a lot of people in tip-top shape with their fancy equipment. I felt intimidated. Then I saw an older man, like well past senior-citizen age (good for him for doing this!) and both of his knees were bandaged up. I’m embarrassed to admit, but I immediately felt more confident. I thought, "Oh, I’m better than this guy. I’ll be ok." 

It was toward the end of the race. Eileen and I were exhausted. The only thing that kept me putting one foot in front of the other was that I promised myself right after the race I’d treat myself to a five-scoop ice-cream sundae. 

As we were shuffling along, Eileen said, “I think we’re going to come in last.”, I said, “No, the old guy with the broken legs is behind us,” She said, “Mimi, he passed us about 40 minutes ago.” 

Well at that moment I knew this was my race to complete or not. I was still a triathlete, even if I came in last. I’d still get my well deserved medal (and eat my sundae). And so Eileen and I put the pedal to the metal and we finished. I don’t think we were last, but I don’t even care. At the end we ran our own race and we had fun doing it. 

Here’s the lesson 

Had I compared myself to everyone else I would have never even considered doing the race in the first place. Like a business, training for a triathlon is long hard work. It takes commitment, sacrifice, guts and yes, at times it hurts too. 

Remember: 

#1. You have no idea what someone else may have had to go through to get where they are today. Their journey is probably very different from yours. Their journey belongs to them and your journey belongs to you. 

#2. Your skills, talent, passion, commitment, experience is unique to you and you only. What you choose to do with that mix can be rocket fuel for you. Don’t waste it by trying to do what someone else is doing. 

#3. Trying to copy someone else’s success is kinda boring. Be you. 

So the next time you feel the urge to compare your success to someone else, don’t. 

First, applaud them for what they are doing. We all win when we celebrate one another. 

Then, take stock of what is working for them and then let yourself be inspired. How could this work for you? How could you make this part of your blueprint? 

Lastly, continue to take your own action; step-by-step in your own lane.