Late last year we started looking at the ways entrepreneurs frequently sabotage their businesses. This week, we’re continuing this series, specifically looking at comparing ourselves to others. Comparing yourself to others is a natural tendency. And as a business owner, it’s important to keep an eye on what’s going on in the market, including how other players are addressing the problem you’re solving. But constant comparison can be destructive to your business and your mental health. We’re sharing some thoughts on how to mind your own business and stop comparing yourself to others.
Remember You Don’t Know the Full Story
When you compare your business to others, remember that you aren’t seeing their full story. It might look like everything is going great for them. But you often don’t see or hear about all of the challenges, setbacks, mistakes, and pivots that it took to get there. Behind almost every successful business, there’s usually a backstory that includes lots of hard work and struggles to make it work.
Define Your Own Success
By comparing yourself to other business owners, you’re letting them define your success. But even if they are in the same field, they may have different goals. You don’t want to compete with them if you aren’t interested in the same end result. Instead, define your own success. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. What’s your vision for the business? What positive community impact do you want this business to make? What do you personally want out of the business?
Focus on Your Journey
You are on a journey to achieve your definition of business success. This requires you to create a plan and work that plan. Constantly comparing yourself to others is a distraction from your plan. You take time and energy away from executing on your plan. It can also put you in a reactive mode and influence your business decisions, causing you to follow the other businesses rather than pursuing your own goals. To help keep you focused, consider posting your own goals in a prominent location where you can see them often.
Use Comparison as Motivation
Instead of looking down on yourself, you can use comparison as motivation to pursue your goals. Try a simple exercise to identify the qualities you admire in those businesses or business owners. List the businesses or business owners on a sheet of paper. Next to each, write down the qualities you admire in them. As you go through the list, identify the qualities that appear the most. These are qualities you admire, use them as inspiration for your business development.
Lastly, don’t forget to reflect on and express gratitude for what you have done in your business. Gratitude focuses us on the good things that we have done in our business. When we recognize and appreciate those things, we’re likely to feel less vulnerable to comparison. So, whenever you catch yourself saying “I wish my business was as successful as XYZ Company,” take a step back and remind yourself of what’s good in your business right now.