Written by: Debra Abraham, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
And you run. Run the race of your life. Eyes ahead, perspiration dripping as you keep your eyes on your goal of reaching the finish line, hopefully, first. You are in the lead and you prefer to let it stay that way. Suddenly, you notice a runner running beside you, also vying for that coveted first place. You use your peripherals and your mind starts to wonder (and wander). “Will you be able to withstand the competition and hold on to the top spot?” You keep running, looking straight ahead at the lane in front of you but also casting a sidelong glance at the runner beside you. The pressure builds as you continuously check in on your competitor- are they slowing down? Will they outdo you? You get nervous and then…..
In the age of social media, where everyone shares almost every detail of their lives, it takes much resolve to stay focused, keep your eye on the ball and just keep running your race. Whether it is for business networking, building personal relationships, sharing stories of family life or reviews of purchases, social media sites have become an expression wall for the global community. As much as it allows us to celebrate the successes of our connections, invigorating us by offering us the opportunity to live vicariously through the photos and content shared, there is at times a gentle urge for us to compare our lives to those of others, which can insidiously bring about feelings of underachievement. Playing the comparison game is not always a negative thing. Comparing and being inspired to improve and challenge ourselves to leap for our dreams is a positive reaction.
But this is not the type of comparison I am referring to. I am talking about that nagging feeling that tugs at your heart after seeing photos of a contact expanding their business by setting up a spanking new outlet at a premium location in your city. That feeling of despondence when a friend bags that dream job you have always longed for. We may be ashamed to outwardly admit it, but it happens to the most motivated and the best of us. That feeling of comparing ourselves to another person and regretting our missed opportunities or worse, resulting in us succumbing to the defeatist notion that we will never be able to measure up to the achievement of that other person. Call it insecurity, envy, low self-esteem, self-doubt or limiting beliefs; these feelings can really put a dent in your emotional and mental well-being as well as in your progress and growth as an entrepreneur/individual.
What is the cause of this feeling of underachievement? How do we get our mojo back and keep running our marathon (marathon because it certainly is a commitment for the long haul and not a short sprint) of self-improvement and business growth?
1. Stay focused and committed to your goal- Stay on your course. Like an athlete running a race. Train endurance. The journey may be long and challenging but aim for growth from every experience. Do not allow yourself to be negatively sidetracked by your environment or the people around you. Be your own cheerleader and motivate yourself through "self-talk." You've got this, and everything that is needed to fulfill your dreams is within you.
2. Change your perspective- Withstand the urge to compare and learn to appreciate the uniqueness of your journey. Most people who celebrate a success on social media may not reveal the full details of the painful sacrifices and challenges they have had to endure. If you are comfortable, there is no harm in personally reaching out and asking them to share stories leading up to their success and the personal struggles of their journey with you. Most people will be more than willing to share and you will draw immeasurable knowledge from listening to them. "For every finish-line tape a runner breaks—complete with the cheers of the crowd and the clicking of hundreds of cameras—there are the hours of hard and often lonely work that rarely gets talked about."-Grete Waitz, Marathon runner & former World Record Holder.
3. Celebrate the small successes- Stay motivated and keep moving forward. Appreciate each chapter of your journey, acknowledging the value it contributes to your business and personal growth. Every step forward (or sometimes even backward), however small, is a step forward. Refrain from discounting or downplaying each experience as a small achievement. Accept the success graciously and move on to the next chapter. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
4. Share your journey with others- Be real and inspire others. Document the process of your journey either via podcasts, videos or social media content. Contribute your knowledge and share your experiences with those who are on the same journey as you are. This will help you stay accountable to yourself while you also find your tribe.
5. Wait- Wait patiently for your time to arrive. Work steadily on your goals, and soon, it will be your turn to post your sweet success story!
"The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself to the greatest extent possible. When you do that, you have dignity. You have the pride. You can walk about with character and pride no matter in what place you happen to finish."- Billy Mills, Olympic Track & Field Athlete
Victory is sweet not because you have beaten your opponents but because you have outperformed yourself.
Debra Abraham, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Debra Abraham, founder of Rockstarz Performing Arts Studios, has been coaching students of all ages to find their identities and be empowered through music. She leads a team of instructors who are skilled at providing music education in a nurturing & student-centered environment, allowing students to boldly express themselves. Currently working on building her online singing community, she believes in empowering people to pursue their dreams, free themselves of limiting beliefs and inspire others through their journey. She aspires to inspire small business owners in the areas of mindset & personal development, which will lead towards positive transformation of themselves and their businesses.