When I was hiking in the mountains recently, I saw a woman approaching on the trail below me. She was not hiking, she was running – FAST. I watched her approach, seeing how fit she was and how quickly she was moving, and thought ‘She’s probably only 25 years old.’
Then she passed me, and I got a good look at her face. She wasn’t a day under 45. Uh… OK, so she’s close to my age, but in much better shape. I started to look for excuses as to why I’m in the shape I’m in (which is actually pretty good shape.)
Then I stopped myself, and asked ‘Do I actually want to be able to jog through these woods? Is that important to me?’
And the biggee: Why did I feel it was necessary to justify her success level by assuming she has some advantage over me? The truth is that I have no interest in being able to jog my hiking trail – I like walking it. I decided that I’m comfortable with my current ‘measure of success’ in fitness.
I had to laugh, because I see people doing this all the time in business. They compare their success to someone else’s ‘measure of success’, not asking whether they want it or not! Or they justify someone else’s success level by saying that the other person is younger, or older, or richer, or more connected, or… (you get the idea.)
You may not WANT the same level of success as someone else, even someone else that you admire and want to model. You may want to run a six-figure business, not a seven-figure business. You may want to work 3 days a week, not 6 days a week. You may want to work from home, or you may want to have an office with 5 employees. It’s all up to you, and what YOU see as success.
So here are some simple reminders about how to view other people’s success:
DON’T justify their success with some excuse about how they have it easier than you do
DON’T use their success as an excuse to beat yourself up
DO use their success as inspiration and motivation – “If they can do, so can I!”
DO use their success as education – what can you learn from what they’ve done?
Other people’s success can help you, or you can use it to sabotage yourself. Use it to your advantage, and you’ll be at your ‘measure of success’ that much faster!