How To Not Feel Like You’re Losing When Others Are Winning

A few years ago I remember jumping on Facebook after an incredibly rough week. A week that felt like I was in a street fight with productivity and lost. There I lay a bloody mess. In hopes that my news feed would offer some level of encouragement to my day, I opened up the app, pulled down with my thumb to refresh the feed, and there it was… A competitor of mine was on Good Morning America talking about his new program. [Insert burning sensation in my chest]

I almost didn’t watch the clip. But with a face covered in irritation, I did. I got that feeling you get when you grit your teeth and falsely congratulate your opponent; you know the phrase, “Wow… I’m really happy for you.” But deep inside, I’m frustrated. His huge win in the contrast of my lousy week was the kick in the teeth my street fight needed to shut me down completely.

For most us, our lives revolve around the addiction of comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel. We call it social media: a tragic dichotomy of helpful and hurtful.

But as entrepreneurs, leaders, or influencers we must learn to stop measuring the distance between them and us. To remove the envy and the constant comparison and steer our hearts toward genuine celebration and contentment.

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For me, this has been a difficult journey. It’s required me to unlearn and relearn healthy thinking regarding my value, others’ success, and our relationship with each other.

Here Are 3 Things I’ve Done To Not Feel Like I’m Losing When Others Are Winning

1. Make A Vow To Celebrate

It’s easy to congratulate those who just joined us at the top of the ladder. “Welcome! You’re now just as great as me!” But it’s not easy to applaud those who made it there before you.

The Urban Dictionary describes this person as a hater simply defined as, “One who feels anger and/or jealousy for someone who has succeeded in something they have worked hard for.”

A few years ago, I was at dinner with an older man who had just invested $50,000.00 into my company. I hated on our competition’s success when he leaned forward and said in a confident voice, “Dale, just because someone is successful doesn’t mean you’re not.” Bam! Those words sunk me into the chair. They were a truth I needed to own if I ever wanted to enjoy my journey as an entrepreneur.

From that point forward, I vowed to celebrate the success of others regardless of where I was, who they were, or how I felt because any honest success is worth acknowledgment. It’s the result of hard work. And regardless of the current state of my journey, it doesn’t lessen the current state of theirs.

2. Never Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle

Hanging over my desk is a quote that reads, “It takes ten years to build an overnight success.” When I first started out as an entrepreneur, I would often find myself discouraged by looking at the competitive landscape. “This person’s website was incredible. That person’s video was so clever. How did that brand get so many followers on social media?” It was all quite overwhelming.

Starting a business is one of life’s most difficult tests. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone is answering different questions.

Honor your pace. Be where you are, not where you think you should be. Comparing ourselves to others not only changes our attitude but also our relationship with the people to whom we are comparing ourselves.

There is a cost to success. It’s often very expensive. Our frustrations of wanting what we haven’t earned are immature, invalid, and dangerous to our emotional success as a leader.

3. Contentment Teaches Us That Who We Are Is Already Enough.

The average millionaire drives a two-year-old or older car. Because when you have that much money, you don’t care what others think.

It took making millions to realize I don’t need money to be happy. It took me having influence to realize fame doesn’t make me more whole. The world makes us feel as if we’re always missing a secret ingredient. An ingredient that will solve our problems, make us satisfied, and allow us to finally be content. When I have BLANK, I’ll finally be BLANK.

We must stop tying our pursuit of “BLANK” to the solution of our deepest “BLANKS.” There is no achievement, no award, and no amount of money that can quench the thirst of this broken way of thinking.

It’s a disease of ruthless yearning where our authenticity, our abilities, our bodies and our story are never enough. But more than that, it’s avoidance. It’s a distraction to the real issues. The ones we need to seek. Our faith in God, the brokenness of a past relationship, or a negative behavior that needs to stop.

Be content today. Be encouraged with your life and business now. Stop trying to heal your inward brokenness with outward success. No business, or person, or implant, or influence, or house will ever heal the disease of discontentment. Seek healing through counseling, be vulnerable with a friend, and ask the hard questions of why you do this? The sooner you take the right path, the faster you’ll find success.

Ultimately, when we divorce ourselves from others, we stand on our own. We come to discover our jealousy is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. You can move to a state of sympathetic joy, or you can ruminate. You can try to collaborate with those who have what you desire, or you can hang their pictures on a wall and throw darts. Life moves despite our personal successes or failures.

The question you must ask yourself is, “Do I really believe I am valuable despite my achievements?” A hard question for many. But for me, I say yes. Yes, you are.

Have you struggled with being happy for others? Or maybe it’s hard to see your intrinsic value? Let me know about it in the comments below.

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Author

Dale Partridge
Dale Partridge is the Founder of StartupCamp.com. He's also a keynote speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling book People Over Profit.

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  1. Trish says:

    Amazing piece, I can’t tell you how much inspiration this has given me.

    Reply
  2. Erika says:

    I’m glad I found this article. I needed to hear this today, thank you!

    Reply
  3. Beatriz Lobo says:

    Wow, some lines really got into me. Thank you so much. I’m only 17 but I want to learn everything I can so when the time comes I know what I’m doing.

    Reply
  4. This is really great Dale. So good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. “There is no achievement, no award, and no amount of money that can quench the thirst of this broken way of thinking.” Need to be reminded of this daily. Or Daley?! See what I did there. 😉 Thanks man.

    Reply
  5. Tc says:

    I’ve always been happy for others. Honestly! I’ve lived a life of optimism and positivity and it has gotten me through some rather tough times.
    This article has shown me me something rather important about myself though, but let me explain the set up.

    I’ve been feeling low about myself as of late. I try hard at everything I do and always improve upon myself based off of the experience before, but recently in the end though, I fail. I work hard and believe that a positive attitude will get you through everything. There is a quote that people say about me in my home town that I love. “If Tcs car broke down, and it was raining outside and she got soaked all over she would still smile and say ‘at least the plants have a chance to grow!’. Which is true! I believe that everything happens for a reason.
    Right now though…. I can’t see that. I can’t find a single reason for my depression and my frustration in everything that I do. I work hard, I do my best, but as of the last 2 years… I’ve done nothing but fail at everything I have started.. and I feel lost. I looked inward and saw that I am strong and just pushed harder through the pain. I looked outward and saw that others, at one point for sure, were treating me unfairly… but still in the end I was the one who was fire/tossed aside/dumped or even blamed and I had to stop and ask myself…”well… what DID I DO WRONG?!”

    This article showed me that no matter what. Just be you. Work hard still, smile, be confident and above all… be positive
    ..

    Positivity will always take you furather than you were before. If you let the negativity in you will always miss out on the positive.
    This was helpful to me in the sence that I had to just remain positive.

    Reply
  6. Ayx says:

    The right article for the right emotion. Thanks Dale, keep it up!

    Reply
  7. Kimberly says:

    Dale,
    Thank you so much for having the courage to lead and be an example to others, your wisdom, encouragement and easy to understand dialog where it feels like you are directly speaking to the person reading whatever it is that you wrote! Your quotes, blogs and truth that you speak. My husband and I just moved from Bend over to Salem to persue new careers, owning a business and I started following you just weeks before we left and was so thrilled to find out we were living in the same town. I believe it was with Gods help that I saw one of your posts because through this transition and many doubts I have had, you have been an inspiration. We also have two little girls going on this journey with us. You have a beautiful family. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Thats amazing, Kimberly!! I seriously love hearing that. Transition SUCKS, and walking through it requires so much endurance and humility (which is a really challenging combo, as you know.) Thank you for the encouragement. I’m glad you’re here! Keep moving forward!

      Reply
  8. G says:

    Great post. I struggle with this so much. I see others in my field around me doing awesome things, and I feel like I’m falling behind. I see my friends doing well at work, in fitness, as a parent, and they deserve it. I just feel like I’m not as good. When clients come to my home, I worry what they think of it. I think, if I just do this, this, and this, I’ll feel better about myself.

    Reply
    • Its so hard to not feel behind in life for many of us, G! I guarantee that everyone in all places of life feels like the can’t keep up, aren’t doing enough, and aren’t good enough. Its a choice of perspective and value, not a reality. Keep pursuing the truth, G!

      Reply
  9. Mil Capistrano says:

    This is really a great article! The things you said are fundamentals. To genuinely understand them, sometimes we need to hear it from somebody else’s voice because we don’t listen to our own. Thank you very much for being that voice.

    This is my favorite takeaway: “… just because someone is successful doesn’t mean you’re not.” 🙂

    Reply
    • Isn’t it crazy how often we look at someone else in the midst of success and choose to let that tell us how far WE can go? Its definitely happened to me many times. So glad I can be a voice of encouragement for you! Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  10. Thank you for this fantastic word of encouragement! I’m a single woman raising my three kids, self-employed and working on becoming a life coach. There is so much opportunity for me to look around at what others have and compare it to what I do not; I need to keep the reminder in front of myself that today I’m better than yesterday in so many ways, rather than seeing where I am not yet…. Grateful for your lessons offered!

    Reply
  11. Leslie says:

    Dale, this is good, solid stuff!!!
    I’m always trying to want what I already have. Standing on the street looking at my imperfect family through the window of my imperfect house… And think”what if this had never existed and I lived alone in a dark little apartment”. before wanting anymore we need to be ok with what we already have. Even if what we have is just a little family, house, job… Could disappear tomorrow. During hard times people tell me things will get better. I usually say something like” no, I will enjoy now even the pain because there is no guarantee it will improve. It may actually get worse. I may look back and say wow, I thought it was so bad then but it was not”.
    That’s not negative thinking. That’s saying don’t wait for perfect… life is very messy:)

    Reply
  12. With the excuse of pushing myself farther and to do better, I compare to the people I see – but not fairly to myself, leaving myself always feeling like I AM a failure, so the question below is what I have been trying to remind myself.
    >> “Do I really believe I am valuable despite my achievements?” A hard question for many. But for me, I say yes. Yes you are.” <>”It’s a disease of ruthless yearning where our authenticity, our abilities, our bodies and our story are never enough. But more than that, it’s avoidance. It’s a distraction to the real issues. “<<

    Thanks again.

    Reply
  13. For years my dream had been to open up my own yoga studio. I would drive around Rancho Cucamonga looking for the perfect spot. Within the last 2 years other people have opened up fitness studios in 3 of the very spots I hoped to open mine. Seeing other’s dreams come to life was very discouraging until I recognized that the reason why it bothered me so much was because of my belief that having a studio signified success and self worth. I was blinded and obsessed by this pursuit to the point of allowing it to affect my marriage and home life! Since then, I have changed my perception of success. I am content with my life and no longer waiting for a certain thing to happen before I can be happy and enjoy living. I still teach yoga, I get to be a stay at home mom and enjoy every moment with my 6 year old son, and I belive that marriage should be lived out together as one with a common goal not one spouse going in a different direction. I love my husband and am enjoying serving him and being his friend and partner in life!
    Thanks for the valuable articles!
    Veronica 🙂

    Reply
  14. Anna Schönhütte says:

    “Do I really believe I am valuable despite my achievements?”

    It took me almost 10 years to finally realize, that this is my problem and at times I’m pretty envious – although I actually achieved many things in my career, have great friends, the best family, etc.
    Thank you VERY much for that article! Great!!

    And also for the rest of your page, which is quite inspiring!
    Hopefully you’ll have as many kids as you wish 😉

    Reply
    • Humbled. Thank you Anna! I’m hoping for the same thing 🙂

      Reply
  15. Rose says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing article! I feel exactly like that every day I open my social media. Everybody looks “more”: happier, wealthier, more beautiful, closer to their dreams and I’m just struggling with my career, my business and my relationships. I do want to be somewhere else, but don’t want to feel bad when someone gets there. Thank you! I’ll treasure these words of yours.

    Reply
  16. Thanks Dale – great word! So true about the fact that success is expensive. Everyone wonders how people get where they are – and although I am still very much at the beginning of my ‘new’ journey as an entrepreneur – it was a walk through the valley of a shadow of death that got me here. And not that I want to to go back (of course!!), I am very thankful for the the lessons learned and the journey it put me into. Love your perspective! Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Igor Roslyakov says:

    Dale,
    Many thanks for the article. Stunning words worthy of who might be called a spiritual master.

    Reply
  18. Thank you for writing this. I joined a one-woman company a year ago to grow the business and it’s been tough, frustrating, wonderful and rewarding all at the same time. I knew it would be challenging and I love it but recently I’ve been feeling like I’m not working hard enough/fast enough/smart enough. In those moments, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and say my mantra: be anxious about nothing. I am committed to taking the right steps every day to reach our goals. Some days I’m better at letting go of “my” timeline of accomplishments and other days…not so much. This article resonated with me at my core. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. dora palacios says:

    I absolutely agree with this whole article. I love where you are coming from! I am starting my own business this year (Real Estate), and i’m not going to deny but I lack self confidence. I base myself off by where i stand in life. But you talk about how it shouldnt be that way and so many more insightful things. I also admire that you include God into this, which is so important to me. You’re doing great things sir!

    Reply
  20. Rahul Jain says:

    Dale,
    This is intense, profound and spiritual….look what an entrepreneurial journey can make a person…Love to read and absorb your every insight on life and all.

    Keep it up… Rahul

    Reply
  21. “Be content today. Be encouraged with your life and business now. Stop trying to heal your inward brokenness with outward success. No business, or person, or implant, or influence, or house will ever heal the disease of discontentment.”

    This was the best part. people do not realize some folks would love to trade places with you.. its all about perspective. Its a long ride, enjoy the journey by appreciating each season.

    “Life moves despite our personal successes or failures.”

    second best part. I remember losing grandmother and father within 6 months of each other..and sadly realizing I couldn’t stop and fall apart I had to keep going. I lost my brick and mortar coffeeshop and had to keep moving. LIFE DOESN’T stop.. you have to keep moving (mourning appropriately) but not get stuck in a season because we refuse to confront ourselves and our situations.

    Reply
  22. This came at the right time! Thanks again, Dale. Your words and life are truly a blessing.

    Reply
  23. Damaris Kreuscher says:

    What a great text! That’s exactly what I needed to hear today. In the middle of our daily fights, the biggest are those inside of us. Really thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  24. Yes! Love this article. Comes at a perfect time.

    This:
    >>> “When I first started out as an entrepreneur, I would often find myself discouraged by looking at the competitive landscape” <<<

    Exactly what I struggle with in my space. Don't truly know how to get out of it, and thinking of quitting on this idea.

    Thanks!
    Sergey

    Reply
  25. “Life moves despite our personal successes or failures.” Love this! It’s such a great reminder to block out all of the noise and focus on our own path.

    Reply
  26. This was SO good, and exactly what I needed to read today. I believe this applies to not only business but life in general, no matter what stage you are in. For me right now it is watching friends and family purchasing and renovating beautiful homes. And here we are almost three years and two kids after buying our “fixer upper” and we are nowhere near finished renovating.

    Reply
    • Hey Jordan. Yes! That’s very tough. Homes are soooo much work. Enjoy the journey.

      Reply

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