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.
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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