I get it, I do. We live in a
world culture of extremely high expectations. Whatever it is that you “do,” it’s almost as if there is this unspoken need to be amazing at it and the best at it and the most dominant at it… overnight. In a world where we are all “connected” to each other via our handheld devices, it can be really easy to assume that that guy or that girl over there has it all together and they’re killin’ it and bringing in all the [insert whatever you want here… money, power, clients, readers, followers, etc].
I’m a blogger and a podcaster. That’s what I do for a living. Sure, it’s unconventional and when I was a little kid and I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, blogger and podcaster were not on the list. You know, because they didn’t exist as professions (or at all). And in my line of work, it can be increddddddddddddddibly easy to compare myself to what everyone else is doing. I can ask myself why I don’t have more Instagram followers or Facebook fans or Podcast listeners or Pinterest repins or WHATEVER. I can constantly flip through my social media feeds and look at what everyone else is doing and I can start to feel really bad, really fast.
It’s just not healthy and it’s just not productive.
The truth of the matter is, as cliche as this sounds, comparison really is the thief of joy. Wasting your time worrying about what “everyone else is doing” is a basically one-way ticket to failure-ville. No one grew their business (or their life) by spending their time worrying about what the competition is doing.
The fact is, success comes to those who keep showing up and keep doing the work. It’s a real life example of “You do you, boo. You do you.”
Let’s look at a few examples for our success tips…
Oprah. She was fired from her first job as a TV anchor. The television station that fired her told her that she was “unfit for television.” She is now a literal billionaire. One thing I learned about Oprah that absolutely fascinated me is that when she was doing the Oprah Winfrey Show, she forbade her staff (and herself) from watching ANY OTHER daytime talk shows. She said that by looking at the competition, she was essentially the jockey who looks back at the horses behind him and ultimately loses the race. She was so adamant about running her own race and not worrying about the competition. And it showed… because no one could ever touch her.
Walt Disney. Did you know that Walt Disney’s first boss told him that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”…? Well guess what… Walt kept showing up and look at what a legacy he left.
Harrison Ford. He struggled as an actor for years… until he was cast as Han Solo in Star Wars in his early 30s. He just kept showing up to auditions until he finally got his break.
Morgan Freeman. Our BELOVED Morgan Freeman’s first major breakthrough role was when he was cast in Driving Miss Daisy… at the age of 52. FIFTY TWO.
Steve Jobs. He was a college dropout, a fired tech executive, and a failed businessman. But he kept showing up and he kept doing the work.
Richard Branson. You know, the guy who founded VIRGIN. He’s started so many businesses that failed (including trying to create Virgin Cola, a competitor of Coke and Pepsi), but he keeps showing up and he keeps doing the work and, well, now he’s a billionaire.
I think you get my point.
The reality is, there are no real overnight successes. Everyone has skills they develop over years, or trust they build over decades, and hundreds and thousands of hours of hard work that is happening behind the scenes before their “rise to fame.”
I am finding that this topic (and this conversation) keeps coming up whenever I interview a business owner on my podcast. Every. Single. Entrepreneur I talk to talks about how hard work pays off in the end and that you can’t give up if you ever want to be successful.
My encouragement to you today is to stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Run your own race. Don’t look back at the other guys. Build community with those around you. Encourage one another. And do the work. Show up, roll up your sleeves, and do the work.
The best success tips I received was that success doesn’t come to the one who gives up. Success comes to the one who keeps showing up.
What are your success tips?