It was just a few short years ago, during the winter of 2010.
My 1 1/2 year old startup business had finally turned the corner and was becoming somewhat successful. We were close to the point where we could take the plundge into opening our own facility and get out of the boring 24 hour carpet and chrome gym we were renting space from. Things were going great!
But then it happened.
I was training chest and back with a buddy of mine who was in his mid 30’s and had owned a successful landscaping business for many years in Milwaukee. Every few minutes he was getting another phone call, and another phone call and another phone call. After about the sixth call, I pulled out my headphones and said “everything alright?”. He looked at me with a big smile and said, “It’s my real estate guys, they keep calling me about these investment properties I’m buying right now with all cash offers because the market is down and the interest rates are so low”. The guy was literally dropping 25% cash down on property after property, call after call.
Now in my head i’m thinking about the fact that I don’t even have my own apartment, my infant of a business is barely to the point where we can re-invest all of our revenue into a facility & equipment and it would still be years until I could safely invest in a home myself or even have my own place for that matter. I hadn’t bought a new outfit or a pair of shoes for that matter since I was maybe 21 years old. In fact, I had sold my car, playstation 3 and other personal assets just to start the business.
I left that workout feeling like a complete and total failure. Not because of the workout but, here myself and my training partner were on completely separate pages in our businesses and personal lives for that matter. He had already arrived and I was just boarding the plane.
It wasn’t until maybe a year or two later, I finally realized what I fell victim to that cold snowy day at the gym.
It happens every day and with the advent of platforms like Facebook & Instagram comparing the current version yourselves to other people who have reached or are pretending to be uber successful is now easier than ever.
And as a side note, if comparison is truly the thief of joy, it is the executioner of time. People are having more of their time killed by the executioner of comparison than ever before.
Stop comparing your startup phase with someone else's finish line
You are not seeing or thinking about what it took for them to get there.
You’re beating yourself up because you and someone else are in different places in life but in reality you were both in the same place, just in different years or perhaps decades.
If it’s the health, abs, athletic talent or strength of someone else you’re comparing yourself to: you’re probably not seeing the killer workouts completed day in and day out for nearly a decade, the times they've avoided the junk food, the nights out at the bars they've skipped, the number of times their coaches had to scream at them to “do it right”, or strikeouts, missed shots, tap outs or knockouts they’ve had to pick themselves up from.
If its business or work success, you’re surely not seeing the hundreds of books they've read, thousands of hours they’ve spent in personal development, countless failures or rejections they’ve received. Or how about the anxiety, depression and peanut butter sandwiches they’ve had to choke down while they struggled to makes ends meet living off less than a months worth of cash in their bank accounts all in pursuit of their visions for success.
Stop comparing yourself to the girls on Instagram with no body fat who seem to be living these extrodinary lives.
Stop comparing your personal possessions with your former classmates or the millionaire or billionaire you are following on Facebook.
Someday you will realize that just because Dan Bilzerian can fly a private jet to France with half of the Las Vegas strips top talent or Kim Kardashian can take in millions by being filmed shopping and dating athletes and superstars doesn’t mean that you have to ever be like them or that you are a failure because currently you can barely afford your cell phone payment.
One of my mentors Eric Thomas said it best with this: "Start where you are, with what you have, because what you have is plenty”.
You may end up being just as successful as the people you’re comparing yourselves too at some point in life, or you may just end up being an even better version of them and more importantly, yourself. Either way, you will get there much faster if you focus on the person you see in the mirror.