written by alison

I’ve been doing a lot of comparing myself to others lately, and I’d like it to stop.┬áIt’s something that has always been a part of my life, but being an entrepreneur seems to have exacerbated the problem.

“She has so many twitter followers!” “What if I don’t make it to six figures this year like so-and-so?” “How big is her mailing list? Probably 4x the size of mine, at least.” “Damn, she’s releasing another new product. I’ll never get mine finished.”

I get fairly caught up in what other’s are bragging about and while I am good about wanting to celebrate with them, I’m not so good about keeping their metrics out of my head.

Numbers aren’t the full story.

Part of the challenge is that it is my first go at running a company. It is understandable that I would look to other businesses and business owners to see processes, journeys and lessons. But the part that I’m getting stuck on is using that information to learn from instead of just getting hung up on the final numbers.

For example, someone with a substantial twitter following might have taken 3+ years to build it. Or they might post to their account 12 times a day, whereas I post infrequently. Twitter might be their only social network focus, while I am enjoying my time on facebook, twitter and instagram. It’s very easy to click on their profile and see their number of followers. It’s not so easy to see how much time and effort has gone into building that following.

Time for some reflection.

When I thought about what’s going on when I freak out over numbers, I realized that it’s my fear coming out. My fear of not being successful, doing things wrong or making mistakes. Again, all perfectly normal and understandable. However, allowing those details to trigger my fear coming out is going to wear me down pretty quickly.

The other problem is that spending time comparing and fretting is taking away from time doing and succeeding. This lady’s got big plans for tiny blue orange, but those plans need some love and attention to happen.

So what do I do?

I want to spend some time defining what success means to me. I’ve tried before, but it keeps changing as my plans grow and evolve. And I need some total disconnection to make this work. Time for a weekend getaway, or a day trip at the very least.

I think a day or two of tasty food, fresh summer air, pretty dresses, my favorite sharpie pens and a college ruled notebook will get me to that final definition since I have spent the last 11 months learning what I want to do with my business and my life. Defining success won’t take much more work from what I have already invested.

Armed with concrete goals, I’ll have to spend a bit of time dealing with the reality that there will always been some uncertainty with this path I’ve chosen. That uncertainty doesn’t have to translate into worry and fear, which is where the real work will take place. Then I’ll be able to focus on celebrating the victories of others, along with my own.

Thankfully this post is about comparison and not jealousy. That would be a tougher habit to break.