One of life’s greatest miseries is comparing yourself to others, and feeling frustrated that you never “measure up.”
I saw this SO MUCH with my university students – especially those who needed more than four years to graduate because they worked full time, or older students returning to complete their degree. They constantly compared themselves to others, and squandered their precious college days acting like they were running a race and needed to FINISH ASAP – without any thought to maximizing those precious years.
I made it a point to slow them down, and use college as a way to find their true passion. I encouraged them to become proactive with their own future, as opposed to living their days reacting to the expectations of others.
When we look outside ourselves, when we continually compare ourselves to others, we are cheating ourselves of living our authentic life. And this leads to feeling stuck, and reluctant to follow our passion because we aren’t good enough, we aren’t young or old enough, we aren’t experienced enough – you name the excuse, I’ve heard it.
Here are four key tips:
1. Instead of comparing yourselves to others, start celebrating the uniqueness that is you.
2. Dig deep and make the commitment to discover your true passions – regardless of what other people think.
3. Start becoming internally motivated, and trust your gut and your instincts.
4. Be aware of the negative opinions that threaten your journey before you even set sail. Because EVERYONE has an opinion. But the only opinion that matters is yours.
Sometimes when people express an opinion, it is actually a projection of their own fears. This phenomenon became crystal clear to me at age 29 when I decided to leave the safety of a relatively lucrative, “comfortable” public relations job and launch my own business.
You wouldn’t believe the negativity I experienced when I excitedly and enthusiastically shared my plans with “friends” and acquaintances. In 1987, the country was in a recession and so many people told me to my face that I would FAIL. And that starting my own business was doomed to FAILURE.
But my faith in myself, my passion for public relations, my strong inner voice and my decision to take a strategic risk moved me beyond this negativity. Of course I felt apprehensive, but battled the natural fear with a strong support system and a back-up plan: I could always land another job doing SOMETHING.
I trusted my gut. And one year later, I had doubled my salary. And I have NEVER looked back.
Your life is YOUR journey. Own it. Embrace it. And make a commitment to move forward. The only person stopping you is you.