Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle
Nov. 11 2014, Published 2:00 a.m. ET
We all have sheroes we idolize and look to in aspiration. Whether it’s Oprah, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Robin Roberts, Barbara Walters or any of the multitude of powerful women leading the charge, running companies and breaking barriers there are plenty to look to.
These are the women that are CEOs, COOs, CFOs, Presidents and Partners. Not only are these women in the boardroom, they are at the table making key decisions. They are at the forefront of their companies playing a pivotal role in influencing and shaping the direction and strategy of their organization.
As an ambitious woman yourself, you too, have the desire to lead, create and succeed. Yet, due to social media’s power to overly connect and amplify the best moments of others, it is easy to be inundated with all the tweets and posts about the incredible and amazing things other people are doing.
It’s a natural impulse to compare ourselves. But comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or even end, prevents you from truly enjoying your own successes and achievements.
Recently, I proudly posted a picture on Instagram from a local magazine article where I was listed as a “rising star.” But it was just a few days later when one of my mentors took to Twitter to announce her listing in Ebony Magazine’s top ’40 Under 40.’
I wasn’t demoralized but I certainly felt deflated. In my mind, the bar had been raised one notch higher. It wasn’t enough to merely be recognized (in any capacity) as an up-and-comer. Now, I needed to get acknowledged by a national publication. I completely dismissed my own accomplishment because, in my mind, it wasn’t as good as someone else’s, totally disregarding the fact that that someone else was 15 years my senior and well into her career.
As someone in their twenties, no, your first client pitches most likely won’t be as smooth as those delivered by the Director. As a writer, your early news stories won’t read as eloquently as those written by the senior editor. And as an aspiring entrepreneur, no, your first business plan might not be as thorough as one drafted by a mini mogul with multiple ventures.
With any new venture, project or job, the beginning is always the most difficult phase. It is the time when you’re blind to the pitfalls and potential setbacks and your skills are still raw. Yet, while the beginning of a journey highlights all our inexperience, it is also in that same time when we are filled with the most energy and enthusiasm to chase the dream.
We must all learn how to embrace and celebrate the achievements of our colleagues, mentors and friends, and use their success as motivation not a measuring stick. Don’t waste energy comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or even end, because you’ll miss out on your own journey.
Enjoy your ride.