Compare and despair.

Hello and happy Monday! This is Susan Hyatt and it’s GO time.

This is the 106th episode in a series of GO mp3s to wake you up on your Monday morning and get you going.

In this episode we’re talking about the comparison trap and what to do when you’re feeling discouraged that your business or project isn’t taking off instantaneously.

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Wanna read the full transcript? Here ya go:

A little while ago, I was on a plane and I watched a movie called The Founder. It’s a movie that tells the story of how McDonald’s got started. It’s pretty fascinating.

I’ll summarize the movie really quickly…

These two men—the McDonald brothers—opened the very first McDonalds. But prior to opening the first McDonalds, these two brothers ran several other restaurants—like a drive-in, a hot dog stand, and many others.

These brothers spent 30 YEARS working in the restaurant biz—experimenting, tweaking, seeing what customers liked and didn’t like, developing their signature recipes, honing their systems, figuring out their customer service style, and basically, figuring out how to make things work successfully.

(Back then, they prided themselves on making fresh, tasty, real food—not junky fast-food. So things have deviated from the original vision quiiiiite a bit. That’s a whole ‘nother story.)

But my main point is that these brothers worked in the restaurant biz for 30 years BEFORE they opened the first McDonalds.

Of course, as we all know, McDonalds exploded into a worldwide, multi-billion dollar empire, and the McDonald brothers became extremely wealthy. One of the McDonald brothers cracked a joke and said, “We were an overnight sensation… 30 years in the making!”

Yup. Most of the businesses and projects that seem like an “overnight sensation” are… NOT. This is something I discuss with my clients all the time, because a lot of my clients get discouraged when their projects don’t take off instantaneously.

It’s important to remember that it takes TIME to build an empire, and it takes TIME to build a reputation and a brand. We all wants things hot, fast, and ready NOW, or YESTERDAY. I know I do! But… it rarely works like that.

You know that old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well, McDonalds wasn’t built in a day, either. And Apple wasn’t built in a day. Facebook wasn’t built in a day. Beyonce wasn’t built in a day. LOL. My coaching practice wasn’t built in a day, either. I’ve been doing this work for over 10 years.

If you run a business, if you’re running a blog, or if you’re pursuing ANY kind of goal, it can be tempting to compare yourself to other people.

You look at someone’s snazzy website and think, “Ugh, they’re so famous and amazing and meanwhile, nobody even knows that my little business exists. I’m invisible.”

Or you look at someone’s Instagram feed and you see all of these photos of their fun hikes, and camping trips, and their toned legs, and perfect hair and you think, “Ugh, she’s so fit and healthy, having all kinds of fun adventures. Why can’t I have that kind of life? Why can’t I get my shit together?”

This is called “compare and despair.” You compare yourself to someone—usually someone you don’t even know—and then you sink into despair because you feel inadequate.

If you do this “compare and despair” thing a lot—like, uh, maybe every single time you log onto the Internet—I really want you to STOP. It’s not a helpful thing to do.

What I say to my clients is, “Don’t compare your first year with someone else’s tenth year, twentieth year, or thirtieth year.”

Look, if you just started working out at the gym for the first time EVER, then OF COURSE you’re not going to have the athleticism of an Olympic champion like Simone Biles, who’s been training DAILY for the past 15 years. OF COURSE you’re not going to be doing triple backflips in the air across the gymnastics mat. DUH. You’re just getting started, and that’s beautiful. That’s where you are.

It’s the same with any type of goal you might have. If you just started taking singing lessons last week, don’t compare your voice to Adele. If you just opened your coaching or consulting practice last year, don’t compare your earnings to Marie Forleo. If you took your first public speaking class a month ago, don’t compare your speaking skills to Michelle or Barack Obama.

Really, don’t compare yourself to other people, PERIOD. It’s usually not a productive thing to do, because they’re not you, and you’re not them. They’ve got their own path, and you’ve got yours.

Here’s my challenge for you this week:

Instead of comparing and despairing, try… noticing, celebrating, and feeling inspired. 

Instead of thinking, “Ugh, Why is she so much farther along than me?” see if you can say to yourself, “Wow, look at her go! What a superstar! I’m a rising star, too, and I can’t wait to see where I AM in one month, or one year, or one decade. The sky’s the limit.”

I will leave you with this quote, which I love:

“Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” —Marcus Washling

That’s right. The Beyonces, the Obamas, the billion-dollar business empires of the world, the people who run marathons, the people who achieve incredible things… None of them “fell” to the top of the mountain. They climbed there.

They climbed there slowly, with patience, with persistence, and most likely, with a huge amount of trial and error, disasters, discouragement, anxiety, and sobbing behind closed doors, which the public rarely sees.

Remember that. Take inspiration in that. And keep climbing towards YOUR personal definition of success, whatever that may be.

It’s GO time.

Susan Hyatt

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