Ever catch yourself wistfully looking at someone else’s business and thinking they’ve got it better than you?
Notice it’s never when you’re on top of your game and things are flowing that you indulge in comparisons. It’s generally when you’re in a low mood, or you’ve experienced a poor result. Then you look around and it sure “seems” like everyone else is zooming down the highway with the wind in their hair while you’re stuck on the side of the road.
As leaders, we’ve all been there. The problem is we get paid to lead our companies and when we indulge in comparative thinking our world gets smaller. It chokes off creativity, action and momentum, adversely affecting our performance.
Keep your eyes on your own paper.
This was something we used to tell our kids when they were younger and would be comparing themselves to their friends. “Johnny has a new Xbox and we don’t” … “Steve is way better at baseball than me”. Truth is I’ve been saying it to myself for years whenever I catch myself drifting into the victim mentality of thinking someone else has it better than me. It snaps me back into focusing on my game, which is the only game I can really play anyway.
“You don’t want to be considered as merely the best at what you do. You want to be the only one doing what you’re doing.” – Jerry Garcia
Are you playing a big enough game?
What’s the current state of the game you’re playing? Does it inspire you? Is the direction clear? Is your team lit up? If you’re not playing a big enough game then create a new one. When you’re inspired by your own game, you won’t have time to be worrying about anybody else’s.
In growing my disaster restoration company we used that Jerry Garcia quote to constantly drive the question – “If we were the only ones that did what we did … what would we be doing?, when would we be doing it?, how would we be doing it?” … bam, eyes on our own paper again and we were off and running.
Practice intelligent compassion, with yourself and others.
You never know how anybody’s life or business really is. In my coaching practice I see a lot of people who, from the outside, appear to have the world on a string. Sometimes that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Everybody experiences business failures, setbacks, medical challenges and heartbreaks … life is rarely as good as it looks on someone’s Facebook page. When you pause to recognize that, it moves you from being self focused to others focused. You’ll generate some compassion for other people. Instantly making you a more effective leader in your business and in your life.
And for you, cut yourself some slack. You don’t get to win every day, otherwise it wouldn’t be a real game. Be grateful you have a game to play, people to play it with and a new day to create.
Keep your eyes on your own paper. You’ll cause bigger results and be more comfortable in your own skin.