COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY – SO HOW DO YOU COMPARE?
President Theodore Roosevelt said that – comparison is the thief of joy.
And what he meant, of course, is that comparing yourself to people who are doing better than you makes you feel sh*t.
Partly, marketing is to blame. The internet is full of arseholes like me talking about how well we’ve done or how well our clients have done. It’s deliberate, of course, and it’s meant to make you want what they have got and buy our thing.
But it can make you unfairly compare yourself to people who are doing better than you and that can bring you down. And we don’t want that.
We don’t want it because who wants that? It’s an unproductive line of thought. But also because that comparison is not necessarily accurate or reasonable.
And while we’re here, I’ll admit that I do this too. I look at other business coaches who are doing better than me and feel bad. I sometimes think ‘what am I missing? What am I not doing?’
But the reality is that lots of things could be going on.
A tradie who is more successful than you could be…
Well, hang on.
What does ‘more successful’ mean?
Maybe you look at someone who has a nicer car or bigger house than you and think, how come?
Or someone whose business is bigger – more branded vehicles or a bigger team.
Those are our markets of success, aren’t they?
Their toys and their presence.
But people acquire toys by borrowing money and other people don’t do that (don’t borrow).
They may have acquired that stuff because they’ve borrowed lots of money and they might spend every night sh*tting themselves about whether they’ll be able to pay it back.
So appearances can be deceptive and our natural assumptions don’t always hold.
There are a number of things that affect business success:
- Doing the right things (of course, the things we worry we’re not doing properly)
- Money (having more money to start with and on the way)
- How much or how hard someone works
- Time in the game
- Where someone started
Let me expand on these.
I’ll start with the money.
I just spoke about how people can look like they have more, by borrowing, for example. But people can also start off with more in the first place or have more behind them all the way along.
The tradie who is running a business with no other income sources and no capital in the bank and supporting a family on just one income is probably going to grow a business much more slowly than someone whose Mum and Dad were able to buy them a house or lend them $100,000 to start the business or whose partner earns $200k in a good job.
I’m not saying these people cheated or anything but you don’t know what kind of advantages they have over you, cash-wise. So you shouldn’t feel bad that they seem to be doing better.
Time in the game and where you started are similar.
Although we’re often confronted by apparent overnight successes, most businesses follow a similar path of growth and time in the game is a very powerful contributor to a business’s success.
If you started out on your own and someone else started their business 5 or 10 or 20 years ago, they had a significant head start and your comparisons are mute. They’ve had all that time to build word of mouth and presence and cash reserves.
Other people inherited businesses and continued them and others bought businesses with an established presence and momentum (maybe with borrowed money, maybe with money they saved up, maybe with money from Mum and Dad or from dealing drugs – who knows?)
It’s possible someone works harder than you do and that’s why they’re successful – or partly.
There are two things to say here – working harder only goes so far. You can work as hard as two people and make more money but you’ll hit a ceiling and get stuck and you’ll still be working hard.
And also, who wants to work really hard all the time and miss out on life, or your kids, or your relationships, or your friends?
If someone’s more successful than you because they’ve chosen to work hard or long hours and you’ve made different choices maybe you’ve made the right choices.
And doing the right things – the ones we’re all afraid we’re failing at. It’s possible other people are doing things you don’t know to do and they do know.
Go and learn more about business – ask those guys what they’re doing differently, and buy a business book.
Buy my thing. Buy my business coaching and I’ll tell you the things you should be doing.
I’m sure there are things I don’t know but I’ve got a framework that will take you a long way.
Book a call, that’s how that works.
And next time you’re comparing yourself to others and feeling like you’re not doing so well by comparison, remember, that those more successful people might have had advantages you didn’t have.
So stop comparing and run your own race.
There are four ways you can engage with me:
1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.
2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.
3. Attend my next Tradie Profit Webinar.
4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.
See you later.