When it comes to creating a business you love, it can become all too easy to fall into the comparison trap. The thing is, it’s rarely fair because often, you’re comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle.
I’ve set myself up on this path more times than I’d like to admit. Part of my job is staying current with visual styles and trends and because of this, I follow hundreds of graphic design accounts on Instagram. While this is really beneficial in a lot of ways, sometimes I get drawn into worlds outside of my own that make me feel like I am somehow behind (though nobody is really ‘behind’ — it’s all relative, right?)
The weight of feeling behind hit hard a few years back when I was comparing the Branch studio numbers to another business and feeling down about where we were at since they had triple our yearly income. The thing is, I was overlooking something really obvious; they’d also been in business TWICE as long!
That’s the thing with the surface-level of comparison; you’re not seeing the full picture which leaves your mind to wander and fill in the blanks. A perfect example is the above photo. In the past, I shared a version with the “helping hands” photoshopped out. My super high ponytail and balancing skills looked effortless!
This is a reminder that you NEVER know the full story of someone’s business. There’s so much more going on beneath the surface — some businesses have been around much longer, have a big team behind the scenes that make everything look effortless and offer completely different pricing. There are so many factors that play into where they’re at.
Obsessing over what your competitors are doing is a losing battle. Not only is it distracting you from your own business goals but it’s very rarely a fair comparison, especially when it comes to the smoke and mirrors of social media.
One of my all-time favorite sayings is “run your own race.” We’re all just doing our best and you’ll get to exactly where you need to go on YOUR schedule. You’re not behind — you’re right where you need to be. -Shauna