Earlier this month, one of Team MJ‘s favorite authors, Todd Henry, published a wonderful post called The Curse of Peripheral Vision. He talked about how benchmarking and comparing yourself to your peers can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you can see where you are in relation to others. But the flip side of that coin is that you may end up feeling really discouraged if you’re not as far along as you hoped to be on a certain goal.
Small businesses struggle with this often. When you’re first starting out, you have to gauge what your competition is doing to get a feel for the playing field. However, success doesn’t usually come quickly or easily, so you may stumble into the envy trap. Obsessing over the work of others can also cause you to experience “analysis paralysis,” where you spend so much time thinking about the situation that you can’t move forward.
If you’re feeling frozen by comparison, you’ve got to change your mindset slightly so that you can progress. Todd suggests asking yourself these questions when you look at the work of someone you admire:
1. What are they doing that I love? What qualities of their work inspire awe or admiration in me?
2. What can I learn from them? Is there something they are doing that I can apply to my own process?
(Read the full list of questions here.)
Check your peripheral vision to make sure that you’re using it in a way that serves you and motivates you. And remember the old proverb, “patience is a virtue.” Be patient with yourself and know that not everyone’s journey is the same. You will accomplish your goals in your own time and in your own way and that, in itself, is something to be admired.