Want to make progress? Stop comparing yourself to others

Have you ever compared yourself to someone else? 

I have.

Last weekend, I did a triathlon and I did it more or less exactly to plan.

🏆 I had a goal of 2 hours and I finished in 2 hours 2 minutes and 39 seconds (the extra 2 1/2 minutes came from choppy water and a slightly slower transition – but the point is I knew where they came from)

🏆 I did my ride exactly according to plan and had a PR in terms of speed (nearly 28 kilometers per hour!) 

🏆 I did my run exactly according to plan and ran on average 15 seconds faster per kilometer than I had set for my personal goal. 

I walked away from the race totally chuffed that I had accomplished what I had personally set out to accomplish. 

BUT… 2 days later… the results were published. 

I finished 8th out of 12 in my age group and 22nd out of 40 in my gender. 

Suddenly, I didn’t feel successful anymore. Suddenly, I felt like a failure compared to everyone else. 

I have been doing triathlons for 4 years and I’m training for an Ironman. When I saw the results I suddenly thought – what? I can’t even make it into the top half for my age or gender? 

THAT IS WHERE I WENT WRONG. When you set a goal for yourself, you should also set what success will look like FOR YOU – not for other people. You should do this so that when you accomplish your goal, you don’t look around at others and suddenly feel inadequate. 

My hope in sharing this story is to remind you AND MYSELF that you are in your own race – whatever that is – maybe it is doing a Park Run 5k, maybe it is doing a triathlon, maybe it is setting up a business or going back to work. 

Don’t let the success of others around you distract you from your owth path to success. 

When I was a rower, my coach used to tell me to keep my eyes in the boat – no matter what was going on around me – because when you take your eyes out of the boat, you can cause an imbalance in your own boat which can be so disruptive that you lose the race. 

My message to you today is to KEEP YOUR EYES IN THE BOAT. Stay focused on your own race. Define success on your own terms and be happy for those around you who are successful on their own journey, even if it means they are more successful than you – that is their journey, not yours – and you never know what it took for them get there. 

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