March 21

Stop Comparing Yourself To Other “Successful” Entrepreneurs


It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, who have made more money than you, work way less than you, grew a bigger business than you, built more wealth than you, are younger than you, are smarter than you, or whatever else you may be comparing yourself against.

I’ve fallen into this trap so often, and it always leaves me feeling frustrated, hopeless, and bitter, among many other negative feelings…

During those moments, I think thoughts like:

  • “Why haven’t I made that much money yet in my business?”
  • “How did they get so successful before I reached that age?”
  • “What’s so special about them, I have as much, if not more skills, talents, knowledge, or experience than them!”
  • “Why am I working so hard, but not really getting anywhere?”
  • “What’s wrong with me? Why have I not made it yet?”

…and the list goes on!

This process can last minutes, hours or even days, building up my feeling of resentment about these successes, all while beating myself up over and over again about why I feel I’m not good enough or aren’t getting what I feel I deserve. It’s a very destructive mental habit that I constantly need to be vigilant of as and when it comes up so I can stop it dead in its tracks.

You Will Never Know the Real Story

The truth is, just looking at a few tiny datapoints of someone’s business or life never reveals their full or real story and all of their hidden failures, challenges, and pains that every human being has to deal with, no matter how successful they may appear on the outside.

Comparing myself to someone else is as futile as comparing two similarly looking sealed boxes, one of which I know what is inside, while the other one I don’t (but assume to know), based on the outside labels and packaging. It’s like comparing apples to pears, when clearly they are two very different types of fruit.

Every entrepreneur’s journey is unique, so comparing yourself to their successes will only cause you feeling dissatisfied, at best.

The Slippery Slope of Social Media

Social Media has only amplified and accelerated this habit, for two main reasons: firstly, you can swipe or tap through hundreds of others’ lives within minutes, subconsciously comparing yourself to them, and secondly, because most people only share a tiny sliver of their life on social media, mostly focusing on their successes and ‘good’ things, creating a highly skewed perspective on their actual reality.

Yes, of course, successes from other entrepreneurs on social media can also motivate and inspire you, but it’s a very slippery slope when your patterns of comparing yourself to these stories start kicking in, without you noticing.

Seeing all of those exciting ‘instant’ successes with no balance of the slow, boring, hard, and painful side to these stories is akin to a diet of eating pure refined sugar, getting that extreme dopamine high, and then having the extreme sugar crash leaving you feeling depleted and empty. Real life is more like eating fruit, it has a balanced constitution, and sometimes you bite into a botched up apple or two.

If you find yourself mindlessly swiping through TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media sites, stop for a moment and ask yourself – “Hold on, what am I doing? Why am I scrolling?”, “Am I comparing myself to others’ successes?”, “Am I trying to prove my worth?”. If you are, close the app, or even delete it if you can’t help yourself.

Compare Yourself to Yourself

The only healthy alternative is to compare yourself to yourself, meaning, who are you today vs. who you were, or how your business is doing today vs. how it was doing yesterday or the day(s), week(s), month(s), or years(s) before.

This gives you a realistic measuring stick to see what incremental improvements you have made and can make, based off of your current situation, knowledge, skills, resources, and other things that you can use right now to make incremental progress forward.

Learn From Real Mentors

Instead of looking at the titans of business for the secret formula to your future success, it’s important to realise that these billionaires are playing an entirely different game at a very different level of business than you are right now. Lessons and mindsets that they may have and share might be completely irrelevant for an entrepreneur who is just starting out or is generating a few hundred thousand dollars a year.

Instead, look for real entrepreneurs in your network who you can talk to who are where you want to be, but are willing to be your mentor and share their journey with you, both with the challenges they’ve experienced as well as what they’ve learned along the way. By speaking with them, or even better – hanging out with them in their physical presence – you can get deeper context into the golden nuggets they are sharing with you, while getting perspective on your own challenges, and start gradually shifting your mindset bit by bit.

I had several mentors over the last ten plus years of my entrepreneurial journey. Some were well known multi-millionaire internet marketers, others were my close entrepreneur friends who had built up a successful business and were doing really well, financially. I learned so many lessons from all of them, in how to think about and approach business, that has helped me become the entrepreneur and person I am today. I also learned about their challenges that showed me that they too didn’t have an easy ride to where they got to.

By having a real person that I respect and can speak to about my business and at times, mental and emotional challenges, helped me to get perspective and clarity on how I can overcome them. Even if it was a simple perspective shift, it made me look at the situation differently, avoiding me spiralling into a negative mindset or moods.

Be Grateful

Yes, so simple, almost cliché, but so powerful. Gratitude is the act of acknowledging the good in what is in your life right currently, as well all of the good that has happened in your life up to the present moment.

You can start with whatever comes to mind, like family, friends, health, your skills, knowledge, business, etc. Keep listing them out until you can’t think of any.

Whenever I invest a few moments to reflect on what I am grateful for, it always is worth the time. I realise how lucky I am and how far I have come as an entrepreneur, no matter what perceived failures or challenges I’ve had to face in the past.

When I started making a list of all my business successes, however small, it made me feel motivated and inspired to continue moving forward, despite current challenges. Highlighting even the things that I would have taken granted for, like reaching my first ever $5K month in my digital marketing agency, or being able to hire and support a full-time freelancer for over three years, that’s something that I need to remember is an achievement in itself, no matter what anybody else says.

I often fall into the trap of disregarding all of the good things that happen in my business because I’m too focused on where I want my business to be instead of how far I have come, which is sad, because then I miss the experience of the journey, which is after all, what it’s all about. Reaching an arbitrary goal is like reaching a signpost on a trail that keeps going forever. It should be acknowledged and celebrated.

I’m thinking I should really document all of these successes, however small or big, into a “Success Journal”, so whenever I find myself comparing myself to others, I can just flip through the pages and start feeling empowered again.

Questions to Reflect On

I’d like to leave you with a few questions you can use to ask yourself if you find yourself falling into the trap of comparing yourself with other entrepreneurs. These questions will help you get immediate perspective and guide you back onto the firm ground of reality.

  1. What are all the things I am grateful for in my life and in my business?
  2. What are my strengths? Skills? Talents? Areas of knowledge?
  3. How have I improved over the past 3 months? 1 year? 3 years? 10 years?
  4. How has my business improved over the past 3 months? 1 year? 3 years? 10 years?
  5. What is one thing I can do today that would move my business into a positive direction tomorrow?


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