I heard a quote a few weeks ago that really hit home for me. I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of blogs, so, unfortunately I cannot give credit where credit is due. I wish I could remember where I read/heard this because it has been so valuable to me I have made it my new mantra.
“Don’t compare your first step to someone else’s 1,000th.”
- Unknown (not me, darn it!)
I think the universe was sending me a not-so-subtle message, because soon after I heard the above quote, I came across this one:
“Don’t compare someone else’s highlight reel to your behind-the-scenes.”
- Unknown (also not me)
How brilliant! Hearing both of these was a real “aha” moment for me, a perfectionist, who has always compared myself to others and felt I have fallen way short. Can you relate?
Comparing ourselves to magazine models….who are 20 years younger and don’t even really look like that! Ugh, and the social media posts about how much someone accomplished that day, how successful their children are, how beautifully decorated their house it, how wonderfully in love they are, etc., etc.
I’m a single mom of a teenager and a pre-teen; I re-joined the full-time workforce, post-divorce, a couple of years ago after 10 years of working part-time and staying home with my kids; I started my own business as a sole-proprietor; and I have struggled with depression and anxiety. Honestly, a LOT of my life has been not-so-perfect. Not even close.
I compared myself to successful career women who have been building their businesses full-time for years. I compared myself to other mom’s who seem to have it all together and whose children seem perfectly behaved and perpetually happy. I compared myself to joyful, calm, energetic, beautiful women, who seem to be enjoying every moment of their perfect lives.
Notice the words “seem” and “perfect” being repeated over and over? Hmmmmmm.
This is a trap that so many of us fall into. It’s a completely false and distorted perception that leaves us never feeling good enough. AND IT’S JUST NOT TRUE!!!
So now, every time my inner critic tells me I have fallen short and someone else is doing it perfectly, I say to myself, “That’s her 1,000th step, and this is my 1st, or 2nd, or 20th. I will get there too.” Or, “That’s her highlight reel. Just imagine what her behind-the-scenes looks like!”
It is such an amazing, empowering, reassuring shift! I’m not falling short, I’m getting there one step at a time, just like she did! And she’s not perfect either, she’s just showing us her highlight reel.
I hope my “aha” moment is as helpful to you as it was to me. I’d love to hear from you about whether you compare yourself to others, how you feel you “stack up,” and what you do to help quiet that negative voice.
All my best,