One year there was a real estate agent in my office that had just completed her second year in real estate. I had been in real estate for 9 years at the time. I knew from our awards night, that she had done just a little better than I had in sales that year. I couldn’t help but feel a little envious that she had done so well in such a short amount of time in the business. Our broker and several agents were giving her kudos. She and I got talking in the office one day; I congratulated her on such a good year. She then asked me again how I had done. I found myself starting to make excuses (some I said out loud, others running through me head) on why with my additional years of experience I didn’t do better than what I had. It wasn’t that I had that bad of a year, but I was suddenly feeling like a failure. Well then she started telling me all the hours she had put in cold calling people (calling a ton of people that you don’t know asking them for business) and knocking on doors. She had spent thousands of dollars in mailers and other marketing items. Most of my business had come from repeat and referral business, I had spent about a tenth of what she had in marketing. What I realized after talking to her, was her bottom line for the year was less than half of what I cleared and I didn’t put in near the hours that she had to achieve it. Now what crept up… my pride! After I knew this information every time I heard someone mention how well she had done in her second year in business, I devalued it, even if I didn’t say anything out loud. I was wrong in thinking I was a failure and I was really wrong in devaluing how well she had done.
With social media, it is especially hard these days not to compare our self to others. I love the saying “don’t compare your behind the scenes with somebody else’s highlight reel”. Another one I recently heard was “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”. This is also very true!
Comparing yourself to others is often a no win situation. Remember in school when you were taking a test and the teacher would say “keep your eyes straight ahead”. This was to keep you out of trouble and it’s something we should continue to practice! What happens when you start looking around at everyone else? You see that someone is farther along than you are. That can make you feel inadequate or make you want to rush, cut corners. You don’t know the price they have paid to be where they are at. If you see that you are further along, your pride or ego can kick in! What if you see someone is doing it differently than you? You may change something that doesn’t really fit who you are. You may try to copy or imitate someone. I heard at a conference recently we have to guard against wanting to be the next Carrie Underwood, the next Michael Jordan or the next Beth Moore. You need to work on just being the best “YOU” that you can be!
Psalms 139:13-16 (MSG) Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made! (NIV: I am fearfully and wonderfully made!)
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
We are all at different places in our journey. I am not saying we cannot learn from those that have gone before us, but just be careful to stay true to who God made YOU to be!