I recently began training for a half marathon and the biggest surprise is how my training has taught me lessons about running my business. When I head out for my runs, the only thing I can focus on is my run, my time and my body.
It’s tempting to want to keep up with the faster runners who are flying by me, which I actually have tried to do on several occasions. But going faster than my own pace usually just leaves me winded and walking for the last part of my run. And it’s tempting to feel superior when I fly by others but the truth is, I don’t know what anyone else is training for, how far they’ve come, how far they’ve got to go. Wondering about it, making it all a part of my own training will only hold me back.
I can’t worry about what people think when they see me taking breaks to walk. I can’t think about how my friends are training or what their times or paces might be. I can only focus on what my body is telling me, how my feet keep moving in the right direction and ultimately what I can do to improve my time and my run.
I have found that the same can be said for running your business. In this social media world, it’s hard to not notice what everyone else is doing. From Facebook groups, to live streams to Instagram feeds we are inundated with other people’s businesses and other people’s journeys. It’s amazing on so many levels how solopreneurs can find support through online channels. Connection is a powerful tool but when does connection, support and inspiration blend over into envy and comparison? In the land of online businesses and social media, the line between inspiration and jealousy is a thin one.
How often have you gotten lost reading someone else’s blog for hours? Or spent too much time in a Facebook group reading and liking everyone else’s posts? Have you ever felt like your content wasn’t good enough? Have you ever felt bad after reading about someone’s recent successes? It happens to everyone but if we’re not careful, we end up stopping ourselves from reaching our own goals and building our own businesses when we get distracted with what everyone else is doing.
The truth is, there will always be someone out there doing something similar to what you are doing. There will always be others out there succeeding, building businesses, signing clients and hitting their goals. Someone somewhere just might have what you want. That doesn’t mean they are doing it better, that they know something you don’t or that you need to make your journey look exactly like theirs. In fact, it doesn’t mean anything about you. It just means they are running their race and you have to run yours.
As business owners, we have to accept that we can’t control what anyone else is doing, building, creating or doing in their businesses. We can only control the content we create, the image we present and the value we provide to our clients and followers. Imagine how much we can create and provide if we put all of our energy into only that.
Think about the energy you put out on other’s people’s journeys. Do you check Facebook the second you wake up? Are you constantly signing up for other people’s free offers? Do you decide to read other people’s content to find inspiration for your own? How long do you get lost in social media feeds? How much energy and creativity could you take back by only focusing on your own work?
It’s time to take back your time, your creativity and your sense of pride in your own work by focusing on your own race.
The more you focus on your own business, the more it will grow. The more you pay attention to your journey, you’ll see how full, successful and amazing it is. You notice more beauty, you are grateful for more and you grow more when you choose to focus on improving yourself instead of keeping up with someone else.
Running your own race will look different for everyone. Some individuals are great at focusing on our businesses and running their own race might just mean not participating in as many webinars. Some individuals struggle with it more and running their own race might mean deleting social media apps or blocking the Facebook newsfeed.
The important thing is that you know you can only run one race. You can only build your business, create your life and do the best you can. Show up for yourself, for your clients, for your loved ones and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You can’t lose.