Photo Credit: Petr Dosek
It's time to stop competing with others.
I was born a salesperson, according to my dad. I was selling cookies on the street corner when I was 7. In my early 20s, my career was in sales.
I hated the thought of it. I didn't want to be a salesperson! My warped idea of someone in sales was a used-car salesman: fake smile, uncaring and of course, conning people into something they didn't want.
Once in sales, I really didn't know what the hell I was doing! My entire focus was on getting through the day! It was cold call after cold call, and dealing with rejection. It took up my entire day, so the thought of competition with others was a foreign concept.
I wasn't worrying about what anyone else did, I was just trying to figure out how not to sound completely unintelligible.
Intuitively, I gathered that copying someone else or competing with them never would bring success that felt good. I knew I'd always feel like I was on a treadmill trying to catch up and that was just too overwhelming to me.
When we win, it may temporarily feel like we're the king or queen of the mountain, but it quickly fades. Someone or something else will usurp that position. Winning is to fulfill our ego, our emptiness and tell us we're okay. it doesn't mean losing is a party, but it can help us define what we want.
In sales and later sales management, my focus was never on the competition. In fact, when I ran a marathon, I wasn't concerned about all the swiftly moving feet that made it to the finish line hours ahead of me -- I just wanted to finish, so I paid attention to the journey.
All of my participation personally and professionally, stood on the ground of competing with myself to be my best.
Whenever someone complimented my ability to bring in clients from cold calls or land accounts that those around me deemed impossible... I didn't feel good, I'd become afraid.
My first thought: "How will I sustain this? I will surely fail."
My fear was letting me down, because someone had recognized I did something well. I was so afraid of future criticism about failing, it spurred me for years!
I never felt like a winner.
I landed large accounts and would do the impossible, all while blocking out what others in my industry would do... no comparing, no topping, no nothing... the thought of looking at someone else's techniques or copying their way of selling, overwhelmed me. It just seemed to make it harder.
When I started doing psychic work, I became afraid -- what if I was a phony? What if the messages I got meant I had a mental disorder? I looked at other psychics and thought, how will I ever? I didn't study them, I didn't try to do what they did -- again the thought overwhelmed me.
I got into coaching. It was accidental (which is a story for another day)... and my classmates there said I had a natural talent for it! That scared me! Now I had crazy expectations of me.
Whenever we compare -- whether it's to ourselves and our own expectations, or to another -- we take our joy away. The last thing we'll feel like is a winner in the long run. Instead, we'll find more ways to believe we must keep up, copy someone else or beat them up (and ourselves in the process).
Intuitively, I went within. I didn't look at anyone else. I incorporated my psychic work into my coaching and for a long time I had no website, it was all in person. When I started to invest in marketing myself, I looked at the competition and that feeling of overwhelm returned.
Everyone else looked so successful and I had nothing to compare to... LOL, nothing!
I compared what they did and what I did. The horrible expectations and comparisons I already had going on inside me, were let loose!
What did I find in this hell? Nothing but pain.
How did I figure a winning solution? How did I shut up the critic in my head?
1. I went cold turkey, no more paying attention to what everyone else was doing:
It never feels good. It's never fulfilling. It feels like shit and besides that, if there was a true formula for success, wouldn't we all be able to do an exact copy and recreate the success?
2. Focused on my joy:
Success and failure externally had to be put aside. That focus makes anyone feel strung out, stressed out and criticizing the crap out of every move. Refocusing on the joy of what we do, creates a passionate engagement.
3. Believing in my own way of success:
Trusting intuition rather than playing Ping-Pong in my head, meant living in the moment and not the future. By engaging daily in what I did, my action felt right, as I didn't focus on its success. When we believe in ourselves, we will naturally be lead toward success, even when we pivot along the way.
I'm human, we all are. Being kind to ourselves as we smack into our limited thinking, fears and other crap, not to mention external obstacles, feels way better than mentally beating ourselves up. Shit will happen. The best we can do is not personalize and keep doing number two.
Winning isn't about the finish line, it's living daily connected to the moment and taking time to do what we love. Success then equals fulfillment.