Whenever I need a hit of inspiration, I tend to look at people who have been there and done that. People who have achieved the level of success that I am striving for. People that seem to live the lifestyle that I crave. People who just generally ‘have it together’.
I read what they write and try to find myself in their story. I search for elements that connect us so I can also think ‘this person is just like me!’ Having that connection, I can then feel like what they have achieved is also possible for me. Which it totally is!
However there are traps with it. And if you find yourself doing the above, I would recommend you watch out for the following:
- Assuming they did it the right way. News flash: there is no right or wrong. Just because it worked for them does not mean it will work the same for you. Also, just because they have done something, doesn’t mean you have to do it, especially if you feel any hesitation about it at all. For example, my coaching mentor recommended that I try a particular business networking group. And so for a year (and a hefty investment for membership fees and weekly breakfast meetings) I tried it out. With very little success. I did get some clients out of it, but certainly not to the same level that my mentor did. So I stopped going. At first it felt like I was doing something wrong. However, I realised there are no right or wrongs. What works for you can be totally different for me.
- Not seeing the flaws. When people share their stories, most of the attention is put on the shiny bits, the successes, the highlights and little attention, if any, is put on the hard yards. However, if you dig deep enough you will see the struggle behind the seemingly ‘over night’ success. It can be easy when looking and comparing ourselves to others to only see how it worked for them. It’s important to not ignore the several rejections and failed attempts it took to get there though.
- Putting them on a pedestal. When I admire someone and look up to them, I put them above me. I think they are better / smarter / work harder than me. This distance I create between myself and this person makes my goals feel so much further away. It also leads to me feeling like a fraud and like I’ll never get there. Another huge newsflash: they are people too. Normal people. They put their pants on one leg at a time. It can be a huge relief to kindly and respectfully dethrone those people in your mind. Instantly the intimidation is gone and instead of thinking ‘wow – how do they do that?’ you’ll be asking ‘cool, so how can I do that better?’
Comparing ourselves is a completely natural habit and can be useful. Just ensure you don’t get stuck in a trap and lose perspective on the wonderful person you truly are!