My wife loves plants and when I saw this quote I recalled a lot of what I see in our garden. Some plants grow outward first while other spend months growing roots before they are able to show any fruit.some plants grow outward first while other spend months growing roots before they are able to show any fruit or flowers or growth.
In the end both grow, but the process could not be more different.
It can be super easy to compare one persons growth to another, to see the one plant that already has fruit and say it is doing better than the other plant. Yet just below the surface the other plant is doing just as well, the one difference is that you cannot see it.
We have to remember everyone defines success and growth differently – and that’s more than okay, it’s necessary!
What do I mean that success looks differently to everyone and that it’s necessary? It means, if you’ve accomplished your purpose and worked diligently at whatever you do, you are successful.
For some of you this means being a full-time mom or dad. For others, it means your family made it through the week, and you spent time teaching your children life skills, like being kind. For some of you, it means you made our streets safer or you provided healthcare in an emergency or you served a customer well.
Success has many faces. Too often, we let comparison get in the way of celebrating our own successes. We spend our days looking at others and thinking, “If I did that, I’d be successful,” or, “Wow, I should be doing more with my life. Look at so and so.” Comparison only takes us backwards though. It chokes us and keeps us from seeing the individual gifts we bring to the world around us.
How do we move past comparing ourselves to others? Here are some practical things you can do:
1) Make sure you know your values. When you measure yourself against what you value, you have a solid, non-moving goal. If my values include helping others, then I can evaluate if I did that today. Did I help someone today? Then it was a successful day. Our values provide an impartial measurement tool for us.
2) When you are tempted to compare your success to someone else’s, evaluate the cost of their success. We usually only look at the benefits of success in other people’s lives and neglect the costs. For example, some may look at an air hostess and say, “You get to travel to really great places.”
And, yes, he/she do. However, if you were to evaluate the costs of their travel, you would learn that they often end up with a migraine from the pressure changes in the plane. That’s a cost. It impacts their off day home and leaves them ineffective for their family who has missed having them home. We don’t often advertise the costs associated with success, but I guarantee everyone has costs they pay for their particular success.
3) Remind yourself everyone has a purpose in life. Sometimes the purpose is glamorous, other times someone’s purpose may not be glamorous, but their purpose is essential. Think of the number of administrative assistants in the world who may not lead glamorous lives, but who make our worlds go around! Without them, we’d be nothing. We may not count that as success, but it’s more than success. It’s essential for others to accomplish their purposes.
Everyone has value. Everyone has purpose. Most often, it’s our perspective that’s off-base. This week as you are tempted to look at someone else’s success, keep these things in mind. Most importantly, evaluate your own success in light of your impact on those around you. After all, that’s what really matters.