When an entrepreneur comes down with comparison-itis, he or she may suddenly feel as if everyone else has it all figured out, operates smoothly in the face of challenges and has the Midas touch.
Here are the top five things to remember, when you’re a newbie entrepreneur feeling intimidated by the competition.
Related: Make Rejection Work for You
1. Everyone deals with rejection.
Stories abound about people who clearly had a gift and who also experienced rejection. Julia Child not only wrote and rewrote her cookbook, but her book contract was dropped by her original publisher and she and her co-authors had to find a new one.
Even someone who is gifted at what he or she does might still struggle to break into a market. Don’t assume that if it’s meant to be, things are always going to come easily for you.
And don’t fall into the comparisons trap of assuming that no one else experiences rejection.
2. Most business owners must hustle to find clients.
True, there are exceptions and some entrepreneurs get early lucky breaks with connections or startup capital, but that’s not the norm.
Most entrepreneurs start with zero clients, then get that one foot in the door and deliver a service that shines -- so that they can get one more referral. And then the proving ground begins once again.
When you feel caught in comparisons with someone who seems more experienced than you, remember this: Everyone starts with zero.
3. Running a company means grappling with risk.
Is now the time to aim for growth or should the company stay lean? This year should the company focus on developing new ideas or work on a savvy new marketing campaign?
When you’re trying to figure out the direction to take, don't compare your organization to others and try to follow their decisions when tricky situations arise.
Why? Because companies grow out of some combination of hard work, great ideas and luck -- yes, luck. If you want the same success that another company has, you won’t get there by copying its moves exactly. You’ll persevere by being willing to take a risk and recover from the experience.
4. Many creative types struggle to be truly innovative.
Entrepreneurship is artistry. Business launchers are creators. All creators hit places in the process when they look around and feel like it’s all been done before (and possibly better, by someone else). Everyone struggles to innovate.
When you start to compare your own creative leaps with someone else’s, you’re automatically sucking energy from your creative well. New innovation doesn’t come from watching what everyone else is doing and panicking. It comes from going within or working with your creative team to develop ideas that excite you.
5. Jealousy is common.
Just keep in mind that there’s a healthy jealousy and a destructive jealousy. Healthy jealousy is all about admiring someone else’s creative brilliance and the desire to create something great yourself. Most people do experience pings of jealousy from time to time.
It’s a good thing to be jealous of a competitive agency’s client roster when it's doing amazing work. It’s destructive to wish that another company would fail, so that you can score a win.
When you’re a new entrepreneur, you might find it difficult to not look around and assume that you’re so far behind in figuring things out that you’ll never catch up. The reality is that if you don’t get lost in the comparisons trap, you’ll have more energy for what really matters: clarifying your vision, building a business worth talking about and innovating in your industry.
Related: Overcoming Entrepreneurial Envy