How to Stop Comparing Your Business to Other People’s Success

business success of others

Starting and running a fashion business is not easy. Like any other business, it requires you to strap yourself in, blindfolded, for a challenging, exhausting, and terrifying ride where the ups and downs are so extreme and random, that you have no real idea whether or not you’ll come out of the whole thing alive. (OK, slight exaggeration but, honestly, not that far off)

It’s so easy to compare yourself and your business to other people’s success. We live in the time of the “filter”, where transparency is revered and we’re able to see into the “lives” of others. Yeah, except all we get to see is the highlight reel.  We see the successes and triumphs, the adventures and the perfect moments.

The problem with this finely curated selection of beautiful moments is the inevitable result in which we all start to feel bad about ourselves. We compare where we are in our lives (both literally and figuratively) to the lives of others. We allow ourselves to believe that our businesses are not where they should be, we envy the way others have skyrocketed to success, we lose focus on what’s important; building our lives and businesses the way we want and being happier because of it.

Two Truths to Remember About Success

Overnight success is a fallacy. You have to earn success. While there may be a very small percentage of “overnight” success cases, this is such a rarity that it’s toxic to believe that you should strive for that.

Did you know that Rebecca Minkoff was in business for many years, struggling, before she was able to take her business to the level of success she has reached? She was out of money and about to go back to waitress-ing.  From the perspective of those who love her business, it’s easy to believe that a few years ago, she crashed onto the NYC designer scene, making waves.  No, she doggie paddled for years, learning, failing, trying, and ultimately succeeding.

So, stop comparing yourself to the “overnight success” stories. They don’t really exist.

There’s no such thing as perfect. The successful people you follow do not have the perfect life. While Instagram may try to make you believe that they do, I promise you, they don’t.

They deal with challenges and devastation in both life and business, just like the rest of us. They worry about continued success, they question their ability to produce amazing work, they deal with family issues, financial issues, personal issues…just like the rest of us.

So, don’t fall in that trap of being sucked into the worlds of others. The worlds you see are not the worlds they live in. Just like the world you share with others is not even close to being the full story.

How to Apply What You Just Learned

While you shouldn’t compare yourself to other’s successful lives and businesses, it is absolutely imperative that you continue to challenge yourself if you want to create the life and career you’ve dreamed of.

Take a step back and look at your business from the outside.  Is it what you want it to be?  If it’s not right now, is it moving in the direction you want it to?  If not, what exactly isn’t working? What do you need to change in order to fix what’s broken?

Take the time to assess your work and life goals, make sure that they’re aligned, and then create a plan to set your business in the direction you want it.

Then, get ready to work.  If you really want to succeed in business, expect to work longer and harder than you have ever worked in the past.  Despite what social media would have us believe, successful people don’t spend their days on the beach or regularly going to parties, or eating at new restaurants every night of the week. And, most importantly, they don’t make excuses. They work. Really hard.

But finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re human. Yes, you need to work hard.  No, you are not allowed to make excuses as to why something isn’t getting done.  No, you can’t spend a lot of your time socializing. But you can takes breaks every now and then. You can indulge from time to time.  And you can enjoy the ride.

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Marguex

    Thank you for this little gem. I pull my hair out thinking my company should be further along than it is. I will read this often and mind MY business and stop looking at others.

  2. Margaret

    I absolutely needed this reality check. Social media can make you feel jaded and it’s important to keep in mind that this is a snapshot, a highlight reel as you mentioned it. Thank you for this!

  3. Cecilia

    I think I need to read this at least ones a day, especially the last paragraph. Thank you, Nicole!

  4. Samantha

    Thank you, I definitely needed to hear this today. Feeling inspired again.

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