Stop comparing yourself to others. Start doing this instead.

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I recently watched a video of Duke women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson speaking to her team. In it, she points out that there is an important distinction between hard work and competitiveness. She told her team: “You can force someone to work hard. You can’t force someone to compete. I can’t do anything to make you compete… not everyone is wired to compete. “

It resonated with me. I was an athlete my entire teenage years and, man, I loved competing! And it wasn’t just sports, I always wanted to be the best at everything I did. But when I look back, one downside to it Competitive spirit For me, it’s a “comparison”.

Related: How You Compare To Others Will Only Hurt Your Happiness

What do you miss when you compare yourself to others?

In college, when a friend and I both got A on a test (I think his score was 95 and mine was 91), I didn’t celebrate our joint achievement and build a deeper connection. I didn’t try to find out what I could learn from her to improve myself. I went inside and fought. “This is not acceptable,” I thought to myself. “You can do better. You will do better.”

As if the others were my reference? They weren’t. The beauty of competition is that it maximizes YOUR efforts. MY efforts ALWAYS mattered more than the result or result. But I didn’t realize it then. I missed opportunity after opportunity to deepen connections with others and learn from them. Not because they didn’t want to share, but because I was too busy compare myself them that I didn’t even think to ask.

What you gain when you connect with others

Earlier this year my wife and I traveled to Miami to work with a client. I was tasked with identifying an Airbnb for our stay. The idea was to find a place that would welcome us all and provide functional spaces to connect around work and to disconnect from work.

After hours of research, I found the space that suited me. He jumped off the page and spoke to me! This list stood out! The design was impeccable, the spaces were highly optimized, the energy of the space was exactly where we needed it. I could feel it through all the photos. I booked immediately.

Unfortunately, I received a message saying that the space had been listed prematurely and would not be available. I was disappointed, that’s for sure. Instead of fighting like I once did, I found an opportunity in the circumstances.

You see, my wife and I had an interest in acquiring an investment property, and the greater Miami area was on the shortlist. This property was so intriguing to me, so I contacted the host and asked if I could take a few minutes of his time and learn more about his process and experience with short term rentals. They were happy to take a call and share their 20+ years of investment experience with me! I added a industry connection and I gained valuable information that I would never have had otherwise.

Related: How to multiply by 10 your learning from the experiences of others

The power of connection and mentorship

Running businesses and investing in real estate has given me the opportunity to adopt a perspective that is the opposite of what I once had. When I see someone doing something at a level that I would like to achieve, I don’t blame myself for not being there. Instead, I try to learn as much as I can from them. They have already been through trials and tribulations, they already understand the pitfalls, they know firsthand how things work in their space. I don’t necessarily need to grow through the experiences myself – I can and will be propelled forward by learning from their lived experience! That’s the power of connection and mentorship!

To be honest, most of my life I rarely sought out mentors, and I attribute that to the faulty thinking that can come from comparison. I wanted to prove that I could do it myself. I had to prove that I could do it myself. When I finally put my ego down, I realized how wrong that narrative was.

Luckily for me, mentors have been there throughout my life. Even now I have a mentor in my own house. A mentor I married and call my wife. I learn from her constantly, often just by watching. I then figure out what works for me and what doesn’t, and then I apply what I learn. It’s not always easy, but it always propels me forward.

There’s enough room for everyone to thrive

We don’t all share the same roof with a mentor, but we all want a connection. Comparison often leaves no room for this. I had to learn that it’s not all about me, or how much I do better or worse than others. I can celebrate the success of others, and that doesn’t define how I see myself. The reality is that I really want to help them do well because there is plenty of room for all of us to grow! That’s why I believe I was called to business mentoring myself.

It is often said that “too much of anything is bad for you”. I know that’s true with the competition. No one forced me to compete, it’s a choice I’ve made over and over since I was very young. I guess Coach Lawson would say I’m wired that way. I’m still competing with myself every day. It’s just now that there’s a lot more room to connect and learn from others.

Related: How to get out of the comparison trap

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