This week I’ve been watching plants grow.
Hmmm, you may wonder… “What does Katherine do with her time?”
Fair question. I’ve been in my office most of the week and every now and then I look up from the computer and go to the window where I watch the lovely shrubs we planted a couple of months ago. Yes, I just stand and watch the plants grow.
And what I noticed is that every one of them is growing differently. Some of them are shooting long branches, others are flowering and the rest have tiny little buds appearing. Watching them grow got me thinking…
Is any one of them growing ‘better’ than the others? Is there a right way or a wrong way for them to be growing? Not al all! Every plant is growing differently, and every single one is growing perfectly, just as it’s meant to.
How many times have you evaluated your progress in some endeavor and compared yourself to others, thinking, “I should be doing it like him!”, or “I’m doing it the wrong way!”?
Why do we compare ourselves to others?
At the core of every human being on the planet are certain needs. One of those needs is for acceptance, for belonging. As a result of that need, we're constantly checking in, often unconsciously, to see what others are doing and how they're doing it. Then if what we're doing deviates from what we perceive as 'the norm', we'll make changes in order to fit in with the crowd. It's a method of protection that was once essential to our survival. In the days when we were hunter-gatherers, if we didn't fit in and do things that were accepted by our tribe, we risked being ostracized. A human being left alone in the wild is a very vulnerable creature indeed! While our societies have changed and life in cities means we don't face the same life-threatening risks that once would have come with being different, our brains still respond in the same way until we train them to do otherwise.
We can rewire our brains so that we feel confident to strike out and do things our way. It's actually very simple and we can achieve this in as little as one coaching session. What can you do on your own in order to feel confident about your methods?
Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on what you’re doing! Don't look over your shoulder wondering if you should be doing it like everyone else. A great question to ask yourself is, "If I were the very first person in the world to do this, how would I do it?"
As long as your beliefs are supporting you in achieving the goal you’ve set, and the actions you’re taking are moving you towards your goal, then relax! Give yourself permission to take a break and realize that every single person on this planet is unique and perfect, just as they are, and that means you too. By the same token, the path that you have chosen to take you towards your goals is the perfect path for you. It will be different to the path that others have trodden. And that's perfect. It's not their path. It's yours.
Sure, if there are ways you can improve what you’re doing, then improve it, but don't make changes simply because it's not the way someone else would do it. Make changes only if you're not getting the results YOU want.
You also need to trust and believe in yourself. Trust that the actions you are taking today are producing results. Trust also that the journey you take will be different to others and that it’s perfect - just the way it is.