The most common insecurity in the history of human existence is feeling "not good enough". It could be about a promotion, or a house, or a rewarding relationship, among a billion other options. This insecurity arose as a result of the natural evolutionary process of developing self-worth via interactions with other people. We must use the feedback received from others to learn how to behave in interactions and social settings.
This creates a comparison dynamic, however, as a byproduct. You learn where you "rank" amongst your peers based on what you learn means what in social situations. At such a young age, it is difficult for a child to see past the comparison and practice radical self-acceptance instead of getting down on him or herself.
It is normal, but it is sad.
Because the seeds of so many of the most common and powerful insecurities are planted so early in childhood, it is difficult to be proactive about them. What is more, a lot of these insecurities do not truly show their ugly heads until adulthood.
I have witnessed many versions of the "not good enough" insecurity throughout my career working with so many different people. One striking example is most often seen working with entrepreneurs or those who wish to start their own brand of some kind.
It is the insecurity of Pace.
In our modern world that is super saturated with information everywhere and immediately, business owners and starter uppers have a more and more difficult landscape into which they must thrust their branding, marketing, and mission to gain customers and build an audience.
With so many new businesses starting up every day, two businesses with a very similar product may grow at very different speeds due to any number of resources and factors. As a result, enormous amounts of comparison occur within the entrepreneurial world, particularly with regard to the pace by which a company grows. When a business owner compares themselves to another company, it automatically creates a mental hierarchy, even if everything about the other company is different.
That business owner then integrates the belief that they are somehow inferior, that they are doing something wrong, and that they must do something more to keep up with other companies.
The root of this belief is that they are somehow behind some perceived pace.
But that pace does not exist.
There is no universal pace by which all business owners should make sure their operations are moving. All of the companies in the world are too different to generalize deadlines across the board that all companies must meet.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR
Of course all businesses have their own deadlines and time constraints for different projects, but those deadlines are specific to each company. The most important factor that everyone must consider is their personal priorities.
Many famous entrepreneurs espouse the lifestyle of 100 hour workweeks for years in order to get your first million dollars. Though that may have been true for them, what schedule do you personally find rewarding?
What other factors in your life - family, relationship, kids, mortgage, travel - dictate the kind of schedule you can afford to maintain in your business?
What pace would you like to set for yourself?
THE SNEAKY ASSASSIN
As I said, our insecurities are sneaky and do not often present themselves exactly as they are for many years. I started my business over four years ago, and I only just realized in the last year how insecure I was about my business' pace compared to other businesses. I too fell into the trap of comparing myself to other entrepreneurs, and I still do, but I am able to remind myself that their company is different from mine.
I am a different person dealing with different things.
As well as I have dealt with the comparison, I still found myself trapped by the thought that I needed to be moving quicker than I was in order to be successful. I was stuck thinking that the lifestyle I was choosing - when to work out, how much sleep to get, when to travel - was somehow INCORRECT and that my priorities for self-care were somehow detrimental to my business...
So the only way to be successful is to be unhealthy? No, thanks.
WHAT TO DO WITH THIS
I am just one entrepreneur out of millions. I prioritize my health, self-care, and activities differently than other entrepreneurs might. There may be generalizable best practices to build a business, but there is no right or wrong speed that must be maintained.
Sprinting just to keep up with other runners in the race does not mean that you will win.
There are too many other competitors in the race and you will burn out. Therefore, just look forward toward your own finish line.
I am proud of the priorities I maintain in my life. I had to learn that for my business to be successful, it was not about a global pace that I had to keep up with. Instead, it is about how productive I can be in the time and at the pace I choose to work on my business.
On your own or with your business partner, set a pace that is specific to:
your company's mission
your personal health priorities
your unique definition of success