This week I have spoken to many business owners that have found August very tough. August is a gift of rest to us all, but not when we own our own businesses and find it hard to let go of the need to keep selling. My ‘Ponderings’ this week is a bit longer as it includes a beautiful poem that I came across and I defy anyone to say that it was not worth reading.
Many people rely on new clients, new retainers and a whole month of low sales can impact morale, confidence and with that comes an attack on our self-belief.
So, this week my ponderings are about a common issue that comes up, the challenge of comparison. “Comparison is the thief of joy”, as Theodore Roosevelt stated. Not only that, it is also the thief of self-belief and of being yourself.
I am a worrier, I wake often in the night and find something to worry about, so this month I decided to listen to the book by Dale Carnegie called ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’. I have loved it, currently on Chapter 18. It has given me some tools for myself and also for others that come to me.
The message I want to share today was in Chapter 16 – Find Yourself and Be Yourself: Remember There Is No One Else on Earth Like You
Comparing ourselves to others is a human instinct, since Man began. We have a primal need to compete for food and so we need to see if we are stronger, faster, and more strategic than others. Now we take this too far. The internet has created a ravage competition, especially Instagram. It is so easy to scroll through the pages and find yourself feeling inadequate, to feel a sense of panic that you are not writing enough content, creating content with high enough quality or being inspiring enough to gain the followers that others gain. It is like we are on a race against a primal threat for that last piece of meat on the landscape. Yet, we can only be ourselves.
In 2018, I was encouraged, through a fairly scaring mental health nudge, that I should jump off the rollercoaster that I have been on for 22 years and reassess what my definition of success was, what would make me happy, calmer, and fulfilled. This period resulted in me writing my book, ‘Business Is Personal’, within the pages I encourage others to ‘lead the life and business they truly want’.
This past week, Dale Carnegie read this beautiful poem to me, while lying in bed at 4am, and I want to give it to you.
Douglas Malloch, “Be The Best Of Whatever You Are.”
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley—but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass—
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here,
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail—
Be the best of whatever you are!
We can only be ourselves; we can only give the world what we have to offer, and the best gift of all is to be happy with who we are and make the most of our own joyful creation.