Competition is good. Except when it isn’t. It’s good for board games and sports fields. But it can feel different when it comes to our most important work.Navigating the delicate art of comparison and unhealthy competition does not come naturally to me. I’ve wrestled through this. I’ve lost. I’ve won. And I’ve found it incredibly necessary to think about my pursuits in a better way. I’m an author. And like every author I know, the work doesn’t come easily. Several years ago, I poured out all the best words I had into a book proposal. My first. I tucked my heart and hopes into purple binders and dreamt about the day some publishing house would say yes. I can’t tell you the number of afternoons I stood at my mailbox, holding my breath, and praying there would be good news inside. When the rejection letters started coming, I tried to keep up the hope that surely there would be one positive letter. I only needed one. When the final rejection came, I felt so foolish for thinking I could actually write a book. I convinced myself my dream was nothing but a sham and I obviously had no writing skills.
Ever dreamed of launching your own self-hosted WordPress blog? It’s easier than you think! Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it, step-by-step. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.But at the same time, I had wannabe writer friends who were getting different letters from publishers. I’m talking amazing letters, dream-come-true letters, letters that turned into book contracts. In my better moments I celebrated them. But there were other moments. Hard moments. Moments when I felt my friends’ lives were rushing past me in a flurry of met goals, new opportunities, and professional affirmations. In those moments I said, “Good for them.” But on the inside I kept thinking, “Ouch. That means less opportunity for me.” The raw essence of honest hurting rarely produces pretty thoughts:
- Why can’t I see the kind of breakthrough she’s experiencing?
- He’s so much better connected, resourced, and talented than me.
- Since they are already successful with their endeavors, I wonder if there’s even a need for mine.