In actual fact, you don’t always see the struggles that go on in everyone else’s lives.
This was brought home to me on my recent 5 weeks of guiding in the Arctic Circle. Day 1 of each trek was a long day – 28km along frozen lakes and rivers, pulling a pulk (sled) with all your camping kit in it, often taking 10 hours. The last 7km was in a straight line down a frozen lake, where you could see the lights of the camp fire for nearly 2 hours as you plodded agonisingly along towards it.
The group often naturally split out into speed-groups for this last section, and my role was often to support the one or two slowest trekkers at the back, watching the headtorches of those in front get further away. The question they often asked was “why I am struggling so much when everyone else is finding it easy?”
My answer was always “How do you know they are not struggling? They are just struggling at a slightly different speed to you!”
This was true - at camp, everyone commented on how hard and demoralising that last section had been. Everyone looked (more or less) equally knackered and greeted a bowl of hot stew with the same, enthusiastic ‘I am soooo ready for this!” Those that were slightly less knackered were often those that had put a lot more time into training and preparing for the trip….
I often find myself caught in the same trap – I see my fellow self-employed business owners around me; writing endless inspiring blogs, publishing books and running book launches, filling workshops and retreats, and yet seeming to be completely on top of everything. I wonder where on earth they find the time and inspiration to get so much done! What I don’t see is the times they struggle, or that sometimes, they are only a couple of steps in front of me, and neither of us are struggling, but it only feels this way, because I’m a step or two behind.
I also don’t see the hours they put in behind the scenes, to train, or write, or get experience in their business that helps it to look effortless by the time it is presented to the world.
So next time you think you are struggling to keep up – just concentrate on your own journey! Celebrate your own progress, and appreciate that maybe other people have found it hard too, despite them being a few steps in front of you. Put in the time and effort to make it feel easier in the future. Ignore everyone else, or better yet, learn from them and follow in their footsteps to success.