My morning routine usually consists of an hour workout at the gym. When I’m on the treadmill or elliptical machine I have on my ipod and bring along something to read if I’m not doing a hard run. Usually, my reading material is some kind of marketing, business or personal development book. Sometimes, however, I’ll turn on the tv if I really need to be distracted from my workout. I don’t watch the news when I run because I’ve noticed it slows me down, however, at 6 a.m. there aren’t a lot of options. I usually end up catching something on Bravo. Yesterday it was the “Real Housewives of Orange County.” Ok, it’s a far cry from The Power of Focus which I’m reading now, but believe it or not, I came away with a really good piece of advice from the show.
One of the housewives was talking about comparing herself to other people and she said “If the grass is greener on the other side, don’t buy a new house, water your own lawn.” Brilliant! How often in life do we see things people have and think their lives are better than ours and then rush to buy or copy what they have? It may be seeing your neighbor buy a new car or a girlfriend with a new designer bag. We get that twinge of envy and think if we buy those things our lives will be just a little bit better. In business it may be the way someone is marketing or using social media. We see our competitor maxing out on Twitter or posting constantly on Google+. We think, “Hey, we’d better get on that too.” Or maybe you see a colleague who has some new app or software and their business is really taking off. It makes you feel like you’re behind in the game. You need that shiny new software, you should be posting constantly on Facebook, you should be remodeling your office space.
When you see others having success it is very tempting to jump over the fence and try to get what they have. While it can be helpful be aware of what works for other people, it is a mistake to assume the same methods or tools will be the answer for you and your business. As entrepreneurs, we are so anxious to get things moving, to see progress and to have that dream of success fulfilled. We want it badly and we want it NOW. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking if we just had the right tool, the most cutting edge technology, the most beautiful marketing materials everything would fall into place. The key to success is not the tools, however. It is not in the next new shiny object. The key to success is steady, consistent effort based on your own unique strengths.
When you can identify where your strengths lie, everything else becomes much easier and much clearer. When you are clear about those things at which you excel, your decisions about what methods to use, what products to buy, what strategies to employ become much easier. You no longer look left or right to see what the next gal is doing. You are looking straight ahead at your own path. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be aware of new opportunities, but when you understand what works for you, you will not have the knee-jerk response of wanting EVERY new thing. Instead, you will pick and choose only those things that match your business, your skill set and your specific goals and objectives.
When you see someone else with a new toy, it’s easy to assume the toy is what’s driving the success. Never forget, however, there is no success without hard work. You can assume if someone else is enjoying success in their business it is the result of a lot of time and effort on their part, no matter what new technology they are using.
So take the time to figure out those areas at which you excel and then stay focused on your own game plan. When you do, you will start to see your own success grow and then YOU will be the one others want to emulate.