Stop Being Distracted by What Others Are Doing

Guest Post by Jennifer Ransaw Smith. It originally Appeared in Define You! Personal Branding Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs.

Stop being distracted by what others are doing! Look Ahead!

As many of you know, I’m training for my first triathlon; which is a really big deal since I have never been an athlete. For months, I put off working on the area I knew would be the most challenging…swimming.

I had a lot of excuses as to why I was waiting: too cold outside, not feeling well, not wanting to mess up my hair, etc. But, the time came when I realized that I could wait no longer. So, after years of swimming around leisurely underneath the water, I went over to a lane and hopped in. I slowly swam to the other side.

It was the fist time I had done that in 41 years. A few days later, I got in again and ended up swimming the pool length 11 times. And boy was I excited! In fact, I was feeling on top of the world, like “Man, I’m really going to be able to do this,” until…

I got up at 4:30 a. m. the following morning to head to the pool, and every lane was overflowing with “real swimmers,” many with Iron Girl gear on. They had fins, fancy watches and swimsuits; they had charts and their strokes were flawless. And while I was trying to top my 11 lengths from the day before, they were logging in hundreds of laps.

I remember stopping at the end of a half swim, doggie paddle and trying to catch my breath. I was so out of shape and I couldn’t help but compare how badly I was doing compared to where they were. For an instant, I actually felt defeated.

Then it hit me. A month ago, I was damn near a couch potato. I would never have dreamed that I would be somebody who got up at 4:30 a. m. to put in laps at the pool before my day began. I went from one length to 32 lengths in less than a month, with half the recovery time. Because I was so focused on what others were doing in their lanes, I truly couldn’t see, much less celebrate, what I was doing in my own lane. I began to laugh to myself because, as a public speaker and brand strategist, I often talk about “…staying in your own lane…” and here I was literally having to take my own advice.

Here is what I know for sure:

  • You can’t improve your game, services, products, presentation or whatever when you are focused on what others are doing.
  • Your success is measured by how much better you are becoming compared to where you used to be…not where others are and used to be.
  • It is impossible to accurately measure yourself against others because everyone has started in different places and experienced different advantages and disadvantages along the way.

I wanted to share my story because I believe it serves as a great reminder for us all to place our goggles on and look straight ahead.

Your Assignment

Pull out a notebook and answer the following questions:

When you are looking for new ideas, where do you get them? Do they come from your competitors, books, articles, etc.?
How often do you spend time in solitude just listening to your inner inspiration?
When you get Divine ideas, do you act on them immediately? Or do you contemplate how they will be perceived?
Do you ever find yourself “holding back,” for fear of external reaction?

About Jennifer
Jennifer Ransaw Smith is a personal brand strategist and marketing mentor to women entrepreneurs around the nation. As the founder and CEO of Roar Coaching and Consulting, she is dedicated to empowering women solopreneurs/entrepreneurs. She shows them how to leverage their skills and talents to create a unique niche in the marketplace, effortlessly attract their “ideal clients,” and position themselves as “industry Rock Stars,” while they double their bottom line.

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