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A few weeks ago my friend Kait sent me a link to an unfavorable write-up about me. She wasn't trying to bum me out or anything, she had the best intentions: A good friend, Kait was looking out for me and wanted me to be aware of it.
I really appreciated her taking the time to tell me, and having my back, but this was my reply to her:
I find it's more important to spend my time and focus on what I'm doing, not what a "competitor" is doing, or what anyone is saying about me UNLESS it's a really big deal or horribly slanderous. My time is so limited, I have to triage!
Life is not a competition.
This is something that has taken me a while to learn, and then really take in. I never planned or dreamed of becoming a pseudo public figure or a business woman, so I've hit a lot of bumps and had more than a few belly flops going with the flow.
I used to say "I don't care what others think" but that was a lie. I did. I really did. And I still kind of do, but I try not to pay attention or focus on it.
My publisher suggested I Google myself and I'm--- I'm not sorry I did, but I was amazed to find entire forums and websites dedicated to bashing me. Calling me fat. Saying I alter my photos to look skinny (what?!) that I'm ugly or stupid or my hair is not real. (It is, by the way, go ahead and touch it).
I know I can't please everyone. I know not everyone is going to like me. But that doesn't take the sting out. I don't have a thick skin and I don't want one. My compromise, or my plan I should say, is to keep the hate irrelevant.
Why let them take away my time? Why let them trump those that do matter?
Same with my business. I used to keep an eye out on what others were doing, until I realized that didn't serve me. If anything, it was a disservice, because it was wasting my time -- time I could have used to serve myself or improve my business.
In law school we were pinned against each other. When I worked as an attorney I was compared against my coworkers, and even within our own firm it was very dog eat dog -- competition to the grave, which shocked me -- aren't we on the same team? I'm already having to compete with everyone else in court, etc., why do I have to compete with people on my same team too?
I refused to play that game in the law, and now I still refuse.
I choose to focus on myself, because I matter. I choose to focus on what is important to me: helping others. helping myself. Any time I spend fussing about what others are doing or saying about me, is time away from doing what matters to me. It's about focusing on what matters, and ignoring what doesn't. It's about changing what I can change and not wasting time trying to change what I can't.
Life is not a competition.
I used to compare myself to others, and I always came up short. Then I finally realized that there are special things about me that others do not possess. SAME IS TRUE FOR YOU. We're all special and unique. We should celebrate that. I should celebrate that.
I take that back, life *is* a competition -- but only with ourselves. Be the best you can be. Focus on you. Because YOU matter above all.