Rob Lowe is a very wise man.
Yes, I’m talking about that Rob Lowe: the actor from The West Wing, Wayne’s World, St Elmo’s Fire, and other classics.
Why do I think he’s a very wise man?
Because he said:
Never compare your insides to somebody else’s outsides.
He did. And it’s a good thing to say, particularly when you’re a famous Hollywood actor, because we all do it. Presumably even famous Hollywood actors do it.
We look around at other people, particularly those whom we see as our peers, people who are in our industry, and we think they’re amazing. “Look at him, jetting off to the USA to speak at a conference, living the life of Riley!”
“Look at her, swimming in new clients and with people crawling over themselves to give her money!”
“Look at that cat, snoozing away without a care in the world!”
Fuck those people!
Okay, maybe not the cat.
But the other two, the business owners you’ve just compared yourself to, fuck ’em. Not, you know, in a horrible way. Just in a “stop comparing yourself to them” kinda way. Because – and here’s the really important thing – you have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes.
I have spent this past week doing a real number on myself. I’ve spent it looking at what other people are doing, and wondering why I’m struggling to generate the leads I was a few weeks ago.
I’ve spent it distracted… and wondering how other people – these superhumans – are getting all their shit done. I made a mistake sending something to a client – and I’m still punishing myself for it. Even though I fixed it straight away (or as soon as I could get back to the land of broadband). I’ve seriously questioned carrying on with some of the stuff that I’m doing in my business because it’s just so damn hard sometimes.
Then I’ve punched myself in the face repeatedly (metaphorically speaking, of course. I haven’t actually punched myself in the face). Because compared to them
I’m a failure.
Except, I’m probably not, really.
Those people I’m comparing myself to, they’ve probably got tons going on. I only see the face they choose to present to the world. I don’t see their struggles.
Which is why I’m writing this post today, and writing it so late. Not because I want sympathy or any of that shit (I don’t know where to put myself when people are sympathetic towards me). I’m writing it because I know what it’s like to look around and feel like everyone else has it sorted and you’re the idiot child running around with pen on your face and your skirt stuck in your knickers.
Because I wanted to point out that Rob Lowe is right.
And because sometimes it’s really tough to remember that this stuff is supposed to be hard, maybe. And that maybe, just maybe, we’re supposed to hate everything sometimes. Because it makes victory all the sweeter when it comes.
Until then, though, I’ll be over in the corner in my cow-print pyjamas with a cup of tea, hiding from the world.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS If you wanna know more about my backstory and the many and varied fuckups I’ve made over the years, there’s a bunch of honesty in Business For Superheroes. Mosey on over and grab a copy, why don’tcha?