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Growing up I always thought, ‘go to university, get a job, earn money and you’ll live well’. I loved uni, but dotcoms dotbombed, three times in a row for me, and a brain tumor stopped me more than a little in my tracks. I ended up just exercising the way I loved, in parks and beaches, and my movement and nutrition business began. And I’ve never run it like a personal training business. It’s a lifestyle within your work day, your home day, your daily life. So much of the fitness industry is aesthetics based but more and more I came to see it as a sense of fulfillment and feel good. I was training confidence and happiness.
Because in an aesthetics based industry it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. I know I still do it. Even in the ways I constantly try to take my own movement and mindset.
When I started skateboarding I constantly thought about how I would never be as good as other skaters out there, especially girls 30 years younger than me, not to mention the crazy dudes out there who are almost as inspiring (ha), so pursuing it often felt a bit ridiculous.
And I’m not sure that it’s a feeling of lack or jealousy. Instead I decided to celebrate with them, realizing I have just as much an opportunity to get out there too. Their success is not my failure or that they get some means I get less. I’ve come to see all of them as confirmation – if they can, I can. And so can you!
I think of Mikhail Baryshnikov when he said, ‘I do not try to dance better than anyone else, I only try to dance better than myself’. Everyone is unique in their talent and abilities so you can’t share another persons benchmarks. But the reverse is also true. It doesn’t matter how many people do what you do. No one else can do it like you. Even I have strengthens in skateboarding! You need to focus on your strengths and talents.
I love my skateboarding. I’m not good in skateboarding standards but I’m so freaking happy doing it, getting new lines, connecting things I never dreamed I’d get.
Let’s face it. No one else is you. No one else is me. So let’s stop comparing ourselves to others. Looking to others is a great way to get motivated. Using their achievements for inspiration and the sheer fact it’s possible is much needed gumption. But using other people as a standard for judging yourself is pointless. If you spend your life trying to imitate other people you will not have time to discover what makes you unique.
Which in itself can be difficult especially if you’re stuck in the trap of comparison. And you live with yourself all day long, so everything you do probably feels so normal to you. But it’s not normal, it’s you. You do things no one else does. You have thoughts and dreams and abilities that packaged together are highly unusual. The trick is to find your uniqueness and embrace it.
Focus on what you love cos it makes you feel alive and happy.