“Don’t compare your work-in-progress to someone else’s highlight reel.” – Jon Vroman
As 2013 comes to a close and we step into a new year, so many people “take stock” of their year and set goals for the year to come. In articles, social media posts and emails, people are sharing their “Best Of 2013” moments…their “highlight reel.”
As long as your energy is in a state of being inspired and your take-away is that YOU can also be the best version of yourself and experience the life of your dreams…then jump in! Read everyone’s highlight reel! Enjoy and delight in every achievement, breakthrough and magic moment!!!
If, however, your energy turns to a feeling of disappointment in YOUR progress as compared to theirs, dissatisfaction with YOUR results as compared to theirs or a measurement of comparing yourself and your results with others….BEWARE! You just entered the HIGHLIGHT REEL PREDICAMENT!!! Dun, dun, dun! ( I feel like I need emphatic sound effects here!)
What is the highlight reel predicament you ask? Well, I’m so glad you asked me that question! Hehe!
Years ago, my coach and dear friend Jon Vroman gave me a golden piece of advice that I have never forgotten and now it’s time for me to pass it on to you.
He told me, “Don’t compare your work-in-progress to someone else’s highlight reel.”
What does that mean?
When people are celebrating a huge achievement, sharing a breakthrough or recounting their year, they are most likely giving you their “highlight reel” or the “after story”…in other words, just the shiny happy ending part!
Rarely do people give you the play by play, with all the bumps and blunders. Rarely do you get to see the days, weeks and months that went by where it looked like this was never going to come together. Rarely do you get to see into their darkest moment where the doubted they could do it or had a huge setback and totally freaked out. Nope, you don’t see those moments during the highlight reel (unless they are used minimally for dramatic impact).
And yet, what do so many of us do??? We are still in the work-in-progress phase on the same journey as our friend and we compare our results/progress/fulfillment with their “finished product” results/progress/fulfillment.
I’ll give you a simple example. A few days ago, my daughter Gracie (5 years old) got a really cool craft kit as a holiday gift. It’s a kit that shows you how to make animal shaped keychains out of beads. The picture on the box looks so fun! We opened the box and the kids had a blast sorting all the different colored beads into little containers and setting it all up. I came over and looked at the 2 pages of instructions to help Gracie get started. I was amazed at how NOT EASY this looked to be. With just some string and some beads I’m supposed to make this into the shape of a freakin’ monkey?! No base, no frame, nothing…just a piece of 5 foot string and some beads! So I sit down with the pattern and after about 7 tries (no joke) I finally got two rows of beads to line up the way it looked on the box! Gracie was delighted and said “You finish it Mommy, that looks too hard for five, I’ll try that when I’m six!” So now I’m building a monkey.
I’m about 35 minutes into this monkey and I’m almost done (no joke) and Jake (9 years old) comes by and says, “That looks so cool, I wanna make one!” So he sits down to make the dog. I give him the string and show him the pattern on the instruction page. He struggled for about 5 minutes trying to get the first row of beads to stay put. Then the second row. Then it fell apart and he had to start over. He looked at my monkey, which I had just finished, and said “can you do it mommy? It’s too hard!” I told him that I struggled too in the beginning, but it gets easier, it just takes time. He started to get frustrated.
I told him, “Jake, Tiger’s Daddy (that’s Jon) once gave me some great advice, you wanna hear it?” He said YES of course, because he adores Jon. I told him “Don’t compare your work-in-progress to someone else’s highlight reel.”
I went on to tell my boy…Jake, you walked over here and saw me FINISH this monkey and now you want a dog that is finished too. But I’ve been sitting here for over 40 minutes working on this thing. It fell apart on me too. I made two arms that looked like the monkey was torpedoed by a whale harpoon and had to undo them and do them again. This thing has frustrated me too. If you just plop down at the end and compare your work-in-progress DOG with my “highlight reel” Monkey, of course you will be frustrated and disappointed.
You missed all my struggles and breakdowns (slight exaggeration) over this monkey while you were playing the Wii. This is just my “all done” moment.
If you want to compare apples to apples, I can tell you how much I struggled during the first two rows of this monkey. In fact, we can back up to before I even started the stupid monkey to the moment when I “freaked out” about the fact that they want me to make a monkey from just string and beads…wanna go back to that moment, because that was a sweet one?!
No joke, at that moment Gracie looked up from her Nook and said “True Fact…she freaked!” (that’s my 5 year old folks…Oy!)
Then Jake started to laugh and you could see him shift. He sat down and asked me to help him get started on the Dog. Which of course I did. I think we nailed that dog in like 20 minutes! Oh yeah, forget-about-it, I’m a bead animal key-chain making fiend now! I’m going to the bead-animal-keychain Olympics in 2014 for the GOLD baby!
So here’s the thing…when Jake was stuck in the comparison of his work-in-progress Dog compared to my “finished” monkey the GAP was so huge, it seemed insurmountable and he was totally going to give up!
When he experienced a perspective shift that my journey included the experience that he’s having now, and that to compare apples to apples, he should compare my beginning to HIS beginning, it suddenly FELT like the gap closed! Then he was ready to take the next step. And because he consulted with a pro like me who had done it before (hehe), he finished in half the time it took me the first time around.
So what’s the moral of our story today friends? Don’t compare your Dog to someone else’s Monkey or you might get STUCK in the overwhelm and disappointment GAP and slow or halt your progress!
For every highlight reel, there was a work-in-progress story that you just didn’t get to see! It’s there!
So, stay inspired! Read the highlight reels…today and all year long! Just remember the words of my dear friend Jon (also known as Tiger’s daddy) ….
“Don’t compare your work-in-progress to someone else’s highlight reel.”
Happy 2014 my friend! Buckle Up Buttercup…It’s going to ROCK BIG TIME!