I run often for my own reasons. I don’t expect to win any races. Still, when I run at all with other people, I find myself going faster than I know I should. Very often, I see those other runners peter out. If you are running a foot race, competition can drive you. Comparing yourself to other runners can exhaust you early and force you to even fold early.
I run on various paths and love to do it when I travel to visit clients around the country. I mean to enjoy the scenery but I get sucked into little mental competitions, trying to pass a runner here and there. I end up feeling bad when a runner passes me.
Exercising on my own feels much like marketing a business. When you are at the gym, on a trail, or on a street, you see others doing the same thing and you get lured into mental races.
“Are they faster?” “Are they better?” “I can beat them, I have a lot more experience.”
I see this with many of the professionals I connect with. They look at others’ marketing, and get sucked into competition with them. How do you know if your competition’s marketing is actually improving their business? When running, how do you know that person’s sprinting is actually improving their running? In either case, how do you know they are going the right way? What you end up with is a herd racing hard to the edge of a cliff.
When you look at a competitor’s website, rankings in Google, followers on Facebook or any other single metric, you are running their race.
You don’t know if that metric is the right metric or, more importantly, the right metric for you. Just like passing someone in the gym or on a training run, you don’t know what your competition’s goals are.
You don’t know when their competition started, when they are finishing, or even if what they are doing is actually helping their race, much less yours.
Every business, like every body, is different.
When you start to run someone else’s race, you lose sight of what your current capabilities are and, more importantly, what is vital to you.
Are you exercising for weight loss or cardiovascular fitness?
Are you looking to do a volume business or a boutique business?
When you set your own finish line, you may trip and fall, and sometimes feel like you are going backwards, but eventually you will cross it.
Running someone else’s race might motivate you, but it will also burn you out. Even if you reach the finish line, it won’t be your finish line.