Our culture teaches us to look at others as reference points throughout our life. We follow the paths that seem to work for other people. As life becomes more complex, we tend to rely on models and real-life examples to provide information on how to get from A to B. While logical, this approach often overlooks implications related to life stage and personal choices.
For instance, if you’re comparing yourself with successful single women, men, or “empty nesters,” your competitive set generally has more control over their time. Theoretically if they wanted to work 12 hours a day, they could. However, if your job involves a lot of travel, or if you have small children or a sick spouse at home, you have less control over your time. Observing what your competitive set is doing and the projects they’re involved in is going to leave you feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. It is not a fair comparison.
Ambitious people are inspired by the ideas, actions, and results of others. It’s natural to want to pursue opportunities that enter your life. Be sure that you take your lifestyle and values into consideration as you make your choices. Most importantly, make sure that you have people in your life at a similar life stage and situation to use as a reference and support system.