Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
Have you seen those ‘inspirational’ quotes about how other people are doing so much better than you with the same resources? Fun, aren’t they? Often they say things like:
“You have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé”
Which is fine. Except you probably don’t. Sure, you live on the same planet as Beyoncé, so you both travel around the sun at the same rate, but I can almost guarantee you that your 24 hours look a little different from hers, for reasons that are at least partially beyond your control.
Beyoncé can buy in hours
It’s been widely reported that Beyoncé employs no less than six nannies to look after her three children. She no doubt has someone else to cook, clean, do her laundry, and mow her lawn. She certainly has someone to book her concert venues, design her album covers and do her hair and make-up (at least some of the time).
Beyoncé probably doesn’t have to unclog her own toilet, deal with the tradesperson who is so late to unclog her toilet she’s started doing it herself, or answer her own phone. All at the same time. In short, she is not you or me, and consequently her 24 hours look different from ours.
According to celebrity website Her.ie, even Beyoncé’s daughter (six years old at the time of writing) has her own chef and personal stylist. Considering how hard it can be to get young kids to eat their food and get dressed, that alone may well give Beyoncé a few extra hours a day.
I’m not dissing Beyoncé. She can have as many staff as she wants. I’m just pointing out that most of us simply don’t have the same 24 hours as she does. If you have 100 people working for you, you have their 24 hours a day too, or at least 8 hours a day, depending on their contract. Even 50 staff working 8 hours a day, plus your own 24 hours, means you have 424 hours in your average day.
Know how many nannies my kids had when they were little? Zero. Know how many chefs, personal stylists, housekeepers, maids and other household staff I have? Also zero. And employees? As a freelance writer and solopreneur… yes, it’s still zero. I’m guessing most people reading this are more like me than Beyoncé. So please, stop telling yourself you have the same amount of time she does.
Beyoncé is at a different stage in her journey
The girl has nailed it. Good for her. The rest of us may well nail whatever our thing is one day too. I’ll be the next JK Rowling. You’ll be the next Banksy, or Zuckerberg, or Oprah (depending on your field of interest). But we have to stop comparing our shaky beginning or messy middle with someone else’s pinnacle of achievement.
There is a season for everything. And if this is your season for working your butt off and getting nowhere, that’s OK. It may also be your season for changing dirty diapers, wiping snotty noses, and reading Green Eggs and Ham a million times in a row. That’s OK too. If you’d have reached super stardom young, like Beyoncé, maybe you’d have six nannies to do that for you. But who knows? Maybe one day you’ll even be glad you got to spend more time with your kids than the superstar moms. Maybe not, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.
Life is long. We can do a lot of things with it, but not all at the same time.Try to embrace whichever part of the journey you’re on, just in case you look back at it, and it’s one of the best bits. And stop comparing your journey with other people’s.
Beyoncé is an object in motion
An object in motion stays in motion, which means it’s easier to stay on top than it is to get on top. It’s more complex than that of course, and plenty of people rise and rise, until they fall, but there’s a reason people refer to their ‘big break’. There’s always a tipping point at which things get a little easier. Then there are more tipping points where things get progressively more easy.
Sometimes, of course, there are backslides, but generally speaking, success really does breed success. When you can pay someone else to do your chores, you have more time to spend on the things you actually get paid for. When you can afford a personal chef it gets easier to lose weight. When you have a personal trainer it’s easier to get fitter. When you can pay a top-class financial advisor it’s easier to make money. When you’ve had one hit record it’s easier to have another.
As your skills and monetary success increase, you’re able to outsource more and more things so you can spend more time developing your marketable skills and working towards that monetary success. Everything from an airplane to a rocket, needs a huge boost of energy to get off the ground, and a lot less to keep going once it’s in motion. We’re no different. So when you’re watching people go ‘from strength to strength’ remember that they’re already off the ground. That’s why they’re moving faster than you are.
Lessons to learn
Do what you can with your 24 hours. You may not have six nannies, but maybe a partner, friend or relative can watch the kids for an hour a day while you work on your passion project. You may not have a full-time team of staff, but maybe you can afford a couple of hours of work a week from a virtual assistant to help get your online business started. You may not have a personal trainer, but maybe you can manage 20 minutes of yoga before your hour-long commute to your 9–5 (or 9–8) job.
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end. Everyone is on their own journey. Do what you can, from where you are, with what you have. Next year, or a decade from now, you’ll be somewhere different, but every little action you took will have moved you a little further down the path to where you want to be.
When you do start to see success, build on it. Let it snowball. Remember it’s much easier to keep going than to get going. When you lose that first 2 pounds, when you get that first article published, when you land that client, keep going. You’re doing something right. Do more of it.
And sure, read the ‘inspirational’ quotes about all the people who are doing better than you, but don’t ever let yourself be convinced that they have the exact same resources as you, or that you need to be competing with them. We’re all on our own path, and we’re allowed to take things at our own pace.
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