You Weren’t an Overnight Success… Now What?

Why Comparing Yourself to Others is a Losing Game

Guest Post by Kathy Strahan

Which one?

“It’s not what happens to us, but our response
to what happens to us that hurts us.” ~Stephen R. Covey

Sometimes I feel like such a loser.

Okay, not the best affirmation, I know, but it’s the truth.

Lately it’s easy for me to feel like a loser when I compare myself to the success of certain online bloggers/businesses…

By the end of this article, you’ll see how to be a true winner, and why the common “comparing game makes us a permanent loser… trapped and going no where…

The trickiest trap to avoid:

My story starts a couple of weeks ago while reading my emails. I came across another one of those “overnight” online success stories…

You likely know the kind I’m talking about…

… this time it was a success story featuring a young girl in her twenties… and she did it without a subscriber list, without a blog, without tons of social media connections – without any effort (or so it seemed).

Okay I know that this is marketing to get me to sign up for the webinar in which there was her “how-to” product to buy.

… I know that… but, here I am, struggling for a couple of years with not a lot of traction.

… And I felt the old sinking feeling of devaluing who I am and what I have to offer.

Sound familiar?

Look, the truth is you and I are profoundly worthy of success – whether we feel worthy or not.

Problem is we tend to judge our worthiness on our outer success… how many blog visitors… how many comments, how many Facebook followers, how much we make, etc.

For success, reveal yourself – flaws and all.

As a side note… I’m coming to the realization that sometimes success can happen when we reveal our personal life challenges, or our so-called flaws… (when it’s appropriate)

Basically, just be yourself.

My big life challenge is that I’ve been totally blind since age two—yet I feel very thankful for being able to overcome my blindness. Frankly, being blind is not a big deal to me… it’s the least of my problems.

Most people are highly inspired by who I am and the strength and courage I show every day.

If you were blind, would you try riding a bike?

Check out how to overcome barriers to a happy healthy life in this 2-minute video as I risk life and limb.

Can’t see the video above?  Click here to watch it on YouTube.

But, I fall prey to bad habits just like everyone else.

While reading that overnight success email, all I could think about was here I am, a good 20 years older than this girl and she is flying high… helping others, inspiring others, rubbing elbows with the elite online marketers… and yes, she appears to make a good income… Waaa, waaa, waaa…

Can you hear and see the  pity party I got going? See how comparing ourselves places us smack dab in to “victim” status?

Her online success story and her unique profile doesn’t cancel me out… it doesn’t mean my story and my profile is less worthy.

Comparing ourselves is an all-too-easy trap to catch us up and keep us STUCK! And it keeps us spinning our wheels instead of moving forward.

Which one of these statements run through your head when you’re unfairly comparing your accomplishments:

I’m not an expert… who in the world is going to listen to me?

Of course she’s successful since she has tons of influential connections.

My website isn’t quite pretty enough.

I don’t have a subscriber list.

I really, really don’t get this social media thing.

I don’t have enough time or money.

I’m not a good writer.

I have very few blog visitors.

I have no idea how to promote myself…

… bla, bla, bla…

Don’t get me wrong… The above concerns are real and worthy of addressing… but when we hold up our accomplishments next to the accomplishments of others, it’s simply not fair to ourselves, or even to them. We do not know their story and how long it took them to reach their success goals.

Besides, I’ve never been motivated to do more by feeling less than. Have you?

I’ve never been inspired to reach higher by putting myself in the one-down position… Never!

Social media makes us sometimes feel worse:

In this age of instant information with social media, smart phones, countless TV and cable channels on demand… We’re now privy to the intimate details of people’s lives which makes it sooooo easy to play the comparison game.

The good news:

You’re not alone, and no one is immune to this comparison game… (not even the super successful)

Listen to this… Later that day I read another email that made me feel like I wasn’t alone and showed me that I need to be happy and content about where I am… right now.

This particular uplifting email was directly from a super successful person that you likely know of, and she freely admitted to playing this comparison game.

I mean she’s a best-selling author… an international speaker, and really huge in the personal development field…

Wow! I was impressed at her willingness to be so open and vulnerable with her readers…

Experts tell us that there is only one thing to compare and compete against… Ourselves… and to our past performances and past behaviors.

If you were to really ask yourself to look back at who you were a year ago… 2 years ago… Ten years ago? You would see progress.

Each one of us has come a long way.

And when we ask ourselves if we are kinder to others. Give more to others. Want to help others more than we did in the past?

Likely your answer would be yes, and yes.

None of us are “there” yet… Every single one of us is a work in progress. But, we are much further along than we were yesterday, last year, etc.

You and I are okay right now… in this moment. And this is darn good enough!

Now it’s your turn. In your life right now, what is keeping you feeling STUCK, and less than?

Want to never be fat or sick again? See how at

Kathy is deeply passionate about helping people live healthier, happier lives. Discover easy ways to transform your health with certain food first which in turn, effects all aspects of your life – health, wealth, and wellness.


  1. says

    Hi Kathy,
    Inspiring post! I often get success stories on my email and most of them are offering overnight success methods.But frankly many people still get in this trap that bring them into disappointment.

    I believe every people have their path to success. People need some preparation and persistence to find their own success
    Okto recently posted… Monthly Report October 2013My Profile

  2. Sheena Sevilla says

    Wow! Kathy, you inspire me to do better in my business and not feel bad about where I am. Everyone makes it seem so easy to succeed. It always seems everyone else is making more money, and helping more people effortlessly. Thank you for helping with this issue. It’s very common.

  3. Kathy Strahan says

    Dear Octo, thank you for reading this post. Yes, the success of others can be tricky to interpret. But the most important thing is to dig deep and find our own voice, and our own unique path. Good luck to you.

  4. Paulie says

    I totally agree about comparisons. To that I’ll add critics! My view is, their opinion of me is none of my business (and probably not any of theirs either).

    • says

      Paulie, thank you for your observation regarding critiques. Success is interesting. Along with success comes some surprising consequences such as criticism. It seems if anyone is receiving criticism, they are likely doing the right thing and saying all the right things and standing up out of the crowd. When you stand up for something good and valuable, you get noticed by people who want and need to know and want what you are offering… but, there are those who attack targets they see and notice. — sometimes they do it just because they can. And you are completely right, the bottom line is that it’s none of their business and they can be ignored. In fact, when they are ignored, they lose steam and find another target to attack. Thank you for your interesting contribution to this discussion.
      kathy strahan recently posted… Discover the Deeper Reason You Are Overfat and 3 Unique Foods to HelpMy Profile

  5. says

    Great insight Kathy! Love your line “Every single one of us is a work in progress. But, we are much further along than we were yesterday, last year, etc.” So true!

    • says

      Dear Adam, thank you for reading this article. I think that some of the “overnight” success stories are made up or embellished for obvious marketing reasons. But here at Michelle’s blog we can all relax and know we are all in good company and can honestly reveal our true successes, and feel safe about sharing our failures too. Thank you Michelle Shaeffer for hosting this kind of important healthy discussion where we can support and collaborate with one another. Good luck Adam in all that you do.
      kathy strahan recently posted… Discover the Deeper Reason You Are Overfat and 3 Unique Foods to HelpMy Profile

    • says

      Dear Adam, I am so grateful you read this article and got so much out of it. Man, it’s so true how hard we are on ourselves. For those of us on line trying to add value to the lives of others — we need to dig deep in to ourselves and work on our flaws and bad habits to succeed in this space. This alone makes us stronger. And this is what makes you a leader in your circles Adam. Keep up the good work.
      kathy strahan recently posted… Discover the Deeper Reason You Are Overfat and 3 Unique Foods to HelpMy Profile

  6. Jim says

    I share your frustration at seeing the “overnight” success stories of some people. I agree that the marketing of these stories seem so real especially when I measure myself along side their achievements. I wonder about my own shortcomings. Sounds like I’m not alone in this. Thank you for bringing this into the discussion. Anyway, we can measure our success by how we help others. That’s the real reason I’m doing this.

  7. says

    Great share Kathy! I see so many over-hyped success stories and wonder if they’re for real at all. I suspect most of them are fake since success cannot happen overnight and without hard work!

    It is quite stupid to compare ourselves with the others. It is OK to learn from the others but we should not compare ourselves and our abilities with the others.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Jane recently posted… How To Break A Bad Habit Without Torturing Yourself?My Profile

  8. Kurt says

    Wow, Kathy everyone needs to see your bike video. It shows me that fear is overcome when we just go right through it. It’s all an illusion even though it seems so real in our minds. Thank you for sharing your inspirational insights.

    • says

      Dear Kurt, how kind of you to take the time to read the article and leave such nice comments. Yeah, fear can really hamper our success in life. Most of us have no idea how much power we really have over fear. Here’s the best way to deal with fear… keep doing the things we fear–over and over. Eventually we will learn that we are much, much more powerful than fear and it will cease to bother us. Best of luck to you in all that you do.
      kathy strahan recently posted… Discover the Deeper Reason You Are Overfat and 3 Unique Foods to HelpMy Profile

  9. Deanne says

    Hi Kathy,

    Very true and accurate counsel and one that every one, including myself, is “victim” of. The hardest journey I find, is my own journey “within” myself. It requires honesty and authenticity and when one deals with oneself it is a fine line to know when we truly are honest and authentic to ourselves. Living in the moment and thinking ourselves worthy is a great first step. Thanks for the wise counsel.

    • says

      Dear Deanne, clearly you are advanced to recognize that it’s all about our own personal journey within. The battle of the mind it could be called. In my view, you are winning. Blessings to you in all that you do.

  10. says

    You spot it on!
    “Comparing Yourself to Others is a Losing Game”
    I do believe that everyone of us has our own capacity and ability. In no time we can be flourishing like other successful company or entrepreneurs. I must say that we should be positive and make your competitor as a guide for you. I am not saying that you will copy what they have, what I wanted to say is look at the schemes that they are using. You can learn something from them.

    This comment was left on the Internet marketing site – where this post shared.

  11. says

    I love your article …I’m confident a high percentage of online marketers battle with comparing themselves with other online marketers who they believe are more successful.

    Comparison kills our joy and it keeps us stuck.

    We will achieve our success if we have the discipline to focus within on our brilliance(s) and master them. Success lies within not without.
    Adalia John recently posted… Dig Deep Into Your PotentialMy Profile

    • says

      Dear Adelia, oh, you said it so perfectly. Success does come from within us and from the brilliance we must cultivate. And it does take diciplin indeed. Thank you for reading this article and for your own brilliant contribution. I’m so glad you are a part of Michelle Shaeffer’s circle. Michelle is a great inspiration to all of us and she advocates exactly what you are articulating here. Good luck to you in all that you do.
      kathy strahan recently posted… Discover the Deeper Reason You Are Overfat and 3 Unique Foods to HelpMy Profile

  12. Barbra Dupont says

    Thank you Kathy for sharing your video. It touched my heart; so much so,I had to show my 9 year old son and his 3 friends. They must of asked me hundred questions; it was amazing to see how you inspired these little boy’s. I wish you all the best!

    Thank you so much!!

  13. says

    Hi Kathy, a really inspiring blog. The concept of ‘seeming’ overnight success is just one more mental hurdle to overcome in being successful. I like your list of others as I have been through many of them. But it is your response to this and how being true to your belief in yourself and what you are doing is very motivating. To your apt quotes I like following one also: ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with first step’ … And the second and the third! Good luck with YOUR journey.

  14. Georgina says

    Thank you for your article it does make me think about my success and how I measure it. I try to measure it by social media standards since they often don’t give all the details on how long it took them to get there and how they got there. Your article did make me think back on my past and how far I’ve come personally and feel I have come a long way compared to 5 years ago. I think a lot of people try to compare how they are doing to highly successful people which can make them feel like a failure when Indeed they are doing well compared to where they were years ago and should be happy with that instead of feeling like a failure cause they aren’t as successful as someone else.

  15. Jason says

    Thank you for bringing this into the discussion. It’s easy to be discouraged when others seem way more successful where ever we turn.

  16. says

    I agree with Kathy, we can not put our self worth in the number of social media connections. We can only look at them as a gage to see if we are reaching our personal goals. Not goals set up by someone else. Maybe they need 10,000 people, other people do very well with very small lists when they cater to their tribe. Great article Kathy!

    Dr. Letitia Wright
    America’s Crowd Funding Strategist

  17. says

    Hey Connor, you strike me as someone who has a real grasp of patience, and real peace in your life… You amaze me. Thank you for reading this. Pleas share it with your circles too. I really appreciate that. Good luck.

  18. Londie Tacalo says

    Hi Kathy,
    You are an inspiration to all of us. When I watched the video I felt so proud of you and so honored that you are my sister. We all experience obstacles in our life and the goal is to learn how to overcome and learn from them. If you can ride a bike, ski as a person who can’t see then what can the rest of us do who can see?

  19. says

    Hi Kathy,

    Amazing video. It makes me feel embarrassed about all the challenges I’ve let hold me back!

    I don’t believe in overnight success otherwise will would all be doing it! I don’t doubt a very, very, very, VERY few have done it, but it’s unlikely they would share it. Maybe that’s my way of dealing with the feeling these ‘so-called’ success stories create. Just to shrug it off.

    If difficult to not compare especially when in a competitive industry. But like you said we don’t know their story, how hard they’re worked or how much help they’re had.

    I no longer waste time concentrating on others and their success, because mine is soooo much more important.

    Thanks for the inspiration

    Naomi recently posted… 8 Effortless Ways to Make Your Start-up FailMy Profile

  20. says

    Hi Kathy,

    You’ve raised some great points in your article.

    More often than not, we overlook the progress we’re making. I feel it’s similar to seeing someone everyday, versus seeing him/her for the first time in years.

    In the second situation, you notice all of the changes in that person. Be it physical or personality wise, they really stand out to you more than if you had seen him/her more often.

    That’s what usually happens when you see someone practically every day, when you’re really close to someone. And who are we closest to the most? Who do we see every day, multiple times a day? Who do we live with every single moment of every day?


    No wonder why we overlook our progress and trivialize it.

    I find this to be a very timely subject considering the time of year. Taking the time to reflect on your progress, the good, the bad and the ugly, with an eye towards learning and growing, is a great way to remind yourself of just how far you’ve come.

    And it doesn’t need to be limited to once a year. Quarterly reviews, as well as, shorter monthly, weekly and daily reviews help keep you on track, as well as, top off your motivation tank. Without a doubt, seeing a long list of accomplished tasks and changes you’ve created in your life goes a long way in fueling your continued success.

    (As a side note, be careful of limiting your self-worth and happiness to reflecting on things you’ve accomplished in the past, and/or pursuing exciting goals you’ve set for yourself to achieve in the future. Learn to enjoy and be with every step of the journey as you take it.)

    As for overnight successes, the tongue in cheek phrase, a 10 year overnight success, tends be the norm, not the exception. Even so called overnight success on talent shows have been working on their craft for years. If you’re not ready for the success, it’ll be fleeting, at best, whether it’s overnight or 10 years in the making.

    Finally, comparing ourselves to others is like comparing apples to oranges.

    We all know that’s ridiculous.

    Who knows what their situations is. What resources did they have to start with, what type of network and mentors did they have access to, what are their natural aptitudes, etc.

    Too many variables.

    Plus, focusing on the success of others causes a person to overlook his or her own resources, or diamonds in their own backyard, to use an old saying.

    I prefer the notion of looking at what others have achieved as a motivator, proof that whatever it is you want is possible. If it’s something you’re interest in, It can be a reminder that you can “be” more, that you still have untapped potential you can realize. However, I don’t limit myself to only what others have accomplished. Where would we be if Columbus, Caboto, Cook or Lewis and Clark did that? (is it just me, or do a lot of those names start with a C?)

    Fantastic article and an inspiring video. Kathy, you are an example of what is really possible. The real limits are self imposed and live in our minds…

    Wishing you all the best in Health, Wealth and Happiness in 2014 and beyond!

    Thank you,

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