Competition? What Competition?

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She’s prettier. Smarter. Funnier. More successful. The list of why she’s better than me goes on and on.

But who is this person you may ask? It’s an imaginary character that I've created in my mind. A strong and independent woman who always seems to take 10 steps forward in life while I am left thinking, ‘So what am I supposed to do with mine?’ You have probably heard it before but I will tell you this now. It is extremely unhealthy to be comparing yourself to someone else. Yes, the other person may characterized everything you've always dreamt of being, but how boring is it to be another replica of somebody else? Again, they may inhibit certain notable traits and qualifications, but so do you.  I've learned that it does more harm than good to continuously undermine myself for my apparent shortcomings. There will always be a better person out there, but that's not the whole point. In order for me to efficiently maximize my potential for success, I needed to conquer the fear of not being good enough. So what’s step one? Step one is forgiveness. No one's perfect. We can't always be composed or have it all together and that's absolutely okay. Step two? To love myself for everything that I am and everything that I am not.

On my way back from a weekend trip for Spring Break, I received a text message from a good friend of mine with the photo I’ve attached above. It said, “I’m in competition with no one. Hope we all make it.” Following the picture was her very own message to me in which she wrote, “Can’t wait to make it with you.” I was startled and my eyes became teary. Last summer, I woke up every morning and worked nine hours a day, five days a week. What’s the best part? It was an unpaid internship. (I hope you can somewhat sense my sarcasm here). Now, it’s not like I didn't enjoy what I did. I had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the company, worked closely with the Executive Directors, and gained plenty of hands-on experience. However, what I took away from that so-called ‘unpaid’ experience was something quite invaluable. That some thing is what I called a life-long investment aka a life-long friend. My friend is currently finishing her undergraduate degree and despite making the wrong first impressions of each other, I’ve quickly learned that likes attract likes. She is hard-working, ambitious, and moreover, she has a good heart. To find such person in a lucrative industry such as ours is extremely rare so I will do whatever it takes to make sure that our friendship remain a priority of mine.  So despite the long distance, every other week or so, we would shoot each other spontaneous, motivational messages and allow me to tell you that these are the things that keep me going every time I have to hit that snooze button at 4 AM. Many people have asked me why I’m able to do what I do and this is it guys. This is why.

Earlier this afternoon, Stacey (of whom I've been friends with for almost a decade now) sent me a message saying, “I am motivated just by looking at you, hearing you, and being around you.”  And that’s when it hit me. Rather than comparing yourself with others or in my case, with an imaginative figure, we should choose to surround ourselves around those who are passionate about their dreams and are willing to share their stories. It’s not about being better than the other person. It's about being the best YOU can be with that other person. To establish a genuine and supportive network around you is exactly what you need.

I would like to end this post by once again thanking the friends who have shown me so much love, compassion, and forgiveness. And lastly, I just wanted to let you know, we’re all in this together. One dream at a time. One day at a time.