Are You Marching to Your Drum or Someone Else's?

Photo Credit: trini61 via Compfight cc 

One of my gifts is that I can easily identify when things are unbalanced. It is what makes a great coach. It is always what makes me a great leader...although it took me years to understand it. If you are tired of being carried away by the winds of popular culture and you are ready to get off the boat and start mapping your own course, this post will give you 3 ways to do that!

I am literally laughing at all the chatter around New Year's and setting goals. My social media friends are forecasting the social media trends for the upcoming year. My fitness friends are rolling out their fitness challenges. My business coach friends are rolling our their new products and services. My leadership coach friends are asking us to think about what changes we want to see in our teams this year. Everyone is posting their resolutions and their goals. It is both inspiring and...comical. Comical to me because I don't see the balanced perspective; so I am going to offer one.

Have you ever felt like everyone has got their "stuff" together and you are always playing catch up?

I feel that way sometimes. I think "it is New Year's day and you are having an online seminar?!?! Really?!" It is the 3rd of January and you are rolling out your new product. "

Here is what I say to those thoughts. GOOD FOR THEM! 

I honestly mean it. I am happy others are doing and planning what they need to do....but that has NOTHING to do with me. It is fun to get caught up in the excitement of the new year and if we are smart we can parlay that excitement and see some amazing results.

But a lot of us aren't acting smart. We aren't doing the work to make sure we succeed. The surest way to completely devalue and short circuit your success is to compare it to someone else's.

Stop comparing your start to someone else's middle or finish.

At the beginning of the year, I encouraged you to set your goals in a new way. Did you read that? Click here and here to read it again.

Here is why. If you don't take time to establish what is important to you, you will be jumping on the band wagon of every seemingly neat idea and never accomplish much. Take time to consider your strengths and weakness when you set a goal so that you aren't beating yourself up when it doesn't happen.

I was working with a client who wanted to be more neat. She decided she was going to put everything in its place right away. She wanted to be like her ultra organized friend. She tried and failed and eventually gave up all together. During one of our sessions, I asked her a simple question. "Do you know what neat looks like for you?" She pondered on that for a while.

It was very clear that she new what neat looked like for her friend and that became her standard. It was a standard that didn't fit, compliment, or empower her at all. So why was she doing it?

Why are you trying to fit into a mold that doesn't fit you?

You see my clients personality was the polar opposite of her friends and no matter how hard she tried she would NEVER be neat like her friend.

My client found empowerment when she became the best neat she could be. That wasn't an excuse to stay disorganized. Using her personality, her values, what is important to her, she found exactly what mattered to her and lived that way. She no longer defined herself and her abilities according to someone else's measuring stick.

Are you measuring yourself by someone else's measuring stick?

If so, you will always fall short. 

(Note: at this point, people usually object. Sometimes our goals are set for us. Our jobs or our family, set goals for us and we have to deliver. I get that. But can't you be yourself, use your strengths, AND still deliver? Yup. You just need to figure out how.)

Mapping your own course and marching to your own beat starts with honesty. Be honest with yourself. 

If you haven't been in the gym in a long time, why set your goal to go everyday? Who says we have to carry out all of our goals and resolutions by January 31st? Do you want staying power or a quick flash in the pan?

I suspect you want staying power. I do too. We all have to be BRAVE enough to find our beats and then start marching to it.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. 
 ~Henry David Thoreau

Are you willing to step to the music that you hear? Leadership is about taking the time to hear the other beat, marching to it, and inviting others to join you.

3 Ways To Find Your Leadership Beat

Ask more questions. The act of asking questions makes our brains automatically look the answer. Ask the right kinds of questions and you set yourself on a course to discover the answers.

Listen to your instinct. Do you favor other's opinions over your own? As a coach, I value getting advice and counsel from others. There is an appropriate time to do that. But you have to be careful that you lose the ability to hear your own instinct.

Validate yourself. Instead of waiting for validation from others, get in the habit of validating yourself. Will you be wrong once and a while? Yup! But confidence isn't about being right. It is about being ok even if you are wrong. Women leaders especially have a hard time with this. Not all...but a lot. 

Don't you think its time to stop second guessing yourself? To stop being tossed by every new fad or wave that rises? Take a stand. Listen for and march to your own beat. The weirdest part is that someone else is waiting for you to do it.


  1. Comparing myself to others is one of the habits I've constantly tried to overcome and have constantly failed at. It's just so easy to look at someone else's success in a given field and feel like I'm not measuring up. I know that it doesn't work that way, that everyone has their own path, but I still can't help but notice.

    One thing I've done is to try and disconnect the feeling of inadequacy from the comparison and instead replace it with just a simple feeling of motivation. "They were able to be successful at this task by doing this so I should do this as well."

    This post reminds me I still have a some ways to go. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you, Julia! I can now take a deep breath and say, "Ahhhhhhhhh!"