Find your track:

Celebrate every win in your business

On your marks, get set, go!

My competitors shot off like greyhounds. I lunged forward like a sloth dosed up on caffeine.

‘I shouldn’t even be here.’ My mind whispered.

Out of the comfort zone

In my final year of high school, the annual interschool sports event came up with alarming speed.

I hated sport. I was a dancer, it kept me fit enough and I loved it.

I often left the hideous school yellow polo and maroon shorts at home on sports day. The teacher sent me off to pick up rubbish around the school yard instead of competing against my peers. And I was happy with that.

But participation for the interschool sports was mandatory. I don’t remember the part where we got to choose which event we’d compete in. Somehow, I ended up in the 1500 metre race.

What the…? Dumbfounded and horrified, I heard the sporty teens behind me sniggering.

During the tryouts I quit on the third lap. Nothing could will my body to move a step further.

When do you know it’s a victory?

And yet here I am, race day, with hundreds of teenagers watching me being overlapped again and again.

I’m not sure which bonehead made the decision to put any athlete in to represent the school. Was a terrible performance really better than not being represented?

Three hours ago, I sat in the classroom. Because of my tryout failure, my day would be spent in the stands. I’d enjoy watching the events, scoping for cute boys.

But my sports teacher had a surprise. My best friend, who’d run all four laps in the tryouts and made good time, was at home in bed with a virus.

I would have to run in her place.

Chest burning, sweat racing out of parts I didn’t know could perspire, I pushed on. My cheeks turned a pretty shade of beetroot which spread up to my scalp.

On lap two, I spotted the paramedics standing by. They’re here for me, my mind whispered with malice and a tinge of relief.

I watched the other racers finish while I stumbled into lap three. No one was jeering or sniggering. What was happening?

Striding on, I felt a little puff of energy. I can do this.

Lap four came…

And I crossed the finish line. Only my pride kept me from collapsing onto the hardened track.

I sucked in air like a starved mosquito feasting on an elephant.

And then I saw something coming up behind me.

Turning with glacial effort, I saw her. The last competitor.

Her finish was a whirling of limbs, led by the top of her head. Clearly her brain had complete control, and her body was being dragged along.

Celebration shuffled into my weary brain. I DID IT!

I finished the race AND I beat someone!

The results? I came sixth out of seven.

And I’m damn proud of it. It was a victory for me.

No one else celebrated it.

Competitors help judge success
Looking at our competitors helps us judge where we are on the track

By checking on our competitors, we can see where they’re winning and where we can edge our way into their lane. But the trap comes when we focus so much on their success that we forget our own progress.

Instead of keeping pace alongside them, we mournfully watch as they stride ahead. Then it’s easy to hit pause.

We succumb to thoughts like why do I bother competing?

After checking on what your competitors are up to, walk away. It’s good to see what new product or service they’re offering, or their latest marketing tactic.

Knowing what your competitors are doing helps you to:

  1. Find gaps in your own marketing strategy
  2. Inspire you to create something different
  3. Know how others are reaching out to your customers

Once you’ve taken a look, don’t tally up every way in which they might be doing better than you. A broad overview is enough. And remember, the aim is to use their progress as motivation. Once it starts causing procrastination, it’s no longer benefiting you.

Keep moving by celebrating your success

Even if it’s a tiny success.

The yoga teacher who loathes marketing posts about her beach sessions. Win!

The health food store owner who feels overrun by the big chain stores has their busiest Saturday yet. Win!

The sports coach who hates getting up at 5am wakes up at 4.55am on a Wednesday and feels the flicker of enthusiasm. Win!

Only you know what your battles are. You’re the only one who understands how hard you’ve fought to get here.

When you hit a target, it’s vital to acknowledge it with cheer. Dance around your office or call a friend. Punch the air or shout ’I am a rock star!’

Go on, celebrate your success. You deserve it.

Share your latest win in the comments. It might be teeny, giant or elbow-sized, it doesn’t matter. If you crossed that finish line, I want to hear about it!