Judging Myself Against Myself Instead of Others

by Michael Simmons on Dec 15, 2012

I started my first business when I was 16 years old. My business partner and I made $40,000 our senior year working about 10 hours a week during the school year. There wasn’t much coverage on teen entrepreneurship in the country, so I literally thought I was one of the top handful of entrepreneurs in the country.

As a result of starting the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (http://www.extremetour.org/) and the Empact100 (http://www.empact100.com/), I’ve had the opportunity to meet a huge diversity of extremely ‘successful’ (successful in lots of ways) young entrepreneurs.

This has been a humbling process. In seeing other people’s success, I sometimes have found my self-esteem get smaller and unconsciously wondering what I’m doing wrong. I can remember ruining perfectly good days in college when I’d come across an amazing young entrepreneur, and I’d have to completely rework my world view so I wouldn’t get depressed. It is embarrassing to admit that, but it’s the truth.

I’ve been in situation after situation and still am in it where I feel like people don’t really get who I am and under-estimate me. I imagine other people feel similarly.

I’m lucky to be married to Sheena Lindahl, because she is one of the most independent thinkers I have ever met. I have NEVER seen her compare herself to other people. I’ve never seen her look down at somebody or gravel at someone else’s feet.

She is a reminder to me that I shouldn’t build my self-worth based on what society or my circle considers ‘sexy’ or ‘meaningful’ at a given time.

We all have unique strengths, timelines, and visions for our lives. I think greatness ultimately comes from judging ourselves on our own scale.


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I'm the co-founder of Empact, one of the leading entrepreneurship education organizations in the world. I'm obsessed with understanding how we all can lead meaningful lives that have a positive social impact. I love probing into the truth of how we experience life. I believe that challenges are what make us grow the most, and I openly share my experiences. Continue reading…