Mind Your Own Business

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Anxiety and insecurity are constant companions when it comes to running your own business. Taking the path less traveled means you'll be walking hand-in-hand with the fear of the unknown. Worrying about what everyone else is up to is a pretty normal part of the process. You worry about how your competitors are doing. You worry about your peers being more successful than you. You worry about how the market will respond to you.

What I have come to accept is the fact that absolutely none of these factors are under my control. It is easy (and dangerous) to fall into the trap of following your competitors too closely. You see a nice write-up they got and you start to feel like you're doing something wrong. They get a grant or come out with a great new product and it feels like you lost at something. You start trying to figure out what you can do to respond to these developments, which seems like a productive idea, but really it's a trap. If you spend all of your time responding to what everyone else is doing you are guaranteeing yourself a position that is always playing catch up.

When I find myself slipping into this mindset I remind myself, mind your own business. Work on developing your skills. Create better products. Refine your designs. Push yourself further down your own path because that is something they will never be able to beat you at.

When you start to focus on your own business you come up with your own novel solutions, seize the opportunities that are right for you, and force everyone else to respond to what you are doing. Except, you won't care about that because you will have already moved on to something else.