I hate that I love this song, but it really says it best:
Miley Cyrus speaks to me and my feelings and struggles of small business ownership, growing older, not always being on the same path as my peers, and life in general.
On my big trip out west with my mom and sister, my sister and I decided to hike the Manitou Incline.
2,768 steps, all uphill with 2,000 ft elevation gain and a 3-mile hike back down the hill.
Talk about a climb.
This wasn’t just a fun hike for me or a fitness challenge, to me this was personal.
Having an online business, or honestly just being a person with an Instagram we are sucked into seeing not only our friends but what strangers are doing and comparing ourselves with them all day every day.
There are times when Ellery is doing great and I don’t notice the comparison creeping in as much, but when it’s a bit of a business slump, which is inevitable, I feel the comparison in my head start to increase.
It’s when I’m not feeling at the top of my game that I start to question if people are doing better than me and really if there is something I am doing wrong or not enough.
It feels gross to admit those feelings. I would love to be in a place where those thoughts don’t exist but at this moment, they can be present and it’s hard for me to get out of my head sometimes.
In 2019 I took a solo trip with Dagwood to visit my Dad in Manitou Springs, CO, and I remember seeing the Incline and thinking that it seemed impossible. But as impossible as it seemed there was some part of me that felt drawn to it and that I wanted to climb it.
At the time I was incredibly torn on what direction I wanted my life to go. I knew I was ready to move on from my current job, but while I was on this trip I took an interview for another job that I knew I could love but there was part of me that knew I would be putting Ellery on hold.
The other part of me knew that it would be a BIG challenge but I wanted to try my hand at running Ellery full time and really focus on making my dream come true.
When I didn’t get the job that I had interviewed for I took that as my sign that it was time to step up to the challenge of my own Incline, deciding to throw myself into Ellery full-time.
As we all know, 2020 threw all of us into a tailspin. We all faced an insane amount of stress and challenges.
But what I was starting to realize was that after each hurdle I was able to jump over I was still standing. And while it was incredibly hard, the journey that I was on was wildly rewarding.
The hardest part of the journey was embracing the world of Instagram and being online so much.
I was so scared to put myself out there on Instagram. To talk on stories and show my face.
Would I be as engaging as some of the other people I followed?
Would people think I was cheesy or not take me seriously?
As I was questioning how people would view me, I was caught up in watching what other people were doing all the time. As people were having success and gaining followers I was constantly worried about if Ellery was growing at the same rate and if my shop was cute enough to compete with all the other amazing businesses out there that I was seeing. We all know that everyone is putting their best foot forward on the gram but it is hard to have that in the front of your mind all the time and I would find myself getting sucked into a comparison spiral.
So when my sister wanted to hike the Manitou Incline, I knew I wanted to do it because of what it represented to me.
When I first saw the Incline in 2019 it felt too hard.
But now from what I learned in the last 3 years was that I am stronger than I think I am.
And the lesson that I needed to learn was that the key to successfully climbing the Incline is that you have to go at your own pace. If you try to keep up with others you will exhaust yourself and there is only one bailout point on the hike.
You have to be ok with someone getting ahead of you, you have to be ok with getting passed. You have to be ok stopping to catch your breath more often than you would like. You can’t let people comment about your shoe choices, or overhear people talk about how hard it is to psych you out. You have to focus on what you can do and if you do that, you can make it.
This hike really personified the struggles of the last couple of years. It showed me the importance of the lesson that the universe keeps trying to teach me: going at your own pace is enough, and the only way to success.
Also having Beyonce in your headphones is always the right decision.
Do you ever struggle with comparison? What’s the lesson the universe is always trying to teach you?