Insides and Outsides

My wife and I attended a large public wine and food event last night. The type where fancy people donate good money to the cause, and the best restaurants in the state have their tents set up. It was beautiful and wonderful, and almost a perfect night.

For reasons I don’t need to go into here, there was an aspect of the night that was mentally derailing. I found myself spinning downward a bit. Suddenly the laughter and wine and food didn’t bring me the joy that it was meant to.

At times like that a person is vulnerable, and we have all been in that position. It’s when you start comparing your insides (personal emotions and personal history) to other people’s outsides (laughter, success, better clothes/cars/purses, confidence).

Comparing your insides to other’s outsides is of course futile and leads to no good. But there are times when it is unavoidable.

Professor Kristen Neff of the University of Texas at Austin said it well in her book Self Compassion:

The problem with self-esteem is it tends to be comparative in nature. Basically, if I have high self-esteem I have to feel special and above average. That basic need to be better than others is based on a logical impossibility. There’s no way everybody can be above average at the same time. We’re losing before we’re even out of the gate.

Be aware of when this happens, and when it does try to be compassionate with yourself. Speak to your self the way you’d give advice to others.

What does this have to do with wine and wine business? Nothing in particular, expect for the fact that we’re all human and all go through relatively similar emotions over time. Working on yourself to be a better you makes for a better sales rep, manager, leader, bartender, server, sommelier … just a better human being in general. You can build success on that.