In every aspect of life, there is room to compare. Who has the bigger house, the faster car, the smarter or more athletic child, the more profitable company, the most influence in the community, the biggest paycheck, the most exotic vacations, and so on.

I’m not sure if there are any other Dave Ramsey fans out there, but one of  my favorite things he talks about in encouraging people to dump debt and live a debt-free life is that people buy things with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t even like. While not all of us live under that mentality, some do! It’s the whole “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality – and it applies to far more areas of our lives than just money. Living a life of comparison, because someone else does something or earns something we feel we want or need, we suddenly feel we need to do the same.

The more we compare, the more dissatisfaction creeps into our lives, and takes away the joy we should otherwise be experiencing for our own successes.

Reading through all the Recognizing Women in Restoration entries and getting some emails from some of the nominees with questions about the process really got me thinking about the whole comparison game. From the outside, it might look like that woman leading the restoration company in the next town over has everything and a bag of chips (or chocolate )… but she may have suddenly lost her husband and had to take over a company she knows nothing about. Or, perhaps her company is fighting to get paid for a large loss commercial fire they did eight months ago, and her company just missed payroll for the first time in their business’s history because of it.

Here’s some truth for you: trying to compare any two people and their lives is like comparing apples to oranges. We all lead such very different lives with different backgrounds, family life, education levels, and so on. It’s with that thought that our annual Recognizing Women in Restoration campaign feels so unique. There are criteria that seem to not have a whole lot of bearing on the overall outcome – like job title! This year’s very deserving winner, Shelli Bagwell, is the Director of Operations for her company. She is not the owner – but she’s on quite a journey, and has a proven track record of success within the company she works. I’m thrilled to share Shelli’s journey and knowledge with you in this special issue of R&R, and look forward to continuing to share the journeys of other ladies in our industry for years to come.

To everyone reading this, I want to ask you to take a moment to count your own blessings and take a solid inner look at where you are at, and where you are going or want to go. Be thankful for where you are today, and make plans to get to where you want to be a year from now, 10 years from now, and so on. Don’t waste your time comparing your position in life to those around you; instead, Carpe Diem! Seize your own opportunities and pave your own path. I think you’ll find staying in your own lane will be much more fulfilling than trying to check out that green-looking grass on the other side of the tracks. You never know what lies beneath that grass.