Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game in business. And it’s one that I hear from a lot of my clients that is holding them back. It’s also something that I can relate to quite a lot because I’ve done it myself. It’s known as social comparison bias, but I often refer to it as comparisonitis.
We live in a world where we only need to show the best bits of our life. We get to airbrush out all the messy stuff, our failures, and what life really looks like. But here’s the funny thing, while we all sugar coat our lives and business online, lots of us also compare our reality to others’ shiny rose-tinted view of their world.
This topic has been on my mind recently, from speaking with my clients, and more so since I came across this photo from 2018 on my phone.
The truth behind that picture from 2018 was that I’d been all-consumed by feelings of comparisonitis, jealousy, resentment, gap focus, call it what you will. It wasn’t fun and I felt pretty shit about myself. In fact, it was a picture perfect representation of how I felt at the time.
I don’t like telling people about this time in my life because I am afraid that people will judge me or think I can’t be happy for them when they share their successes.
It was also at a time in my career when I was doing pretty well to the outside world. But inwardly, I felt like crap.
My way of coping with this has been to hide and withdraw from social media. I reasoned that if I stopped looking at what others were doing then I couldn’t work myself into a tizzy. And that if I kept playing small by staying behind the scenes, then I wouldn’t feel so rubbish about myself.
In fact, I still have those feelings sometimes, even now! It took me years of practice to ensure that I don’t let this mental comparison game completely take over what I think and do.
Stay in your lane
Slowly but surely, I no longer felt so left behind — I felt catapulted forward with speed and badassery.
Here’s how I managed to overcome this: I played a little game of Stop, Start Continue.
If you haven’t used this tactic yourself, you simply think about the situation you’re currently in, and figure out your next moves in terms of:
– what isn’t working and needs to stop
– what changes you need to make and start doing
– and what’s already working that you need to continue
Mine looked like this:
– I stopped following whose social media accounts made me feel less-than.
– I stopped staying subscribed to email newsletters that kept on telling me that I needed to be performing at 110% every single day.
– I started to list all the unique qualities I have and why I am the best person to help my clients succeed.
– I started to map out meaningful goals for ME, not ones based on what others had achieved.
– I continued to remind myself why I’m here and what I’m working towards.
– I added these to a post-it note and stuck it on my desk as a visual reminder.
Here’s how to get back in your own lane:
- Play your own game of Stop, Start, Continue
- Revisit the reasons why you set up this business in the first place. Remind yourself why you’re here and what you’re working towards
- List all the unique qualities you have and why you are the best person to help your clients succeed
- Temporarily unfollow people whose social media accounts make your feel less-than
- Unsubscribe from email newsletters that kept on telling you that you need to be performing at 110% every single day.
Set your goals
The most important tip here is that I mapped out meaningful goals for me, not ones based on what others had achieved.
Finally, the only person I am now comparing myself to is yesterday’s version of me.
Protecting your mindset and wellbeing is important all of the time, but it really is even more crucial right now. And it all starts with surrounding yourself with the right people.
Sometimes people think that I have it all together… but in reality, I am human too! I actually have quite a number of secret fears that I had (or still face) when it comes to running my business, and I look forward to sharing more of them with you.
Work with me
I transform ambitious OBMs into well-respected business consultants who feel more fulfilled and energised by their work. Fancy a virtual cuppa? Feel free to book in here.