Comparison (noun): to consider or estimate the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.
The Woman Rising definition? To judge one’s self worth and achievements against another’s.
As a new business owner I can – like the rest of us – get caught up in the crazy world of comparison with thoughts of, ‘Her brand is gorgeous, mine doesn’t resonate like her’s does.’
Or ‘She’s so much further advanced than me and her audience are champing at the bit to hear from her. My content isn’t good enough.’ And so on, and so on…
Comparison is not new. It’s an age-old issue that has returned to the spotlight lately thanks to the influx of self-help gurus and life coaching queens gracing our internet pages (including yours truly!) bringing this topic out of the shadows to address it once and for all.
For me, defeating comparisionitis has been a tough mountain to conquer in both a personal and professional capacity, because of my need to latch on to an ‘answer’ or ‘reason’ to justify why my life or career wasn’t where I aspired it to be.
The more I should have been focusing on my own accomplishments and biz dreams to propel myself forward, the more I searched for comfort in the achievements of someone else, only to be left feeling flat, lacking self-confidence and suffering a severe case of the ‘not good-enoughs’.
Little to my knowledge, it was the very act of focusing on everything I assumed was ‘wrong’ in my life, that left me feeling more damaged and worthless than ever before and the cycle would repeat itself.
As Author of The Fire Starter Sessions & The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte says, “Comparison is a slippery slope to jealousy.”
And let me tell you, jealousy is no place to live when you are attempting to catapult your life in to the next sphere of awesomeness!
So how did I finally start to overcome the endless mind games and feelings of not being good enough? With these three simple questions:
1. Do I have all the information?
9 times out of 10 we make comparisons based only on the information we can see. When a brand, blogger or biz owner launches a new product, shares a stunning heart-felt testimonial or has 15,000 ‘Likes’ on a Facebook comment, we assume this result was easy, she doesn’t need to work for the positive feedback and it comes naturally to her. Based on the results she elects to show us, we assume the slog we’re undertaking every single day will get us nowhere and we’re fighting a losing battle.
Let me tell you now, as a Life + Career Coach I’ve worked with women whom I’d previously assumed wouldn’t need a Coach. Thoughts of, “but she has it all together” would run through my mind before a session starts and I’d make a judgement on her life before I knew all the facts. Judgement leads to comarisionitis and rapidly brings us down that slope of jealousy Ms LaPorte is referring to.
People, in your personal and professional worlds, only share the information they want you to see. You never know what’s happening behind closed doors or how hard she has had to work over the years to finally reach an audience of more than 15,000, so don’t judge a book by it’s Hollywood cover and compare yourself to it. When you discover reality, you may find it’s not as rosy at it appears, or worse, you may end up feeling ‘better than her’ which is never a good position to be in because we are all equal.
2. What is the main reason for this comparison?
Does this other person have a cool car you desire, a ‘better’ work/life balance, a golden career or stella children who never do anything wrong? Are you comparing yourself to this person because deep down it’s hitting you where it hurts?
Like criticism, we only ever focus on what we believe about ourselves, so the next time you feel terrible because you don’t have X unlike someone else, ask yourself, why do I want X? How would I feel if I had X? Does X really align with my truth or do I think I should have X?
If you often find yourself comparing one facet of your life in particular over others (such as career or salary), I recommend taking time to reassess your goals and habits to determine if you’re on track or need to change something. Deep down you could just be ready to apply for a promotion or take on new areas of responsibility in your work, but you won’t know unless you ask.
3. Who is running this race?
My favourite question which never fails to pull me back to the here and now.
To clarify, I don’t refer to racing literally in this context. This question has a way of jolting me back to reality and reminding me I am in control of my life and business – not her! She has her own race to run and is lucky enough to have started a few months/years earlier than me.
The response in my head usually goes something like this: “I’m in charge. I’m responsible. I’m good enough and I build my path my own way. Let her run her race. She is doing a fantastic job and I admire and respect her for what she has achieved, but it’s not my race.”
Not only does this question empower me to appreciate where I am and take one step at a time, it allows me to look back and see how far I’ve come to get to this moment. Now, there’s nothing but blue skies and a wide ocean before me and that’s worth a celebration in it’s own right.
Let me ask you, have you suffered comparisonitis and how did you over come it? Does one of these tips resonate with you? Let me know below or share this article with friends using the buttons below.