She’s a gnarly bitch that Comparisonitis.
She and I bump heads at least once or twice a year.
(When I was younger, it was more like once or twice a month.)
You’d think I’d be less surprised now when she sidles up beside me. And not-so-innocently whispers in my ear, “Have you seen So-and-so’s website? She’s got it goin’ on.”
The not-so-subtle implication that I — in fact — don’t.
Once in awhile she’ll even suggest I should just pack it in now and quit.
There’s no use in trying, Tea. You’re never gonna get there.
Maybe you’re familiar with her shenanigans, too?
You look at what others are doing and feel the lump of discouragement growing in your gut?
It feels like your business is in a bit of a slump? Or that comments and shares are almost non-existent? Nobody’s opening your emails…?
From your vantage point, it might seem like everyone (but you) is “crushing it” and you wonder what-the-hollandaise is wrong with you?
Please know: You’re Not Alone.
Just last month I compared my business and marketing materials to no less than THREE other people. And each time, I mentally punched myself in the head: Why didn’t YOU think of that, Tea?! or Why aren’t you producing results like that?
Gawd, this comparing crap is exhausting!
It wastes so much valuable energy.
Energy I could spend on taking real action.
I know this. So do you.
So why do we let the crazy happen?
I was wondering the same thing when I saw a post in a private Facebook group* — by a respected colleague! — lamenting pretty much the same shallots.
She was feeling like giving up. Like she’d never achieve the same level of success as the folks she admired.
Guess what? In the space of less than 24 hours, more than 20 other you’d-think-they-had-their-shiz-together biz people responded. At length! Sharing their own struggles with the uglies of Comparisonitis.
One wise and lovely voice (Rachna Jain of Profitable Popularity) asked this question:
If you look at all the places you’re comparing yourself, what’s the wish, dream or desire underneath that comparison?
Or, in other words, those feelings you’re having? They’re activating a goal for you. They’re helping you clarify what you want more of.
And CLARITY (as we know!) is true power.
Know who you are & what you want. Then you won’t need to hurry. Clarity provides the momentum! << (Click to Tweet!)
Is it a business that’s easier to run? Is it acknowledgment and recognition? Maybe it’s just more money?
Whatever you desire, those yearnings aren’t wrong, bad or shameful. So stop beating yourself up!
The Simple Truth is that I’m one of your biggest fans.
I have SO much admiration and respect for who you are as a human being — AND as an entrepreneur. (Only the finest human beings show up here, by the way!)
You may not be where you want to be with your biz just yet, but hey — neither am I.
The destination is always just over that last hill.
And when you climb that hill, you’ll see another. And another.
But you’re making real headway. Can you admit that to yourself?
All of us are at different spots along our story line. And those spots are exactly where we’re supposed to be!
We can’t compare ourselves to those who are over the next hill. That’s an apples-to-oranges mistake, right?
Sure, it feels like lately you can only take one or two baby steps forward, but those baby steps add up over time.
And if very real things are falling through the cracks and your To Do list just gets longer by the hour…the bottom line is that you’re still creating change. Change for yourself and change in the world around you.
Please, PLEASE remember that!
Here’s a fabulous (non-traditional) suggestion from another of those wise souls on that FB thread:
So here’s what I did in response to the comparisons I was making:
1. Instead of wishing (again) that I’d thought of that cool product idea, I bought one for myself and sent a friend request to the woman who sells them. (After all, how cool would it be to be friends with someone with genius ideas?) — Want to admire what she does for yourself? Check it out here: cryswilliams.com.
2. Instead of wondering (again) why the open rates for my emails aren’t where I think they should be, I opened, read and responded to three email newsletters that I’d been deleting without reading for awhile. (Do you do that, too?) And then I committed to doing it again every day or unsubscribing if I’m just not that into ’em. Want to join me? Add your name to my FB challenge.
3. Instead of feeling (again) like I’d missed the boat because someone else published the book that I wanted to write, I hired an editor to help me pull together all my existing content. That’s right. I’m on my way to getting those words and advice out to a wider audience. Do you need an editor, too? Go see Annie.
I’m not a fan of violent metaphors, so choosing to stay in a “battle” that I didn’t start (or at least not consciously) is not on my to-do list.
Instead, I’m making peace with myself by flipping all that negative energy on its head.
Now it’s your turn. What would you like more of in your business?
And what are you willing to do to help kick start the energy around that? Share in a comment below and let’s show Comparisonitis to the door. For good!
Note: This post is part of the Bravery Blogging Project. There’s a whole group of us saying what needs to be said. Click on over to read more.
If this post looks familiar to you, that’s probably because it first appeared in the world as an email to my lovely subscribers. Want to join them? There’s a form right over there to your right. —>
*That private group I belong to? It’s part of a group coaching program I’m in over at Wealthy Thought Leader. You should totally check ’em out. (Not an affiliate link.) And if you don’t join that program, you can always check out The Digital Dining Room. We do some pretty awesome stuff there, too.
Thank you for the courage to post this. In the span of just 10 days I have felt all of the following: 1) Down, disheartened: My business (http://sigma1.com) was in a slump, no new customers for a couple months!, 2) Up and excited… feeling I have great products, great ideas, and promising new customer leads, 3) Busy, harried, frantic. How can I keep up with legal, with marketing, with new biz acquisition, customer request/demands? 4) Calm, relieved. I navigated the chaos and came out alive and unscathed… if a bit exhausted. 5) Refreshed, prepared. Slept in ’til 11:00. Now I feel ready to see what the next entrepreneurial roller coaster ride has in store. I hopes there’s loops, zero-g arcs, and lots of vertical 🙂
DXB … are you hanging out in my home office or my head? This sounds very familiar! (Laugh). There is a lot to do in this world of Biz Ownership, eh? I’ve been in the Biz Ownership world since the late 80s and boy, have there been some rollercoaster rides…BIG highs, LOW lows. And my learning is that the boring, unsexy backend stuff like systems, processes and kick-a$$ clarity helps a bunch of it.
Here’s to lots of fun, major recognition of YOUR unique gifts and talents!
Here’s to you! And here’s to us! We’re part of an unique and special group of people who have made at least one huge career choice, and we chose boldly.
I’ve been a part-time entrepreneur for about, well, forever… on-and-off starting with asking neighbors if I could do odd jobs, to being a paperboy, to doing desktop publishing consulting work in high school. Skip ahead and I’m FINALLY a FULL TIME financial software and services entrepreneur. My wife has been independent for over 5 years, so I’ve seen her ups and downs. Now we’re a bonafide two-entrepreneur household; which makes us twice as crazy!
I stumbled across this Forbes article “Are Entrepreneurs Really The Happiest People On Earth?”…. http://www.forbes.com/sites/janepark/2014/05/16/are-entrepreneurs-happier/ It made me chuckle. Hope you enjoy it too.
Whhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeee welcome to the full time gig and I can well imagine the double-crazies with both of you being biz owners. Would love to learn more about what you’re up to (I’ve been in/around the IT world for 30-ish years doing the ‘splaining side of things). Now off to read that article.
O DXB, you are in great company. I think one of the biggest challenges out there is that there’s not enough information about the rollercoaster. Too many folks are smitten with the idea of starting their own biz and don’t get the full story about what it’s like until they’re deep into it. Here’s to the verticals! Those are pretty great, aren’t they? Thanks for stopping by!
It’s funny how we compare ourselves only to people we think are doing better than we are. When we worry about money, we don’t compare ourselves to people who earn less money than we do, we compare ourselves only to those who earn more. We don’t remind ourselves that we received a wonderful award a few years ago and that person who earns more than we do didn’t receive such an impressive award. The only time we think about that award is when we hear about someone else getting a fancier award– then we look bad by comparison. We compare ourselves to individuals, but somehow those individuals turn into “everyone.” We think that everyone makes great gobs of money, everyone else gets recognized. It’s hard not to compare ourselves to others, but we need to do it in a way that helps us keep things in perspective. If we compare ourselves to a person in one category where we fall short, we can also compare ourselves to the same person in another category where we shine brightly. And instead of comparing ourselves to a few outstanding individuals, we can compare ourselves to everyone. Maybe a cruise isn’t in my budget, but I am still richer than billions of people in the world. Billions! Doing this is really a more honest way of looking at ourselves.
Fantabulous points Connie…although I’ve had both sides of the coin. “Oh my Gawddddd, what are YOU complaining about, look at that person without xyz and you’re complaining that your abc hurts” etc. My focus this year is on sharing encouragement, getting my stuff out of my head (my way!) and realizing that we all have our stuff…I know a person who makes a ton of money…who does he compare himself to? Someone who makes millions more. Blast that Comparisonitis stucks toads, eh?
Hi Connie! Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Yes, these really ARE first world problems, aren’t they? We should remember that!
Nothing pulls me into an unproductive spiral like the comparison monsters ~ I should, I am not as, and all other means of self-minimizing come out to play. Stopping that spiral is a tricky thing to do! I love the idea of your responses ~ I need to create my own response list! Thanks for the inspiration.
When you create your list, please share! I think we need SO many more ideas about how to tackle this issue with grace and style. Thanks, Carmen!
You’re the most action-oriented person I’ve ever met, Tea. Seriously. Instead of diddling around, you DO what you need to do.
Love your means of slaying the comparison dragon. 🙂
Isn’t it funny, Melanie? I’m truly blessed and DO get a lot done and yet…there are always people kickin bigger as$ than I could ever hope to. As Connie pointed out, it’s a horrible, horrible first-world problem to have.
Yeah, what Connie said. LOL!
I just wish I had a skinnier ass to kick! (Goofy grin)
Oh hell yeah, that Comparisonitis is seriously NOT helping and yet I do it (unlike you, she manages to sidle up to me, at least briefly, several times a week!). Over time I’ve gotten better at telling her to take a hike (in words that might make your hair stand on end!). I love the suggestion of looking at what’s underneath and taking action. Now off to take a look a the Bravery Blogging Project (one of my bouts of Comparisonitis routinely comes because I don’t discipline myself to write regularly even tho I know how!). Big hugs. Always love what you’re up to. MamaRed
It DOES take time, but I promise you, it gets better. I think you’re right tho’ — mostly it’s a wake-up call to look at our own lives and see if we’re actually doing what we say we want to be doing.
Yup, it does take time Tea….and it’s well worth the effort, isn’t it?
Yes, I have compared myself to others doing similar things to me and it always leaves me discouraged and frustrated that they are making an income and I am not. 🙂 I need to remind myself I’ve not been at this all that long and it is a process that takes some time.
There are times I’ve looked at others and thought “they’re doing better than I am.” Then, I meet them at an event and discover they’re only human and have the same challenges as I do. Appearances online are not always the same as reality. Best to feel good about and trust yourself and anything is possible.
Word! Isn’t it amazing how wonderful we build up people sometimes in our minds? The truth is often much less exciting. Thanks for chiming in, Debra!
Hi Tea- Once or twice a year, I’d say you’re doing pretty good:-) When working towards goals in life or work, I tend to focus primarily on myself and my progress. When noticing what others are up to in the world I’m inspired and I see what’s possible. Fortunately it seems like this is one thing I don’t have to figure out:-) lol I think what you’ve shared. What would I like to see more of in my business? I could be a bit more organized. xoDana
Great post and some great ideas here, Tea! I think I have the opposite problem. I have been so good at not comparing myself with others I almost stopped working… So I have to start looking at what people are doing and get inspired, and hopefully do my things so well that I can inspire others. And in the process be vulnerable and honest, so that people don’t need to compare themselves with me, he he. As a start I will compare myself with my yesterday’s self, and aspire to be a little bit better and come a little bit further.
It’s always a good thing to look for places we can improve, Christine. It only hurts us when that’s the main driver — rather than the desire to serve. I’m sure you’ll do just fine.
Chairman of a company I used to work for (heard this with my own ears) – ‘That guy was so cool, but I’m jealous. He’s got two planes and I only have one.’ We worked in a 20,000 sq ft building that he built from the ground up. It was my moment of zen, the day the comparison dragon was dealt its mortal blow…
Sweet baby lettuce! That’s crazy-making for sure. So glad to hear you’ve slain that dragon, Joye.