This blog post started out as a ‘note to self’ that I recorded on my mobile phone – a “Sarah, don’t forget” reminder that I wanted to write a blog post about comparison.
That recording turned into a 5 minute long rant about how much of a suck-fest comparison can be and, since a lot of the audio was rather a ramble, I thought I’d spare you the listening (not so) pleasure and share my thoughts here instead.
Comparison is a double edged sword – it can either be really positive and lift you up, or really negative and suck the life out of you.
If it’s negative, and you fall in a hole of misery every time you see someone kicking ass in all the ways you want to, then you have to make a quality decision and limit your exposure to that person. In the world of social media, whether it’s a friend, colleague, blogger or biz hero, that means two things – unfollow and unfriend (consider this your permission slip).
It’s time for a loving reality check – social media is a total highlights reel (and it’s meant to be) but if seeing that stuff makes you feel shit about yourself, then it’s time to cut it out of your life (even if that’s just temporarily).
What you see on the outside almost never reflects the real story
What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
Here’s the thing, you don’t always know the back story. You don’t know how much money or help people have to support their dreams, or how many assistants, designers, stylists, photographers, mentors and success coaches they have in their corner. Heck, maybe they’ve got a whole team behind them and you don’t even know it! And there you are, doing your best, busting your butt as a one woman show, and wondering why you’re not getting the same results; but they’re playing a totally different game to you.
You’re not comparing apples with apples. You’re comparing yourself to people who are on a whole different level to you.
Have you ever done that? I know I have! Way too many times.
The Comparison Trap
You know how it is, you’re cruising the Internet, checking out your favourite website, doing a little procrasti-purchasing, or scrolling through your cousin’s epic wedding album and the jealousy starts to rise.
It hits you in the gut. You feel sick. Your blood starts to boil, and the lump in your throat gets bigger.
You find yourself thinking “How come it’s so easy for HER?“
If that thought’s crossed your mind I want to remind you of a really important fact:
Just because your biz hero is winning awards, publishing books, or rocking the podcast scene, it doesn’t mean you suck.
- Maybe they had three websites that tanked before this one became successful.
- Maybe they worked in marketing for 10 years before they started a business.
- Or maybe they’ve got a degree in Business, or design, or both!
I know it’s a cliché, but don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle (or end).
A Hit Of Perspective
And it’s so true, you know. I mean I look at what I’ve been doing and I still have moments of doubt.
I’ve looked at people with 100,000 followers on Instagram and thought “Oh my God, I’m CRAP! I wish I took better photos, I wish my feed was more beautiful. I wish. I wish. I wish.”
But what if, instead of wasting time wishing for what I don’t have, I celebrated the heck out of what I do have? Like the fact that there are actual humans out there who are part of my community; who take the time to read what I write (thank you!), or listen to my podcast, or invite me into their inbox each Sunday. That’s a big deal!
So the perspective shift here is to acknowledge what you already have and let yourself feel really, really grateful for that. (And yes, I’ll go right ahead and take my own advice now too! 🙂 )
Comparison – Friend Or Foe?
At the end of the day, you’ve really got to look at comparison and ask yourself:
Is this helping me or is it holding me back?
And comparison can be a good thing – it’s all in how you use it.
On the positive side, maybe it’s showing you something you really want – a goal, dream, or vision you have for your future. If that’s the case, use it as fuel to propel you forwards, or treat it as an invitation to step up and play bigger. As Tara Bliss says:
Shine baby shine and show me what’s possible.
But if the comparison is bringing you down, then it’s time to pull that weed out by the roots.
Comparison Is The Thief Of Creativity
In this crazy online world, it’s all about sanity. Seriously. You have to look after yourself as number one, and if that means unfollowing someone, or getting the heck off of social media for a while, then do that.
Plus, it’s mighty hard to feel creative when you’re stuck in comparison.
Think about it, how easy is it for you to write, draw, paint, design, or do your thing when all of your thoughts are focused on the fact that (you believe) someone else is already doing it bigger, or better, than you ever could? It’s not exactly fuel for feeling good about yourself or making magic, am I right?
That’s why I’m not only a huge advocate for getting lovingly curious about how comparison is showing up for you (scroll on for some journaling prompts to ponder) but also for hiding out in your ‘creative cave’ when you want to get into ‘making’ mode.
Try it and see the difference it makes to your energy, creativity and mindset next time you want to bring a new idea or project to life. I pinky swear it’ll help you stop comparing yourself to others, tap into your unique vision, and start being you.
It’s Time To Be You
I want to share a really cool quote from Julie Parker, and it goes like this:
It’s not about impressing, it’s about connecting.
Because here’s the thing. I bet you didn’t start a business so you could sit around looking at numbers, comparing yourself to others, or feeling rubbish about yourself.
No? Didn’t think so!
But wait, it gets cooler; if you show up as you (delicious imperfections and all) then the right people will be drawn to you, will connect with you, and will totally pick up what you’re putting down. And when that happens, they become dream clients and raving fans who you get to guide, support and help (and isn’t that the reason you started this business in the first place? To make a difference? I thought so.)
So isn’t it time you put comparison back in the box where it belongs? Let’s do it.
Take Action (Journal On It)
It’s one thing to read about comparison but that ain’t gonna tame the wild beast or kill those weeds, so it’s time to take action. Here’s how.
Take a few minutes to check in with yourself and see where comparison’s coming up for you. These journaling prompts might help:
- Where is comparison showing up for me in my life or business right now?
- How does that make me feel? How would I like to feel instead?
- Where am I linking my worth to my output or achievements?
- Is this comparison helping me or holding me back? And what is it trying to tell me?
- If I already felt confident or worthy, what would I do?
Here’s to kicking comparison so you can get out there and shine like the beaming, bright light that you are.
And if you’d like some help killing those weeds of comparison, book a coaching call here and let’s do it together.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post you might also like episode 63 of the Rock Your Goals Podcast where Jenna & Ash from Eff Perfect share how to break up with perfectionism.