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 me rambling non-sensically, I thought I’d spare you the listening 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.
It’s time for a reality check here beautiful: 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.
What you see on the outside almost never reflects the real story.
Plus, you don’t know the back story, for example how much money people have to do things or how much help they have, how many assistants, designers, stylists, photographers, mentors and success mavens they have in their corner. 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?
You know how it is, you’re cruising around the Internet reading your favourite blogs, or checking out your cousin’s epic wedding album and the jealousy starts to rise.
It hits you in the gut.
You feel sick.
You feel your blood boil.
And the lump in your throat gets bigger.
You find yourself thinking “How come it’s so easy for HER?”
In that moment you forget you’ve been blogging for a year and your blog hero has been at it for 10. Or you forget that you’re single and your cousin has been with her man since High School.
For the new bloggers out there I want to remind you of a few really important things. Just because your blog crush has been blogging for a year and they’re already winning awards or blogging full-time, doesn’t mean that you suck.
- Maybe they had three blogs that tanked before this one became successful.
- Maybe they worked in marketing for 10 years before they started blogging.
- Maybe they have 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.
And it’s so true, you know. I mean I look at what I’ve been doing (and I’m just over a year into this blogging/business journey) and I still have massive doubts. I still look at people who have 100,000 followers on Instagram and think “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.”
How about the fact that I have 1300 awesome followers on Instagram and that every single one of those is a person who wants to see what I’m doing; who invites me into their news feed and some of those amazing people even take the time to like and comment on my photos!
Be grateful for what you’ve got.
And at the end of the day, you’ve really got to look at comparison and ask yourself:
Is it helping me or is it hindering me?
If it’s helping you, awesome, use it in a positive way. Maybe it’s inspiring you to step up, try something new or lift your game. As Tara Bliss says, “Shine baby shine and show me what’s possible.” If that’s the case, that’s cool. But if it’s not helping you then you need to find ways to cut off the comparison at the source.
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, if you’re a blogger or biz chick, how are you going to put quality stuff out there for your people if it’s coming from a place of massive fear and ‘oh my god I’m crap because I don’t have as many followers as this person‘ or ‘I’m not as successful as Marie Forleo or Leonie Dawson or Tara Bliss or Rachel MacDonald‘ (or whoever your heroes are).
Stop comparing yourself to people who are 5 or 10 or 20 years ahead of you.
If you feel the need for comparison in your life then look at the people who are around you who have the same skills, are in the same area, have a similar background or have the same values or the style when it comes to the words you write, the photos you take or the posts you share.
Stop wishing you were someone else and be yourself.
I want to share a really fricken cool quote from Julie Parker that goes like this:
It’s not about impressing, it’s about connecting.
And if you’re authentic and honest, and you’re just being yourself, then the right people will find you. They’ll connect with you and love what you’re saying; and you’ll actually be able to help people – and isn’t that that the whole reason you started this journey in the first place?
I bet you didn’t start blogging so you could sit there and look at numbers (and make yourself feel rubbish about your numbers), you started this because you wanted to share something about yourself or an experience to help other people; to teach and connect and reach out and be part of something.
So here’s an action item to take from this ‘Sarah’s Soapbox’ rant about comparison:
Do an audit to see where comparison is being a total suck-fest in your life and then let that shit go. Then see comparison is helping you and embrace it, roll with it, run with it and let it build you up.
The whole point of this exercise is to make comparison work for you.
At the end of the day this is about you being you, knowing that you’re amazing and sharing that awesome stuff that you’ve got to share.