It doesn’t matter how confident, secure, popular, or wealthy you are, if you take your eyes off of your lane, and look at what the person next to you is doing, even for a second, you’re opening the door for COMPARISON! Comparison is an ugly thing. It’s a downward spiral that you don’t want to get yourself into.
You see, I listen to motivational podcasts and read books day in and day out. I listen to sermons at least once a week. Yet, it seems like when it’s time to apply what I’ve learned and put it to good use, everything goes out the door! Why is that?
It doesn’t have to be that way. Recently, I found myself comparing my work with another blogger’s. I know I’m gifted. I know I’m set apart for good works. However, for some reason, in that moment, I forgot all of those affirmations I spent so much time doing, and was comparing my work with hers.
“But she’s so much more x, y, and z than I am!” Yes, I fell into that hole of self-loathing, which is not productive for myself or for anyone who has to deal with me. (LOL)
So, I decided to take ownership of my emotions, and snap the heck out of it! I wanted to be set free from the game of comparison. It hinders us from carrying out our calling, and from doing our best work when we try to mimic someone else’s!
I’ve built out a list of some tips that have helped me avoid the trap of comparison, and that have helped me to focus on doing my best work.
Know your triggers.
Self-awareness is SO important. No one knows you better than you know yourself. You need to know what your triggers are, and what sets you off. Are you paying attention to how your environment affects you? In order to overcome something such as comparison in your life, you need to first be able to take ownership of it by knowing the root of the problem. Where are all of these feelings coming from? What causes it?
Work on something bigger than yourself.
I feel like we create a majority of our problems — most of which are mental. Comparison is mental. Whenever I find myself too consumed by something, I have to give myself a reality check. To avoid comparison, I focus on the bigger picture. When you work on something bigger than yourself, whether that’s volunteering or collaborating with another creative, you’re reminded of all the good that surrounds you. People are better together! You can’t expect to win with a scarcity mentality. No, there’s room for everyone. There’s room for you and your talent!
And, comparison doesn’t have to rule your life. You can choose to focus on the good, and not the bad.
Unfollow anyone who makes you feel like you need to be someone else.
If you’re a people-pleaser like me who wants to be on good terms with everyone, this one may be a tough one to grasp. The problem with social media is that it can make someone’s life look perfect when in fact, that’s far from the truth. A recent report last year by Nielsen revealed that American adults spend an average of 10 hours a day consuming information through our devices. That includes time spent on our laptops, mobile devices, etc.
That’s A LOT of time for one day! With that much time spent online, which includes social media, it makes sense that we could start creating false depictions of what we think someone else’s life looks like, and start comparing ourselves to that.
On Facebook, you can choose to “unfollow” someone without de-friending them. I made it a mission to only maintain an inspirational and positive feed. I only want to read things that are stimulating and conducive to my productivity, not hinder it. Comparison is one thing that can hinder your productivity. Be selective about who or what you follow.
Limit social media use.
Over Christmas break of last year, I decided I wanted to spend less time on social media. Because it is tied to my work, I can’ t necessarily delete all my profiles completely, but I decided to limit how often I logged on. If you want to reduce how often you check your social media, there are apps out there that can help you do that like Offtime and Moment.
I decided to only log on at certain times of the day, as opposed to checking my phone every five minutes, and boy, did I feel the difference!
Social media is only a fraction of our lives, but it’s not everything. When I put a limit to how often I was online, I stopped comparing myself to others.
When we focus less on the illusion that social media can create, and focus on real life, it can create a significant difference.
Celebrate the heck out of people.
I’m a huge proponent for COLLABORATION over competition. Just because someone is succeeding, it doesn’t mean that there’s less room for you. If you’re excellent at what you do, and work hard to improve, your audience is going to recognize that.
If another small business opens, congratulate them. If a friend starts a blog, express your excitement for them! This isn’t a message to be fake because compliments should be genuine. However, I’ve found that when you choose to celebrate others, find ways to collaborate instead of compete, and learn from each other, you’ll be even more empowered, and this will translate into your work.