Imagine this: you’re planning your launch, getting things done, feeling great about your progress, and then it sneaks up on you…the launch comparison monster.
You’re handling your business … you not only feel effective, you are actually BEING effective.
Then along comes a bump in the road you didn’t expect.
Someone who’s a few steps ahead – or let’s be honest – a few years ahead of you in terms of where your business is – how beautiful their launch looks, just everything about them is the better version of where you are…or at least that’s how it feels.
A few weeks ago I had a few random blows to my ego which left me weakened and questioning my abilities and value in the world.
Before I tell you that story though – and let you share a few insights – what happens when we start to compare ourselves to others.
Insight #1: We forget who we are
We make up stories about how that person got to where they are… and somehow forget that we’ve lived a whole life full of experiences that have nothing to do with the person we’re comparing ourselves to.
When you start to look at yourself or your business in the reflection of another person, you start seeing a skewed version of yourself….
You cease to see reality.
So get your head out of the clouds and look at your own reflection to regain perspective.
You are where you are where you are. For better. For worse. Life and all your achievements have led you here.
Insight #2: We forget why we’re doing this
We let other people’s dreams, ambitions, plans, action mask what we’re doing – like that’s the path we should be on. It’s happened to me many times – throughout college, watching friends pursue big dreams, where I looked at what THEY were doing and thought I should be doing it too.
I’ve switched majors, moved to new cities, changed jobs… all because other people were doing it too – not because I stopped and reflected on whether it was the right decision for me.
It took me awhile to realize that I needed to keep my eyes on the Why – thank you Simon Sinek – even just thinking about the title of your book helps me remember that I do have a why and allow myself to be energized by that!
Now, I have always surrounded myself with people who are doing big things – in their lives, in their businesses, people who have energy to spare and live BIG.
But sometimes this tendency to surround myself and lift my own energy up with that of others work has a backlash effect. The same people who inspire – can wipe it all out when I start to compare myself to them.
And recently, I almost let it happen again.
I could have swirled down the rabbit hole, lost myself in the common — “I’m not good enough thoughts”… but kept nudging myself back to the two insights above…which I’ll nail home again.
Simple truth. Let’s review it again…
>Who are you and what are YOU trying to share with the world?
>Why are you doing what YOU are doing?
So the next time the wave of envy, comparison, whatever you want to call it washes over you, don’t resist it, but instead interject…whisper your questions directly into the turmoil…
You’ll emerge from what I call your ego-bath feeling more confident, empowered, and able to reveal another layer of yourself to the people you’ve been serving all along!
Take A Minute Now
Has this ever happened to you? Have additional tips for sticking to your guns and not allowing other people’s progress to hinder your own?
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Lauren Forest says
Excellent post Anne!
I’ve worked on this one for quite a while and can completely relate. For me, it’s usually a signal to remind myself that my life is about ME. And it’s actually not a selfish thing – it’s actually a divine responsibility. I’m living out a particular story line that cannot be reproduced or ever lived again. If I start insisting that I make “my” story line more like “somebody else’s” (including my success looking more like their success or progress) then I stop being the person who I’m fully meant to be. Even though my path may be more circuitous than most, I’ve learned that there’s something along that path that no one else will see, or notice, or touch, or think, or feel, or do. And it’s those unique moments that are ultimately the most powerful, rich, and magical – for myself AND for others.
Thank you for this little reminder…it’s like a reality check for me…everybody is difference. It can be hard if we keep comparing ourselves to others, which’s what I tend to do. I say keep focus on what you’re doing and want to do and learn from others when you look at them! This’s a keeper;)
Jan Schochet says
Oh, no, Anne, never . . .
Of course! Who doesn’t have that happen. And I consider myself to be one of the fearless ones. Yikes!
The best advice I got was more than a few years ago from a teacher I had at Omega Institute in a class, the summer before I worked there. That teacher’s motto was : “Mind your own process.”
He said that over and over.
I didn’t understand what he meant back then. But I sure do now. And I think about it almost daily.
Anne – look where I came from – Val’s world – trying to go out on my own and starting without a “ready made” group is quite a blow to my ego – I thought it would be easier…. not that I think I’m anywhere in her league in any area-she is just amazing… but I do feel I have something to offer – I just have to remember that –
This is such a great post Anne, because it touches on the core of who we are individually as entrepreneurs. Our businesses are an extension of this, and when we begin to compare ourselves to other people we are forgetting the “why” as you said.
This is exactly what I talk about in my work with body image. We do this all the time with our bodies, and how we look. We are always comparing ourselves to other women who are usually a completely different size, height, and coloring. At the core, they are completely different. Yet, we are compelled to compare our weakest points to someone else’s strongest.
I love the quote at the end and it is so fitting! “Mind your own process.” And you know me, I would add to that and say “Mind your own body!!”
I like how we took this metaphor of “launching” and “body transformation” to another level.
Finally got to read this. I’m in a 12 step program and one of the things they talk about is not to judge your inside by someone else’s outside. And I’ve always been pretty good at remembering that and benefiting from it. I’ve never been a follow the crowd kind of person and if I think something is right I will stand up for it no matter who is against it. I think I always had high quantities of self esteem.
When I found out about my husband’s infidelity all of those things I mentioned above took a direct hit. (I would never have believed that could happen…after all, self esteem is how I feel about myself, not someone’s perception of me) but it happened nonetheless. Suddenly I was comparing myself to everyone!! I now felt I was not good enough for ANYTHING. I kept trying to figure out why I was doing it. Why did I keep comparing myself to other women? The answer was pretty simple. The person I had loved most in the world had compared me and found me wanting.
I quickly realized that I could not live like that and be a person I would care to be. I was really in a quandary. I did a lot of reading–not self help so much as spiritual from different religions. I think it was a Buddhist practice that caught my eye. The gist of it was that with every person I came in contact with I was to “bow” (internally) to a quality each person had. The most difficult at first were younger women (for reasons I will not go into here) so I would bow to their beauty or their smooth skin or…well, you get the idea. At first it was exquisitely painful, but after a bit I got so I could do it and feel peace as I did it. I have to be real. There obviously are women who are younger, beautiful, more talented…whatever…it would do me no good whatsoever to tell myself I look as good as or am as talented as….fill in the blank. My brain and soul want truth and when I don’t get involved in all of that inner dialogue or the struggle of trying to take 10 affirmations and call me in the morning I can just BE and bow to the youth of the woman in front of me.
I did like your article. I like to see a person’s process–that’s how I learn and you were sharing that with us. Yes, yes…I definitely liked it.
I’m sorry I had to bring the infidelity issue up again but it is what is on my path and that’s what I have to learn with. I apologize if it makes anyone uncomfortable.
OMG – Lauren! I love this… do you mind if I quote you? I love it – “My life is about ME. And it’s actually not a selfish thing – it’s actually a divine responsibility.”
It’s the simple reminders that really bring it home, right?
Thanks for commenting Sai. 🙂
Jan – I always get great insights from you.. thanks for sharing again… I absolutely love the “mind your own process” motto from your teacher. So Wise!
What I think is really interesting about this topic is that it’s one you can’t think about once and then never address again. We are human – and comparison will likely come up over and over when you least expect it.
Even after reading this I had a moment of comparison AGAIN! Thank goodness I had some tools in place to get me focused on my own process again!
:)Really appreciate your time here Jan.
LeeAnne – you have so many gifts and you are right. From my perspective I see those gifts clearly – and never compare you to Val. Love what you have to offer the world.
And you do have to remember that or remind yourself and be with people who know about your genius too!
Kat – man oh man – we had a good conversation about this. Everyone’s journey/path is different and to compare is kind of silly and pointless on all accounts.
I love bringing different topics together – back to the principle that drives us to do what we love – we all want the same thing – we want to be happy, have a little bit of effortlessness in our lives. When we look at the specifics of what others are doing + compare to our own, it just downplays what we have to offer, our dreams, our strengths, our unique-ness.
Mind your own process – man that’s a good one – I’m totally using that one from Jan’s teacher!!!
Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful comment Kat!
I think what’s key about your comment is this – comparison comes in all areas of your life – and in no area is it something that serves us or drives us to our best self. Do you know what I mean?
Sounds like you did some real work to regain your self confidence, which means that when you started your own comparison game, you lost big time.
That’s a real lesson to what can happen when you let comparison rule you and your life – and the way you see yourself.
Never apologize though, girl! I value and love your story and how you share it with such honesty. I think people have a lot to learn from you!
Thanks for spending time here and offering so much value in your comment. 🙂 I really appreciate it!
Joyce M Washington says
UGG!!! Double Ugg! Gave me a lot of high school and college and job seeking flashbacks.
My motto is definitely… “keep your eyes on your own paper”. I’m cool with checking out the landscape for research purposes… for are others successful in this niche…making sure the market is viable but that’s it!! Then it’s eyes back on your paper.
Very cool post – great reminder to stay true to oneself and the WHY!
Lauren Forest says
I would be honored if you quoted me, Anne. Thank you! 🙂
Julia Campbell says
This is exactly what I needed to hear today. All of us have such different circumstances – money, lifestyle, advantages, disadvantages – and it’s important to know that when you are trying to launch but all you see are Facebook Ads from people who are making millions online. Focus, focus, focus – thank you so much for putting things into perspective. Also, I’m a fan of your podcast! You rock.