One piece of advice most of us do NOT need is to “compare yourselves to others more.”
Because comparing ourselves to others comes SO naturally! Am I right?
Maybe it’s comparing yourself to the other moms at school drop-off, wondering why you can’t be as put together as they seem to be.
Or perhaps it’s comparing yourself to a friend whose business has taken off, while yours is still in the beginning phases.
Or, easier still, we find ourselves comparing our lives to strangers’ photos on Instagram!
I was thinking about this very thing last night when our whole family was out on a walk before supper.
We finally had a day where the weather was good and it was not raining, and so we headed out – including all 3 kids, roller blades, scooters, and our dog.
Sounds perfect, right?
At one point, (literally for about 10 seconds), the kids were all walking in front of my husband and me. They were joking. The littlest one stopped to pick some dandelions. The sun was just setting.
I looked at my husband and said that THIS HERE was the Instagram shot. This is when people would snap a photo, and post with a caption about their quick little walk as a family tonight.
And people would look at that serene photo and be jealous that their night with the family wasn’t as peaceful.
Reality was VERY different.
Our dog was horrendous on his leash. In fact, a random other dog decided to join us on our walk, so we had a tangle of dogs wrestling the whole time. My little one was crying most of the way and begging to be carried because she hadn’t had a nap. In fact, the majority of the walk was either crying, fighting, or dog snarling.
My point is this – You never know the WHOLE picture.
Especially for those of us who are building a business, it is VERY tempting to get caught in the trap of comparison.
We look around and see others who are doing things differently, or envy successes that they have found.
Now, don’t get me wrong, comparison can be helpful in the right places, and in healthy doses.
Perhaps you are a part of a Facebook group of like-minded people. This is a great place to learn from other people and their journeys. This is a place where you can ask questions and learn from people in real-time as to how they are solving problems.
I am in a few Facebook groups that are made up of people taking the same course. We get to ask questions, encourage each other, and learn from others along the way. This is HUGELY valuable!
If you are building a blog, another thing that can be valuable is following some other blogger’s income reports. (If you’re not a blogger, yes, this is a thing! Some bloggers publish exactly how much money they made and how.)
These are actually SUPER inspirational! Because you can read through things like this and think, “This could be me too!”
These are both examples of comparisons that can be healthy and good, as long as you don’t dwell on them and allow them to become a tool for beating yourself up!
You all know that I am an avid podcast listener. Well, recently I was listening to Kim Anderson’s podcast, “Just Keep Blogging.” She was talking about how we never know the WHOLE story.
In an era where everything online seems to be like clickbait…people post these wild stories of success, and many of them may be true! Things like, “I sent 5 emails and made $20,000!”
But the truth is, you don’t know the whole story.
They are not necessarily mentioning the months they spent building the product that they sold through these emails. They aren’t talking about the year it took to build up their email list.
There’s almost always more to consider.
Alternately, you don’t know the skills and resources they had available! Maybe their work background was in line with the product they just sold, so the process came naturally to them. Maybe they had a HUGE amount of time to put in. Maybe they had help.
The point is – there’s often much more to those claims than meets the eye.
So don’t even worry about comparing yourself to those claims, and then being disappointed when you don’t measure up.
Run your own race well.
When you think of comparison and envy, the opposite is GRATITUDE.
I like to focus on Gratitude and also on the Goals I have set for myself.
I have found that when I focus on these things, comparison doesn’t have much of a place (other than being a little inspirational now and then.)
I have an experiment for you to try.
Every morning, write down things in 2 areas:
- Several things you are grateful for.
- Your goals. (for the year or quarter, or however you set them.)
I know this sounds over the top or be actually writing these down, but just do it. Every day. Every morning without fail.
And then see where it takes you.
How does having a mindset of gratitude shape your mornings with your family? How does it help you interact with people at work?
Also, keeping your goals in the front of your mind helps you focus on what you are aiming for.
NOTE: We’re not focusing on what OTHER people are doing and aiming for, you get to focus on YOUR priorities and goals.
No comparison. Just gratitude and laser-focus.
This doesn’t have to be a fancy process, by any means.
But if you are like me and LOVE a fun place to write down your daily gratitude, here are some fun options.
This is really a whole life planner. You can keep your schedule, set goals, time-block your days, plan meals. BUT, there’s also a big focus on gratitude in this planner. There are places where you can intentionally write WHAT you are thankful for.
There are several options on Amazon for fun gratitude journals. Here’s one of my favorites!
In the end, when we spend more time focusing on what we are GRATEFUL for, and also what GOALS we are headed for, we will all find more focus, and even more JOY.