Have you ever walked out of the house feeling like a million dollars in your new jeans and then made your way out in public only to see someone rocking similar jeans but with longer leaner legs? Oh, and I bet their butt looked better than yours too. You know, because we notice that kind of stuff. Suddenly, the joy you felt walking out the door is stripped away, and you’re left thinking maybe the look wasn’t for you? Gah! Aren’t we the worst? Of course, this is just a small example, but I’m sure you can think of a few scenarios where you’ve been your own worst enemy. As of late, I’m digging a bit deeper into what Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” realizing that quite often, comparison is also the thief of progress when it comes to business. (Yes, progress is a joy of sorts. I get it. But trust my thought process here for a minute.)
Comparison is the thief of joy.
It seems every time I sit down with someone to discuss their business plan it takes just a few moments for them to start spittin’ names of others who are doing something similar and how they’ll never get to their level. I avoid interruption as they go on. Letting them vent to get it off their chest. It doesn’t take long for me to derail the pity party and begin spittin’ truths:
- There will always be someone better than you
- There will always be someone more qualified than you
- There will always be someone faster than you
- There will always be someone stronger than you
- There will always be someone smarter than you…should I go on?
And do you know what? None of that matters. Absolutely none of it. Every time you begin comparing someone else’s story to yours, you’re taking precious energy away from your efforts to strive for progress. Suddenly, you’re struggling to believe you can get that new client because obviously there are better options. Why would they hire you? You’re no longer working on that new e-book because there are thousands of others online. Who would ever download yours? You’re no longer regularly posting on social media because your feed will never be as interesting as theirs. Why would someone care about what you have to say? I’m exhausted just thinking of how this negative self-talk discourages so many from reaching their full potential.
What if instead of comparing yourself to others you use their wins as opportunities to learn a new skill? What if rather than thinking you’re not as good as them, you focus on growing and being the very best version of yourself? What if instead of rushing to keep up with your competition, you trust the process of becoming, and you embrace the baby steps to success? Suddenly, comparison becomes fuel to your fire and you’re light is shining brighter than ever.
I get it. Being envious of others and their success is easy. I’ve been there. I still struggle some days. But it’s important to be self-aware of how these moments of comparison hinder our progress. We are just as capable as the next person; we just need to believe it and be willing to continue doing the work to get there.
Oh, and side note? That person who you think is crushing it without fear has had, and likely continues to have a similar internal dialogue. We all have our moments. So, chin up, buttercup and make some magic happen.