There I was, innocently scrolling through my Facebook feed with unwashed tresses and wearing leggings as pants, when I saw it: a certain highly-intelligent (and drop-dead beautiful) colleague had just unabashedly announced her (laundry list) of recent accomplishments, which included everything from whipping up a fabulous dinner to booking two new clients after doubling her rates.
…Right alongside a gorgeous photo of her in all her perfectly blown-out, unicorn-colored hair glory.
For a moment, I felt physically sick. Although I’m usually one for #collaborationovercompetition and I truly do believe there’s enough room in the universe for all of us, I still had to an urge to ugly cry.
How did she get so much done AND have time to blow-dry that fabulous hair of hers? And how is she charging so much? I’ve been doing this WAY longer than she has and I wouldn’t even THINK about asking that much! But OMG, her writing is SO amazing. Why would anyone hire me when they could just hire her? Look how many people are commenting on and “loving” her post! Ugh. I suck.
The truth is, it’s way too easy to compare yourself to other business owners, especially when you’re connected to tons of them on social media.
Just spend five minutes browsing Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll literally be exposed to thousands of images showcasing other business owners’ highlight reels – from their pristinely-decorated apartments to snapshots of their #bestdayever with their #bizbesties to dollar-by-dollar breakdowns of their most recent (sold-out, obviously) launch.
It’s enough to make any woman – especially a self-employed woman who sometimes spends all day locked in her home office in polka-dot pajamas wondering if what she’s doing has ANY impact – start doubting herself and launch deep into compare and despair mode.
But fret not, gorgeous.
While comparisonitis is an ugly ailment, it isn’t chronic.
Here are a few simple things to remember when you feel yourself slipping into comparison mode:
- Put the blinders on, babe. My first defense against comparisonitis is to STOP LOOKING at other people’s “stuff” – especially people in my niche. It sounds so simple, but it’s actually pretty hard in practice. When consuming others ideas + content (+ Facebook celebrations) stops feeling inspiring + starts making you feel bad/unworthy/like a hot mess, do yourself a favor… just stop looking. Fast. And then, move onto the rest of these tips.
- Remember you are unique. Yes, it’s cliche. But I think it’s pretty incredible that no one else in the entire universe sees things quite like you do. No one alive has your unique cocktail of life experiences, thoughts, emotions and dreams. Even if you happen to be in the exact same business as talented-colleague-with-the-wonderful-hair, you bring your own unique, fresh spin to everything you do. From the content you create to your client interactions, you have your own voice + style – and that’s something no one can take away from you (no matter how fabulous they are). And trust me – there’s somebody out there who needs to hear whatever message you feel called to share from YOU and in the way only YOU can share it. Remember them when you feel like you don’t know if what you have to say matters. It does.
- But at the same time, remember you don’t have to be original all the time. Sometimes, we take the “you’re unique’ thing too far and put too much pressure on ourselves to be original. For example, maybe you get down on yourself when you notice that someone you admire just posted a poignantly-and-practically-perfect blog about the very topic you were going to write about this week. While it stings, the truth is you can’t expect to “be the first” all the time. So, if you start seeing a bunch of other people in your niche going on about a topic you could’ve sworn YOU thought of first, let it go. Remember that sometimes it’s okay to simply contribute to a conversation that’s already happening and not worry about “being the first.” What you have to say is STILL valuable!
- Create more, consume less. I don’t know about you, but I’m way more prone to comparisonitis when I’ve been doing a lot of consuming – like downloading tons of podcasts, or signing up for multiple webinars, or reading every email newsletter in my inbox. If you’ve been glued to your phone or laptop for days, it’s time to take a break from all that input, and start putting some beauty back out into the universe. I promise that once you actually start taking action on your OWN ideas (versus devouring others), you’ll feel a million times better about yourself – and you won’t worry nearly as much about what your colleagues are up to because you’ll feel SO good about what YOU’RE creating. Who cares if she’s got two new clients, I’m over here writing my magnum opus! Yeah!
- Remind yourself that anything you see in her, is also in you. When I feel a twinge of jealousy about another woman’s awesomeness, I have to remind myself that anything I see in her, also exists in me. The only reason I can even acknowledge how insanely cool this colleague is is because I also possess those insanely cool qualities – although chances are right now I’m not shining them as brightly as I could. Jealousy hurts, but it also serves a purpose: It’s one way the universe shows us what we want more of in our own lives. So make sure to take notice next time you feel yourself going green with envy and figure out exactly what it is about this other person that makes your blood boil. Do you wish YOU got more done everyday? Are you annoyed that she’s launched five things in the last year and you still haven’t taken action on your one “golden idea” from three years ago? Do you secretly wish your hair looked like an Easter Egg, but you’ve been too scared to admit it? Whatever it is, once you’re aware, you can start taking small actions to bring more of those things into your own life. And voila – the jealousy and comparisonitis dissipates, just like that.
- Brag a little. I’ve noticed I’m especially triggered by others sharing their successes when I haven’t been making a concerted effort to shout out my own accomplishments. Chances are, you’ve made plenty of major moves and had some incredible things happen to you lately, too – you’re just not posting them on social media! But what if you started to? In her book, The School of Womanly Arts, Mama Gena suggests all women brag about themselves at least once a day to boost their confidence and je ne sais quoi. I think social media is the PERFECT place to practice this ‘art.’ It might feel awkward at first, but the truth is, it is SO important to give yourself credit for what you’ve done. And like they always say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” You, too, have quite an incredible life – and you deserve to document and celebrate it just as much as anyone else! So next time you book a new (dreamy) client, or publish a blog post that’s been hanging out in your Drafts folder for weeks or book yourself solid, go ahead + give yourself a little social media love.
Tell us: How do you deal with comparisonitis as a self-employed woman?