The following statement contradicts what you may have heard:
It’s OK to compare yourself to others!
I said it….and I mean it.
I realize it runs counter to the thoughts of well-meaning influencers and even some psychological principles, but I think they’re missing something.
The key is to compare in such a way that you benefit.
The reason the “don’t compare” theory is offensive is that most of us do that naturally.
So saying NOT to compare yourself to others is tantamount to saying,
- be impatient
- be curious
- judge others
- ask questions
- be observant
- analyze your place in this world.
Yes, comparing yourself to others is easy and natural… but where it gets twisted is when you use it to beat yourself up, belittle yourself, and grow your insecurities.
So the quick corollary to my bold statement above in bold blue type is that there is a right way and a wrong way to compare yourself to others.
THE WRONG WAY
The “wrong way” of comparing yourself to others usually amounts to some sort of self-flagellation that results in pathetic, self-pitying deprecations that demean your own efforts and worth.
“I will never be as good as that!”
“He/she is better than me.”
“I’m just not as talented.”
“I shouldn’t be in this business.”
“I’ll just always struggle and be mediocre.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
THE RIGHT WAY
The “right way” of comparing yourself to others almost always amounts to using the comparison to be inspired…to get new energy, ask questions about their methods (or the rut you’ve dug for yourself), and establish new habits, systems, and goals.
“I need to find out how they did that, and try it for myself.”
“Maybe they’ll share that information if I ask.”
“I should probably find a coach for that.”
“There’s someone I know who can help me with that.”
“I’ll hire out that task to another knowledgeable freelancer.”
“Dave Courvoisier wrote a helpful blog about that” (sorry…couldn’t help myself)
“There are plenty of articles about how to do that.”
“I need to get off my can and set some new goals.”
“That person has a gift in that area, but I have gifts too.”
See? The difference in the two methods of comparison is to avoid personalizing it, and instead be motivated by the difference.
Yes…some people are better at doing some things than you have the natural talent for.
You can either make up for it in practice, determination, dedication, persistence or work…
Take that analysis and realize YOU have capabilities that will make you a success in another direction.
The trick is to be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and then work that analysis to your best advantage.
- I’m apparently incapable of the “conversational” delivery that clients seem to think they want, but I can sight-read medical/technical copy till the cows come home!
- You may not have the pipes for radio imaging or network promotions, but your consistency at the mic makes narrating audiobooks seem like child’s play.
- Success at Pay-to-Plays escapes you compared to ABC TALENT, but your own marketing efforts are bearing fruit.
- You’re envious of the success of a colleague that occasionally scores a 30-second commercial spot, but they would LOVE to have the endurance you have to make it through a 45-minute eLearning Module…(and those are usually easier to land than the competitive commercial Radio/TV spot).
These are not mind games to play —
These are usable analytical tools that – dispassionately applied — can make your comparing productive.
I’ll never be as good a writer as Hemingway or Steinbeck.
I should just quit writing blogs.