Do you negatively compare yourself to others?
By this, I mean, do you compare yourself to others in a way that makes you feel bad about yourself?
Here are some examples of negative, comparison-based self-talk:
- “John seems to be raking in the money, I must be hopeless at managing my business.”
- “Mary has so many big clients, I can never reach out to corporates like she does.”
- “Fred has a polished website, he’s so much more professional than me.”
- “Judy’s clients and staff like her more than mine like me. Am I unlikeable?”
- “Craig is constantly busy, he’s much better at running his business than I am.”
- “Joelene drives a < insert preferred fancy car >, she must be rolling in cash, unlike me.”
- “Shane is so smart, I know nothing.”
If you engage in the above, it’s time to stop.
It’s killing your spirit
Your mind believes what you tell it.
Your actions follow your thoughts.
Something as seamlessly innocuous as thinking, “I’m unlikeable”, sets into motion a string of events that turn your unfounded thoughts into (what seems like) absolute truth.
Frank compares himself to his main competitor, Judy, who owns a café a few doors down. He sees Judy waltzing around, supposedly loved by everyone. Frank has customers and staff who like him, but in his mind, not as much as Judy’s do.
Franks starts to wonder whether he’s unlikeable. Soon, he tells himself he is unlikeable.
The fact that he thinks he’s unlikeable makes Frank feel annoyed, worthless and paranoid. His spirits and confidence plummet. With low self-esteem and a shot of anger, he now makes less eye contact and conversation with customers, starts snapping at his staff, withdraws into himself, and regularly wears a scowl. People start avoiding him. Customers go elsewhere (some to Judy’s café!), and several staff resign. All these events confirm to Frank that he’s unlikeable.
He thought it. He believed it. He became it.
It’s killing your sales
If you focus on negatively comparing yourself to others, you’re not focusing on what’s already positive and awesome about you! You can end up feeling down and depressed, losing your: motivation, problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities – all the things you need to run your business efficiently and profitably. Your sales can soon spiral in the same direction as your spirit.
Not only that, when you focus too much on your competitors, you’re not keeping a close enough eye on your own game. By the time you return, the score might be unsalvageable.
Here’s the BIG problem. Comparing yourself to others, especially fellow micro business owners, is that you’re never comparing oranges with oranges. You rarely have two identical businesses selling exactly the same products and services, in exactly the same way; with business owners who are working toward exactly the same financial and life goals.
Unless you know the facts, your assumptions are likely to be inaccurate, which makes negatively comparing yourself to others a time-wasting, pointless, soul-destroying exercise.
Instead of negatively comparing, do this:
Focus on your own game
Work toward your own goals rather than focusing on others’. Here are some great quotes that reinforce this advice. (Not sure who said them, but they were clearly people who happily focussed on their own game.)
“Don’t worry about what I’m doing. Worry about why you’re worried about what I’m doing.”
“How to be successful. Focus on your own sh*t.”
“Stop getting distracted by things that have nothing to do with your own goals.”
“Watch the ball, not your opponent.”
“Jealousy comes from counting others’ blessings instead of our own.”
“Don’t compare yourself to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.”
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt (or so the internet seems to say!)
Be inspired by others
Instead of negatively comparing yourself to others, be inspired by them. Acknowledge their strengths while having faith in your own.
Be motivated by others
If you perceive someone else is doing better than you, learn from them, be motivated by them. Let their success feed your spirit, not kill it. Get moving. Take action.
Reach out to others
Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact a competitor or someone you admire. They may even want to mentor you, or refer customers your way.
Negatively comparing yourself to others is scary. It can lead to a downward spiral of your own making. There are a lot of people living unhappy lives behind over-used binoculars. If that’s you, throw them away, stand tall, believe in your amazingness, and focus on your own game. Your spirit and sales will thank you!
What are your thoughts on negatively comparing yourself to others?