In today’s episode, discover how to stop destructively comparing yourself to other people and to channel your energy towards achieving your own definition of success instead.
The first step towards overcoming ‘comparanoia’ is to define your own version of success. It really doesn’t matter if someone else has done X or Y, you need to focus on your game, focus on your own strengths, focus on what you’re working towards.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
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Hello, hello. Welcome back. As we continue on from last week when we were looking at how you can develop confidence in who you are and what you do, and we look at overcoming comparanoia. Now comparanoia is something I’ve literally just heard a few weeks ago, but it’s definitely something I’m aware of from previously. It’s just a new term I guess that’s appeared on the scene as always.
So comparanoia, that excessive comparing with other people. And this is really fear-based, right? It’s rooted in a fear that there’s that scarcity, zero-sum. If this person does well, then I can’t do well. If this person gets published on Forbes and Business Insider and Huffington Post or whatever, it means I won’t get published. If this coach is in Red magazine and whatever it might be, then I can’t be there. Or if this person is speaking on this stage, I’m not going to, which is very odd, really, if you think about it, because the fact that someone else is speaking on a stage or getting published or writing a book or whatever it is, first of all, has no impact whatsoever on what I’m doing. But if it does have an impact, then if anything, it’s a positive impact, right? Because it means that look, someone who’s like me can and has done this and so I can too.
So that’s what I want to look at this week in terms of how we can overcome this idea of comparanoia, which I’m sure you can relate to. And to some extent, it’s really the enemy of confidence. And last week we talked about developing confidence, and this kind of comparanoia, especially in today’s digital age of social media, I dread to think what are children, teenagers and so on are having to go through and will have to go through over the coming years, and certainly, I’m glad that I didn’t have to go through that level of comparison online, knowing exactly… Well, in fact, we don’t know exactly what other people are doing because people are just of course, projecting the best sides of themselves. Just the best version of themselves. Shiny, perfect images.
And as I understand, at school, if you don’t get enough likes in your Instagram post, then you delete and take it down because that’s embarrassing. I must admit, I think I used to do that on Facebook too back in the day. If I posted something personal that nobody liked or commented on, I’d delete it and embarrassing myself. So overcoming comparanoia is something really important for us as adults, but certainly for the children and teenagers as well, something we need to instill in them, that confidence and so on.
So as last week, actually I want to give you sort of five strategies here for how you can overcome comparanoia. And the first one, no surprise, if you know me at all is going to be, say it with me, define your own version of success. Why is that? Well, first of all, their success isn’t necessarily your version of success. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that their particular definition of success is not your definition. They have a particular vision they’re working towards. It’s not your vision. They have a certain way of doing business, a way they see that evolving, a way they want to live their life and so on. Not to mention, they have a different set of skills and strengths and experiences and personalities and say on, right?
So it really doesn’t matter if they’ve done X or Y, you need to focus on your game, focus on your own strengths, focus on what you’re working towards. So last week I talked about step one in terms of developing confidence, is getting really clear on who you are and what you do. So I can’t overemphasize this because knowing your race, this is my lane, this is what I’m doing is so liberating. And when I used to go to a lot of conferences and things, which is great for inspiration and so on, five, six years ago when I was first beginning this journey, having left my job.
Yes, I was inspired but get so exhausted because every person I talked to, they’d say, “Oh, I’m doing this.” And I think, “Oh, I want to do that,” or, “I’m doing that.” “Oh, I should be doing that.” “Oh, I’m networking a lot and going to lots of conferences to get clients.” “Oops, I should do that too.” “Oh, I’ve been on this TV show.” “Oh, I should do that too.” “I’ve written a book, done a podcast,” dah, dah, dah.
And maybe some of these things I have done over the years, but I’ve done them because I then first of all, did them on my own time. And then secondly, I’d worked out that yes, this actually is something I want to do, not because this other person I happened to have met and had a coffee with is doing that. So really focusing on your own version of success, focusing on your own strengths and importantly, focusing on what you do have and what you’re working towards.
So yes, maybe they have XYZ, but what is it you have? You have ABC instead and maybe they’d be really envious of the ABC, right? So really focusing on your own strengths, getting clear on what you’re working towards and your version of success.
Now, secondly, don’t fall for that shiny image that you’re seeing on people’s social media.
And there’s a few reasons for that. One client very kindly said to me recently that you’re like an iceberg. What we see on the outside is just the very tip and there’s so much depth, there’s so much thinking, so much content, so many resources, strategies, things that you are doing beneath the surface. And that’s something of course, that I need to work on, getting more of that out there. So I’m looking at pitching myself to media and so on. These are things that I want to do to really bring people into my world and to discover all those things that are underneath the ice bag.
However, unfortunately some people are the opposite. They’ve got a massive flashy top, which is all talk, which sounds incredible. All these logos and pictures with [inaudible 00:05:10], whatever it is. And actually, when you work with them, underneath, there’s not much to shave for it. So don’t judge yourself versus what other people happen to be projecting. It could be that someone has this massive outward success and actually inside, unfortunately, the classic is they’re insecure. Maybe they’re not actually making profit and sales, they’re not happy with what they’re doing and so on, and it could be vice versa actually that you’re seeing, oh actually, that person doesn’t seem to have a lot of followers and so on. But on the inside, they’re doing exactly what they want to do. They have an amazing game plan and they’re making the money they want to make. They’re having time with their family and they’re super happy with what they’re doing.
So first of all, who’s to say that these other people are actually successful?
And if they are, maybe not your definition of success. And maybe they are successful by the way, but they’ve been in business for years. So don’t compare your year one with someone else’s year 10. And lots of the really big names, especially in American coaching entrepreneurial world, they’ve been in the game. They start to blog when blogs were barely a thing and they were really ahead of the game with YouTube, Instagram, all these things. They do a lot of hobnobbing with each other, networking, affiliate marketing and so on. And they’re incredible, but they have been in business for a very long time and they’ve worked really hard to get there as well.
So you can’t see the hard work people have put in to get to this place. So don’t fall again for that shiny image because maybe they’re not successful at all, maybe they are successful, but it’s not your definition of success, or maybe they are incredible and that is where you want to get to, but they’ve been going at it for way longer than you have. So don’t compare your day one to their day, 3000 and whatever.
And of course, by the way, the easiest way to get away from this is to stop mindlessly scrolling on social media. So maybe try a bit of a digital detox. There is definitely a role for, and a phase in which you’re wanting to be inspired by the people, to look at what other people are doing, but then there’s a time when you need to stop and take a step back and go, okay, I’ve seen what other people doing, now I’m going to sit down and choose the bits I want to do.
And speaking about the next tip, third tip is to pick up on the clues.
So if you envy someone, and this goes for personal and business, right? What is it about them that you envy? What is it that they have that you would love to have? And by the way, what do you think they’ve done to get there and what can you do? So I keep talking about media because that’s what I’m focusing on now this year. But I might really envy someone who’s prominent in the media and think, “Why am I not more visible in the media? I’m just as good, I’m maybe better than that person, so why on earth am I not being featured for? Why are they getting it? When I could write a better article when they are on TV talking about something that I could have talked about better,” I could say.
But then I ask myself, what have I done? Have I pitched any articles? Have I made the surprise if myself? No, I really haven’t. So it’s completely my own fault and no one else’s. And there’s also really clear path of action to take. So I can now focus as I’m going to do and I’ll be back in a few months for the results of that, but I can now start looking at, okay, where do I want to pitch articles? How do I prioritise this now? How do I do this every day, every week this year and make it my own priority?
So there’s a difference between being jealous and being inspired.
And as I heard someone say the other day, water your own grass, right? Don’t be jealous of the grass being greener on the other side. Water your own grass. Stay in your own garden, focus on that, sew the seeds and wait for them to grow and blossom in the future. And in fact, speaking of the iceberg as well, I was trying to find this image the other day. I didn’t know what exactly to search, but I’ve seen it in the past, where there are I think a couple of rabbits and one rabbit has this tiny little leaf above the ground and you can see a massive carrot underneath in the soil, and the other one has this massive green abundant thing above ground and it looks incredibly impressive. And then the carrot underneath is the little teeny tiny thing.
So again, what’s above the surface isn’t necessarily a true reflection of what’s below the surface. So pick up on the clues. If you’re emptying someone, try to understand why, what is it about them and let that be an inspiration rather than let that be de-motivation.
And the next one is to embrace the mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. And you may have heard of this, the abundance mindset rather than scarcity mindset, because as I said right at the beginning, someone else’s success makes your success more likely, not less. And in fact, I discovered the other day that the original meaning of compete is from the Latin, [foreign language 00:00:09:31], however you pronounce that in Italian, which is to aim at or to seek and [foreign language 00:09:34], which of course is together.
So compete used to mean that you’re aiming at something together, you’re working towards something together. So let’s let that be the definition of competing and working towards our goals. We’re working together, we’re seeking our success together. Of course, our own definition of success, but let’s strive for that new definition of success together. Embrace that abundance mindset.
I don’t know if I’ve talked about the Apple pie before. I feel like I did this a few weeks ago. This is an image that for some reason comes to mind with me. But imagine a big pie, right? The zero sum idea that we learned in economics at university is that there’s one pie and either you have a third and I get two thirds or we both have half or you get all the pie and I get no pie. The reality is, we can make a bigger pie, we can make three pies, we can make a rhubarb crumble as well as a… What other pies are there? Blueberry crumble, people my favourite.
So you can make more pies, you can make the pie bigger, you can make different pies and so on. Right? So the fact that there is a pie doesn’t mean that we can only eat from that pie. We can absolutely make the pie bigger. There’s absolutely that abundance mindset where we can actually be again, inspired by and understand that our success is made more likely, not less by someone else’s success.
And then finally, in terms of comparing, why not compare yourself to the former you instead?
So focus on how far you’ve come versus where you were. So don’t compare yourself to other people. Compare yourself to where you were a year ago when you were miserable in your job and now look, you’ve started a side hustle, you start a business. Or six months ago, a year ago, didn’t have a clue who your client was and so on, and now you’ve got a really clear strategy in place. A few months ago you weren’t really creating content very consistently, now you have a content calendar for the next three months, you’re posting regularly on LinkedIn. You’ve got your blog or email, whatever it might be.
So if you haven’t done this before, if you’re just getting started, make a note down now, whether you write in a diary or whatever it is. Screenshots, make a note so you can really refer back to that a year from now and go, “Look at how far I’ve come. Look how much progress I’ve made,” and celebrate that. So compare yourself to yourself rather than to other people.
So again, a few little insights to help you overcome comparanoia. Remember that it’s fear based. It’s really rooted in that fair rather than that positive inspiration, abundance. I think that’s really the key message. But the first step has to be to define your own version of success, to focus on your own strengths and what you do have, what you’re working towards. Second, don’t fall for that shiny image that you’re seeing on the surface, the big green leaves coming up out of the carrots, out of the ground or the tip of the iceberg.
Pick up on the clues, right? So if you envy someone, what is it about them you envy? What do they have that you would love to have? What do you think they’ve done and what can you actually do to get there if this really is something that’s important for you? And then water your own grass. Sew the seeds, water your grass, nurture your garden. Embrace that mindset of abundance versus scarcity and finally shift your comparing, shift your comparison to a former version of you, rather than to the other people around you.
So as with last week with confidence, this is an ongoing struggle, I suppose. It’s certainly ongoing piece of development and growth that we need to focus on. It’s not something you can just listen to a podcast for 15 minutes and then ta-da, that’s done, but certainly I do think concretely, stopping that mindless scrolling on social media can really help. Being aware of this, so when you notice yourself going, “Oh, why do they have this?” Or, ” I wish I had that,” stop for a moment. Take a breath and think, okay, why am I thinking that? Do I care? Is this something that I would like to have, yes or no? If not, then hurray, let it go. But if yes, then okay, what could I do to get closer to that as well?
So hopefully that was useful to you. Really important topics, I think. That confidence, resilience, which we’ll be talking about in the coming weeks as well and addressing and overcoming that excessive comparison with other people. So vital, whether you’re right at the very beginning of the process or you’re already in business since a long time, we’re constantly raising the bar. We consciously setting our sights higher, and so the people you’re comparing yourself with will only change over time. You’re not going to stop comparing yourself. It’s just going to sort of shift in terms of the circle of people you’re comparing yourself with. .
So again, as I said last week as well, find that community of people who’ll lift you up and not be jealous of you as well, because you don’t want people around you who are going to be bringing you down because they have that scarcity mindset and that envy as well.
So hopefully that was useful. Best of luck with overcoming your comparanoia and I’ll see you back here next week. Bye for now.
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