Ah the fine art of comparison. It’s something that kills our confidence, hurts our productivity, and damages our self-esteem.
Yet we all do it don’t we?
“She has more blog pageviews than me and started blogging after I did.”
“Her email list has 500 subscribers and yet I can’t seem to get more than 10 people to sign up for mine.”
“She’s making money blogging and she’s only been blogging for two months and I’ve been doing it for a year.”
I have heard these comments from bloggers many times. I have also said to myself.
I think comparing ourselves to others isn’t about jealousy, well maybe it is a little bit. But I think it is about something more. I think it is about being confident in who we are and what we have to offer. I think it is about the belief that we will accomplish our dreams and goals.
Yet if we let ourselves spin in the cycle of comparison without pulling ourselves out, we are doomed to fail. If we manifest enough negativity about ourselves it is hard to overcome. So how do you stop this damaging cycle? You practice the following 9 steps.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first thing you must do is acknowledge how you are feeling. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write it out. Say “I am jealous of Beth because she has only been blogging for six months and she is making $3,000 a month and I want to make $3,000 a month.”
Whatever the comparison is that is going on in your head, acknowledge it. Don’t keep it in the darkness in your mind where it will fester. Write about what’s bugging you.
Then examine why it is bugging you. Are you upset because that $3,000 a month would change your family’s financial picture? Are you feeling jealous because it seems so easy for Beth? Or are you feeling scared that you will never have that kind of success in your blog or business?
When you get to the emotion behind the comparison it is much easier to deal with how you are feeling. You can name your emotions, your fears, and your worries. It brings light to those negative feelings. If you catch yourself in the comparison trap, take time to slow down, acknowledge it, and write how you are feeling.
2. You are Unique
The next thing I want you to do when you fall into the comparison trap is write about you. I want you to take 10 minutes and make a list of 10 things you are good at. You were uniquely wired with unique gifts and talents to give to the world. What are they? Make a list.
Here’s what I often have to remind myself. “Yes there are hundreds of bloggers that write about marketing and the business of blogging. But there is only one Jennifer Snyder. My voice, my perspective is unique to the world. What I have to offer to the world is good, useful, and helps people.”
The same is true for you. The world so desperately needs your uniqueness, your goodness, and your help right now. Take a look at your list of 10 gifts and talents when you are comparing yourself to someone else. Yes we need that person in this world sharing their gifts, but you know what? We need you too.
3. Read Your Testimonials
Reading my testimonials makes me feel better whenever I feel stuck. I have screen shots on my phone from testimonials I have received on Facebook. I save links on Facebook when someone compliments me. When people email me and tell me how much I have helped them, I star them to read when my confidence is shaky.
The work we are doing is sensitive. It is tied to us personally. We are giving of ourselves, our beings, through our writing, our coaching, our programs. That’s pretty intense isn’t it?
I think that’s why comparing ourselves to others can hurt so much. We are comparing our self-worth against someone else’s and that does not feel good. Save your testimonials for moments like this. When someone values your blog post or a coaching session you did changed someone’s perspective, save those testimonials. They remind you that you are in fact doing work that is helping other people. What you are doing has value and YOU have value!
4. Practice Gratitude
I heard this in church this past weekend, “Gratitude is medicine.” Let that sink in for a second. Gratitude is medicine.
When you feel like someone is ahead of you on the blogging or business journey, practice gratitude. Be thankful for all the things in your life that have led you to your blog. Be thankful that you had kids because now you can write that mom blog. Be thankful that you had that failed business because now you can encourage women that want to start a business.
When you are comparing yourself to other bloggers, other business owners, take a few minutes to remember your journey. Then be thankful for all the steps along the way that have gotten you to this point. Be thankful for what you have accomplished this far because I know it is a lot. Honor your process, your accomplishments, your journey. Honor yourself and be grateful.
5. Talk to Your Person
One of my favorite things to do when I get into this comparison funk is to talk to my people. My husband is really great at reminding me of my value and all the things I am good at. I am a lucky woman and I love him dearly for that. Yet sometim
es I need a different perspective.
Is that wrong or needy? Nope and here’s why.
Yes, my husband is my rock, my person, but we don’t have the same career. He is off in his financial advising world and doesn’t understand blogging or online business. Bless his heart, he tries, but he isn’t here in the trenches doing it. Just like I am not in the trenches building a financial advising practice.
But you know who is there with him? His co-workers. His fellow financial advisers that have been there and are going through the same things. When he talks to these people he feels less alone and gets good ideas on how to improve his business.
Sounds nice doesn’t it?!
Did you know the same resources are available to you? No you may not have co-workers, but there are fellow bloggers and online business owners in your space that will get what you are feeling. Take time to get to know people online and connect with them. Help them and give to them. Then when you need it they will be there for you.
And when you do need their help, get honest with them. Say “hey I am struggling because I am comparing myself to Beth Blogger who’s killing it and I am not. It’s making me feel like crap.” I promise you if you allow yourself to have authentic connections like this with people online, you will find a support system that will bring you up when you are down. I know I am thankful for mine!
6. Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle
One of my favorite quotes ever is by Jon Acuff “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
I was so guilty of this until I read this quote a few years ago. I would think: “Well Jane has 10,000 people on her email list and is making $50,000 a month blogging.”
Of course she is! Jane has been blogging for 10 years and knows her niche. She has programs and services to meet the needs of her followers. But Jane didn’t start out that way.
Jane started out like you. She had a handful of blog posts, 23 people on her email list, was blogging 60 hours a week, and making zero every month. Like you Jane worked her butt off to make something of her blog and turn it into a business. But it took time, trial and error, lots of mistakes, and a handful of wins to get there.
This is something that has been bothering me when I publish my income reports. I worry that women will read them and compare themselves to me. I swear every time I publish one of those reports I want to add an amendment called “But Wait.” But wait, you don’t know this is my third blog. But wait, you don’t know that I have floundered in another business. But wait, you don’t know the personal trauma I had to go through to get here.
My journey is different than yours and yours is different than mine. We will all arrive at our destination as long as we keep trying, keep putting ourselves out there, and keep helping other people.
Think about Jane’s journey when you compare yourself to her. She didn’t start out huge, but she did work hard to get where she is. Don’t compare Jane’s middle to your beginning. Instead learn from her and then help others when you get to the top!
And promise me you will take the income reports that I publish, and that other people publish with a grain of salt? Add a “but wait amendment” to them after you read them okay?
7. Befriend Them
I have to share with you one of the kindest things someone ever did for me in business. This blogger was having her own comparison moment with me. Me?! Truly I was shocked by this. I admired this blogger, still do, and think she is one of the best writers and people I have met. So for her to compare herself to me was hard for me to fathom.
You know what she did? She reached out to me. She said in not so many words, I was feeling jealous of where you are and I thought instead of feeling that way, I would reach out to you and get to know you, and find out what you are doing that’s working.
Talk about a slice of humble pie for me. It still gives me goose bumps.
What this blogger did was not only kind, it was smart. Instead of being jealous of me or comparing herself to me, she reached out and got to know me. She took time to get on the phone with me and talk about what’s bugging her about her business. In turn, it gave me the opportunity to share what was bugging me in my business. Because while it may look good on the outside it isn’t all roses on the inside.
By reaching out to me this blogger gave us the opportunity to squash the comparison monster. It gave us the chance to have an authentic conversation which isn’t easy online these days. In this conversation we helped each other and a friendship was born. Talk about turning something negative into a huge positive!
If you are really stuck comparing yourself to a blogger or a business owner reach out to them! Get to know them through the blog or website. Engage with them and start a conversation. You might find someone new that gets where you are, where you are going, and wants to be your friend. Not a bad way to kill the comparison monster is it?!
8. Take a Break
The internet is a lonely place! It is filled with only the best Facebook memories and events isn’t it? We all make our posts to look so pretty. Life is so perfect on Facebook isn’t?!
Except it’s not. And we have to remember that we are reading our newsfeed through a rose-filtered lens.
When you find the comparison monster getting you, take a break from the internet. Get off Facebook for a few days. Pull yourself away from the rose-colored view and back into the real world where it is messy and not perfect.
While you are on this break do something physical that is productive. Go for a run, de-clutter your bedroom, or do a craft with your kids. Do something physical to take your mind off comparing yourself to other people. Doing this breathes life back into you as a person. Remember at the end of the day, you are awesome and more than who you are on the internet.
9. Your Season of Life
Okay true confession time. Pretty much every single day I have to remind myself where I am in my season of life. When I see other bloggers or online business owners doing so much better than me, I remind myself where I am in my life.
It’s not that I forget I am raising these little people, but somehow I do when I compare myself to others.
Yet everyone else gives me a break but me. You know what everyone says to me when I tell them I have three kids, ages 7, 4, and 3?
Wow you have your hands full.
You are dang right I do! Now why can’t I ever remember that when I am comparing myself to other people?
I have to remind myself constantly that I might in fact be farther ahead if I had more time to work on my business. As it sits I have about 2-4 hours every day to work on it. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. Many of those hours are interrupted by shuttling kids to preschool, putting them down for naps, and cooking dinner. Plus a million other things. I am working on my business in the fringe hours, including when I am exhausted and not at my best.
The truth is we are all at a different season of life. Some of us have to blog in the fringe hours because we work a full-time job from 8-5. Some of us are surrounded by little people and trying to build blogs between preschool drop off and nap time. Some of us have part-time help and some of us can’t afford it right now. When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, make sure you are comparing your seasons of life too.
Comparing yourself to others is human nature, especially for us women. We are good at being hard on ourselves. My hope is that after reading this post you will give yourself some grace. Heck I hope I will give myself some grace too! You are doing the best you can lady! I am thankful that you are out in the world sharing your unique voice with us!