I wish I had Oprah sitting beside me giving me this exact pep talk on Tuesday morning. If we’re being honest, I wish I had Oprah talking to me everyday! On Tuesday, I found my voice of doubt was speaking much louder than it has in quite some time. This caused me to feel down and inadequate, like I wasn’t doing enough. Then the curiosity set in, I didn’t I wake up this way, so what caused it? The answer was clear, the singular source of energy that fueled my doubt monster was when I compared myself to others. I fell into the cavern of comparison, and let me tell you, it’s dark in there.
Let me replay the mornings events. I read a beautiful profile on one of my favorite thought leaders, Adam Grant, and by the end felt my doubt creeping in. “Wow, he has accomplished so much and yet we are the same age.” Then later in the day, a friend was sharing how powerful a training was by a fellow speaker. While I was thrilled they got to learn from this person, my doubt monster started asking, “Do people say that about you? If they are that good, what does that mean about me?”
These thoughts happened quickly and quite unconsciously until I paid attention. My brain was measuring my journey against someone else’s journey. My brain was assuming that there is a finite amount of impact and success available in this world. My brain was wrong.
Take a moment to think about this in your own life. How does comparison make you feel? Here are two common paths we follow when we compare, and neither are great.
- When we compare where we are in our journey to someone who is better or further along, we will likely come out disappointed.
- When we compare ourselves to someone who isn’t as far along as you, it may make you feel better, but at the cost of belittling someone else.
Power from within is always greater than power over others.
If you do find yourself in this comparison mode and the doubt monster is creeping in, follow these steps:
- Pause and notice what stories you are telling yourself.
- Observe what impact those stories are making on you.
- Acknowledge that you are taking your own path, and that you have the power within yourself to stick to that path or forge a new road.
Think about your social media reactions. If you see a friend doing something amazing, are you instantly jealous and start comparing your endeavors to theirs? How can you work to transition this thinking to appreciation and celebration? Perhaps the bigger question is, if you find yourself constantly comparing and genuinely unhappy with where you are in life, what changes can you start to make? The caveat of this is to not make changes that are modeled off of someone else’s life. Oprah would not be Oprah if she had constantly tried to be like Barbara Walters.