You know that feeling you get when someone posts or talks about the new cool project they’re launching? That sinking, panicky feeling of, “Oh man, they’re doing something cool and I’m not doing anything!” That worry of not being as far along as you wanted to be? Afraid that everyone else is ahead of you in a race that doesn’t actually exist? So sure that they’ll take all the readers, clients, customers before you can get your shit together?
That feeling stinks.
Jealousy and comparing yourself to others are the two quickest ways to kill your ambition, motivation, and make yourself feel just plain bad. And it’s not just online; it’s wondering if your coworker is getting better reviews, if your partner’s ex was cuter, smarter, or more fun than you, it’s watching your friend doing something that you wish you could do. Even the most confident person runs into the green-eyed monster every once in a while.
So how do we shut it down?
Every time I start wondering what so & so has got going on over at their blog, I remind myself to stay in my bubble. I literally think this every time my mind starts to wander into comparison-land. I focus on what I’m doing, where I’m going, what my readers would love to read & would benefit most from.
In aerial classes, Irina is big on telling students to not worry about what everyone else is doing and instead be concerned with whether you’ve improved on what you did the week before. Can you hold yourself up longer, move deeper into a pose, run through a routine with more ease? You’ll be much better off if you put your focus on you own progress instead of stopping yourself short by being bummed that you can’t do as much as others.
Online or off it may appear that people are creating things, growing their blogs, and living with the utmost ease. What seems like a picture perfect life may only be a fraction of their story. I’m not writing about all my personal struggles and I’m guessing most bloggers don’t either. Keep that in mind when you start worrying that your life, blog, business doesn’t seem as carefree as others.
Every time you start comparing yourself to someone else try focusing on your strengths. Think of 5 awesome things you’re doing, 5 of your best traits, 5 reasons people read your blog/buy your products, or 5 reasons why you’re lookin’ fly. Make it a habit – jealousy creeps in and your brain should immediately switch into confidence building mode.
Also dig a little deeper and figure out where that jealousy is stemming from. Is there a project you’ve been thinking about but have yet to start? Are you on a path that you’re not satisfied with and yearn to be doing something else? Is someone in your life telling you should to look, be or do something different? Knowing where the feeling is coming from may help you find a strategy to turn it off.
How to keep it from happening in the first place
Clean out (or hide) all those people and sites in your reader, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram who make you feel jealous, sad, annoyed, competitive, or any other no good very bad way. Hell, clean out your offline life too! There’s nothing wrong with politely declining requests from people you constantly compare yourself to or get jealous of.
One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Stay focused on what’s in front of you instead of wasting time checking on everyone else. They’re not looking at you and worrying what you’re doing, they’re forging ahead. You don’t gain anything from comparing yourself and you might throw yourself off track just by doing so. It’s self-sabotage and it’s not worth it.
What are your best techniques for staving off jealousy and comparison?
Original image Chantal Thomass Spring 2013