We have all probably been guilty of it at some time or another, some people more so than others. Some do it to the extent that they start to feel inadequate about themselves.
What I am talking about here is comparing yourself to someone else who you perceive to be better, more successful, more popular or even prettier than you etc.
Why do we do this? Put ourselves down by comparing ourselves to someone who we think is better than us. Whilst there is nothing wrong in admiring someone who is good or successful at what they do, to constantly be comparing yourself to them will only feed in to your insecurities about yourself.
A client of mine continuously compared herself to her colleagues and did not think she was interesting enough to join in their conversations. As such, she would refrain from engaging in conversation with her colleagues.
She would not start conversations through fear of looking ridiculous or sounding stupid. She was not interested in some of the usual topics of conversation in the office such as TV soaps. Neither was she interested in sport which was regularly a hot topic of conversation amongst her male colleagues.
When she told me the story of her background, she had an incredible story to tell. She had travelled to other parts of the world on her own, spending 6 months in a strange country, not knowing anyone there.
I asked her to tell me about her experiences getting to know people on her travels. She told me that she would join different groups of interest and that she got to know several people, striking up good friendships in this way.
I got her to look at how she had initiated conversations with strangers from the other side of the world and to look at what it was that she did then that she was not doing now. The answer to her was then simple. Stop telling herself that she was not as good or as interesting as her colleagues. She had done it before in a strange country so she could easily do it now.
By continuously telling yourself that you are not as good as someone else, you will start to believe that you are not as good. However, it may just be the case that you do not have the length of experience that they may have.
I see this in many women who are starting out in business. They look at other women who are very successful in their businesses and start to feel that they will never be like them. This then leaves them with a lack of confidence to take their business forward.
Another client of mine had recently made a career change having been in her profession for over 20 years. She was achieving relative success in her new role, to the extent where she was being asked to deliver training and speak to groups about particular topics. However, she kept putting herself down, believing that she would ‘get caught out’ and that her managers would realise she was actually no good at the job.
When I questioned her about the 2 people she continuously compared herself to, it transpired that they both had approximately 20 years experience in that particular field.
By looking at the fact that she was being asked to speak on the subject, having only been in the profession for 2 years, she was able to see how, if she also had 20 years experience, just how much more she would have accomplished.
So whilst it is good to admire others who have achieved more success in their field, do not compare yourself. You may not know what their journey has been like or the challenges they have faced to get there. Instead, learn from them. Listen to the stories of their journeys and the experiences that they have had along the way.
You are unique and need to find YOUR way of achieving the success that you desire.
You can read further blog posts here