Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

2018 all Jul 11, 2018
Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Comparison is the thief of joy” and in my work as a Business Coach I can quite understand what he meant.
I see many new businesses under-mining their success by continually comparing themselves to others. So much so that it minimises their ability to celebrate their own successes.
When starting our businesses it is right that we should research our competitors and even 'forensically review' what they do; what they charge; what is working well for them and what is not hitting the mark for their customers (potentially our customers)!
This sort of comparison gives us parameters to work within and helps us to frame our own offerings to attract those customers to our business. It gives us a picture of what type of business model we should use to be most successful. It can keep you regularly up to speed with competitor and customer trends; and can act as a great way to be able to see what you potential audience needs from you whilst you are still building your business. But, that is where our comparisons should stop!
Unfortunately in this world of Social Media it is all too easy to get drawn in to watching our competitors on a regular basis.
Seeing your competitors apparently ‘ doing well’ (whether that be at home or at work) could be a harmless pursuit and potentially useful, as it tells you the there is a market for what you are doing. However, the downside is that if you are in the slightest bit nervous about your offering or your own performance, rather than spurring you on to get out there are grab yourself a piece of the action, it can actually lead to a serious slump in your own motivation and confidence. The more you watch the worse you feel.
It seems that our natural reaction more often than not is one of dis-illusion, and dis-satisfaction with our own short comings. You find yourself questioning why they are attracting more customers than you; of what are they able to buy x, y and z when you can’t; and can eventually end up wasting valuable time and energy focusing on solving problem that doesn’t exist. This is behaviour is not going to help you build your own business!
So what should you do when you feel the urge for some serious comparison coming over you?
1 - Raise your self awareness and spot the triggers early - so as to avoid them if possible. If you know a certain person always ‘winds you up’; or there are certain Pages or Groups that you are a member of, that really see you fall into a less than productive place get out of there! Why are you still following them? Don’t waste your time!
2 - Remember that more often than not you are looking at where they are now (after so many months or years of working in the background). You are comparing yourself at the start of your journey with them several steps (months or years) ahead of you. It’s not an accurate or helpful comparison!
3 - Work on your own Vision of success. They may have more customers, and more therefore potentially more money, but you know that your ‘Why’ is not solely driven by money. Don’t lose sight of your Big Picture and what it means to you.
4 - Remember, you are what you think about most. So choose wisely who you are going to follow. Only follow people who inspire you to live a better life, in the way that matters most to you. Spend your precious time and thoughts on this, instead comparing ourselves to everyone else. It is your uniqueness that will win people over and make them do business with you.
5 - Turn off the little nagging voices of doubt that can fill your mind and crowd your judgement! Stop the unhelpful self-talk. (Imposter Syndrome and the like). This is your time and your audience will find you if you keep putting yourself out there consistently.
6 - Your competitors are there to learn from. Promise yourself that you will learn from their successes and their failures… but then that is where your research will stop. Your only true competition is yourself - your challenge is to block out all the other fluff and the noise - find the lessons and become the best version of your (or your business) that you can be.
7 - Be a leader, not a follower. Dare to be different and to do it your way, and your ideal customers will spot you, as you standout from the crowd.

"Real change will come when you focus on yourself and what you have to offer to the work in you own unique way"

Karen x
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