Comparison doesn’t just steal your joy, it paralyzes you, it blurs your vision, and it hides your worth. You know that feeling when you’re scrolling through Instagram, smiling and laughing, and suddenly you stumble across a picture that loosens your smile and activates your negative thoughts.
All of a sudden, you’re convinced that you’re not doing enough or good enough. And next thing you know, you’re throwing yourself a pity party for one, forgetting all the amazing things you’re doing and have done.
Instead of slipping and sliding in inadequacy, start to see other people’s success and blessings as a glimpse of what’s possible for you. As they accomplish their next big thing, recognize that they’re just making it even more possible for you to do the same. Get excited.
While you may not be able to get their exact job, their exact blessing, their exact accomplishment, it doesn’t minimize what’s achievable for you, it paves the way. It makes room for you to keep going, to keep pushing, because their blessing is evidence that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for you, too.
But, just like six-pack abs don’t magically show up in the morning, comparison doesn’t vanish overnight. We still struggle with comparing ourselves to our colleagues, people we don’t know on Instagram, and worse who we think we’re “supposed to be.”
Here are a few ways you can practice combating comparison.
Recognize the value you bring to your company. Don’t get distracted by what other people are accomplishing, don’t worry about who’s not praising you.
The next time your colleague is complimented for their amazing work, instead of feeling down on yourself, take a step back and recognize that their accomplishment is not the absence of your value. Then, if you’re sincerely interested in how they did it, go ask questions. Learn more about how they were able to accomplish whatever praise-worthy result you’re curious about. Ask for advice, actually take notes and figure out what improvements you can make to step your game up.
Instead of letting comparison fuel your frustration and influence your self-esteem, let those moments inspire you to do more, not for validation from your team or boss, but because you’re the kind of person who’s always looking to grow and develop your skills and capabilities.
Plus, if you’re job hunting for a new position, you’re on your way out and you should spend your energy at work accomplishing as much as you can before you go. Focus on leaving an impactful mark, without worrying about the next person.
Thanks to perfectly curated feeds, inspiring well-thought out captions, and enticing Instagram stories that give us front seats to memorable moments, Instagram has become the breeding ground for envy. Forget that we all know we’re scrolling through highlight reels, the realization doesn’t do much for our self-esteem, especially when we know the highlight of our days (read: coming home and watching Netflix) still don’t compare to the highlight reel we’re seeing on our timelines.
So, what’s the solution? One word: Mute. Luckily, Instagram rolled out the mute button last year and, if you didn’t know, it is your life saver. The mute button allows you to remove people from your timeline without notifying them of your decision.
Mute people who entice you to make choices that are not meant for you, like applying for that position solely because that one person you follow seems to be having so much success in her career or considering business school because it seems to be what everyone else on your timeline is doing. Mute people who make you feel like you’re not doing enough. Mute people who make you question yourself or your progress.
Yes, it’s not their fault you feel the way you do. But it’s your responsibility to take care of your peace of mind. Mute and keep it cute. Then follow other people who positively inspire you to become your best self.
In Your Mind:
We are our harshest critic. Every time things don’t pan out the way we imagined, we punish ourselves with negative thoughts, comparing ourselves to where we thought we’d be by now.
Rather than recalculating all times you could’ve done better, and all the things you should’ve accomplished by now, all the reasons you didn’t get that job, all the reasons he got that promotion and you didn’t, take inventory of how far you’ve come.
Beating yourself up is exhausting and it leaves no room for sustainable healthy improvements and it hinders your ability to make strategic decisions. Practice gratitude instead. Focusing on what you’re doing well, equips you to do more things well and opens you up to experience more opportunities that align with where you want to be in your career.
Like running a race, you can’t accomplish your career goals if you’re constantly looking back at your past mistakes and comparing yourself to everyone around you.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.
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