Updated: May 28
"Comparison is the thief of joy." Theodore Roosevelt
This is one of my favorite quotes of all time and, gosh, it has never been truer than it is today.
At this point, it’s well known by even the most disconnected person that social media use is linked to low self-esteem and depression. We’re constantly connected, people only show you the good stuff, and fudging the truth is really just par for the course (I’m looking at you, Insta filters).
Then you throw in the wonderful world of entrepreneurship and it feels like we’ve just doubled down on this comparison game.
Now, one thing I know from experience is that when you put yourself out there to launch, promote and run your own business, it can become a nasty game of comparison really quickly. Especially when it comes to online marketing and digital businesses. You know what I'm talking about, don’t you?
I remember constantly looking at other people’s website layouts to see how they compared to mine. I would spend hours on Canva trying to create the perfect social graphic that looked as pro as everyone else’s… but it never did. I would always notice how many likes and followers someone else had and secretly die a little inside every time someone unfollowed me. I would even get headshots and then lament that I didn’t get the one with the right expression and all the white space on the left so I could put in the cool copy like that one chick has on that one blog post I clicked on through Pinterest two months ago…sigh.
Then one of two things always happens:
1) You take on so many different projects, swearing that you need them all right now or your business will surely fail, but none of them ever get done effectively or mastered because you’re spread too thin, or
2) You don’t do a damn thing because you’re too overwhelmed and don’t want to make the wrong move. Say hello to my drug of choice: Analysis Paralysis.
I mean, talk about zapping the joy from your work! Which is crazy because the reason you launched your own business in the first place is because you love what you do SO MUCH it oozes from your pores, right?
So, what’s an entrepreneur to do? First, take a deep breath. You’ve got this. As with so many other things, it’s about keeping it simple and finding the right balance.
Here are some surefire ways that you can get out of the comparison trap and back on your own path:
Keep things simple. Focus on one thing at a time. What’s your best and quickest way to make money? Is it in your email list? Is it personal connections and networking groups? Does your website desperately need more traffic? Do you really need to be an Instagram influencer to prosper? Your answer may be yes to all of these and that’s fine. But if you’re barely paying the bills and you’re trying to succeed in all areas instead of focusing on the one that consistently brings in income, you’re looking at things a little backward. Choose what works best for you right now and work it until you’re close to mastery. Then you can add the next thing to help you grow from there.
Delegate. You’ve probably heard people talk about staying in your “zone of genius”. What this means is that if you’re spending hours upon hours trying to figure out one piece of the business pie when you could be doing what you’re best at - making money - then it’s time to delegate. This was one of my biggest hang-ups so I get how challenging it can be in the beginning. For example, even though it’s simple for other people, design and email marketing platforms break my brain. One of the best investments I ever made was to hire someone to work the back end so I could be free to work with clients and create meaningful content. The reality is, I was costing myself WAY more than I would pay someone to do this for me. Look at where you’re spending your time that could be costing you and delegate it out.
Turn down the noise. Unfollow and unsubscribe from anyone and everyone that distracts you. Start listening to your own voice again. Reconnect with your Why. Have you ever been so excited and passionate talking about your vision that people are like, “whoa”? When you tune out what others are doing and saying, you can reconnect with your vision and purpose so strongly that staying true to you and what you have to offer becomes effortless.
Be Yourself. Consider this: there are people out there waiting to find YOU because only YOU can help them. I call these your divine customers or clients. And they need you to be YOU, sharing YOUR message so they can FIND YOU. When you’re busy comparing yourself to others, you’re likely to start looking and sounding like everyone else. You owe it to your divine clients and to yourself to use your voice and play by your own rules. Stay focused on this and they’ll find you along the way, I promise. Where do you get caught up in comparison? Does it hold you back? How do you think it might actually be helping you? Leave a comment or email me and let me know.
Want to get out of the comparison trap and start making more money and impact now? Check out my Ridiculously Easy Referral Generator toolkit for everything you need to fill your calendar.
Want to join a community of fellow bosses who get what it's like to navigate the unique challenges of entrepreneurship? Join me in my FREE Facebook group, Streamlined Success for the Service-Based Entrepreneur.