I’m regularly distracted by thinking that my business should be progressing more quickly than it is, that I should be earning more and generally that every aspect of my business should just be better. This is not helped when I see lots of examples on social media of business owners in similar roles to me – apparently absolutely smashing it. So, I’ve written a list of what to do when dreaded comparison strikes:
1) Think back to why you started this business in the first place
In my case my primary goals were to leave the bureaucracy and hierarchy of my full time job and to enjoy some creativity and freedom. It wasn’t to run a high turnover business and to be able to boast about my earnings and success. I wanted to have a job that felt meaningful, where I felt valued and I got to explore my creativity. Well, bingo, it turns out I’m already killing that objective.
2) Are you progressing towards the goals you set yourself for your business?
In my case at the moment, because I only started my business six months ago, my main aim is less about income and more about getting known as an Instagram trainer. I’ve been doing this via my newsletter, by speaking at events, running meet ups, networking and writing a weekly blog post.
Oh and crikey, when I take the time to think about it, that’s all going really well.
I just need to make sure I focus on my own journey instead of mooning over how successful I think other people are. Hopefully it’s the same for you.
3) Reflect on what your own special talents and abilities are
I watch on in awe as I see many other people in the digital world roll out their businesses with what seems to be incredible clarity and finesse.
These ‘successful’ people are are often fully booked months and months in advance and can charge hefty sums for their services.
And seeing these small businesses succeed on such a large scale brings in nagging self doubt for me. How have they got such a huge audience? Such and such is so great at speaking on podcasts. Blah de blah is so the right age for this industry – I’m so not. This negative self talk is not good for me at all I admit!
So in order to be helpful to myself – I have to really reflect on what’s special and unique that I’m bringing to the table and remember what my core values are about.
- When others are slick, I am honest and characterful.
- When others know more about the latest Instagram changes than I do, I have to remember that I’m fab at motivating people to give things a go on Instagram when they are wary of the platform.
- While some may be better at building an enormous online presence, I’m actually very good at connecting with people in real life. A lot of people in Manchester know me because I’ve got out and about.
- While others have a photographic memory and retain information brilliantly – I have empathy in bucket loads, so I intuitively draw the best out in my clients and see their strengths.
- While others put out more content than than me, mine is always very creative, thoughtful and open.
- Because I’m not insanely busy, I’m very present for all my clients.
4) Be grateful
It’s so helpful to sit down and remember all the things that really are brilliant about your life.
I have to remember I have a roof over my head and a lovely boyfriend, great friends, a nice life and good health. And that I love my job, my freedom and getting to teach so many interesting people. I’m so grateful that I get to do a lot of photography and go on courses, and I really enjoy the opportunity to express myself creativity through writing blog posts as well.
When I break it down – it’s all pretty dreamy – as long as I don’t start looking at others and finding myself lacking.
5) Have a social media curfew
Take a break from social media. When comparisonitis rears its ugly head, it’s usually because I’m scrolling through social media, looking at people posting the best versions of their lives and thinking my life doesn’t match up to that. But I forget it’s not real. If I met these people in the flesh I would find out all sorts of things that they are finding stressful and difficult in their own lives. But I’m basing my evidence on a photo and some words that probably reveal 5% of the truth. So sometimes the best thing I can do is have a day or two off social and get back to interacting with the real world.
6) Take a break
I make myself vulnerable to self doubt by overworking and spending too much of my non work life focussed on my business as well. This allows me to become far too obsessed with how well everyone else is doing with their businesses. When I’m investing all my energy into my business – everything about it starts to matter too much. But if I just chill out a bit, put some fun social things in the calendar, go for some walks, hang out with friends, read more books, just allow myself to have a life, guess what? I don’t care how brilliantly some random person in Brighton I’ve never met is doing with their business.
What are your tips?
I’d love to hear how you ward off the comparison demon. Do comment below.
And if you enjoyed reading this, you might like to read The Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting A Freelance Business
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