For this month’s Do What You Love post I thought I’d talk about a topic that has affected me a lot in my entrepreneurial journey: comparison. Unfortunately I know I’m not the only one that suffers from this! Anyone who’s pursuing their dreams and starting an online business is going to come up against this at some point, and if you don’t tackle it, it has the potential to paralyse you into total inaction and feeling ready to give up!
This fabulous online world offers us so many positive things, but one of the downsides of the incredible amount of visibility it creates is that we get to see almost too much. We see all of the other people doing what we want to be doing, and what often seems to us, in ways so much better than ours. We see their perfectly curated images on Instagram, or Facebook posts about their amazing lives and it’s easy to compare yourself and your life to theirs and feel it doesn’t measure up.
Personally this has really affected me at times over the last few years. I see women who look like models with thousands and thousands of online followers and devotees creating some incredible recipes, books and websites, working with amazing brands and publishers and sometimes I’ve seriously wondered why the fuck I bother. There’s no way I can ‘compete’ with these other women, and because they’re so amazing, why would anyone ever want to work with me?
Stop. Right. There.
You’re not alone in feeling like that, but you have to handle these feelings of self comparison now if you’re ever going to share your brilliance with the world. For me, I realised a few things…
Firstly, there’s no such thing as ‘competition’ in this new age online world. There’s more than enough abundance for everyone (I know how woo woo I sound when I say that!) and focusing on that frees up your energy so you can start creating and putting your stuff out into the world.
Secondly, the world needs YOU. No one has your unique voice, your unique journey, your unique you-ness. Who are you to decide that the world doesn’t need that? As my wonderful Mastermind sister Ebonie Allard has said to me, if Ed Sheeran had decided that ‘actually there’s loads of other male singer songwriters out there, who needs me?’ the world would have missed out on his music. I had to remind myself that there’s no one else out there that’s me, and I have a lot to share that needs to be heard. I’m sure you do too!
Finally, use the feelings to your benefit. The people that trigger me aren’t horrible people and I don’t dislike them at all because it’s actually got nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. Look for the ‘why’ when you’re feeling those icky feelings of self doubt and comparison. Are these people doing something you’d like to do? Often I realise that I wouldn’t want the life that they have because it wouldn’t feel good for me. Sometimes I see someone achieving something I’d like to achieve and that’s useful feedback and a way to highlight something that’s either missing in my life, or something to add to my list of life goals. Most often for me, the ickiness is that of feeling inadequacy and not being good enough, a pattern of feelings that go right back to my childhood. Just being able to see those feelings for what they are in that case is helpful for me as I’m always working on them.
So all of that is well and good, but it can be really hard to keep your energy in the right place when every time you hop on Instagram or Facebook you’re getting triggered by the fabulousness of others. This is the time when you need to have an unfollow party! Personally they’re some people on social media who I just can’t follow because I get so triggered and I want social media to make me feel inspired, not like shit. Don’t worry about unfollowing people – you being on your game, staying creative and keeping your energy and vibration high is more important.
If this topic of online self comparison is resonating with you, check out HigherSelfie who talk a lot about this and how to deal.
I’d love to get your thoughts on this topic! How has self comparison affected you when it comes to doing what you love and following your dreams?
I am still working on this one – it seems everyday but keeping focused on your own ‘lane’ is the only way to move forward. I also do regualr gratitude lists too – super helpful for regaining perspective ;) xxxx
oh great one with the gratitude lists, such a good way to keep focusing inward :-)
Thank you for this! I really needed it today when I am feeling a little overwhelmed and as if I am a million miles away from where I’d like to be
I’m so glad it was helpful for you, just know you’ll get there eventually!
A very wise and true post. I once read a quote somewhere that really struct me. Someone’s success should never overshadow some else’s. Competition is healthy but so is collaboration and inspiration.
Totally agree, great quote. I love the idea of collaboration and that there’s more than enough to go round!
This post has been great timing. I’ve been really struggling with feeling overwhelmed and a little like I’m stagnating (covering for 2 months while usual childcare is unavailable) while everyone else is moving forward. Loss of momentum can be quite disheartening and procrastination is so easy with a smartphone! Might be time for an unfollow party (not you though of course!) xx
OMG I get this as well, it can feel really hard when you’re not seeing the growth you’d like to and I struggled with this when I had Finley as I felt like I was being overtaken by everyone else! Defo have an unfollow party :-)
I do think we are so lucky with the internet, but it can be so dangerous with basically everything being out there. I have just found I stop looking at things if they annoy me or make me feel bad about myself, but it does take a bit of willpower!
It can be so easy to get caught up in negative stuff, sometimes without even realising. I think curating and editing our online world is so important!
It’s SO easy to compare yourself to others online, and I’m definitely guilty of brining myself down because ‘she has so many more followers than me’ or ‘she blogs part time and manages to nail her social media, and gets 4 blog posts up a week and is generally so much better than me’ etc etc…! The only person you should really be blogging for is you though, and it’s a bonus if any of the content you create is found by others, and an even bigger bonus if they decide to revisit your blog or even follow your blog/social channels too! I suppose it’s different if you blog full time and it’s a big source or is THE main source of income.
I can only blog part time as I have a full time job and it’s so tough to make space to blog, let alone find time and energy to do other life errands! I LOVE the advice ‘the world needs YOU’ because you are simply unique and offer something totally different to everyone else, even if there are people out there doing very similar things! The great thing about the internet is that you can sort of tailor it to what you need and want to see, so if there’s anything that’s making you feel negative or uninspired, just go and remove it from your internets!
She’s So Lucy
Totally agree, I think blogging for you is so important and keeps things enjoyable! And absolutely, I think we all need to curate and edit our online worlds as we see fit!
I totally agree with all this! Even if I’m not trying to start a business online I sometimes have feelings of discouragement or jealousy when I see on my fb/instagram/twitter feeds what other people are up to. I do have a few unfollow parties from time to time. Even though I am aware that there is a place for everyone on the internet, it still hard to remember when I’m feeling low or stressed out. Thanks for this post Laura, it’s always good to be reminded of such things.
Clem | ravacholle.blogspot.com
THANK YOU for this post—I certainly struggle with this at times. Your line about “why the fuck do I even bother” totally hit home and gave me a good laugh!