As expectations on communicators becomes greater, faster and more thrilling so too does the toll on our colleagues to get our work just right. Perfection can end up being that sought after pot of gold…
Add to this our ‘always available’ social media feeds, the joyous IG accounts of content creators (either for business or socially), the magical social feed word weavers and everywhere you look you get this potent and heady mix that creates (assumed) perfect lives, jobs and worlds.
Their content, imagery and feelgood journeys lead to abundant opportunities to be emotionally triggered… all of which are bound to leave their mark. Often the result takes the shape of comparison. Leading to envy, insecurity and procrastination and in some cases self-sabotage and poor choices. This means many find themselves in the midst of a comparison epidemic before they even realise it.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you could argue comparison could be viewed as inner dialogue that stops you in your tracks, compares you unfavourably with others or triggers a whole host of emotions. The mental devil that sits on your shoulder and talks you out of things and dulls your flame. It’s not even something that may be forefront of your thoughts. It’s just what you’ve always thought. Or what your business creates through targets, rivalry etc without even realising it. But why? What has lead to you fostering that belief? And why can what someone else does create this tsunami of emotions?
It’s only recently that comparison has been explored and cited as a cause of mental burnout. Its prominence is now being documented and discussed as a key area for causing crippling self-doubt and low confidence. If you are prone to comparing yourself against others it can make your job harder and your personal life less enriching.
So how can we overcome this?
Thankfully the world has Lucy. Lucy Sheridan is the first comparison coach. She is a speaker and founder of proofcoaching.com and a living case study on comparison. We share some of her insight…
Lucy explains about all of us living in different time zones. Let’s say, we compare UK and Australia. Both wake and sleep at different times. One before the other but that’s accepted and we don’t think one hits milestones before the other. We don’t say we are not as good because they started their day before us. She uses the example to explain individuals hitting milestones at different times. The feeling that comparison with others gives you a false sense of being ‘behind’.
But doing what’s right for you or your company in your time-zone doesn’t mean you are any less productive or successful. It’s just the right time for you.
Stimulus is great
Lucy also argues that comparison can be a stimulus and if used positively gives us time to reflect. Yes, some might have hit milestones or achieved a goal before us, but we don’t know what helped them to get there. Did that come at a cost? What might they have had to forego to achieve what they have? Or what would their company need to have sacrificed or changed?
Being reflective and exploring the emotions that come up can be as rewarding as hitting the final goal.
Enjoy the journey
As communicators putting aside our own beliefs can be tricky. Taking the time to find out the triggers that stop you or hinder progress can be useful. Think about your path (or the teams paths) to where you want to go? And what could derail this?
The road could be longer, but it could also be more enjoyable or offer greater opportunity.
Self-preservation is key
Make time to enjoy yourself and live your life authentically NOW. Making mistakes is ok and comparing will only serve to make you feel negative. A mistake isn’t always a bad thing but can offer a new direction.
Lucy also talks about being authentic in her business comms and how available she now makes herself. We live in a 24/7 world and burnout is always possible. She was always made to feel like she needed to be available and that doesn’t serve many well. She suggests making out of office messages state timeframes for getting back on questions or making it clear that even if a message has been seen on social feeds it doesn’t mean she has the capacity to respond immediately. Being clear is important.
Future self says thank you
What would your future self say to the person you are now? Take the first step on your path today. A little work on living your own life authentically rather than for social media is a great start.
#BeKind and as Lucy would say, live your life #comparisonfree.
By Ally Taylor for Alive With Ideas