Healthy Comparison or Struck Down With Comparisonitis - are you Tired of the Whole Comparison Thing?
OMGoodness I could get into a lengthy rant about this topic.
I spend far too much time talking with business owners who are crippling themselves because they continue to compare. Now I am all for healthy comparison, but when it stops you in your tracks the process is getting way to much attention.
In the past few months I have seen the following happen thanks to #comparisonitis
- a program halted a week before kick-off, even though it was close to a sell out. The amazing leader decided it still wasn’t good enough, so she cancelled everything, refunded everyone and I’ve seen nothing from her since
- a business owner threaten to close her business because she felt like someone else (whom she knew personally) had opened the same business
- a successful and well regarded speaker cancel three speaking gigs because she didn’t think she measured up to the others on the bill
- a highly experienced business man with decades of expertise in a niche field decide he should just give up because there was too much competition with new kids on the block offering competitive prices. He missed the point of his decades of expertise and the fact he wasn’t marketing that!
These are just the big ticket items I got to hear about, not the day to day comparison that gets hold of you and wreaks havoc with your confidence and motivation.
"Comparison is the thief of joy" Theodore Roosevelt
I have to agree Mr Roosevelt; well agree in most instances. I do know there are some occasions where comparison can be healthy and useful. I’ll get to those shortly.
Firstly, did you realise there was such a thing as Comparison Theory? It’s a psychological phenomenon with a social twist, which I am certain has been magnified with the rise of social media.
According to Psychology Today, “social comparison theory states that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly making self and other evaluations across a variety of domains (for example, attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success).”
Comparison Theory is attributed to psychologist Leon Festinger, who first wrote about it in 1954. I am certain it’s been a human condition for a lot longer than that though, don’t you?
As a business owner there are a few hundred opportunities for comparison every time you open social media. Spend a moment on Facebook and you’re bombarded with all the ins and outs of what everyone else is doing.
It seems as human beings we are hard wired to use all that information being thrown our way to determine if we are ok or not ok.
It frustrates me when comparison becomes a judgement practice.
I get it’s a real thing and I see how it can be healthy (read on) but in my experience it tends to do more damage than good. Not all comparison experiences are created equal. Yet comparison seems to pull us in and make us spend valuable time weighing things up to draw conculsions.
Conclusions that could be right. Or they could be very wrong.
Don’t be the little goldfish in a big bowl trying to work out why the goldfish in the bowl next to you looks so big and fabulous!
Comparison; worth killer or a healthy motivator?
Comparison isn’t all bad and that’s something we can all do with remembering. Comoarison can be powerful in shaping your personal and business identity. It can be a motivation to improve yourself, give your self-esteem a healthy boost and it can assist with overall satisfaction with your accomplishments.
There is such a thing as healthy comparison. I know, because it’s the kind I choose to invest time in when swayed to compare.
How do you experience Health Comparison?
The way I see it, it all comes down to perception and mindset. View the world with a healthy lens and be willing to see things as factually as you can and you are in a great position to benefit from comparison.
I’d love to just say “ignore all that stuff you see!”
“Don’t be tempted to google and check out your competitors!”
“Stay away from your unsubscribe list!”
“Run, don’t walk, from the latest life changing share you just read on social media!”
But the thing is, I am a realist. I also believe knowing what your industry standards are is healthy, And I believe it’s smart to know what your competitors are up to.
Not to derail yourself and totally rewrite your sales page. Instead, to be informed and then be in a better position to choose the way you’re going to proceed. That’s healthy comparison at it’s best.
When you choose to use the comparing you naturally do as a motivator it can bring you focus and generate momentum to get on with the things you want to achieve in your business.
So next time you feel compelled to compare ask yourself one or more of the following questions
- How can I use this to to motivate myself?
- What am I already doing that is equally as awesome?
- What can I learn from what I discovered?
Have fun comparing and use what you discover to your advantage! In my experience the best comparing I’ve done in business is with my self.