This quote is my mantra on some days. As a human, I find it difficult to not compare myself to others–and, as a business owner, I find it even harder.
In our web-driven lives, it is impossible to not be eye-to-eye with other businesses on a regular basis. From connections on Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, we are lucky to be able to peek into other people’s creative business (or personal) lives but I am sure you know sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating! For me, this generates a daily barrage of “shoulds” and before I know it I’m deep in a pit of overwhelm because I’ve convinced myself I need to do 10X’s more than what I’m currently doing.
The comparisons usually go something like this: “Oh! Look at how many Twitter followers they have…I need to be on Twitter! Why haven’t I done that yet?! Look at all of these potential customers I’m missing out on! …But I hate Twitter, I have nothing to say…but they’re doing it, I should just suck it up and do it.” Before I know it, all of my daily goals are out the window and I’m down a rabbit hole of obsessing over other people’s Twitter accounts, figuring out how to get mine started and then, magically, get a million followers instantly (I truly spend a day doing this, it was no fun). Of course, a week later I end up throwing in the towel on the whole thing because the truth is, I don’t enjoy Twitter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing Twitter–I think it’s great, it’s just not for me. So, why do I drive myself absolutely nuts over these things when I could be using my time and mental capacity more productively?
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to mimic and copy what other successful businesses are doing instead of being true to myself and business. A lot of times, the truth is, I just don’t want to dig deep and trust my instincts. Why? Because it’s hard, it takes time, and it makes me vulnerable. I also tell myself the lie that, “If I can just grow to be like (insert your biggest business crush here) then everything will be ok and I will be on the right track.” In my experience, I’ve found the exact opposite. Every time my business reaches a new level, it always comes along with new challenges and even more businesses that I can compare myself to. The cycle is vicious and never-ending! That is, if you give into it.
In order to create an authentic business you have to be willing to take the time to look within yourself, dig deep, and be open to putting yourself out there for others to see you, the real you. I have found that customers have a finely tuned B.S. detector and if you’re not passionate about what you’re bringing to the table they’re gonna know it. My business growth and path has been and is completely unique to me and I know other business owners whose paths look similar, but know even more whose look completely different.
So, how do we stop this self sabotage of constantly comparing ourselves to others in business? I wish there was an easy antidote or something that I could tell you that would cure it forever, but for me it’s still one of those things that takes daily focus and determination. Though, I do have some tools I have learned over the years to help me combat comparison and run an authentic business:
Write down everything you want to do with your business. Every idea, plan, or goal. Once you write everything down wait a day or so to let this all settle in. After some time has passed, look through the list again with fresh eyes and cross anything off that doesn’t make your heart sing. (Now, I’m sure paying your rent or taxes doesn’t make your heart sing but you still need to take care of all non-negotiables, we’re talking negotiables for this list here 😉 If something didn’t make the cut, let. it. go.
Know who your ideal customer is. A lot of my comparing comes from seeing how many followers, fans, or customers a brand has. I get jealous and wonder, “Why aren’t all those people liking my Facebook page, following me on Instagram, or buying my products?!” Well, it’s probably because they’re not my ideal customer! The moment I catch myself in this tailspin, I’ll stop and ask myself, “Are the people that like this brand your ideal customer, Cassie?” The answer is almost always “no.” Then, it is very easy for me to let it go and, even better, be happy for the other business!
Keeping a daily list of three goals really helps me stay on track. These goals can carry over from day to day, or change on a daily basis. Getting stuck comparing myself with other businesses can very quickly derail my day and get me started on projects I did not intend to start. I like to start my day by writing down three work goals. If I get them done and want to do something else, fine, but it almost always takes much more focus then I think it will to completely commit to the goals I’ve laid out for myself. I’ve found that if I stick to this I’m much less likely to get sucked into comparison and get loose focus.
I hope you find some peace in these tools, because they’ve all helped me a lot! Have any of you experienced this comparison pit before? If you have, please comment below letting me know how you stay authentic to you in your life and your business. Click here to download the quote as a free desktop download!
Cassie Uhl is the founder and owner of Zenned Out, a jewelry company that handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie grew up with a open minded, astrology obsessed grandmother and a father that would take her and her sister star gazing in the wee hours of the night. These experiences shaped Cassie and Zenned Out into what they are today by bringing spirituality and astrology into the forefront. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on the Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls purpose.