Constantly defining yourself by comparing yourself to others is a deadly way to think.

Instead of focusing on our own strengths, we focus on deficits. Instead of looking to someone else to build ourselves up, we tear ourselves down.

When we compare ourselves to others, we aren’t noticing our own strengths, we’re only see our perceived weaknesses. As a consistent mindset, this way of thinking can lead to depression and a lack of productivity.

You may have a weakness and wish to improve on it, but comparing your insides to someone else’s outside is not an accurate comparison. Judging a person’s ability by looking at the persona they present or a specific trait triggers a losing battle you won’t win. There is no context–you don’t know what they have been through or how they got there. Don’t benchmark your success by looking at someone else’s.

We all have room for improvement and if there are things you want to improve on–for yourself–make a plan. Decide on a few things you are willing to do consistently for three to six months. If you stick to your commitment to yourself, you can create new habits and positive change.

It’s like defining your vacation or experiences by what people post on social media. If you’re focusing only on the success of others then you aren’t calling yourself forward in a good way. Competition can be a motivating strength, but if it makes you feel defeated, like you won’t measure up, then it will be a downward spiral. The worst is when our happiness is based on our success and how we measure up against other people.

I’m noticing a lot of clients taking themselves out of their own game. They want to be better and are striving to be better but then stop themselves before they even start.  

It is easy to start justifying or belittling someone else’s decision if they are willing to do something you’re not willing to do to get to where you would like to be, but their path might not be yours. You might have a different path. But in comparing yourself to their path you stop yourself from even taking the first step.

I have a friend who wants to do a triathlon and has no idea where to start. It took one person questioning the validity of this idea for her to start doubting herself, saying things like “I’m not an athlete”, “I’ve never done anything like this”. She went from thinking she could achieve anything to listening to another voice and doubting herself to the point where she felt crappy and started comparing herself to the ideal “other” people who have done them.

So I sent her a bunch of clips of others who had succeeded against all odds. These made her cry. They also made her realize her mindset was stopping her – nothing else.

I told her to start surrounding herself with people who will support her vision and speak the same language instead of someone who will doubt.

This goes for virtually any goal. Find someone who will come alongside you and lift you up. If you’re comparing yourself to others and coming up short, you need to surround yourself with people who will call you forward, be sounding boards and share their wisdom.  

This can be a complete stranger but someone you admire or are inspired by. Reach out. Email, call or message them. Speak from your heart and tell them what you admire about them and what you’d love to learn from them.

There’s lots of people who are more than happy to give back and have those conversations. Set up the parameters (in person, email, frequency etc.). Show up prepared with your topics and questions and whatever it is that’s going to be right for you. You might not need a cheerleader…but someone who is going to challenge you and help you grow.

If you are struggling to connect the dots between where you are and where you want to be, find a mentor that’s a good fit for where you are right now and where you want to go–just be sure to stay out of your own way.

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