You know the saying “monkey see monkey do”?
When I hear this I imagine a bunch of monkey’s continually rushing from thing to thing, never actually getting anything done, because they are so busy looking at what the next monkey-guy is doing, and moving on to that before they finish off what they were just doing.
There are other terms that people might use for this..ahem…issue. Shiny object syndrome, is a particularly apt one. As is keeping up with the Joneses – in which the Jones’ are everyone else that you’re currently comparing yourself with and finding yourself lacking in comparison to.
It all just comes down to being so busy comparing ourselves to others, that we get too paralysed to act. Or we get so overwhelmed with everything that we apparently have to do to be successful that we get too bogged down to act. Or we become so convinced that everyone else is doing “it” so much better than us that we just give up before we even start.
That’s why comparison is a monkey’s game.
It doesn’t hurt to compare ourselves every now and then, to make sure our customers are getting the best we can give them. It doesn’t hurt for us to know what our competition is doing, or what the latest trends are. But when these comparisons become so overwhelming that they are hurting us or making us go backwards, then we become the monkeys. (And I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to be a monkey.)
“As soon as you start focusing on what everyone else is doing, that is when you start to lose the race, because you become a copycat instead of someone who is paving the path.”
So next time you feel yourself about to slide down the big, scary comparison slide, here’s a few things you can do to stop before you start, so you can start before you stop!
1. Create before you consume.
This is a goldie from Marie Forleo, and might seem like common sense, but the reminder is oh so useful! Spend the first part of your work day creating. Working on your projects, creating your content, molding your business, reaching your customers. Before you start looking around at what everyone else is up to.
This means creating before checking emails, browsing social media, or reading other people’s content. It all feels productive, and it all feels like you’re actually doing something really useful.
But unless you are doing something that will progress your business everyday, you are not moving forward.
And learning is not always progressing…it’s just increasing knowledge. And knowledge without action is nothing in the scheme of your business.
2. Realise that everyone is at a different stage in their journey, but that everyone had to start at the start, just like you.
Behind every ‘overnight success’ story is years of hard work, long hours, blood sweat and tears. Don’t look at the successful veneer of someone else’s life and think that it’s not built on the foundation of plain hard work. The same hard work that you’re putting in now…or should be, if you want to get to where that person you’re comparing yourself to is at.
3. Connect with people who are further behind on the journey than you.
Not for the smugness factor (although this is a definite side-benefit that allows you to see how well you’re actually doing – sometimes a little non-judgmental comparison can be a useful thing). But because this will give you perspective, and the opportunity to share your experience, encouragement and learnings with someone else. Which is great for them and you.
Generosity is good for the soul and good for the business. The more open and giving you are in your business, the more good things will flow on to you. It’s a fact!
4. Surround yourself with people who are further ahead on the journey than you, but not too far ahead.
This might seem a bit counter-intuitive in this context. However, the fact is that we become like the people that we spend the most time with. The top 5 to be precise. They rub off on us. They elevate us. They inspire us. They give us someone to aspire to be, rather than to jealously watch from afar. And we can learn from them and emulate them, because where they are at is not too far from where we want to be, so it’s attainable.
5. Do something everyday.
This is kind of a rehash of point 1. But the fact is, if you’re not doing something every single day to move forward in your business, to grow your passion project, to put your knowledge and ideas into action then you won’t get anywhere, and you will be spend the rest of your life comparing yourself to others, and finding yourself wanting. And you will be correct (in this respect anyhow). Because the only difference between them and you is that they did something everyday, they put in the hard work required, and it has paid off. Do or don’t do. Those are your 2 options.
Need a hand with this?
Do you know what can help with this? A plan! Making a plan of what you’re going to do when, and then making a committment to yourself to Do. Something. Every. Day.
If you’d like a hand with getting a plan going I’ve got a handy dandy little template for you. It can help you plan the creation and promotion of your content creation over the next month. I use this one myself, so I hope you’ll find it useful too!