In order to get inspiration, have role models and move your business forward, it’s necessary that you compare yourself to others. However, overdoing it can take on an unhealthy form. It’s known as a common disease among entrepreneurs: Comparisonitis.
Entrepreneurs constantly compare themselves to others, start to feel bad about themselves and get demotivated to take action. Having comparisonitis is bad for everyone who wants to realize their dreams. While it is more common among beginners, you can also get comparisonitis when you’ve already had some success.
I have suffered from comparisonitis myself. But I have learnt something in the process: If there’s anyone who can change your state of mind, it’s you. Do you want to overcome comparisonitis and start taking action? Here’s how!
When Comparing Yourself To Others Brings You Doubts
When you're starting out as an entrepreneur, you're looking for role models and for ideas. You start following people who are successful, but you don’t compare yourself to these people. They’re too far away to feel any kind of jealousy or envy towards them. They’re already on the level of Oprah, Tony Robbins and Richard Branson – they’ve been in business for years and they inspire you. These are the people you watch to see what’s possible for you in the long term.
But often, people who are just one or two steps ahead of us inspire us even more. I’ve made this experience myself. When a person on a similar level to you did it, you start thinking that you can do it, too. You start following these people as well, and in the beginning, you might get very inspired. You see them doing their first launch, you see them taking action and having their first successes. But when they’re having their second and third launch and their success grows, and for some reason you’re still stuck at point zero, you start having doubts.
There are many reasons for you to lag behind. Maybe you don’t know in which direction you want to take your business. Maybe you don’t know who your ideal client is or you’re foggy on your business idea. You see everyone around you succeed, and somehow you start feeling inferior to these people.
Of course, this is complete bullshit. Because what you really see is just a facade of these people, a show they’re putting on. You see how fabulous they’re doing on social media. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re doing fabulous in their real lives.
Comparisonitis forms when you’re seeing someone similar to you take the action you wish you were taking. As soon as you start taking action yourself, it will go away. Everyone starts at zero, and when someone surpasses you, it’s up to you to let it affect you negatively, or to let it inspire you to take action yourself.
The Content Trap
When you start out, you think you need to read and watch all the content that is out there. The problem is, consuming content is only worth your time when it inspires you to do something. I wouldn’t want anyone to listen to my podcast and then not take action. In every episode, I mean to inspire people to move forward.
With a topic like online entrepreneurship, there is just too much content for you to ever consume, so don’t waste your time. Be picky about what you read, respect your own time and invest it carefully. If you fall in love with one or two podcasts, that’s completely fine. But signing up for free challenges, webinars or master classes you don’t need at this point in your business is just going to waste your time. Consuming more content doesn't bring clarity. Taking action on the other hand does.
Protect Yourself From What Triggers You
This doesn’t mean that you should stop reading content. It’s important to learn something new for your business. Ideally, spend about 30 minutes a day learning something new.
But there comes a time when you’ve probably been consuming content for more than 30 minutes a day for a while. That’s when you should take a break. Anything that doesn't help you to take action and doesn't bring you a positive message will bring you comparisonitis. Do a content strike. Try not to consume any new content for the next 90 days.
Leave Facebook groups where you feel you're being triggered. Unfollow people, unlike pages. You can still be friends with these people, but unfollow them or unsubscribe from their newsletter if you feel triggered by their success. Understand that what you’re seeing is a facade, and not how things are going down in real life.
My Lightbulb Moment
I had my own lightbulb moment in the fall of 2017. I was about to make my first million when I was attending a conference in the US and was invited to a dinner with the speakers from the conference.
During dinner, I shared that I was on track to make a million dollars and that I was very excited. I wasn’t sharing this to show off, but because I felt I was among peers who were surely already making a million dollars. I hadn’t asked them, but I assumed it. But it turned out that all these speakers with their massive social media following were nowhere near making a million.
When you think about it, it’s obvious that likes on Facebook, Instagram or other social media channels don’t equal revenue. If someone has 100’000 followers, it doesn’t mean that they’re making a million dollars. They might have low priced products or aren’t making any sales at all, but somehow we assume that people with such a big following must also be very successful financially.
We also start thinking that these people somehow must have done better than us, even if in reality, that’s not the case. In the end, it’s always about ourselves, and never about the other person. If we feel vulnerable, our brains create all kinds of bad thoughts and openly embrace comparisonitis. But now that you’re aware of this, you know that you’re the one creating it, and you’re the one who can make it go away.
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