I’m not sure who originally said this quote:
“You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.”
This strongly ties back to social comparison and it’s a lesson that I’ve become more keenly aware of in 2018.
In my case, when I compare myself to other coaches, consultants, authors or speakers, most of them are 10-20 years older than me. They have big businesses, massive social media followings, books backed by major publishers and they speak to sold-out stadiums.
One of the greatest skills we can all have is self awareness and because so much of our behavior is dictated by our subconscious, paying close attention to whether something is facilitating or debilitating our performance is a game changer.
If I’m following someone who has an email list of 500,000 people, how does that make my feel about emailing to my list of 5,000?
Even if I’ve had the best year ever in my business, how does that make me feel when I look at someone whose business is 10X bigger?
When I see a video of someone speaking to a packed auditorium, how does it make me feel to speak in a small banquet hall?
I’ll tell you – a lot of times it makes me feel BAD. Inadequate. Lesser. Farther behind than I should be.
There are a lot of sales and marketing coaches out there that would cringe at what I’m telling you. I’m supposed to “position myself as an authority” and show that I’m a “big deal.” But that’s not the full truth. You CAN be an authority and CAN be a big deal and CAN still be honest and transparent with people about what you’re thinking and feeling.
Last week I went for an evening run with some friends of mine and we snagged a couple of beers afterwards. We got in this same discussion in regards to social media (specifically, Facebook). One of the people is extremely positive and even she commented on how much social media can affect her daily mood. She said:
“What you see are people’s highlight reels – what they WANT you to see. You don’t see when they feel fat, lazy, ugly, unmotivated. Fighting with their partner. Frustrated at their job. I love that I get to see the great in everyone’s life but if you feel or experience any of these negative things and it seems that NO ONE else does, you start to wonder what the hell is wrong with you…”
After losing both my parents, and my dog, in the last 1.5 years, it has made me wonder what is wrong with me when I see some of these highlight reels and feel happy for them but bad for me.
Nothing is wrong with me. Or you. It can be a natural byproduct of social comparison…if you’re not aware of it.
To wrap this up, I start many of my speeches talking about the difference between a Mastery Orientation vs. an Ego Orientation. When you have a Mastery Orientation, you’re striving for growth and your primary motivator is self-improvement. Being a better version of YOU. When you do this, starting is easy because you know ANY step – no matter how small – is one step further along than you are now. It’s one step closer to great.
And there’s actually nothing wrong with comparing yourself to others (Ego Orientation) – as long as you’re self aware of what affect this is having on your health, happiness and high performance.
Make you feel bad and daunted about how much farther you have to go.
Make you feel good and empowered about how far you’ve already come.
I’m trying hard to choose the latter. Please join me in 2019 🙂
If you want to feel empowered about what a great year you've had, spend some time jotting down all the progress you've made this year in ANY area. Then, think to yourself, where will I be at the end of 2019 if I make the same amount of progress?
Finish it off with a little happy dance...