I have recently left a successful & well-paid career as a consultant to set up as a speaker, coach and mentor. It’s a daunting step into the world of self-employment and yet I feel a tremendous sense of calm brought about by an inner-feeling that I am absolutely doing the right thing.
There are thousands of established coaches and speakers in the UK, and around the world and at one level that should cause me concern. It may surprise you to read that it doesn’t and that is because I truly believe there is enough to go around for everyone. Success, in all of it’s forms, is not a finite source. It’s there in abundance for everybody….if you are prepared to work for it.
I have received so many emails since the launch of my book, Enough. Most of them have been celebratory, heart-felt thank-you notes from women and men who have found my story resonates with them. Others have explained how the book has helped them to spring into action and realise their goals. A small number fit into a category that is very different to these. Some people have read the book and felt compelled to write and apologise for or explain their behaviours. Often I have not even been aware of the behaviours as they have been playing out in the person’s own life without my knowledge. It transpires that my journey laid out on social media has served to make some people feel like a failure, like they are not doing enough, being enough, achieving enough. They are holding my life mirror up against themselves and feeling ‘less’.
What has been interesting for me to read is that these people have without exception, explained amazing things that they have done whilst they have been striving to do the things I have done. One lady qualified as a personal trainer for example and yet was berating herself because she hadn’t got her business off the ground as quickly as I have. When I pointed out that she had gained a qualification which would have consumed her time, a qualification I didn’t have, she said she hadn’t considered it. Another lady said she stopped following me because she just couldn’t cope with the consistency I applied to exercise and she couldn’t. She went on to say she had two children under 3, something I don’t have.
This got me thinking about how destructive the comparison trap can be. When rather than drawing inspiration and motivation from another, we use what they do as a stick to beat ourselves with. We don’t compare apples with apples. We compare an apple to a bag of spinach. They will never look, taste or be the same. It’s easy to discount the things we have on our own plate that the other person doesn’t. The plates we are spinning that they are not. Instead of seeing the obvious differences, we allow ourselves to wear blinkers and focus on the one aspect they do well that we perhaps don’t do so well and deem ourselves inferior.
It’s also convenient to forget that the person we aspire to be like may well be ten steps ahead of us in terms of duration and therefore it’s again not a like for like situation. If I suddenly start comparing myself to Brene Brown, I’m heading straight for failure camp. Brene is off-the-scale successful with multiple best-selling books and a global footprint. She is an idol for women all over the world. I’m nowhere near that. It’s not to say I don’t dream that I could be a multiple best-selling author, but right at this moment, Brene Brown’s success isn’t my yardstick for success. Instead of allowing her amazing feats to make mine look measly, I study the things she does, how she writes, how she communicates and I try to emulate it. They say if you want to achieve the things that others have, follow in their footsteps, do what they do and do it with your own flair, personality and charm. Be inspired by those you hold in high regard and don’t let the green eyed monster take control. The success river doesn’t ever run dry. There is enough to go around for everyone.
I believe many of us have the propensity to feel inferior when we fall into trap of comparing ourselves to others and it takes deliberate practice to re-frame this and start to use the success of another to drive us forward rather than hold us back.
Here’s my top tips..
- Stick to your own path at your own pace and if you are tempted to be a tourist on somebody else’s path, understand how long they have been treading it for and where it’s leading. Their destination may not be yours.
- If you find yourself being ‘snarly’ about another person because they are making you feel unsuccessful, openly praise them for the thing that is making you feel that way.
- Celebrate your own successes often, shout about them, pat yourself on the back and be proud.
- Be realistic about what you have on your own plate and what you can achieve. Just because ‘Miss Fit’ on Instagram springs out of bed and does a 10k run every morning at 5am doesn’t mean it’s realistic for you to do the same.
- Spring into action. If you want the things others have, you won’t get them by scrolling through social media and wishing. You have to make a change to make a change (remembering to keep step 4 in mind).
- Find out what others do, how they do it and follow suit with your own flair.
- Remind yourself that you are enough every single day.
- Be YOU. The world doesn’t need dozens of the same people. It needs individuals with passion and purpose.
Most of all, if you find yourself in a situation where another person is making you feel less than who you are, remind yourself of the amazing job you do, the things you have achieved and what you are still aiming to do. Carry on treading your path. The tortoise always finishes too.
Thanks for reading 🙂
You can visit my website here for more details of my coaching offer Angela-Cox.co.uk