It’s never been easier as a South African entrepreneur to compare your business journey to others’. Social media is full of entrepreneurs showing off their wins with perfectly curated and edited photos, using hashtags like #goals, #hustle or #entrepreneurgoals.
It’s perfectly normal, says Candice Clark, career coach, Talent Development and Acquisition Strategist.
“You have to make yourself aware that comparison is normal, especially on social media. If you are following other entrepreneurs and competitors you are likely to come across their projects and stories of success very quickly.”
It becomes destructive when you start negatively comparing yourself to others, says Clark.
“When we compare ourselves to others, we can feel an instant loss of motivation, and become prone to highly self-critical and self-defeating thoughts like ‘I should be there by now’ or ‘I’m terrible at this, it’s time to give it up’.”
Ask yourself what about what that person is doing inspires you or is changing your approach to your business and offerings?
To counter this, Clark suggests you look beyond the curated pictures.
“You are seeing the highlight reel and not the challenges behind the scenes or the difficulties they faced to get there (and as a career coach to business owners, I can promise you that no one only has a highlight reel).”
Make a conscious effort to record accomplishments, and plan rewards for yourself for hitting targets or other business milestones
And when you experience self-defeating thoughts and feelings, Clark recommends that you bring yourself back to present moment.
“Remind yourself of all the achievements you have under your belt so far in this very moment. Remind yourself that you are only seeing the highlight reel.”
Turning a negative into a positive
Comparison can be a positive exercise if you use it to push yourself, says Clark.
“Ask yourself what about what that person is doing inspires you or is changing your approach to your business and offerings?”
She suggests asking questions like: “Are they highlighting a trend? Are they making you curious as to what you could do differently? Comparison can be handled positively if handled mindfully, and not in a self-defeating way.”
Follow Clark’s 5-step process to deal with negative comparisons:
1. Practice mindfulness, and gratitude daily.
2. Stop following accounts that you are comparing yourself with until you have an established mindfulness and gratitude practice.
3. Begin journaling how you can use comparison positively in your business, and not in a way that blocks you from moving forward.
4. Compare your progress to yourself. Make a conscious effort to record accomplishments, and plan rewards for yourself for hitting targets or other business milestones.
5. Change comparison into a positive activity such as competitor and trend analysis – this depersonalises it, and makes it less about you and more about a positive, necessary business activity (but only once your mindset practice is established and ready to handle it in this way).