With the increasing use of social media people can instantaneously share what they're doing with the world and that makes it's easier than ever to compare ourselves to others. We compare what we're doing, our lifestyle, clothes, the people we hang out with, where we spend our time and so on to others that we may or may not know.
And it's not just on social media either. It can happen when we're reading a magazine, sitting in a cafe, at work, with other parents, with family and friends, playing sport, and through hobbies and interests.
Comparing yourself to others can be harmful
It's one thing to notice what others are doing but it often goes beyond just observing to a place where we start to judge ourselves and others. We tell ourselves stories about how much better the other person is, that they're perfect and have the perfect life, and on it goes. Or perhaps it's the other way around and we tell ourselves we're much better than them.
I've done it - compared myself to others, felt inadequate and sent myself spiralling into a pit of gloom. Have you?
It's that moment when you've looked at someone, let's say I looked at another business owner, or perhaps you're the parent of small children and you looked at other parents, and then felt a wave of inadequacy. You start to doubt everything you're doing and you begin to doubt yourself.
Comparing without knowing the 'back story'
I got a new job within an organisation I was already working for. While I knew how the business operated, I didn't know the new role and it was a step up. I compared myself to others in similar roles within the organisation and that's when the trouble started.
I began telling myself I wasn't good enough for the role and wouldn't ever be successful like them. I worked long hours, 7 days a week to prove myself. Tired and stressed I'd go for weeks on end not seeing family or friends.
I was comparing myself to others without understanding what success meant to them (or me!). The way I was living my life and working, just wasn't me and I lost my sparkle. The fear, doubt and worry was all-consuming.
When comparing yourself to others can be useful
But there are times when comparing yourself to others can be useful. Think about children. They learn by looking at what others do and say, and then copy. They're modelling and it's an effective way to learn.
With that new role I told you about, life started to change for the better when I discovered modelling. I began to understand more about leaders I admired, some were people I'd never met (and still haven't met), while others I knew. I read books and asked questions. I looked for opportunities to spend time with them, experiencing first hand how they interacted with people, how they spoke and what they did. It opened my eyes to a world of possibility and helped me to see my own potential.
I learnt how they ...
- started their day, their rituals, routines and habits, like whether they meditated, exercised, sat down and ate breakfast, checked emails and so much more.
- planned for the year, each quarter, month, week and even the days.
- defined success - they talked about the quality of their own health and wellbeing, the importance of spending time on hobbies and with family, and a committment to their own learning and development.
One of the greatest gifts was realising the importance of being me. That trying to be someone else, endlessly comparing myself to others when I knew none of the back story (I only knew what I saw, which is never the full story) was never going to help.
When and what to model
You can use modelling for any area of your life or business. It might be in preparing for an event, growing into a new or your existing role at work, or perhaps it's something to do with parenting or your intimate relationship. If you're a business owner it might be how you sell your products or speak in public. Wherever you feel you want to learn and grow, there will be someone who has been there before.
Often it can feel like we're the only one who has ever faced a particular situation. Truth be told there's nothing we face that someone else hasn't faced before. There's no need to "reinvent the wheel", simply identify someone to model.
Be you and shine on
You were born perfect, whole and complete. You were born without fears, doubts and worries - these came later as we grew and we feed into them when we compare ourselves to others. Comparing and judging ourselves and the negative self-talk that comes with that doesn't, and never will, serve us.
However, you can go beyond observing, skip over judging, to a place where you model someone's strategies and tactics. Study and understand what they do and why, then make your own choices about what to change in your own life.
As Dr Suess wisely said
You are you are
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is youer than you.
If you want to know more about modelling and how it can benefit you, contact me at REALiving Coaching today. - Tracey x