comparison trap

comparison trap

The comparison trap is a universal one. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t fallen down the slippery slope and had a moment (or two) of jealousy from coveting someone else’s career success.

And let’s face it — no matter what career stage you’re in, there will come a time where comparison will creep in. We are living in a hyper-connected time, and consequently, a comparison-soaked culture.

It’s far too easy to check your social feeds and see the latest and greatest accomplishment from your dearest competitor. One could argue that a simple solution to the comparison trap is to stop following the feeds. But social media isn’t the problem — it’s our own internal mindset that constantly makes us feel like we’re not stacking up.

Time for a mindset makeover.

Instead of counselling on how to avoid the comparison trap, why not flip the script and use the trap to your benefit?

For someone who’s in the beginning stages of their freelance career, comparison is a constant. I spend way more time than I’d like to admit creeping the success of others. At first, it was competitive research — after all, isn’t getting a pulse of the industry good business practice?

But when you’re so wrapped up in someone else’s accomplishments, fear eventually steps in and paralyzes. Instead of asking myself: “What do I need to do to get where they are?” I would simply sit and think: “There’s no way I’ll get to that level.”

Talk about deflating.

In the beginning, you often don’t know just who you are in relation to your business. Figuring that part out can be your hardest challenge. So, in comes the silver lining of the comparison trap...

The best part of the comparison trap

Avoiding it is not the answer. You’re already hard enough on yourself and this shouldn’t be another source of stress.

I’ve recently become a fangirl of Tara Gentile — she’s the founder of Quiet Power Strategy®, which offers hands­-on training and support for idea­-driven entrepreneurs. In this recent interview she did on the ConvertKit podcast, she shares the secret to flipping the comparison trap into something good for your solo biz.

The secret benefit? You can use it to build your brand identity.

To have solid brand definition means knowing what’s out there in the market, and thus comparing yourself to others has the potential to actually bring value to your business.

How?

The comparison trap can help you discover your uniqueness.

What normally happens when we’re constantly looking up to someone and propping them on a pedestal?

Besides starting to feel ultra inferior, we tend to emulate them, to blend into the mix. We think if we can just be like them, we can have success like they have.

But, what if we turned the trap into truthfulness? Instead of trying to blend in, why not use the comparison to unearth what makes your brand distinct?

To compare is not to despair

Jealousy and envy are considered “ugly” feelings — if we’re feeling them, it’s usually in secret and we often beat ourselves up for feeling that way. But all emotions, even envy, have a purpose. If you’re feeling jealous about someone else’s success, the emotion may simply be pointing you towards what you value most.

And what you value most is an integral element to defining your business brand.

Like it or not, there are many female solopreneurs or side hustlers out there who do what you do.

At the end of the day, we all help other businesses, in one form or another:

  • Grow their bottom line,
  • Build their brand,
  • Craft compelling content, or
  • Connect with their communities

But it’s what makes you different as a business person that will get you noticed, and ultimately, sway those other businesses to choose working with you.

By looking at others — your role models, your competitors, even your industry friends — you can consciously define your brand against the rest, helping you hone in on a more concrete brand identity.

Turn the comparison trap into your truth

The journey of growing a business and brand is often full of self discovery, which is why the conversation of entrepreneurship easily intertwines with personal growth. When you start to figure out who you are and what you represent in relation to your business, it can be the very thing that helps you gain the traction you were missing before.

The comparison trap doesn’t have to get you down. Comparing yourself to others opens yourself up to discovering what fits you, and what doesn’t. Choose to use it to gain perspective, and you might just come to appreciate the trap you previously loathed.

How can you turn the envy from comparing yourself to others into enlightenment about your brand? Leave a comment below to let us know!

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Jennee Rasavong is a content marketing writer who helps startups and solopreneurs build an online brand that they love. She crafts simplified, uncomplicated content in the form of blog posts, social media copy and email newsletters. Learn more about her services here or find her on Twitter: @jenneerasavong.

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