Comparison can be a detriment to your business growth and your personal life. When you’re consumed with what other people think of you, you can get stuck in a state of comparison. Comparison will result in procrastination.
The question is, how can you avoid comparison and not allow what other people think to hold you back from growing your business?
Stay in your own lane
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, stay in your own lane. The first time it really resonated with me was when I still had my photography business but was moving into coaching. This was years ago, but despite the time-lapse, the phrase and the person who said it had a tight grip on my mindset – until somewhat recently.
Was I overstepping or moving out of my lane of expertise, absolutely not. I was coaching my branding photography clients on how to use images to grow their personal brands. The images I had created for them.
Not everyone understood the value of the images created – for building connection, trust, and relationships to convert their audience to clients or for SEO. Never mind the nuances of sizing images and captioning them for social media. As a result, I decided to create a free eBook to help my branding clients and those in my community use images to their benefit – to grow their businesses faster.
From trying to help to being held back
I mentioned what I was working on, and this person took it to mean I was trying to step into her niche. She thought I was stepping into social media management because I mentioned Instagram. Mind you, she was a content creator, blogger, and social media manager for types of clients that I was not working with.
I was staying in my lane. Working to help my clients and my community. The thought of doing what she was doing or taking clients from her never crossed my mind. I was on a mission to provide value and help people grow successful businesses while growing my email list.
Here’s the thing. Staying in your own lane means not only not doing what someone else is doing, but also not comparing yourself to others. Kind of like, mind your own business. Don’t bother yourself with what other people are doing. Doing so can result in you feeling less than others, not good enough, not capable of doing as well, and selling yourself short – holding yourself back.
Most importantly, discern what other people say to you. Not everything they say is correct or in your best interest. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what is best for you and what He wants for you versus what others say they think is best for you.
There was a red flag
I wasn’t the only person she accused of going outside their lane. That should have been the red flag I needed to let this incident roll off my shoulders and never think twice about it.
But I’m a people pleaser and the thought of having someone upset with me or thinking I did something wrong was anxiety provoking. And it held me back.
It held me back from sharing my expertise. From putting my stake in the ground and claiming myself as an expert. Even though I’d taken classes and had certifications it held me back from fully explaining what I do. As a result, I wasn’t specific about how I help people grow businesses for long-term success. Because what someone else thinks shouldn’t keep you from helping those who need you.
Fear will hold you back and comparison triggers fear and doubt
Bottom line, I was afraid of the person and let her hold me back.
I don’t tell you this story to say anything bad about the person. Maybe she had trust issues and needed to work through some things for herself. But I want to point out, that if fear or comparison is holding you back, it’s time to act. Make the decision to move forward and put your stake in the ground as the expert you are.
There are so many things that can hold you back, don’t let comparison, doubt, or other people be the culprits. You can control your thoughts and the action you take.
The fact is, I have no ill feelings toward this person. I believe we experience things in life, hard things so that we can learn and grow and then help other people. And that’s why I’m sharing this with you because it emphasizes the way fear and comparison can hold you back.
So much to consider if you feel held back – to start, avoid comparison.
Because you are growing a business in the online space, you are bound to find yourself up against a wall either with someone else comparing themselves to you, copying you, or comparing yourself to others.
This is another reason I talk so much about discovering your core values and adhering to them. When you align with your values, you won’t fall into the trap of letting someone hold you back or comparing yourself to others. You will believe in your purpose and the value of the work you are doing.
Here’s the thing about the online space, especially social media. If you’re consuming content and following people in your or a similar niche, you will compare yourself – in good and bad ways.
There are a few problems with comparison:
- When you compare yourself and then start doing or saying things that someone else does or says, you lose your authenticity. When you lose your authenticity, you won’t stand out. And you may fall into the sameness pool and your soulmate clients won’t recognize why they should hire you.
- The comparison may hold you back and you will procrastinate or stay stuck.
- You may lack belief or have an increase in doubt and fear because you see someone else doing what you do or appearing to be successful. Remember, there are billions of people in the world and enough work to go around – especially when focusing on your unique gifts and abilities.
- Or, the opposite, you will see yourself as better and become prideful, which is never a good thing. It is always better to be humble. First, because the Bible says so. Secondly, you are more apt to make mistakes and be inauthentic when being prideful. Romans 12:3 tells us “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” This was an opener for me.
- Imposter syndrome often results from comparison. If you feel imposter syndrome, focus on Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. In other words, you are a masterpiece with unique gifts and a purpose. Don’t let comparison or imposter syndrome, or the world distract you from being who you are called to be. Let God lead you and give you the strength and wisdom you need. If you feel you lack any of those things, ask Him for them. He has a plan for you and He will equip you.
Stop and evaluate
When you do anything in your business or life, evaluate it. But do so from a place of humility. Take time to really evaluate, not an on-the-surface evaluation of oh, yes, that went well. I did great. But look at the entire picture, including from the perspective of whether it was aligned with my values, my calling, and what God wants for me and the other person or situation.
Ask yourself these questions: What worked, what didn’t work, and what you can and will do differently next time?
When you take time to evaluate, you will be able to focus on your efforts and not outside distractions, it will help you avoid comparison and imposter syndrome and help you grow faster.
You are unique – avoid comparison, so you aren’t held back
Whether someone is accusing you of copying them or you are comparing yourself to others, remember that you are unique. Your unique qualities and gifts are meant to be used to serve other people. I had to remind myself of this too, so that I would continue to provide value despite the fear of the person making another accusation. It’s difficult, but we need to put on the armor of Christ and be strong to avoid letting others hold us back. So that we can answer our calling and fulfill our purpose.
To move past the fear, it was important for me to first pray, and second, recognize that I am unique and not your typical business coach. I am strategic, and creative, and have developed a method (Purpose to Results™) for growing businesses without relying on social media. That includes blogging and SEO. But those are just a few components of my program. Most importantly, my brain is what makes the program so awesome. This is not a brag – this is sharing God’s gift to me – a brain that functions equally on the left and right sides.
My clients get my ideas, and my eyes on everything they do, they never have to struggle or feel alone on the journey to grow their businesses. What I do, is not like anything anyone else does. Because of this, I do what I do using my unique set of gifts, and approach business coaching differently. It’s one-stop coaching. Everything is under one umbrella – mindset, strategy, creativity, and accountability.
What makes you unique?
To help avoid comparison, I encourage you to take time to write a list of all the ways you are unique. How you do things differently than everyone else in your area of expertise. The more you differentiate yourself, the less you will compare yourself because you’ll become more confident in your unique abilities and journey to garner your expertise. You will see how God has set you apart and only you can do the work you are doing the way you do it.
This exercise will also help you further define your personal brand and clarify your message. Your personal brand is part of your business foundation and more clarity on what differentiates you will help make your brand marketing efforts easier.
If you struggle with this exercise, and you feel stuck, it may be time to hire a coach for an additional perspective. You are worth the investment, and it could be the difference between fulfilling your purpose with simplicity, ease, and grace and giving up.
Realize, there is nothing new.
To avoid comparison, realize that, most likely, your ideas are not new. Nor are my ideas new. Your approach to them may be new and unique, however, the concept is probably not new. It’s possible you are the first person to state the concept or idea the way you are saying it, which is brilliant. But the reality is many of us do the same or at least very similar things. And everything is open to interpretation and new approaches because we all have unique, miraculous brains and ways of seeing things.
Everything we do is subject to interpretation. Just like in the example above, my way of helping my clients was misinterpreted as trying to move into another niche. Obviously, that was not my intent. If you are working from a place of integrity and alignment with your values, you can confidently continue your journey without letting them get a grasp on your mindset. Even when they are trying to hold you back.
Belief is important to avoid comparison
Here’s the thing. Like in the example I gave, if she’d believed in herself and her business and her unique ability to help her best clients, and not compared what I was doing and my success, our relationship wouldn’t have been strained. She would have been content and I wouldn’t have been afraid and held back.
This is what comparison does. It breaks you down. To avoid comparison, remember that God placed a unique calling on your heart and gave you unique gifts to use to serve your soulmate clients.
Your soulmate clients are unique to you. God has given you gifts to serve them and solve the problem(s) they need to be solved – the way only you can do it. If someone tries to hold you back, remember, God has called you and people need you – there is a reason for you to move forward and not stop working toward your goals.
Get off social media and use SEO strategy to avoid comparison
The gurus will tell you to be on social media, but what they aren’t telling you is that they aren’t even on it – they have people managing their accounts for them.
They’ve built their businesses using a tool that you probably think is only for highly successful business owners and entrepreneurs.
But you can do it too! And it isn’t hard and opens up many doors of opportunity for you.
Are you curious?
Of course, you are because who doesn’t want simplicity and more opportunities?
They build a solid foundation using an SEO strategy.
Once you implement an SEO strategy, you have limitless opportunities for earning potential.
You can reach your soulmate clients, at any time, and any place all over the world. You aren’t limited to algorithms, and you won’t get sucked into the comparison trap.
What to do when the temptation of comparison is too much to bear
There is no need whatsoever to compare yourself to others. But you are human and it’s going to happen. It happens to all of us. When it does, reflect on Galatians 6:4 – I know I’ve shared this verse many times before – but here’s a prayer using that verse that was written by Jodie Berndt.
Heavenly Father, equip me to pay careful attention to my own work and get the satisfaction of a job well done so I won’t need to compare myself to anyone else.
Faith plays a big role in trusting God to lead you and equip you without falling into the comparison of yourself with others.
A few additional prayers from Jodi include:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gifts you have given me. When I feel like my contribution is weak or unnecessary, remind me that my gifts are indispensable in your eyes and that you give special honor to things that seem less valuable so there won’t be any division among your people. (1 Corinthians 12:22-25).
Another one, don’t let me harbor envy or selfish ambition in my heart, since that is not from you, and it leads to disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:14-16)
And my favorite, Heavenly Father, show me how to go ahead and be what I was made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing myself to others or trying to be something I am not. (Romans 12:6)
Something I’ve learned to help avoid comparison
One thing you can do to avoid comparison is to embrace contentment. Count your blessings and practice gratitude every day. The more you focus on your blessings, the more content you will feel. It’s work. And if you’re prone to comparison, it may be hard work. But it’s key to alleviating comparison and finding joy as you grow your business.
Jodi shares a prayer about contentment as well – Heavenly Father, show me how to be content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12)
And another, don’t let me focus on trying to win the approval of people, but of you. If I were trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant. (Galatians 1:10)
One more related to comparison and contentment is Heavenly Father, instead of looking around at what others are doing or what their lives look like, may I always stay focused on following you. (John 21:22)
Likewise, here’s a quote by Gary Zimak, author of Stop Worrying and Start Living that will also inspire you to lean into your faith instead of letting what others are doing distract you,
“In order to be peaceful, however, we need to come up with a way to constantly live in the
presence of God. Gary Zimak
If you would like to learn more strategies to grow your business without social media, download my free eBook: 10 Strategies to Start and Grow a Business without Relying on Social Media.
Buy the book by Jodie Berndt that I referenced