Seven Ways to Control Career Comparison

You may know that comparison has been defined as the ‘thief of joy’, but have you heard it likened to Las Vegas?

Comparison coach Lucy Sheridan recently wrote “Your comparison habit is an amplifier that can keep you trapped in a specific spiral of fixation…all it takes is a few scrolls on social media and you’re in the Las Vegas of comparison. Open all hours, with so much to gorge on to reinforce that (negative) belief about yourself.”

The Vegas analogy is a great way to see how noisy, disruptive, and powerful comparison can be.

Do you compare your salary, role, success, or job title with other people’s? It’s nearly impossible to feel peaceful, positive, satisfied or content with your own career if you do. Left unchecked, comparison can damage your self-confidence and increase your anxiety levels, which could, in turn, seriously hurt your career.

Studies have shown that as much as 10% of all our thoughts involve comparison. So how do you go about dealing with such a pervasive, negative emotion? By controlling your comparison, rather than allowing it to control you. Here’s how:


1. Write a success list

At the end of each day write down three things you did well at work. This will provide you with a growing body of ‘success proof’ which you can revisit as necessary. It also helps to get you into the habit of automatically looking for evidence of your achievements, rather than your possible failings.


2. Stop overthinking

Giving your brain something else to do will temporarily distract you from ‘spirals of fixation’. Do something physical or all-encompassing; hit the gym, plant some seeds, play with animals or young children, or fix something mechanical.


3. Control your phone

If the success of your fiends is triggering you on social, mute their account or try taking a complete break from social media. Delete your apps and keep your phone in another room when you’re in bed or during downtime. Or try using your phone for positive change. This article shares some of the best apps to help you focus, which will help you avoid any comparison distractions!


4. Look beyond the surface

You might envy Chloe because she’s on track to become a journalist at an impressive newspaper. But do you even want to be a journalist? Dig deeper and you might realise you envy her because she’s following her passion, or has an amazing work ethic. Once you know what it is you’re actually envious of, you can work on cultivating similar characteristics in yourself.


5. Go straight to the source!

Tell the person you compare yourself to how impressed you are by them and ask if you can pick their brains for career advice. You could even ask them to mentor you. This takes both grace and guts, and it’s a great way to make the other person feel good, whilst scoring yourself some valuable career advice.


6. Be honest with yourself

The motivational speaker Mel Robbins says “If you did the work you’re avoiding, you’d have the results you want.” Deep down, you probably know where you could do better. If you want the results, do the work.


7. Celebrate your own achievements

Realise others are probably comparing some aspect of their life with yours. What have you got that others envy? Celebrating what you do well, what you’re really capable of, will instantly make you feel better and mitigate your comparison habit.

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