Last week a client bemoaned the fact that his peers were all advancing more rapidly with business development than he was, that they all seemed more confident than he felt, and their opportunities were endless whereas he had to work hard for every opportunity he had. Ever had a day like that? If there’s data to support those feelings, it’s worth taking a look at what’s going on… But if you’re making judgments about your comparative success based on nothing more than feelings, you’re almost certainly not seeing reality, whether you’re selling yourself short or inflating your success.
Here’s the quote I shared with my client:
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Steven Furtick
This is true on social media; it’s equally true in the business world. Comparison can be valuable when it
helps you to identify a route you hadn’t considered before or a strategy worth considering, but much of the time it’s demoralizing because most of us highlight success while concealing failure.
If you’re watching others and feeling that you don’t measure up, look to the data. Ask whether you know the background story. For example, was your colleague offered a highly coveted speaking opportunity on the basis of reputation alone, or did she network her way into the right group and then request a speaking role? Was her proposal turned down four times before it was finally accepted?
You likely know the analogy of the swan serenely gliding across the surface of the pond while paddling like crazy underneath the water. When you compare yourself to a swanlike colleague, be sure you can peek under the surface level to see the paddling. Chances are, you’ll realize that your colleague is succeeding as a result of consistent, strategic work—and that you can, too.