January 13, 2021

Reframe comparison in a more healthy, positive & practical way

About this episode...

Reframe comparison in a more healthy, positive & practical way

Comparing yourself to others is a slippery slope for your mental health, but just saying "don't do it" isn't helpful. Instead, change the way you mentally process it the next time it pops up.

It's easy to get swept up in your thoughts in your little freelance bubble. Use these steps to reframe your thoughts so you've got a healthy way to look at comparison. This helps ground your spiralling thoughts in the moment, gives you perspective and paints a more positive picture. Reframing the way you think about comparison so you can process it instead of fighting to suppress it.

The key thing to remember is that everyone is at different points on their own separate journey. Embracing comparison and looking at the real differences between you and the people you're comparing yourself to, this shows you cold hard facts to put your thoughts into perspective and move past it.

Read the full episode in the transcript tab.

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Transcript of the Marketing Morsels podcast with Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor:

Hello, this is Lauren Taylor, and welcome to episode five of Marketing Morsels. I want to talk to you about comparison. There's a lot out there at the moment about not comparing yourself to other people, which I'm a 100% behind comparing yourself to other people. It's a slippery slope for your mental health, but it's particularly common in the freelancer world because there's so many people and there's lots of people doing similar things to you. And it's really easy, particularly when you're isolated in your own home, in your own heads. It's really easy to spiral when you're seeing other people doing really well.

But actually one of the magical things about the freelance community is everyone is so nice and supportive and genuinely wants everybody else to succeed. But it's easy to forget that when you're not regularly engaging with other freelancers or having these open supportive conversations.

So while I completely agree that you shouldn't be comparing yourself to other people, just saying, "Don't compare yourself to other people," that's not helpful. It's like saying, "Cheer up," when somebody is depressed, not a helpful statement. But I do think there's a way to reframe comparison in a healthier, more positive, a more practical way. So you can process it instead of just trying to suppress it. And this can help give a bit of perspective. So rather than just trying to ignore it, you've got a healthy way to look at it the next time it pops up because comparing yourself to other people, that's never going to go away, but you can choose the way you mentally process it the next time it happens.

We'll talk about a couple of little steps that you can take to help reframe your thoughts when you're spiraling into comparison. The first step is to make a note of the people that trigger your imposter syndrome and clearly they're not doing it deliberately. They don't know that this is happening, but there will be certain people that you see that you think, "Oh god, they're doing so much better than I am, or they're really successful and I can't do it as well as they can," that trigger that anxiety in the pit of your stomach, that you're almost intimidated by because you think they're doing better. Just make a note of a few people that spring to mind that trigger that feeling for you.

And the most likely reason you feel that way is because you think they're doing a better job than you. You think they're doing what you want to do, essentially because you like them and you like what they're doing. And you think there's no point you doing the same thing because they're already doing it, which is a 100% not true, but that's how it feels at the time. The reality is there's millions of people out there that need your help. And that want help specifically from you because of the way you do it. Just because somebody else is doing something similar does not mean that you shouldn't be doing your thing too.

In fact, it actually means the opposite. If you see somebody else that's doing really well at something you love, it means that there's demand out there. It means that people want that service and you can deliver it in your own way. You naturally will do that because of your personality, your experience, the way you work. So we went off on a bit of a tangent there, but I feel like that was needed.

Okay. So now you've got a note of a handful of people that you know that trigger that feeling for you. I sound like a therapist. So the next step, and this is all there is to it, research and write down the differences between you and them. Now, the key thing here is research. Don't just guess, don't put whatever you think is true. Look at their LinkedIn profiles, their websites, their other social media accounts. Look at the actual differences between where they're at and where you're at and this is where it starts to reframe things. Because as you start in research these people you'll see that they're at a completely different points in their journey than you are. And it's not that they're better or more successful; it's that they're just at a different point. And one day you will get to that same point.

And there's also people behind you that are looking at you going, oh wow, they're so much better than me, but actually they're just at that point in that business journey. When you're doing your research, have a look at how long they've been in business. Chances are they've been in business a lot longer than you have. And that's why they've had the chance to build a brand, build a profile, build an audience, build an email list. And just because they've done that, you will do that too, if that's what you want to do. Just that they started it at a different time than you did. Think of it as a timeline. They are at a certain point ahead of you. They just started at a different time than you did.

Have a look at their audience size. So see how many followers they've got on social media on different accounts. Again, chances are, they're going to have a lot more followers than you. And that's only because they started building their followers at a different point than you did. And that means that if they've done it, you can do it too, because people clearly want that kind of service.

Have a look at their website and look at what's their niche. What's their specialism. It could be that they're targeting a completely different audience than you are. So similar services, but completely different market and industry. Have a look at their social media accounts. Do they post more frequently than you do or more consistently? And again, this isn't about, they've got a massive audience, they're posting all the time and you're not. That's not what we're doing here. What we're doing is turning your spiraling thoughts into physical differences. So when you're thinking, "Oh my God, they're so much better than I am. What's the point?" You can see that actually, they just appear to be better because of where they are and when they started. You one day will be at that point, they will then be at a completely different point. There will also then be, or the people that started later than you did that will be at a different point. Literally, the only difference between you and other people is the fact that they are on a different journey than you are and at a different point on that journey.

There are thousands and thousands of successful freelancers out there. There has to be a crossover in the kinds of things people are doing, but there's just impossible not to be, but there's room for everybody. One thing that I saw that I always remember when I'm comparing myself to other people is, think about big brand names out there. Coke didn't stop Pepsi. Nike didn't stop Reebok. And that's because, I mean, there's billions of people on this planet. Everybody wants something slightly different and thousands of them want what you've got.

Also remember when you're looking at other people's social media profiles, you are only seeing the version of them they're sharing and that they want you to see. The version of these other people that you're seeing on social media, it's not the reality. It's just their public persona. You don't know what's going on under their surface and what process they've been through mentally, but also with their business, to be able to push out this version. You're not comparing yourself to the reality of who they are.

The next step is to write down what you love about them. There's a good chance that you feel this way about these people because you like them. You like what they're doing. If you didn't like them, they wouldn't bother you. You wouldn't be comparing yourself to them because it's not something you relate to. So write down the things that you really like about who they are, what they're sharing and keep this quite broad because this isn't about things you want to copy. It's about the general vibe that you like about them. So think about the things that you relate to the most.

Think about the vibe they're putting across. Are they sharing personal things as well as helpful business-ey things? Do they share happy dog things? Are they particularly insightful about a specific subject? Do you just find them interesting? What is it about their personality that you like? Do you like the fact that they're not pushy and salesy or they've got a particular sense of humor? Do you like them because they completely share their personality and they're not afraid to share things about them that aren't polished. Like they're happy to share their scruffy days, their down days, as well as that ups and good times, and this will help reframe what it is that you like about them in a positive way, so you're not seeing them as the enemy anymore.

They're not a competitor, they're not the enemy. They are your peer and they're usually really lovely people. Now you've got a list of things that you love about them. It starts to paint a more positive picture. So rather than shying away from comparison, you've almost grasped it and embraced it instead. And you've literally compared yourself to these people, but done it in a much more positive and healthy way and a much more practical way. Now you've got a list of things that you can start doing on your own profiles. If you like that they have completely free with their personality. They're sharing helpful hints and tips. They're interesting. They're fun. They're not salesy.

If that's what's resonating with you, do those things yourself, be more free on your social accounts when you're sharing and wherever you've written these down, whether you've got them in the pads or post-it notes or you've written them into an app somewhere, make sure they're visible and you can refer back to them. And the next time you start comparing yourself to somebody else, which you will, it's going to happen again. But now you've got these reminders to ground yourself, ground your thoughts and give you some perspective. And they just serve as nice little reminders that can stop you in the moment from spiraling and letting new thoughts take hold.

So there we go. That's it for this week. Don't put too much pressure on yourself at the moment. There's no words for what the world is right now. Yes, it's the start of the year and you're probably feeling under pressure to do loads of things, but just take it one little step at a time. Take some time for you. Just remember that when you're telling yourself you should be more productive. Just take some time out, looking through a book, go for a walk, stroke your dog, be a bit kinder to yourself for the moment. And I'm going to take some of my own advice and go out for a nice sunny walk, listen to a book for a bit, probably under my heated blankets, because that's how I roll.

Thank you very much for listening again. So grateful to everybody that's listened and left a review. If you had told me this time last year that I'd be doing a podcast each week, I would have told you you were mad. I'm so, so happy and appreciative of everybody that's listened. I'm hoping you're finding it helpful. And if you do have anything you specifically would like me to talk about, or if you have any questions, you're more than welcome to let me know. I'm on LinkedIn or Instagram. It's probably the easiest, quickest way to get in touch with me. Have a lovely week. Take some time for yourself, even if it's just 10 minutes. Give yourself a little beak to just reset and refuel. I'll see you all next week. Take care. Bye.

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Gentle marketing goodness for sensitive souls and anxious introverts. Once a month (ish) I share general musings about life’s little joys. Beautiful things I’ve loved and learnt on my wiggly journey to build a peaceful life as a sensitive business owner.