Janice, an executive assistant, was relieved when Shelly, Manager of Marketing, accepted her coffee date following a chance meeting at a corporate event. However, Janice spent the entire morning worrying about what she could bring to the relationship. “Shelly has years of experience on me, went to an Ivy League school and has played with the big boys for years. I’ve only worked for the same CEO for the past five years.”
Toward the end of coffee, Shelly surprised Janice by asking for her advice and counsel. “You really have a keen sense of how to organize events, Janice, and as I’m consistently in need of new ideas, I would love your support on a future engagement.”
I feel passionate about how much time we waste comparing ourselves to others. We make assumptions about their lives, rather than recognize that they, too, struggle with their own limiting beliefs, challenges and self-doubts.
Or, we compare ourselves only to the cream of the crop rather than the entire crop. If we compare ourselves only to the superachievers, we’re always going to walk away thinking we’re not good enough. We need to acknowledge that we are doing our best daily and give ourselves credit for all our efforts.
For example, I can remember feeling like a slacker after reading Working Mother, where the cover girl made it look easy to run a company, have beautiful, healthy children, an adoring husband and beautiful home. I was doing all I could to get a healthy meal on the table and help with homework after a long workday.
In truth, this “measuring-up” struggle is self-imposed. You should base everything on your own criteria, not other people’s influences and opinions, or what is socially acceptable. You have everything it takes to get where you want to go. It all happens within you, not through external forces.
Take the time to look back over the past few years and notice all you have learned and accomplished. Have you gotten better at asking for what you want? Are your PowerPoint presentations more impactful? Do you zip around a particular software program that you struggled with years earlier? If so, give yourself a pat on the back, as it’s always OK to compare yourself to a previous amazing version of you.