I can’t even remember when I heard this for the first time. It’s been rattling around in my brain for the longest time, and gets more important every day.
Well, for me it applies to every aspect of my life. Here’s the top few that come to mind.
Don’t compare one day to the next, or even an hour to the next
I live with a pretty nasty virus (Epstein Barr) and I can flare up in an afternoon where the morning might have been awesome. I can spend two or three days in bed after having an amazing week. That’s just the way it is. I can’t beat myself up, knowing what I am capable of when I’m well… because I can all of a sudden not be. Comparing each day based on productivity is a really great way to go down the negativity sprial and that’s a great way to stay unwell. I also have anxiety and depression on top of this, and I liken it to running in circles at the bottom of a pit in sinking mud. You get nowhere fast and just wear yourself out.
Rest. Let it go.
Look up. Shake it off.
Every moment is different.
Don’t compare your business to someone else’s
We’re all at different stages in our businesses, we do things differently, and what we say about ourselves in public… well that might not measure up to what’s going on in a positive or negative way. Some people are very quiet about their amazing successes but we’re just seeing the social media tip of their iceberg of hard work.
Conversely, some are very vocal about things which might not be 100% on the level.
I’ve realised I need to engage with what’s sustainable and appropriate for my energy. I’m not so good on the social media stuff and am about 12 months behind on our portfolio here because we’re so dang busy. A great problem to have! I love and celebrate the wins I see on other’s social media accounts but I don’t attach any feelings to that. I measure my success based on how happy the team is, if we’ve learned a new skill, if we’ve quoted bang on for a job we’ve completed, if a client is so super happy with our work.
Don’t compare your physical body with times gone by, other people, the media….
Look, I’m female. And like most females I’ve been told my whole life that there is this ideal physical presence. And that physical presence is liable to change with trends. Pity that DNA doesn’t keep up with those media whims, right?
I’ve had two kids and am approching 40 and have an illness. I used to run marathons and lift two 16kg kettlebells at a time and compete in multipsort competitions.
I’m not sure I’ll ever run again; it’s just too hard on my body these days. But I don’t need a viral flare up for a week. My gaze has shifted and I’ve found exercise I can do, a way of eating which serves me well, although I’m still wanting to pull on those shoes and disappear for 15k in the bush and the exhileration that comes after.
And when I look back, I realise just how sick I was even then. I’d sleep in my running gear until I got enough energy to go. It wasn’t a good place to be.
But by golly am I grateful that I’m not couchbound, I can work from home and look after myself, and I’m largely in control of my pain these days.
I think this quote goes hand-in-hand with another fave of mine from Chris Do – Start Empty. When we compare we have preconceived notions of how things should be based on things which might not even be important to us. This is like going into the day thinking about how we’ll get this laundry list of things done, cook a nutritious dinner, be happy and full of energy when the kids get home, exercise, get the lunches ready for tomorrow, and go to bed early.
When it could be a client phone call, a sick kiddie, low energy, a task more complex than first thought… the whole house of cards goes over.
The same goes for financial years, marketing campaigns, projects, you name it. Observe the lessons, own everything you can (good and bad), consolidate and let it go.
When we let our expectations go and start empty, we can find some unexpected and deligthful surprises.
I think the twin star for Comparison is the Thief of Joy is gratitude. They circle and shine on each other – gratitude for what you have and where you’re at, knowing that you are worthy and capable of growth and expansion.
The only comparison you should make is between the old you and the new you. Look at what you’ve achieved!