Why You Should Stop Comparing Yourself to Others (And How to Do It)
It was the fourth Periscope notification I’d received that day.
“Derek Halpern is Live”
He is one of my favorite bloggers, and I was cooking dinner, so I figured I’d tune in and see what he was up to.
Turns out he was at a bar in NYC with a couple other friends of mine, and let’s just say, well, they’d had a few drinks.
Turns out, I wasn’t the only one tuning in. He had hundreds of people on this Periscope to watch him basically drink martinis.
Now I admittedly haven’t spent much time learning the ins and outs of Periscope, but I couldn’t believe how many people had tuned in.
Earlier in the day Lewis Howes had gone live on Periscope multiple times for his upcoming book launch.
Same thing, hundreds of people.
Rather than feeling entertained, or inspired by these broadcasts, I found myself feeling something much less glamorous: jealousy.
While I don’t do exactly the same thing as either of them, we’re in a similar world — and their audiences are many times the size of mine.
Watching these Periscopes was a reminder of this, and I found myself making comparisons that did nothing but make me feel bad about myself.
Last week I was talking to my wife Tate about the concept of comparisons, and she mentioned a quote from Teddy Roosevelt:
“Comparison if the thief of joy.”
That quote hit me like few ever have.
Because it’s totally true.
I’ve found over my last six years of blogging that I’m at my happiest when I’m focused solely on my business.
For the first few years of this blog, I’d obsess over what other people were doing, how many comments they were getting, how much money they were making, how many features or speaking gigs were coming their way.
I’d rationalize it by saying it’s motivating me to do more, but really, all it did was make me feel bad about what I was doing — even when I was doing a lot!
The push notifications from Periscope a few weeks ago were a reminder of what it felt like to constantly be comparing yourself to others — and more importantly, a reminder not to go back down that path.
Comparisons are most dangerous however, because you’re only seeing the shiny side of things.
You have no idea what is really going on in the life or business of those other people — yet you know about all of the problems and frustrations of your own life, so it’s not a fair comparison.
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It’s easy to say you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, but much harder to implement. However, there are a few simple steps you can take that will make it much easier to resist the temptation.
1) Stop Following Influencers
But those are the people you’re supposed to learn from, right??
More often than not I’ve found that following the biggest people in your niche will cause you more stress than anything else.
Sure they’re internet famous for a reason — they have good, compelling, useful content — but regardless of how good the content is, if with every new blog post, tweet, or video you question your own abilities, you’re better off not paying attention.
A much better way to get around this is to unfollow, or at the very least disable push notifications or emails.
When you really want to read their content, go search for it manually. This will keep you from making negative comparisons at times when you may have otherwise had some momentum going.
2) Focus on Action Rather than Vanity Metrics
The easiest way to compare others in online business is to look at basic vanity metrics. Social media followers, blog comments, income reports etc.
Not only should you stop focusing on other people’s metrics, you should stop focusing on yours as well.
If you obsess over one particular metric in your business, it doesn’t matter how successful you are, it won’t be good enough.
Set goals around action rather than results.
Don’t make a goal of earning $10k next month, because you don’t really have control over that and it becomes too easy to compare your success or failures to others.
Instead, set a goal to create that new blog funnel, launch a new product, create 3 JV partnerships etc.
Those are actions that can lead to your revenue goal, without allowing you to subconsciously compare yourself to others.
3) Consistently Remind Yourself of What You’ve Already Done
Over the last 6 years Location 180 has become a successful blog, by pretty much any account. It’s probably in the top 1% of all blogs on the internet in terms of audience and revenue.
And even with that success, I still occasionally fall victim to the comparison game.
It doesn’t matter who you are, there will always be people with a bigger audience. There will always be people making more money.
By reminding yourself of that and focusing on the successes you do have, you’ll not only be more motivated to keep going, but you’ll be happier as well.
So, What’s the Secret to Making a Long Term Living Online?
So, want to know my secret to making a living as a professional blogger, entrepreneur, or internet marketer over the long term?
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Do you. Focus on you. And remember to give yourself credit for the great things you have done.
You’re sanity will thank you.