So, I’ve been on a pretty crazy ride for the last couple of weeks. A ride I can, after some reflection, name with profound clarity – it’s the Comparison Crazy Train, which regularly stops at the Vulnerability, Not Good Enough and Imposter Syndrome stations.
I’ve been working on my new online program called Thrive On The Go and recording the free training videos that will be part of the launch. Even though I’ve trained and coached thousands of people in the past, I’ve never taught a group of people I can’t see or at least hear.
I’m used to being able to read and react to live responses - not staring at a red camera light and wondering who’s eyeballs will be on me in the future. So yeah, I’m experiencing all of the fear, anxiety and resistance associated with doing something new. I think the lighting looks bad and I don’t know how to fix it. I think I look weird on video. And sound weird on video. What’s wrong with my hair? Why doesn’t Marie Forleo look and sound weird in her videos? Or Nikki Elledge Brown? Or Danielle Laporte? Or any of the other women online entrepreneurs I find so inspiring and thoughtful. Argh!
Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt –
I know the healthy part of comparison is that there is huge value in learning from others, being inspired by their work and benefiting from their knowledge. But there is absolutely nothing healthy if we get down on ourselves because we aren’t as successful, rich, influential, well-dressed, eloquent or sassy as they are. There is no joy at this, it doesn’t help us access our most creative selves and most importantly, doesn’t honor who we are. And we ARE pretty cool, right?
So, how do we get off this comparison crazy train? I’m so glad you asked because I’ve got some tips for you (and moi!).
1. MEDITATE: the power is in your breath.
A big piece of the comparisonitis work is “unhooking” from what others are doing by focusing back on yourself, through your breath. Just doing this for 10 minutes and getting present, will help you refocus on your own game and stay in your own lane. Check out a great little app called Headspace. It delivers short guided meditations and great information about the benefits of meditating on the regular.
2. EXCAVATE: clear your mind and reconnect to your magic through Morning Pages.
First introduced in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, the practice is pretty simple – write three pages, longhand, every morning about whatever is in your head/heart. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be good writing because you never share it with anyone. It’s just for you. Cameron describes Morning Pages as mind dump that helps you get rid of – or excavate - the clutter in your brain. And this is super helpful when you want to detach from other people’s voices, ideas and success.
3. MAKE: get out of your head, into your hands and into the flow.
Nothing gets me off the comparison crazy train and into flow faster than a good bit of baking. The father of flow – Mihály Csíkszentmihályi – describes the state as “performing an activity fully immersed with energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process.” In normal lady speak, when you’re flowing you’re glowing and completely absorbed by what you’re doing. Making things with our hands, producing something tangible helps us get there. And it doesn’t have to be baking or cooking. Maybe knitting is your thing. Or painting. Or creating mosaics from found glass. Or making weird creatures with Playdoh (hey, it’s not only for kids!) It doesn’t matter as long as you’re getting out of other people’s business and into your own heart and hands.
4. DATE: go on a soul-filling date with yourself.
This is another gem from Julie Cameron. In The Artist Way, she recommends taking yourself on an Artist Date once a week. This is different than a self-care date because the focus is on filling yourself up with an experience that inspires you. It could be going to an art gallery, taking a walk in nature, shopping for stationary (one of my personal favs) or going to see a live band. The important thing is that it’s something that will inspire you.
5. SHAKE: as in shake that booty!
Research has proven a thousand times over that getting the blood pumping is good for every part of us. Sometimes the gym can be a bit of a comparison convention so I love to put on some great music and shake it. Lately I’ve been shaking it to Shake It Off. Thank you Taylor Swift!
And here’s a bonus idea I had to share!
6. COMMIT: to a weekly technology sabbatical.
We spend a lot of time in the rushing river of other people’s ideas and opinions. That river is called Social Media and the boat is your smart phone. So, once a week, for one day, from sunset to sunset, unplug. Completely, for real. Put your phone in a drawer, leave the laptop in its case and you splash around in your life, tech-free. I know, it’s radical. It felt impossible when I started doing it. And now it feels like a gift - a gift that helps me - and it will help you tune into my own wisdom and stay connected to my own voice.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou
The “Get Off the Comparison Crazy Train” Challenge
So, here’s your challenge for this week. I want you to try at least one of the comparison busters above and post a comment about what you did and what happened as a result. I can’t wait to hear what comes up!
Before I say goodbye, a final loving reminder that the world doesn’t need you trying to be someone else. It needs you being you, doing you, sharing you. And you can’t do any of that if you’re the chief engineer on the Comparison Crazy Train Express. Get off that train!