There’s an expression, “comparison is the thief of joy”. This last week, that expression kept rolling through my mind as I heard people compare this holiday season to other years, as I compared my experience of this year to other people’s experience, and as clients compared their career success to others. Do you also find yourself measuring your career to those around you? Let’s talk about how comparison can bring you down or be used to help elevate your career.
Evaluate Your Strengths
One way I see clients make comparisons which aren’t helpful is when they compare themselves to people that have different core strengths and they don’t take that into account. When thinking about your professional performance, first evaluate what you are best at, which types of activities come naturally to you and which don’t. If you aren’t mindful of how you work best, it’s easy to make yourself miserable for not being able to accomplish something the way another person does instead of finding the best way for you to get to the finish line.
Once you know your strengths and weaknesses you’ll be in a better position to figure out how to accomplish tasks and conquer the goals before you. You’ll also be in a better position to establish the best types of work to fit your talents in the future.
Celebrate Small Wins
Comparison that can be unhealthy is when you’re holding yourself to an unreachable ideal. It’s great to give yourself something to work toward, but you also need to set benchmarks you can celebrate along the way to so you don’t get discouraged. If you never feel a win along the way, a lofty ideal can be demoralizing instead of motivating.
A trap that is easy to fall into is to let jealousy or despair take hold as you compare yourself to others in higher positions with more authority, responsibility, and perks available. Performing a gap analysis, or comparing your experience and knowledge to those in roles you want to work toward, and then following that analysis with action is the key.
Once you know where you need to do some work, then take a class, get a certification, and ask for new responsibilities and tasks to strategically build your knowledge, skills, and abilities in the right areas to get you where you want to be going forward. You might not get there right away, but you’ll be able to enjoy the progress you’re making in the meantime.
Reach out to me today if you’d like help evaluating your strengths, setting benchmarks, performing a gap analysis, or discussing your goals for the new year.