We’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to something or someone, or our own situation to another person’s. And many times people will tell you not to do it. They say comparison kills. But there are instances where comparison can actually help you.
#1 Comparison Can Help You Be More Self-Aware
While you’re probably just seeing their highlight reel, when you’re comparing yourself to someone who is great at what they do, you can take away some learnings. You can look at them to see where they’re at and what they’ve done to get there. Then, you can look introspectively to ask yourself:
- Where am I at?
- What kind of work have I done?
- Have I invested in myself?
Comparing this way can help you figure out what you need to do to take charge to get where the other person is.
#2 Comparison Can Serve as a Motivator
As a nurse at work, I would see a clinical nurse specialist who was very well respected, intelligent and clearly making an impact on their patient’s care. While watching them I saw someone I wanted to be like. I wanted to make the same impact on my own patient’s outcome, so I used that comparison to help motivate me to get better and take serious steps to advance my career.
#3 Comparison Can Help You Set Realistic Goals
You can’t set goals based on someone else’s life, but if you set goals for yourself and share them with a friend, they can help hold you accountable. So rather than letting comparison discourage you, let it empower you to meet realistic goals with the help of others. Maybe after sharing your goals you realize you’re setting the bar a little too low, or maybe you’ve set a goal where the timeline is not enough to get to that high performing level. Something powerful happens when we vocalize our goals with other people: not only can they help hold us accountable but they can help us set realistic goals.
#4 Comparison Can Help You Reset Your Compass
Sometimes there are things I am so used to doing that I don’t think twice, it’s like I’m on autopilot. I just do it a certain way and get it done with no issues or complaints. But then when I work with certain people and I watch how they do that same task, I notice their way is done with fewer steps, or they’re able to do it in such a way that provides an even greater outcome. That’s great, because it helps me to reset my compass with how I do things. It’s like a refresher; I can do better and provide a greater outcome for my patient, friend and/or community.
Comparison can be good in these ways, to help you feel better and do better. When you question your value and capabilities in a positive way, it ultimately brings us to feel better about ourselves.
Don’t Compare Your Journey To Others
I’ll get a lot of DMs and messages from people out there saying I’ve inspired them with my journey, that I’ve done a lot of great things from critical care, ER to being on television in the community, and it makes me feel really good. But one thing I want to make sure you never, ever do, is compare your journey to mine as if you’re not making enough progress or you aren’t trying hard enough.
At the end of the day, no two journeys are the exact same. They won’t take the same amount of time and you won’t encounter the exact dilemmas or obstacles that the other person did. We are all different. So while there are healthy reasons to compare yourself to others, there is absolutely a negative side.
You Are Someone Special
Comparison can be a thief of joy and stall your progress. If you spend your days comparing yourself to other people’s achievements and instead of looking for inspiration you just wonder what’s wrong with yourself, you’ll never get anything accomplished. You don’t want to let comparison lower your self esteem and make you feel unworthy. We must do better for ourselves. So let’s focus on the healthy comparison that serves as motivation to help us thrive, and not the ugly things it can do.
Remember that you are someone special.
You are someone great.
You are destined to do amazing and wonderful things.
You are beautifully and imperfectly made perfect to do what it is you are supposed to do.