A common recurring theme I see crop up with career returners and those with a break on their CV is the tendency to slip into 'comparisonitus' mode.
Judging your progress against others. Worrying that you are falling behind. Questioning what they are doing that you are not? Asking, am I good enough?
As I think about comparisonitus here are my thoughts and action ideas for you:
Comparisons are always unfair. We typically compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others
Comparisons rob us of precious time. We each get 86,400 seconds each day. And using even one to compare yourself to another is one second too many.
You're too unique to compare fairly. Your value, skills and strengths are entirely unique to you and they can never be properly compared to anyone else.
There's no end to the possible number of comparisons. The habit can never be overcome by attaining success. There will also be something, or someone, else to compare to.
Comparison puts focus on the wrong person. You can control one life .... yours. But when we constantly compare ourselves to others, we waste precious energy focusing on other people's’ lives rather than our own.
Comparisons often result in resentment; towards others and towards ourselves.
So what can you do to reduce the impact comparing yourself to other has for your confidence and progress?
Here are my top 5 ideas for action:
1. Acknowledge the people and situations where you find yourself in comparison mode the most, then practice focusing your mind on something else.
2. Surround yourself with people, things and situations that make you feel good. Delete and unfollow people on social media that trigger comparisonitus.
3. Rather than comparing yourself to what others may have/or be doing, ask yourself 'what can I learn from this person or this situation'.
4. Make a list of your strengths instead of focussing on your weaknesses. For a free strengths assessment I love the Marcus Buckingham 'Stand Out' report (free on his website)
5. Get into action mode. Doing one small thing towards your goals refocuses your mind back onto your priorities, and away from others.
For more ideas to help you develop personally and professionally read these:
1 - 5 ways to positively frame your career break
2 - How to set healthy boundaries as a working parent that really work
3 - 6 simple actions to overcome impostor syndrome and develop greater career confidence
4 - 9 top tips to successfully negotiate work flexibility