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Do you ever struggle with feeling like you are not enough? Do you find yourself scrolling down your competitors Instagram feed and feeling all kinds of bitter emotions? Does social media make you feel depressed or drained? Are you sick and tired of comparing yourself to others?
If you said yes to any of these things then you are in luck!
We are going to be diving into the topic of comparison; where it stems from and how to get past those jealous feelings so you can start living a happier and healthier life.
Comparison is not limited to those who are entrepreneurs, and it doesn’t discriminate. Comparison happens to adults, teenagers, and even children.
Think back years ago to when you were a kid, and maybe one of your friends had a really cool toy they got for Christmas or the latest cell phone and you just felt super lame for not having the latest and greatest of everything.
I wish I could say that comparing yourself to others especially over materialistic stuff is just a kid thing, but even as adults it happens. And in a lot of ways it only gets worse because the stuff we get jealous over is more expensive.
Adults compare themselves to others over things such as what car they drive, how big their house is, or how financially successful they appear. I chose the word “appear” because the truth is, for most of us, that’s all it really is. Just an appearance.
We like to buy fancy things we simply cannot afford because it makes us look better to our peers. Humans, like to create the image that they make a lot of money or that they are very successful, but the reality is so many of us are drowning in debt.
Research shows that over 80% of Americans are trapped in chains of debt. And that doesn’t mean just mortgages. It’s sad to think that so many people are struggling financially but refuse to take any steps towards changing their reality because they are too scared of what other people will think about them.
And believe me, I am not saying any of this as I sit on top of a pedestal. I 100% am guilty of comparing myself to others and worrying what they may think about me.
However as I have gotten older, it is something that has become more clear to me and my mindset has shifted drastically.
I realized that I would rather live a certain lifestyle and be happy instead of going to a job I hate surrounded by a bunch of stuff I can’t afford.
For me that looks like this: I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom one day. Never have I aspired to have a job that would take that dream away from me, which is part of the reason why I became a business owner. It allows me to have the freedom to stay at home with children one day.
But there have been times where I have looked around to my peers and have seen how fast they grew in their 9-5 jobs. How they “appeared” to be making a bunch of money and could buy nice things. And that’s when those comparison feelings popped in.
And this brings me to my first point.
Anytime you feel like you are comparing yourself to others and getting those wandering eyes, I want you to think “why”?
Why am I comparing myself to this person? Why does their lifestyle make me feel this way? And are these REALLY my feelings? Do I ACTUALLY want what they have?
When I ask myself these questions and really think about it, usually I come to realize that I am not actually even jealous.
As someone who is growing my own company and expanding in new ways, I work a lot of hours. Some days I am working 14 hour days, and some days I randomly decide to take off to give myself a break.
I would NEVER EVER want to give up that freedom to go work some 9-5 job. It’s just not for me. Having to ask permission to take time off to go do something was never my thing. But for some people that’s okay! And there’s nothing wrong with that.
And trust me, the 9-5 job does come with a sense of security that entrepreneurship doesn’t. You know exactly what you are going to make every month. And as an entrepreneur you don’t. You could make $100 per month or $20k per month.
But that uncertainty is exciting to me and I could work 20 hours a day and be happy because I love what I do so much.
Apps like Instagram are both a blessing and a curse. Because of social media we are able to stay in touch with old friends we haven’t seen in years or we can make new ones, we can follow people we admire and aspire to be more like.
But we can also follow people we get jealous of and that bring toxic habits into our lives. I bet as you are reading all of this, there is someone in particular that you are thinking of right now.
There is probably one person in particular that you KNOW you compare yourself to.
How about we lean into that a little more. Think about that person and think about what you compare yourself to. Is it the stuff they have? Does is have to do with their success in their business? Their relationships?
What is it about them that makes you feel bitter or jealous or unworthy?
Write it down.
Next, think about why it bothers you so much. And think if what they have is REALLY something you would want.
A personal example for me is that I used to always want to be one of those trendy traveling photographers. I thought it would be so cool to get flown across the country for my job.
However, the more I got a little taste of that life, the more I realized I did not want to travel that much. It just isn’t as fun to me as I imagined it would be.
I tell photographers all the time who say they want to travel, if you don’t do it in your free time because you love it, why do you think you will love it in another situation?
The goal here is to become SUPER clear on what it is that you are jealous of and why.
Below that, write out a list of things in your life that you are grateful for. This should be anything and everything in your life. Business related or not.
I used to think doing this exercise was cheesy but now I do it each and every day first thing in the morning. Starting your day with gratitude sets the tone for how you move forward and behave.
Once that is done, close out of all other distractions. Close social media, turn off the TV and go do something that inspires you. Go for a walk or go to the gym. Listen to some music, whatever that might be for you.
Clear your head and take some time to really get inspired. Once you do, write down what you want in your life. How do you see the next 10 years going for yourself? Your relationships? Your family? Your career? Etc.
Get specific! and write down how you are going to get there. What steps you will take, and how you are going to manifest them. I did an entire episode on goal setting and making them achievable – it’s episode 002 – you can click here to check it out!
I believe that getting really clear on what you desire for yourself takes away any sense of jealousy. When you know what you want, and why you want it, you stop looking around and start looking forward.
A few other steps you can take to assure you stop those wandering eyes or thoughts is to unfollow the people that do not inspire you. If you follow someone who makes you cringe every time you see one of their posts or you feel tense and frankly anything less than joy… unfollow.
If it’s a friend or someone who you really know well, just mute them.
Each year I go through my following list and I clean it out. Sometimes even more often than that.
I do not actually follow a lot of photographers because I was sick and tired of constantly seeing other work and feeling like I would never be on their level. That was one of the best things I could have done for my business.
After a while, I was able to start following more of my immediate competition because it felt less competitive. I knew what I wanted and they had their own thing going and it was a great balance.
I am 100% confident in my style and process which allows me to cheer others on wherever they might be in their own businesses.
INSPIRATION VS. COPYING
There is a major difference between getting inspired and straight up copying someone else. Far too often I have seen not only myself, but other entrepreneurs get copied down to a T.
Whether it’s how they market their business or their branding, website, their niche, etc. Please do not try to be sneaky and copy someone else who worked so hard to build what they have.
Their logo, color scheme, graphics, words, editing, etc. is THEIRS for a reason. Be your own person.
Go on Pinterest and save things that feel like you. You can then work off of a vision board instead of what your competition is doing.
When you stop comparing yourself to others, and start to realize that you have your own special something to bring to the table, your life is going to feel so much more free.
Your business will thrive and you will finally be able to step into who God intended for you to be.
You’ve got this! I believe in you!
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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