Minding Your Own Business: Don't Get Caught Up in Comparisons
Last weekend, I spent a glorious and exhausting three days in the beautiful city of Prague. It was my first time there and I finally (finally!) crossed - or should I say... 'Czech-ed...' - it off of my travel bucket list. Definitely one of the most beautiful cities I've ever encountered. Architecturally, especially.
My boyfriend and I traversed the streets each day and I think in all, we walked close to 30 miles over 3 days. Needless to say, we were exhausted. We stayed in an AirBnb along the Vlatava River about a 20-minute walk to downtown. I loved being in the middle of the bustling city and then being able to retreat to a quieter, calmer neighborhood. We were also able to experience some amazing Czech food and dine with the locals at a restaurant close to where we were staying.
One thing I really noticed during the trip and especially out at one restaurant in particular, was how the locals really just mind their own business. You walk into a place, people take a look at you, and then they go back to whatever it is they're doing.
I bring this up because sometimes for me, it can seem like life in France (where I live - as I'm sure you may already know by now) can be a bit like living in a fishbowl what with people not-so-discreetly observing and analyzing your every foreign move - especially in public places.
But in Prague, I felt a sort of lightness - in the metro, in restaurants, in little shops, walking through parks, and along the street. People are busy minding their own business - not looking to make sure you're slipping up, not yelling some strange obscenity to you as you pass them on the sidewalk, not even caring about what you do so long as you're not harming anyone or anything.
And with all of this, I really thought about how it applies to conducting business online, where it's SO easy to head over to our competitors' websites and poke around through what's going for them. What new business opportunities they might have coming to them (and subsequently focusing on what's not coming to us), what they're talking about in their blog posts (and subsequently remembering that it's been a while since we were in the blogging groove, ourselves)...
If you've caught yourself in that horrible cycle of comparison, (1) you're not alone, but (2) you need to get yourself out of this habit. And pronto.
Logging on to our competitors' websites can seem almost as strong a habit as hitting the letter 'F' + Enter on our keyboards to log onto Facebook to check around with what's going on in our newsfeeds, or as strong as our urge to poke around in the refrigerator when we're not really that hungry.
It's time to cut it out.
All the energy we're expending checking in with what's going on with our competition or other entrepreneurs who may be where we eventually wanna be could WAY better be used focused on our own business, figuring out what's working best for us and what needs to be improved, and unleashing all of our creative energy on moving forward with our amazing selves and businesses.
Here are a couple of quick and dirty tips and tricks to get you out of your comparison-hell habit and into a more productive forward-moving state:
1. Recognize your habits.
Be aware of your habit to connect to your competitors' websites or social media accounts. Each time you find yourself reaching to update yourself on their content, see if you can find a pattern in what makes you want to do so. Maybe you're bored. Or maybe you're feeling uninspired with your own content. You might be feeling down on yourself for not achieving certain milestones and wanting to wallow in a bit of self-pity by looking at just how much your competition is achieving.
Don't do this to yourself. You're rad. You're amazing. You deserve to pour your energy into your own amazing content and screw the rest.
2. Be creative with your own content.
One of the main crutches that comparing our content with others creates for us is that it inhibits our own good ideas from flowing into our own businesses. For example, if we're constantly under the influence of our competition's good ideas, we're always going to be operating from a space of "Oh, shoot, if only I could've written that post first, it would've been my idea!" - which is just kind of silly and a slight bit crazy.
Focus on your stuff and brainstorm what will work well with your own business before trying to seek any "inspiration" (which frankly I don't think you're going to find) from competitors in your own industry.
3. Be ruthless. Hit 'Unfollow.'
If you're following them on Instagram because you appreciate the skeptically aforementioned "inspiration," cut it out. You're doing more harm than good by following them. Unfollow at least for a bit, until you've kicked the comparison habit and then check in with yourself and see if you really want to continue following their content or if you're fine without it.
Hint: chances are you'll be just fine carrying on, minding your own business, and leaving them to conduct their own.
Don't let the vicious comparison cycle get the best of you. It happens to all of us, especially in the beginning of our entrepreneurial journeys before we have the wherewithal to establish our own unique perspective (which always comes with time, anyway!).
You got this, love. As I said before: You're rad. You're amazing. You don't need to fall into the never-ending pit of comparison and getting down on yourself. Go out there and give your own audience what they've been searchin' for all this time.
I'd love to hear from YOU: have you been stuck in the comparison corner? What concrete steps did you have to take to get yourself out? Let me know in the comments below!
Stay cool, stay creative -