When I was in high school and college, I struggled with body image. But in my early 20s, God gave me a gift. As a young professional the Holy Spirit inspired me to do an experiment that would free me.
No matter how great or not-so-great I looked when I went to the gym to work out, those huge full-length mirrors in the aerobic studio would get me every time.
I spent the time comparing. I noticed who was exercising behind, beside, or in front of me. What were they wearing? What was their figure like? How did I stack up?
I had no idea what a downer comparing was until I started my “anti-comparing experiment”. I decided I would no longer compare myself with others.
The next trip to the gym, I became blind. I looked at the floor, not the mirror. I looked inward rather than unconsciously and habitually scanning my environment.
I instantly felt better about myself. I saw the burden comparing had been.
Comparison-free days led to peace and self-acceptance. I went cold turkey with comparing in all areas of my life.
But the insecurities of starting anything new, particularly your own business, can also trigger comparisons. You might compare yourself with other women who don’t have a business and do not have to juggle as much as you do. You might compare yourself with other entrepreneurs feeling like your business isn’t growing fast enough or big enough.
Be careful. Comparing can drag you and your business down. Here are signals you are comparing and what to do about them in order to avoid derailing your business focus:
1. Approaching your business in a way or at a pace that doesn’t fit with your state in life or values – When your focus is on how others do things and not on your needs, you can get in the trap of plowing ahead against your core values.
For example, you may highly value spending time with your kids, but say “yes” to things that disrupt your time with them just because you see someone else using those same approaches. You also may disregard your correct instincts about a common sense work schedule because are emulating what you think you see other entrepreneurs doing.
It is important to start with go back to what is important to you, and order your business around it. The money may come slower. But with the right foundation, you will have a structure that can take you to your ultimate vision rather than be disappointed when you “arrive”.
2. Buying into guilt– Living incongruent to your values breeds guilt. Guilt isn’t bad; it’s a warning sign. Guilt may signal that your focus is too much on your neighbor rather than daily action towards your goals. The price of prolonged guilt is failing to understand and correct what is behind it.
3. Conflicted priorities – To be at peace with your business and your life you can’t just copy what someone else is doing, which is what comparing encourages. You are a unique person with a specific mission. Conflicted priorities flow from poor self-knowledge, which inhibits you finding creative solutions that untangle confusion and reorder your priorities.
4. Too many strategies – The anxiety around comparing leads to adopting too many and often conflicting business and life strategies and goals. Instead of developing proficiency in a few areas, you dilute your time and attention. Taking regular retrospective time going inside yourself simplifies your activity goals, gives you peace, and ultimately, gives better business results.
Just as I deliberately shut down the comparing in my 20s, busy Christian woman entrepreneurs must audit and eradicate the mental practice of comparing. A peaceful mind allows you to reclaim the focus you need for a successful Christ-centered business unique to you and your mission.
Catholic Women Entrepreneur’s Biz and Life Tip: Getting out of comparing reintroduces yourself to the thoughts, desires, and feelings of the genius behind your business – you!