No matter which career you’re in, you can fall into the trap of comparison, or what we at Finka Inc. like to call “comparasitis.” I’ve had my fair share of sales and collaboration opportunities, and let me tell you, “comparasitis” has crept in at several moments. However, I don’t want this for you, as it can hinder your career growth and personal growth. So, continue reading to learn how to stop comparing yourself to others in an unhealthy way, what triggers it, and how to approach comparison with a healthy mindset.
What is Comparison?
Comparison, or social comparison, means you analyze your own strengths, weakness, attributes, and skills with others’ strengths, weaknesses, attributes, and skills. In short, you look at yourself next to someone else to depict similarities and differences.
It can be easy to fall into a habit of comparison, and you may hear that little voice inside your head continuously yammering on about how someone looks better or performs better than you. However, it’s important to implement preventative techniques and a healthy comparison mindset, because comparison can reap havoc on your life, causing:
- Low self-worth.
- Decreased self-esteem.
- Diminished confidence.
- A constant feeling of displeasure, like nothing you do is ever good enough.
What Triggers Comparison?
The main trigger that causes you to compare yourself to others is the need to form a baseline of where you are in your life, whether it be in your career or personal sphere. Essentially, your brain starts comparing when you desire to see how your performance or achievements measure up to others in your environment, such as other sales leaders or consultants. The goal? To help you feel more comfortable or inspired with where you currently are.
How Comparison Can Show Up in Sales
Comparison isn’t all bad. How it shows up in your sales can either dampen your career growth with shame or dissatisfaction or it can ignite it with inspiration and opportunities.
Upward comparison is the type of comparison that contributes to your growth and skills improvement. With this type, you usually compare yourself with someone who you believe is more talented than you. So, maybe a fellow sales representative with a longer tenure, your manager, or a sales author or influencer on social media.
The great thing about upward comparison is that it comes from a healthy mindset and the best intentions: to grow and improve in your current skills and abilities. By comparing yourself to those who you believe are doing better than you in the sales sphere, you can look at what they’re doing to achieve success and replicate and personalize those strategies to improve upon your current efforts.
As the name implies, downward comparison can lead to the downfall of your career and self-esteem. With this type of comparison, you usually compare yourself to people who you deem worse off than you. For example, a sales colleague who is struggling to hit month-end quotas.
Unlike upward comparison, downward comparison doesn’t come with the healthiest mindset or best intentions; you highlight others’ weakness to make yourself feel better about the weak areas in your current situation and skills.
How to Step Into a Healthy Comparison Mindset
- Upward comparison: emphasizing others’ strengths and analyzing them to grow your own strengths and success.
- Downward comparison: emphasizing others’ weaknesses to help you feel better about your weaknesses.
As you can see, there’s one type of comparison that’s healthier to embrace, and that is definitely upward comparison. Remaining stagnant and focusing on and being okay with weak spots will never help you reach success, nor will knocking others down a notch. But recognizing others’ strengths to hone your own? That’s a solid place to start to grow in your sales abilities.
Here are some tips to help you use comparison in a beneficial, healthy way:
- Approach comparison with self-awareness. When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, answer these questions: What are you achieving by comparing? What emotions is it invoking? If you’re looking to achieve growth and improvement and you’re feeling hopeful and inspired, then sit with it and take what you want to learn. On the other hand, if you’re doing it to feel better about yourself, then stop this toxic comparison cycle and try to approach it with the upward comparison mindset.
- Approach comparison from a place of learning. Even if you find yourself in a downward comparison spiral, pause and take a breath, and ask yourself: What can I learn from this? What is causing me to approach comparison this way? How can I approach it better next time?
- Approach comparison with gratitude. Whether you’re using upward or downward comparison, be grateful. Be grateful for where you currently are and be grateful for the strengths and what you can learn both from people who are more and less experienced than you.
You Can Only Go Up From Here
In short, comparing yourself to others isn’t wholly bad, especially with upward comparison. Applying this type can actually help you break out of your comfort zone to learn and try new things so that you can better connect with clients and generate revenue. So, if you ever find yourself in a comparison cycle, just remember to look up, be grateful, and explore what there is to learn.