Who Are You Comparing Yourself To?

I met a remarkable client a couple of years ago.

He has a PhD, has worked on international space programs, has been a noted academic on three continents and is a globally recognised expert in his field, all before the age of 40.

Yet for all of his achievements so far, I could see that he had a crisis of confidence.

When I asked him why that was, he explained that he wishes that he had done more with his life.

When he compared himself with other PhD students from his university days, he felt as though they had achieved more.  They had more papers published, more prestigious job titles and had worked on higher profile projects.

What a dangerous place to be!

Here was this amazingly talented and really nice guy who felt inadequate because he was comparing his achievements with a group of people who set the bar unusually high.

I explained to him that if he was to compare his accomplishments with most people in the community, he would come out well on top, but even then, that shouldn’t be the comparison that he’s making.

I asked him if he was doing things now that he couldn’t have done five years ago.

I asked him if he knew things now that he didn’t know five years ago.

I asked him to compare his current self with who he was five years ago.

Has he grown, has he developed, is he better?

He smiled and nodded, affirming that when compared with his old self, he has continued to grow.

I could see his confidence grow in front of me and I finished the discussion by encouraging him that if he keeps developing, five years from now he will be doing work that he can’t even imagine at the moment.

Sometimes, we compare ourselves with the greats in our field, making us feel inadequate.

Sometimes, we compare ourselves with the average Joe, giving us a false sense of our abilities.

But the comparison that you should be making is with you from five years ago.

Are you the same?

Have you grown?

Can you do things now that you couldn’t have done then?

Taken from Darren’s Better Life Coaching Blog.

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