Comparing Yourself to Others: Yes and No

two people holding pineapple fruits against a multicolored wall


Followers of this blog may have noticed that I skipped last week. There was no blog published during the usual every two week time slot. It was intentional. I took a few days of vacation to enjoy our local film festival last week. The time off had been planned, and became more important to me because I celebrated a success. I achieved a goal, and enjoyed a break.

“Lessons In Action”, a recent blog post, describes the lessons I learned in 2021. This lesson is number seven, “Comparing yourself to others paralyzes action.”

Many of us spend a great deal of time in action. Action is good, unless you run past something that is important to you, your goals, and your growth. Many of us also spend a great deal of time comparing our progress towards our goals to the progress of others. This can become a habit that is dangerous to your progress.

When I work with clients at MBT More Business Today, I first ask them about their aspirations. Beyond today or a few months from now, what do they aspire to achieve in work and in life? During these conversations, many clients articulate their goals in terms of the achievements of role models. This is a fun process! Clients will often combine bits and pieces of the people they admire while fleshing out the entirety of their aspiration. Focusing on the attributes and accomplishments of others in this way is a good and healthy practice.

However, things can go astray when clients feel unworthy because they compared themselves to the progress of someone who seems to be more successful. Sometimes, clients become frozen. They express the feeling of hopelessness. They start to speak in terms such as, “I will never do it”, and, “I always do something wrong.” When the always and never reveal themselves, it is time to take a break.

In the opening paragraph, I mentioned I had achieved a goal. The days before, I was in the always and never space. It caused confusion for me. I was not sure what to do except sit with the confusion. Then, in the normal course of my life, a seed I had planted and watered sprung to life. I felt overcome with emotion the next day! I paused to feel the emotion and celebrate by embracing the few days of vacation I had already planned.

It made me think more deeply about comparison. Like most things in life, it can be beneficial and destructive. It is important to intentionally look for a balance.

Here are a few tips:

  • How do you feel after you compared yourself to someone? If you are motivated, it is probably a good thing. If you feel unworthy or stuck, take a pause.
  • Write down how you feel.
  • If you feel bad, concentrate on positive things. What went well for you the past week or month?
  • Take out your plan. Do any of your accomplishments match your goals?
  • If they do, pause to celebrate.
  • If they do not, think about the next action to take.
  • Remember, each action will take you closer to your goal.

How do you celebrate your achievements? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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