How to avoid the comparison trap

Simon looks at influencer-style video thumbnails and thinks, "How can I be more like them?"

It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. You see someone else doing what you do but more successfully and think, why aren’t I more like them?

You see their social media posts: selling out their programs, having six-figure weeks, getting a million views… and you feel you have to try to keep up.

But is any of it real? Remember, social media makes it easy to create the appearance of success.

And more importantly, is what they have really what you want?

You’re probably comparing apples with oranges anyway

What works (or appears to be working) for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. It’s highly unlikely your starting points or circumstances are comparable. They might have started with an email list from their old job of perfect clients, making that ‘six-figure week’ really easy. Maybe they have years of experience you don’t and contacts who will refer clients to them.

Whatever their situation and experience is, it’s almost certainly not the same as yours.

Blindly chasing other people’s success because it looks like life is working for them is risky. It’s an energy and time drain and besides, they might be going in a totally different direction to you.

Where do YOU want to be?

Being different is easier. Being yourself is easiest.

Instead of trying to match what others are doing, do your own thing and focus on the people who really want what you do.

When you’re clear on who you want to work with, you can create something that both appeals to them and is true to you. That’s your niche right there and it can’t be compared to anyone else. (After all, who can do you better than you?!)

By not trying to emulate someone else’s success or their niche, you can go at your own pace and focus on your own people.

There’s no need to offer what someone else is offering, or copy someone else’s style or business to draw people in. You can take your time, operate at your own pace, and show up consistently in your own way.

Focus on who you want to reach

When you find your own niche and focus your marketing on reaching that niche, there’s more long-term security in your approach and grow yourself and your clients.

Spend time articulating your ideas and perspective in ways that speak to your ideal client and your marketing content will become clearer and more confident. People will respond because you’re enabling them to learn and develop their understanding of where they are now and where they want to be.

What’s more, it’s sustainable. The people you reach and the responses you get are authentic – they’re responding to you and not your version of the person whose success you’re chasing.

To avoid the comparison trap, it is important to look ‘up’ and focus on your direction, your big goal. Know your niche and what you’re offering it.

Then, you need to look ‘down’ and see what the next step is. Keeping an eye on the bigger picture and taking it step by step is how you make authentic progress.

But… This person is reaching millions of people. How will my message ever be heard?

Other people’s noise is just that – noise. When you focus on that noise it can feel like you will never cut through; that you’ll always be drowned out. But that is the joy of the world: there are people out there who are looking for you and what you offer, and the Internet makes it possible for them to find you.

This is why knowing your niche – your who – is so important. You can create a message just for them and even if you’re not as noisy, some people will listen because it will feel like you’re talking directly to them. Making it feel like you’re speaking to one person at a time is far more impactful than someone who is speaking to millions at once.

Show up for your people

Intentionally being present for those who you can help make a change not only sidesteps the comparison trap, it gets you better results. Tell them the story of how you can guide them and what it’s like when they make the change that you are offering and they’ll listen.

So, slow it down, do your own thing, and show up for those who are looking for you. They’ll be delighted when they find you.

I explain how to work out who it is you want to work with, and how to find and engage them with your content, in my book Reframing Marketing. It’s got lots of exercises to help you get clearer and more confident about showing up, in your own way, at your own pace.