Yesterday, I was talking to someone who is really struggling in their career. Over the last few years their role has transformed into something different and now the position is no longer in alignment of who they are and they are really feeling stuck. They are starting to hate their job, and everything about it. The idea of sticking it out another couple of years is depressing and they are not sure what to do next. The jobs they are applying for, no one is calling back, and what they really want to do, is not going to pay the bills.
This person gave me a call because they wanted advice on what to do. To be honest, I have been there–more times I care to admit. I have also felt stuck, lost, depressed and not sure what to do next, so I could totally empathize and have compassion for this person.
They proceeded to tell me their story about how they found themselves in this position and not sure how to get out of it. Then they started to tell me about how all their friends are in great jobs, loving their work, their parents are successful entrepreneurs, their sister is a midwife and loves her job and it seems like everyone around, was successful except for them.
That’s when I had to say, that is the worst possible thing you can do. Compare yourself to other people. Why? Because it makes you feel horrible, inadequate and that there is something wrong with you, if you can’t achieve the same success as others. Our culture doesn’t help either as we idolize wealth, fame, power, etc. Then you start getting “all in your head” and start telling yourself mean things about why you are in the place you are in, or the same sad stories playing over and over and over again in your head about where you are and why you are stuck. The crazy thing, is that most of us are on “autopilot” we are not even consciously aware that we are saying these things to ourselves, but we just feel depressed. (That’s why mediation can be helpful–by the way– to become more aware of our thoughts.)
Anyway, you do not know everyone’s story. You do not know their struggle and how they got to where they are. You just see the accomplishment on top and idealize it as if they never had any struggles. I can tell you, EVERYONE STRUGGLES. Whether they want to admit it or not, is another story.
When you compare yourself to others you put yourself down and you see yourself as everything you are NOT and everything you are missing, rather than everything you ARE. We all have to run our own race. We need to stay in our own lane. We need to look deep inside ourselves and see the greatness that we are. We ALL have greatness inside of us, it’s just a matter of whether we want to do the work to find our own greatness. (For me this takes A LOT of meditation practice, and I mean A LOT, but it totally works, or I should say, it’s working, I guarantee it.)
Believe me, I had to learn this lesson the hard way and continue to learn it, every time I want to compare myself to others. For example, I’m in my mid – late 30’s now. (I know I don’t look it 🙂 LOL ), I’m single (and ready to mingle) and starting my own business–(definitely hit me up). If I look at most people around me, (my age, for sure–even my younger brother), they are all married, at least on their 2nd kid now, have great jobs, great houses and living the “American Dream”. One of my friends literally has a white picket fence and a dog and a cherry on top. (Ok, there is no cherry on top of her house, but you get what I mean).
If I compare myself to someone else’s journey, I will never live my own. When you feel stuck, you have got to dig deep (for me, it’s meditation), find your greatness, make a plan for yourself, and MOVE FORWARD.
That’s my 2 cents! 🙂
Originally published at www.linkedin.com