3 ways to make healthy comparisons

Comparing apples with apples

What happens when you compare yourself to others? Do you end up feeling ’worse off, worse at and worse than’ pretty much everyone else?

Maybe measuring yourself against others prompts you to wonder – ‘how did they do that?’ Or ‘what can I learn here?’

If you’re keen to swap feeling ‘worse than’ for ‘wondering ‘why and how’ try these tips for resetting your ‘comparisons compass’.

1. Beware of a ‘be good’ mindset

If critical comparisons sap your motivation and confidence, start by checking your mindset. This will influence how you view your own and others’ successes and failures.

If you have a fixed mindset you’re hardwired to believe that success equals genetically gifted. Never mind tenacity, courage and calculated risk taking, it’s all about luck.

Consequently, fixed minded folk are out to prove to everyone that they’re equipped with oodles of ‘whatever it takes’ to succeed. This thinking is all about ‘being good’ naturally and most importantly now. It’s about beating your real and imagined competitors in and outside of work. Falling short by comparison is evidence that something is inherently ‘wrong’ with you.

A fixed mindset leaves little or no room to grow and change. Black and white are its signature shades. If you suspect the ‘all or nothing’ thinking linked to a fixed mindset might be colouring your comparisons. Dr. Tim Sharp’s list of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) might help you start to debug.

2. Look for career change clues

Admiring others’ achievements and being inspired by what they can teach you are signs of a flexible mindset

Where a fixed mindset believes in ‘now or never’ absolutes, a flexible mindset lets you be an imperfect and evolving human. You focus on improving and pursuing your personal best rather than proving yourself to others.

As a flexibly minded career changer you’re curious about other people’s awesomeness and keen to learn from their experience. You look for career change clues to help you chart your course. You might ask:

WHO do they work with - do they have a close collaborative team, a supportive boss, and a cool list of clients?

WHAT do they do - are they in an exciting new industry or are they fluent users of my favourite skills?

WHERE do they work - do they have a beautiful office or great location, or the chance to travel to work by ferry?

HOW do they work - do they have flexible hours or company perks?

You might also ask,
‘What do I admire about this person and how do I demonstrate these qualities?’

Then you put your insightful answers to work and get on with becoming the most skillful, adaptive version of you. This includes headlining your career change goals with ‘improve’, and ‘learn’ and ‘explore’ and testing mindset pioneer Carol S Dweck’s idea that “becoming is better than being”

3. Reset your ‘comparisons compass’


Making inaccurate and unflattering comparisons is a very human folly. If measuring your self against ‘the rest’ leaves you feeling unworthy and vulnerable you’re not alone. While it’s a challenge to reset your comparisons compass, try moving from envy and resentment towards inspiration and a spirit of enquiry. 

Start by correcting your perspective. Imagine the sweat and set backs that are integral to any worthwhile win. This is particularly helpful when you’re swamped by stellar success stories on social media.

Reality check the state of your career change progress with your ‘cheer squad’. Ask trusted friends or colleagues how they think you’re doing. Discuss where you might do things differently as well as what’s already working well.

Need to get better at changing careers?  Book a chat.

By Jo Green, Career Coach

I know what it feels like to be lost in your career. I also know that when you find what you love, heart and soul, your life changes. I work every day with people who are reshaping their current careers, starting new enterprises or searching for a new direction. Basically I help people who don’t like their job to figure out what to do instead!

As a Careershifters and Firework Advanced Certified Coach and experienced career changer myself, I can help you figure out what fulfilling work looks like for you.

Drop me a note to organise a free 20 minute consultation to chat about your career change and how coaching could help.