Here’s how to overcome feeling like a failure when your friends are achieving goals faster than you.
I recently met with someone I mentor, and she looked sad and a bit depressed. When I asked if anything was wrong, her shoulders sagged lower, and she said was feeling like a failure in her career and her life.
She had been reading a lot of social media posts by her friends. One had just been promoted to a management role and was now leading a team of people. Another friend had just purchased her first house. Two others had announced their engagements, and one friend had gotten married and posted the pictures.
My heart went out to her, because I remembered similar situations early in my career when I had done the same thing — compared myself to others. The difference was that, back then, we didn’t have social media. So I wasn’t bombarded with the accomplishments of my friends, like many people are today.
Here’s what I shared:
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Comparing yourself to others is a losing battle. There is an endless supply of people to whom you could compare yourself and your accomplishments, but, inevitably, you’ll end up on the losing side. That’s because there will always be someone who has done something that you wish you could also accomplish.
… and, it will only take you down a never-ending spiral. Once you start comparing yourself to others, where do you draw the line? Job title, compensation, biggest office, most expensive car, biggest house … it’s like falling down an endless rabbit hole.
You are special, and not an exact replica of anyone else. Even if you were the genetic twin to someone, you would have grown up with different experiences, influences, activities, ideas and thoughts. Your personalities wouldn’t be the same. Your likes and dislikes wouldn’t be the same. So why would your personal and career achievements be identical and accomplished at the same time? They wouldn’t. Try to begin seeing everyone, including yourself, as a unique individual.
Make a conscious effort to free yourself from comparisons. Practice celebrating your uniqueness and being proud of your accomplishments — no matter when in life they occur. Begin by creating a career-development plan with goals and objectives, and then work toward accomplishing these at a comfortable pace.
… and learn to celebrate accomplishments. When someone shares an achievement, be genuinely happy for him or her. Instead of feeling jealous or inadequate, share in their excitement with heartfelt words of encouragement: “Congratulations! That’s wonderful news! Tell me about it.” And don’t forget to celebrate yourself and your own accomplishments along the way.