We all have a natural tendency to compare ourselves to others — often measuring our success against someone else’s. However, this kind of thinking can be very unproductive. An article by the Muse titled “3 Smarter Things to Do Instead of Comparing Yourself to Others” suggests proactive, healthy actions you can take to up your self-confidence instead:
- List Your Accomplishments
Take ownership of your achievements by writing them down. They can be short-term or long-term, but putting them down on paper makes them real, tangible and noteworthy. Recognize how much you’ve achieved and what steps you want to take in order to add even more successes to your list in the future. If you’re a cancer survivor, it’s likely you achieved a lot more than you’re giving yourself credit for! Contributing to our Collective Diary is one way to get you thinking about your accomplishments, about challenges you’ve overcome. For example, being able to manage treatment side effects at work could be something you’re proud of.
- Set Goals
Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself — ones that will help you achieve some immediate successes. For example, if you are constantly comparing yourself to a coworker who is always prepared in meetings and has a seemingly bottomless well of great ideas, set aside 30 minutes before your next meeting to brainstorm new concepts and organize your thoughts. Another goal-setting tip: Let’s say you want to re-enter the workforce after cancer, don’t list “get a job” as a goal. That is too big and too broad. Instead, write down smaller and more manageable intermediate goals, such as “update my resume” or “write a cover letter,” which will help you get there.
- Ask Questions
Learn what you can from others by asking questions. The more knowledge you have, the more empowered and confident you’ll feel. So consider sending a personalized message to your contacts on LinkedIn, asking if they would be willing to discuss their career experience with you. And if you haven’t done so already, ask some of your LinkedIn contacts for “recommendations.” Having former colleagues, clients or supervisors share positive, validating comments about your work performance can go a long way toward increasing your self-confidence. (For more tips on using LinkedIn, listen to our Balancing Work & Cancer webinar recording on "“Building an Effective LinkedIn Profile.”
Instead of comparing yourself to others in your head, take concrete steps to make yourself feel better about your own accomplishments and to learn from others how you can get to where you want to be.