How often do you catch yourself comparing yourself to others? If your experience is anything like mine, the answer is OFTEN. And hey I get it – there are many platforms and spaces in our world today that make comparing ourselves to others really accessible. And in some ways I think that reflecting on others’ journeys can be constructive and inspiring. BUT if that reflection manifests into self-sabotaging, soul-sucking, inner dialogue…well, then we have a problem.
Recently, I’ve noticed a common theme in my conversations with fellow millennials and young people around me. We’re all struggling to accept where we are. Where we are in our careers, relationships, accomplishments, and personal development. It is so easy to get caught up in how ‘little’ we’ve grown or changed. How few ‘successes’ we’ve had in comparison to our peers or mentors. Or wallow in the stagnant feeling we keep settling into every few months or so.
I want to challenge us to try to better articulate the growth we’ve done even when, at first glance, it may not seem evident. I know for me, there is nothing positive about going after my goals when I’m freaking out over not having accomplished enough. It sets things into motion in a really panicked and counterproductive way. Before you allow yourself to get too worked up, try this…
First! Make a list of the notable, more stand-out lessons or skills you’ve gained over the last 6 months to a year. These can be ANYTHING. Maybe it was graduating, getting a job, taking a solo trip or going on a first date. Or maybe it was facing a real fear that was holding you back. List the big things that come to mind.
Then begin adding to the list, the seemingly minor points of growth or discovery. That new thing you learned from YouTube, the confidence you now have at your current job, or the relationship challenges that you’ve overcome. Think small and I bet that when you see them all compiled in a list, they will seem far bigger and more impactful than you imagined.
See, our sense of time is funny. We tend to live big event to big event without giving ourselves much credit for what happens in the in-between. Slowing down and acknowledging yourself for how you’ve evolved in both the big and subtle ways is vital to feeling like ‘hey, I AM good enough – I AM making my own waves in whatever I’m working on.” And don’t forget that your journey is unique. You can’t compare your current stage to someone else’s because they are not the same and they aren’t supposed to be.
But maybe you do feel stagnant. Maybe you feel like when you review the last 3 months, you can’t really pinpoint major learning or growth. Take a deep breath. This is okay too. Choose to move forward from where you ARE right now. Don’t discredit the place you’ve landed in because it’s valuable in knowing where to begin. If I could read your mind as the reader right now I’d give you each a place to start from your stagnant point. If you would love that, maybe, just maybe, you’d like to work with me.
Oh and my favourite tip of them all!
Wanna prevent that bummed out, stagnant feeling? Create a Good Things Jar. Re-use a pickle jar or mason jar of some kind. Slap a sign on it that says ‘Good Things,’ and keep it somewhere you’ll see it daily.
When something good happens, write it on a little piece of scrap paper and put it in the jar. I like this because it captures moments and seeing them pile up in the jar makes it visual – like a physical compilation of goodness in your life. Then when you hit stagnation or a point of like ‘What the f*ck am I doing!?’ you can dump your good things jar out on the floor and read all of the notes to remind yourself that YOU ARE DOING GREAT. Give yourself some credit and then pick yourself up and keep going.