Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
But it’s also the thief of confidence and workplace success, leadership specialist and author of The Power of Real Confidence Michelle Sales believes.
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“In this world of social media, we've got that [comparison] in our face all of the time, where we're comparing ourselves to someone else's life with our life, and perhaps that can have us feel like we're not doing so well with our own,” she said.
And it’s no difference in the workplace.
In fact, workplaces are often built around performance so questions like “How am I looking?” “How did they get up on that stage and do that?” and “Why are they so confident? They’re such a great leader,” are pervasive and potentially damaging.
When we have thoughts like this, we’re comparing our own work to someone else’s - sometimes without considering their previous failures and work put in to get to that point.
“So we're comparing their glossy outsides to our scruffy insides and we always - in that case - mostly find ourselves wanting.”
That’s me, what do I do?
Bring it back to yourself, is Sales’ advice.
Don’t compare to your worst, compare to your best.
She said you should go to your personal best, whether that’s in your work or in your life.
“[Think], where are you now, what would you like to improve on, and how can you do that by becoming the best possible version of yourself rather than comparing yourself with someone else?”
The key is to take small, sustainable steps to boost your confidence.
It’s important to have a strong sense of self-awareness, as this will help you build your own confidence in a “really genuine way”.
“You do that by understanding your strengths.
“So when we know what we're great at, and what gives us energy and we feel like we're working in an environment that we're valued for that, then that's the best possible start because we’re able to be the best version of us.”
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