Not so long ago, I found myself in a situation where I was I comparing my business to that of another. Looking at them and their 10+ years of experience in journalism and copy writing, I quickly fell into the pit of self-doubt, and was struggling to see a way out.
Looking back at my career in nursing, after graduating I took up a junior position, and with time served, experience and appropriate training, I moved up the ranks so to speak. I would never have expected to step into a role which demanded more of me than my experience or qualifications afforded. So why was I comparing myself to that of someone who had more miles on the clock, and more experience and knowledge under their belt now?
In all honesty I felt vulnerable. I felt exposed for being “new” at what I was doing. I felt uncomfortable. I wanted to be that confident business owner, with all the answers and list of clients as long as my arm. And this was only highlighted more when I was out networking and meeting other business owners. Some of whom might share the same interests, and have similar ambitions but were all at a very different stages of their business journey. It was here I found that you could very easily begin to compare your business and your achievements to that of someone else.
The biggest learning from all of this was that when you meet someone for the first time, or see their business posts on social media, you are only seeing a snapshot of them, their brand and their business growth at that one moment in time. You have not been witness to any of what has gone before, and I can only imagine they may well have had similar feelings to me at some point.
Comparing the beginnings of my business with that of someone with 10+ years of experience was never going to reflect well on me, and to put it in the words of Charles F. Glassman “using someone else’s ruler to measure your self-worth will always leave you short.”
For a time I certainly questioned whether I was capable, and felt I fell short of what others may be expecting of me, but I had to get over that. It wasn’t about them, it was about me. I had to trust my intuition, learn to love my writing style, and believe in the contribution I could make as a writer.
All of this has come as a huge challenge. Coming from a profession where skills are learnt, assessed and validated through formal academic study and practical assessment, to creating something very organic, allowing myself to learn as I go, has certainly required a definite shift in mind-set.
When I stumble across a situation or experience such as this, writing about it has been key to getting me back in focus, so that I am not distracted by what others maybe achieving.
Creating these 7 steps will serve as a gentle reminder for me to pause and reflect, and be kind to myself next time I’m on the brink of self-doubt.
7 STEPS TO PROMOTE SELF-WORTH AND PERSONAL GROWTH
- Go at your own pace, and be patient with yourself.
- Take each step with grace, gratitude and courage.
- Believe in yourself – only compare yourself with you. Look back at where you started, and compare that to where you are now.
- Talk about your doubts, confide and share them with someone – a coach, friend or other business owner. Get some perspective!
- Note down and celebrate every success, no matter how small, it will inspire you to keep going.
- Trust what you already know, trust your intuition, and hush the voice that tells you to stop or give up.
- Accept that self-doubt might creep in occasionally. Take a moment to consider it, journal about it and keep moving forward.
This experience has taught me that success doesn’t come from others, it comes from within, and is personal to you.
I am sure there will be times when I will need to revisit this 7 step reminder, to steer me in the right direction when I happen to take a slight detour. I know it will help to banish those negative feelings of self-doubt and wanting to compare my business and creative journey to some other.
Until next time, stay true to you.