Three Strategies to Combat That “Not Doing Enough”Feeling
The Unhealthy Comparison Merry Go Round
Face it. We all play the comparison game. It’s how our caveman software works.
The grand illusion you and I are subjected to each time we spend time online is what success supposedly looks like.
When you scroll through social media posts, you may feel compelled to compare to a perception you see.
Unfortunately, people mostly share the shiniest version of what they want you to see. Skills are highlighted, and flaws are hidden. Wins are exaggerated, and losses are downplayed. Doubt and anxiety are rarely featured in social media posts. Defeated heroes and failed CEOs rarely sit for interviews.
Reality dictates that most things are more challenging than they look and not as fun as they seem. It’s also true that everyone has bad days, and no one has a picture-perfect life. We get a highlight reel of what people want you to know about themselves to increase their own chances of success. Unfortunately, we tend to compare that to the worst parts of ours.
When you compare others’ portrayal of success to yours (or lack thereof), you do yourself a disservice. Revisit what you want to get out of life and go for it. Success to you may be freelance writing from your van as you travel the country. That is perfectly ok and worth pursuing.
Antidote: Recognize when you find yourself on the unhealthy comparison Merry Go Round. Then just hop off it!
Leadership is all about managing expectations: Your own and that of others.
Your goals and ambitions need to be based on reality. If they are unrealistic, you will be perpetually stressed and criticizing yourself.
If the timeline for reaching your goal is unrealistic, consider adjusting things to be more realistic.
Consider what you want to get out of life and go for it.
When It comes to having expectations of others, I’ve learned to definitely have them and hold them loosely. When others perpetually disappoint us, it’s easy to grow frustrated. If your team or colleagues are underperforming against your expectations, it’s time to ask yourself how you expected them to act and why. People can only give you what they’ve got.
Disappointed expectations often stem from flawed assumptions. For example, I might assume someone understands what I’m conveying and what I expect, only to discover I’m dead wrong.
Proceeding without an agreed-upon assumption checklist is a sure-fire way to have things go wrong later. On the other hand, you will rarely be disappointed if you go into every situation with well-informed assumptions.
Antidote: Have a robust feedback eco-system. Every good leader I know has their own pipeline to reality. This allows for well-informed assumptions, decision-making, and planning.
Shorten the To-Do List
This might be too simple, but as we know, simple isn’t always easy.
So, often we feel inadequate simply because our to-do list has grown too long.
Learn to divvy things up according to priorities. Then, choose three items that you would feel accomplished if you could only get those tasks done today.
Why three? Well, two’s not enough, and four often is too many.
But hey, – you do you and decide what works.
It helps to remember that life is a journey. So we often get caught up in attaining the goals, and we fail to enjoy the detours and scenic viewpoints along the way. It might be time for you to look back at how you have grown as a person while pursuing goals, even if you haven’t quite reached them.
I’ve found it helpful to journal accomplishments that I can be quietly proud of.
Not in a “hey look at me” kind of way but in a “yeah, I got to do that, and it’s pretty cool !” kind of way.
Even small achievements are worth celebrating. Celebrating how far you have come will boost your morale and set you up for more success. For example, maybe you got in a 30 min daily walk for the last two weeks after being a couch potato for months. That’s an activity win to get excited about.
Antidote: Keep a viable running to-do list but make sure it’s not stressing you out. Journal the good things and accomplishments you’ve been privileged to be a part of.
Until next time,