Comparing yourself to others may be holding you back.

Competition in the workplace is a brain game that will only make your life more challenging. Why? Because no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot be someone else. Just because someone else is successful by approaching situations a certain way doesn't mean you will be too, especially if it’s a new approach that you’re not comfortable with. Their way isn’t inherently better simply because it’s different from yours. Plus, comparing yourself to others for any reason is energy that would be better served by improving yourself or focusing on your own work.

Not all workplace comparison is bad

To be clear, it’s useful to keep an eye on how others are performing — it’s an opportunity to learn from them. This is especially valuable when you're new to a company, team, or project; in fact, you'll need to understand how things work and the typical processes before you consider a different approach or develop your own way of doing things. There's also an important difference between comparison and seeking information. Being interested in how the experts, or those with higher level positions, do things so you can understand how they achieved the success they have is different than feeling bad that they have something you don't.

Related: Skills You Can Learn on the Job

The comparison that makes us feel bad about ourselves is not productive

While looking at co-workers’ performances can be beneficial, too often it becomes harmful. The comparisons that are important to avoid are the ones that can make us feel bad or inferior to others. This includes comparing how you approach your work with how others approach their work because it’s common to think you might be doing it wrong if you're doing something different. It's human nature for us to compare ourselves to others, but doing so in this way doesn't improve our status, make us better people, or secure our happiness. In many cases, it does the opposite by making us feel bad about ourselves.

Avoid negatively comparing yourself to others in the workplace and instead focus on yourself and your strengths, development, and performance to secure personal success. We each have our own path with personal goals and objectives that will be met in our own time.  

Finding your own way is more important than doing it someone else's way

You can always try to do your work the way it's suggested you do it. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't, find a way that does work for you and helps you be as efficient and successful at your job as possible. There are several ways to get from point A to point C, and if your way looks different than your co-workers’, that’s OK. With that said, if someone else's way does indeed work better than your way and is easy enough to adopt, choose to be smart, not stubborn, and incorporate that into your work.

No one else experiences or perceives things exactly the way you do

Because this is true, it also makes sense that we would each have our own unique way of approaching work responsibilities, conflicts, troubleshooting, and more. Problem solving works best when we each work together and bring our own perspectives to the table. The world would be a boring place if we all saw things or perceived things the same way, so put aside your concern for how other people are working and embrace the individuality of your way of thinking. Allow yourself to bring your own unique perspective to your work and team. This doesn't mean that you won't agree with others' suggestions and ways of doing things. What it does mean is that you choose to be authentic and voice your thoughts and suggestions when appropriate. Don't be afraid to speak up and offer a solution if you truly think it could be helpful.

Those who matter see the truth

If you're too concerned about how you're doing compared to someone else, you're wasting energy that could be spent on identifying ways you could improve the way you complete your own work. Your manager or supervisor will be aware of your effort, and it's not your responsibility or business to know how others are doing their work unless you've been asked to know.

You are enough the way you are

It's true. Often, comparing yourself to others stems from feelings of inadequacy, like you're not doing enough or not good enough. When you find your insecurity gremlins creeping up on your shoulder and encouraging you to compare yourself to others, take a moment to notice and explore why. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are enough by simply showing up and doing the best you can do at what you're doing.

The grass isn't always greener

Any time you begin to compare yourself to someone else in the workplace, remember that you don't really know that person's story — the steps they’ve taken and sacrifices they’ve made to have what they have. We often idealize what we see when we look at others, but the reality is that until we walk in someone else's shoes, we don't really know what the grass is like over there at all.

Successful people don't compare themselves to others.

If you want to reach the top of your profession, confidence is key. That means that you have to be secure enough in your own work that you don’t feel shaken by the successes of others. Comparing yourself to others, and the inner turmoil that often goes along with that, can only hold you back as you try to get ahead in your career. Have faith that your individual path will lead you in the right direction."

Avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety

Competition in the workplace and being overly concerned with how your co-workers are performing often leads to stress an anxiety. By not comparing yourself to others, you can also eliminate some of those negative influences and focus positive energy on your work.

Again, it isn’t that all comparison is bad. It's why you're comparing that matters. What’s important is that if you do choose to compare yourself to someone else, it is for the purpose of learning from them, not because you feel inadequate.

Not comparing yourself to others is easier said than done, but it’s worth making the effort because of how it will help your work and professional development. Take these points as a way of helping you become more aware of your behavior so you can know when to shift your mindset to one that will lead to the best outcome possible. By having confidence in your own work, you’ll be able to grow in your work and, hopefully, get ahead in your career.

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