Fuelled by Outrage: The upside of comparison

Fuelled by Outrage: The upside of comparison

A few years ago, I co-authored a guidebook for women entrepreneurs called The Boss of You – and when it came out, the question we were asked most often was, “Why write another book on how to start and run a business?”

The not-too-subtle implication was that the last thing the world needed was yet another business basics book – which is fair enough. Fortunately, The Boss of You isn’t just another business book; it’s a book about defining success for yourself first, and building a business that supports that success second.

But the real answer to that frequently-asked question was: We were fuelled by outrage. 

Outrage that the business shelves were lined with books reinforcing stale, old visions of business as purely profit-motivated and voraciously greedy. Outrage that corporate-speak was dominating the discourse, further mystifying concepts that had the potential to empower would-be entrepreneurs everywhere. And outrage that the authors in the business section were overwhelmingly male – when we knew so many brilliant women entrepreneurs we wanted to see celebrated.

This became our quiet, just-between-us mantra whenever the editing process felt daunting, or the grind of book promotions wore us down: We can’t stop now, remember? We’re fuelled by outrage.

Reminding ourselves of the status quo we wanted to disrupt was a very reliable way to recharge our batteries enough to get back to work.

The fact is, while I’ve been writing a lot lately about the downsides of comparison, there’s an upside too. Knowing what you don’t want to see in the world can be a spectacularly effective strategy for getting clear on your true ambitions.

 

How do you know if you’re working with comparison that helps or the kind that hurts? It’s an energetic thing. That motivation I felt when I looked at bookshelf after bookshelf of advice from CEOs of huge corporations? That’s worlds away from the kind of comparison we’re working on in Worship Wisely – the latter drags you down, gets you stuck, distracts you from what you’re here to do.

So that’s one easy way to know instantly whether you’re suffering from what we’re calling compulsive comparison, or if you’re simply discerning (that is, noticing differences and getting clear on what you stand for): Noticing whether you feel energized and clear-headed, or low-energy and disconnected from your centre.

There’s a second way to tell which type of comparison you’re dealing with: By noticing the thoughts that are passing through your head. Are they judgmental, harsh, and negative (towards yourself or others)? Is the voice in your head using black-and-white language? Or is there space for possibility, for creativity and forward movement? Compulsive comparison shuts you down and shuts others out; discernment is emotionally pretty neutral, and feels more spacious.

 

We don’t need to do away with discernment in order to worship wisely; in fact, we need more discernment and less judgment. You need your discernment in fine working order to create a body of work that’s truly yours – and to celebrate and be inspired by others – which is what Worship Wisely is all about.

Early registration for Worship Wisely is now open, only for subscribers to our Worship Wisely email list. (The good news: it’s not too late to get on the list.) And we’re offering an exclusive bonus for the first 20 people who register: 1-on-1 coaching with me AND Tanya Geisler. (That’s a $200 value.) Sign up here for full details.