Next week, Tanya Geisler and I are launching a project we’ve been working on for a year. Since last October, we’ve held weekly meetings every Wednesday, co-designing a program that addresses a problem we see everywhere: chronic, unhealthy comparison. Comparing yourself to other people, whether it’s comparing up (and coming up short), or comparing down (and judging others harshly) – or the flip side, trying to handle the projections that come when you’re on the receiving end of someone else’s comparison.
We have invested deeply in this project, because it seems like everywhere we look, comparison is there.
It’s on the covers of the magazines at the supermarket. (Get Scarlett Johansson’s waist! Look at these fashion faux-pas and feel superior! Judge yourself for not eating “cleaner,” then check your salary against the gross earnings of this Fortune 50 CEO!)
It’s in the air we entrepreneurs breathe. (How are your list numbers? What price can you command? Who is today’s media darling? Better watch what you say on social media, lest you offend someone or appear too human – or too perfect.)
It’s everywhere, and yet the only advice most of us hear about handling it is to simply quit doing it.
Well, yeah. That always works. Quitting: why didn’t I think of that?
As Tanya and I have examined comparison from every conceivable angle, we’ve found ourselves marvelling at its richness, relishing our research, revelling in creating a toolkit that delves deep and really works.
It has taken us a year. And it has been a joyful, delicious year of creative collaboration.
In this moment, it is very, very tempting to look ahead two weeks and believe that this project will only be successful if it flies off the proverbial shelves, as if that would justify the amount of work that went into it. (And it feels vulnerable to write that – like I’m going to jinx something if I write that I’m nervous it might not be a massive hit.)
It feels equally tempting to scratch that last sentence and tell you that I’ll believe it’s all been worth it if it changes just one life. My ego thinks that sounds much more evolved.
But the truth is, while of course we want to have a fabulously successful launch and we want the program to serve others, one thing that will make me feel spectacularly successful is if I’m able to refrain from comparing the results to anyone else’s… or even to my own idealistic visions. To resist the temptation to gauge our success by how it stacks up against other people’s – that would feel spectacular.
That feels like a fitting definition of success for Beyond Compare. So that is my hope as we count down to launch day.
Now, speaking of launch day, we are doing something special this week to celebrate: every day between now and Friday, we are releasing an interview with one of our brilliant colleagues on the subject of comparison. Here’s the lineup:
- Monday: Amy Palko on how the internet exacerbates comparison. Insights and wisdom from this goddess guide on archetypes and seeing beyond a single dimension.
- Tuesday: Sarah Bray on creativity and comparison. An expert in nation-building, Sarah talks about niches, social media, and battling your fears of greater visibility.
- Wednesday: Ronna Detrick on taboo topics. Straight talk from this writer, speaker, and sacred conversationalist on navigating projections when working with tricky subjects.
- Thursday: Paul Jarvis on finding your own voice. Web designer and best-selling author Paul gives us the straight goods on standing for yourself in the face of critique.
- Friday: Julie Daley on wholeness, love, and what it actually feels like to be placed on a pedestal.
These are only going out to email announcement list subscribers – and after next week, the only way to get access to them will be to purchase the Beyond Compare program. So if this topic speaks to you, please head over here and get on the list. (You’ll even get a chance to win a free copy of the entire program, for you and anyone you choose to do the program with – so it’s a good list to be on.)
I’m looking forward to sharing these conversations with you; these people inspire me in a big way, and I’m delighted they agreed to share their experiences and insights with us.
Photography by Roger Mahler Photography