Comparing Ourselves to Colleagues Can Be Emotional Quicksand

QuicksandAs we rezoom our legal careers, or transition back into the law from another career, one thing that can really slow us down is Colleague Comparison. It is like walking in quicksand.

Everyone else is smarter, farther along in getting back in the game, a social media expert, a networking guru and the list could go on for days. We can psyche ourselves out in a nano-second by just getting caught in the Comparison Conflict Trap Lauren Bacon speaks about in her article of the same name. Finding your sea legs can be daunting. Justine Clay, in her article Stuck in the comparison trap – How to turn competition into inspiration, attributes comparison to a “fact of life.” Justine believes it is good for us to have some comparison in our lives. It helps us see where we measure up and where we might need to shift our thinking. She also feels fear plays a role in how you view comparison. It can “motivate or diminish” your will to persevere. Which you choose is, “entirely your call.”

Justine Clay lists an entire set of questions you may want to check out in her article that assures you stay on the right track when you start comparing yourself to others. Her test is one you can use to measure your competitor as well as yourself. Comparison and competition are good things since it means there is a real market out there for what you bring to the table. Now you can identify what you uniquely bring to the party and beef up the things you are light on. She tells you at the end of her article how all this in-depth review helps locate where you fit. Fitting into your niche “is based on [this kind] of research, not insecurity.”

Lauren Bacon has a bit of a twist on the comparison dilemma. She knows how engaging in social media first thing in the morning can get you in a funk for the rest of the day! When we see our colleagues on Linked-in, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and now Periscope, not to mention posting, blogging and writing e-books on topics we find interesting to those in our field; we can feel like we are a step behind before we are even out of bed. It’s hard not to ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Intuitively you get it, however again you feel as though you are late to the party. Lauren tells us it is not social media’s problem, “It is a comparison problem.”

We all use these mediums as measuring sticks in our rezooming process. It can be the quicksand that slows down our progress. Lauren gives three great points of comparison alerts that will keep us from shutting ourselves down and getting caught in the quicksand.

1) Don’t Compare Your Inside to Someone Else’s Outside.

2) Transform Comparison into Celebration

3) Use Success of Others As A Mirror.

I love Lauren’s points of comparison because they give us a choice; take the high road or the quicksand. The first point helps you remember you are not walking in the other person’s shoes. You are walking in your own. Most people, when they hear about another’s life story and problems, will pick up their own life experience sack of troubles before picking up their counterparts.

Turning comparison into celebration changes your observations from not enough to more than enough for everyone. Live in abundance not scarcity. Be glad there are people competing with you in your rezooming world. Believing that the glass is 3/4 full always makes comparison easier. The gift Lauren gives in her last point may be difficult for rezooming attorneys to swallow. After all, we are realistic and practical. However, if we can see our own magnificence in the reflection of what we see in our colleagues it can help us perceive how we shine in our chosen rezooming field.

We can be motivated to see the best in ourselves as we watch our colleagues shine. Admiring or envying someone else’s success can simply be our way of allowing ourselves to become inspired. Seeing these qualities embedded in others may enable us to see it in ourselves as well. Recognize we express these qualities differently. Learn from what we are observing.  In doing so, we become more proactive seeking out what we want.

Lauren has a final bit of advice, don’t fall “prey to reactive thinking and oversimplification.” Look at what they have and who they are. Do you admire them? Are they modeling the conduct you want to emulate and do their values resonate with your own? If you can answer these questions positively, then the social media world will enable you to enlist them as friends, colleagues and maybe even mentors.

Comparison is good as long as you do it from the light and not from darkness. Stay out of the quicksand of comparison and get out there and rezoom.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

This entry was posted in Guest Bloggers and tagged Debra Vey Voda Hamilton. Bookmark the permalink.

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