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Today, we are going to get at the heart of steering your own ship, and how you can measure your capability with purpose rather than comparison.
Let’s start here. When you tell yourself “I Am (or I’m Not) Confident”, what you are really trying to determine is: “Where do I fall on the arbitrary spectrum of success versus failure? Enough vs. not enough?” And who or what decides that?
Now, success and failure are super relative, but for the purposes of this episode we are going to confine the answer to this question into two categories, or two different metrics: purpose (you decide) and comparison (you allow others to dictate your path for you).
When you live with purpose (a.k.a. – steer your own ship) you decide where to place your efforts and if they meet your personal expectations, heart, and skillset. Living with purpose is not reactionary; it is the opposite of comparison, insecurity, and scarcity.
And, to quote one of my favorite mentors, Monica Packer, it isn’t about finding a purpose (singular), it is about living with purpose every day, no matter what you do.
Friends, there are lists and lists of things we can’t control in this life, but when you live with purpose, your measure of “success” or “failure” isn’t determined by someone else or by your circumstances.
Whereas – comparison by definition means your capability is always determined by someone else! It is chiefly re-actionary, highlights your insecurites and “shortcomings” and undeniably STUNTS YOUR GROWTH. Remember: ANY lasting change starts with grace and self-compassion. Yet the fruits of comparison are self-doubt, self-loathing, or pride.
But. If you find yourself in the comparison boat, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. As much as I wish I could say I never care what other people think about me, knowing and loving who we are is not something we “arrive” at; it is a habit we must consistently cultivate.
So, today we want to share with you 4 warning signs that indicate you are measuring your capability with comparison rather than purpose, and then help you replace those with 4 tools of purpose instead. These tools of purpose will help you course-correct whenever you notice yourself falling into the comparison trap.
#1: Acceptable vs. Aligned
One sign that you might be measuring your success rate with comparison is if you find yourself asking “Is this acceptable?” – Is this socially acceptable? Is it too unorthodox? Am I weird for having this idea? Would I make too many waves?
The goal to appear “acceptable” deprives you of the opportunity to be uniquely you, to get to know and love exactly who that is, and to offer perspectives, quirks and gifts that nobody else can.
Instead, ask yourself: “Is this true to who I am?” – Will this bring me long-term joy, temporary pleasure, or neither? How do I feel about any perceived consequences? Is the action I am about to take in alignment with my core values and principles?
So, the first “tool of purpose” you can use to counteract what is “acceptable”, is both integrity – what is honest in accordance with what you believe?, and joy – what brings you to life? In other words, living in alignment with your true self.
#2: Should vs. Need/Want/Must
A similar sign of comparison, one we all use, is the word “should”. You should take a vacation! You shouldn’t worry. You should get outside more. …More external expectations right?
But we included it as a second point, because you fight “should” with a different tool of purpose, and that is: assigning priorities.
Assigning priorities is a secret that I use to deal with my anxiety all of the time. But, if you notice, in saying “should”, you actually bypass this step!
This comes back to all or nothing thinking, right? You can’t do it all, and you won’t progress if you do nothing, and yet to have a back up plan, to find your middle ground, you have to put in the thought work! It takes work to sit down and make a list of everything you think you “should” do, and then break it down into priorities.
So, rather than feel overwhelmed at all of the things everyone else is doing that you aren’t, make time to assign priorities to what you need to do, what you want to do, what you must do, and what you can take off of your list entirely.
It might take a minute, but I promise it will save you time in the long run.
#3: Competition vs. Individual Progress
The third sign that you are most likely measuring your success with comparison is: competition.
Competition isn’t inherently a bad thing. It can be healthy, but it very often becomes unhealthy if we come at it with the wrong mindset. When we start to base our self-image or self-worth on our performance relative to other people, we are allowing outside influences to tell us whether we are worth it.
A better way to approach competition is from a mindset of progress. Testing ourselves against our peers in good-natured, friendly competition is a good way of maintaining social health. But it can also be a good way to both encourage and reward our own individual progress. A key aspect of healthy competition is maintaining perspective of why we are doing the activity. If it is solely for the purpose of comparison with others through competition, we may need to adjust our outlook or even re-evaluate whether we should continue doing that activity. But if it is a stepping stone toward a higher vision that aligns with our core values and principles, and brings us closer to our purpose, then we probably have a healthy mindset.
#4: Worth as an End Result vs. Inherent Worth
The fourth sign that you are measuring your capabilities based on comparison is when you base your self worth on achieving some end result or future ideal.
Individual progress is important, like Joe talked about, and comparing yourself to yourself, but even more than that – even if we aren’t competing – sometimes, we intentionally hold ourselves back from worthiness because we believe we will be “enough” WHEN . . . instead of understanding that we are enough NOW.
But worthiness isn’t achieved in an end result; it is already inherent.
The fourth “tool of purpose” then is to understand your inherent worth.
And I couldn’t share about inherent worth without waxing a bit religious 😉 I shared a concept from one of my favorite books, “The Continuous Atonement” by Brad Wilcox, but the idea is: you don’t have to be perfect in order to be of worth and infinite value.
One-Liner: When you live with purpose you decide who you want to be and you increase your confidence in your capability to become that person.
Journal Prompt: For today’s journal prompt, I referred to an article a while back called: “5 Steps to Embracing What Matters Most to You”. It’s a great exercise to run through if you haven’t had the chance.
❤ Jenny and Joe