When we draw the easy and inevitable comparisons between ourselves and others we can end up feeling like we are falling short of the mark or not good enough. Fiona Blayney explains why you should not compare someone else’s social media ‘showreel’ to your own real life.
It started out like any other booking, albeit I was excited by the change of audience, style and pace. What I hadn’t realised was that I was about to learn just as much through the preparation for this event as I hoped others would through the performance.
I took the call from the event organiser as I was driving in my car. Frantically returning calls between appointments meant I didn’t ask as many questions as normal, and given we were well acquainted I trusted the context of the event with her. She didn’t mention the topic at the time; that was still in the planning, so she simply wanted me to commit to being a presenter at the inaugural Women in Real Estate Breakfast event that she was hosting for their group. It sounded like a great initiative and I thought ‘Why not?’
“Once I have locked in the speakers, I will email you over the content I want you to focus on with your session,” were her parting words and we left it at that. As I hit the office later that day, dates were entered into the diary and I went about life.
Over the next couple of months, the booking sat in my diary and I didn’t really give it another thought, until that fateful moment when an email popped into my inbox. The topic arrived: ‘Follow your Dreams – Did It’, along with the list of co-presenters, and with it an instant feeling of nervousness that ran through my body.
As I took a moment, reading the event plan and scanning the list of other speakers, I instinctively started to weigh up each speaker and my interpretation of their positions in the world; teaming this with some mind chatter, in a matter of moments I had quickly worked myself to the bottom of the list. No matter what you have done in your life, I know each of you will at some point have been overshadowed by what I call the comparison cloud, and it was raining in my world!
There are so many moments each day when we are hit with this instinctive comparison cloud. I am constantly hearing from clients about the agent down the road, round the corner or interstate. How big is my rent roll, my profit, my average management fee? Property managers are always comparing their properties, clients and results to those of the messages portrayed online or on the screen.
An avid user of social media, I am yet to see an agent post an image of the listing they lost to a competitor, or the arrears rate that has exploded, the property that sold under reserve or the letter of complaint that ended up at Fair Trading.
In the personal realm we tend to paint a similar rose-coloured picture, avoiding open discussion about the argument with the partner, the kids misbehaving at school, the holiday that we didn’t have or the weight we have gained.
Is it any wonder that comparison with others leaves us at the bottom of the ladder, when everyone else’s life is so amazingly perfect?
No good can come of standing under that comparison cloud unless you are comparing yourself to the only person that counts, the one staring back at you each morning in the mirror. YOU!
As you reflect on your year, do just that: reflect on your year, not everyone else’s. That’s for them to do. No doubt you will find something you could have done better, some moments you’d rather forget, but hopefully you will find some milestones that will go into the Book of You, and I know you will identify areas for improvement in 2016.
For what it is worth, I nailed that presentation; not because I was the highest on the comparison cloud for the day, but because I asked myself how it went in the mirror that night. Instead of comparing myself to the other speakers, I simply told my reflection looking back at me that I was awesome.