Every entrepreneur deals with comparison. As we strive to grow our businesses, gain new clients, and hone in on our niche, we can easily get swept up in the negative side of comparison:

  • That person makes WAY more than I do.
  • Their marketing is SO much better than mine.
  • Their audience is SO much more engaged.
  • Their list is SO much bigger.
  • They are WAY more visible/polished/fit/professional.
  • They’re booking MORE clients than I am.

These are real comparisons that I’ve heard out of the mouths of nearly every client or small business owner I know! I’ve used a few of them as well. But what if I told you that not all comparison is bad?

In fact, sometimes comparison can be a GOOD sign. A sign that you are ready to level up in your business.

Middleman Syndrome

Why are we so quick to compare ourselves to other people or businesses? A lot of that comes down to the expectations we place on ourselves.

I can PROMISE you that no matter how long you’ve been in business, you will always have an underlying frustration that you aren’t further ahead. I call this the “middleman syndrome.”

I first came up with this concept when I was an avid rock climber. People would look at me and say “I could never do that! You’re so brave!” And I would think, “ME?!?! You should see the crazy people I climb with. THEY are the brave ones. I’m just a beginner.”

But then, I would hear these more advanced climbers respond in the same way. “ME!?!? No way. You should see this guy I climbed with a few years ago. So much better.”

It started to occur to me that no matter where you are in life, you’re always a middleman. There will always be people who are newer to the scene than you are and people who are more experienced than you. Always.

This means you have two options when comparing yourself to others:

  1. You can despair over the things you don’t have and focus on the lack of something …

OR

2. You can celebrate the fact that you are moving forward (you’re no longer the beginner). And you can SEE that it’s time for growth and focus on what is to come.

But wait, there is also a third option! You can use your position as a middleman to motivate yourself forward. FACT: You will always have opportunities for up-leveling and learning new ways to be.

The Truth About Comparison

So how can you use comparison — and your position as a middleman — to help drive your business (and yourself) forward?

Throughout our lives, we will always find things or people to compare ourselves to. That is simply your brain’s way of finding proof of concept out in the world for the things you want. Your brain will automatically pinpoint what is different between you and the thing you are comparing to. But it is important to know in your heart that you wouldn’t be noticing that person/event/thing unless it is something you want.

This is where your third response to comparison comes in handy. Instead of focusing on what you LACK compared to someone else, focus on the PROOF of what can be. That is the art of leveling up in business and in life.

Instead of getting frustrated that you aren’t further along, hone in on the possibilities in front of you. If that person has more engagement, then so can you. The means and methods already exist. If that business is booking more clients, so can you! It means the industry is ripe with opportunity and people are looking for someone exactly like you to fill a need.

Compare Your Way to the Next Level

While I’m not proposing you get caught up in an attempt to build something other than your own, unique business, I do want you to learn to use comparison to your advantage.

Comparison is just a signal that you are aware of growth opportunities and you are challenging your own game. When you grow frustrated with where you are, it means you’re growing. Embrace the chance to let go of what you lack and drive your business forward and up to another level.

And when the excitement of growth and new opportunities begin to fade, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and up-level again. Most importantly, don’t let comparison hold you back. Keep planning. Keep taking action. Keep being vulnerable and trying new things. The proof is out there that growth and forward momentum is possible!

When you’re ready to take that comparison and put it into action…

Join the Daily Business Momentum Program to learn the tangible steps to get from ideas to implementation. Each lesson in the Daily Business Momentum Program focuses on a step-by-step process to help you make progress and create clarity, profitability and longevity in your business. This program is a compilation of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in over a decade of business (and what I wish I’d known when I got started).